Thursday, September 1, 2011

Buddhist Personality : Khantidharo

Indonesian Buddhist monk, Khanthidharo Mahathera was christianed as Djamal Bakir, was a staunch Muslim and had a loving wife before he decided to lead a monastic life 24 years ago.

He was born on July 17, 1931 in a small village located on the Merbabu volcano in Magelang, Indonesia. The 5th of 9 siblings in the family , he was known to be the more sociable and intelligent one among his siblings. In 1952, he became a teacher in a secondary school in Medan, Sumatera but returned to Jateng near his hometown two years later to continue his study while teaching part time in a secondary school There he met a fellow female teacher Sri Hartini and got married to hear on July 17, 1955. Djmaal continued his studies and was awarded a doctorate degree in Economics in 1963. He became a banker in the morning and taught at a school in Magelang in the evening. During that period of his life, he came in contact with Buddhism and was fascinated with the teachings of Dhamma. He encouraged his wife to read books on Dhamma and together, the couple became active devotees in a temple, Dhammadipa Arama. In 1971, he was appointed to lead the Perhimpunan Buddhis Indonesia (PERBUDHI) a Buddhist based association. This appointment marked the turning point of his life as a Buddhist as he learned more on Buddhism and became a writer of the Dhamma for a montly Buddhist magazine from 1971 to 1977. Later, he travelled to Myanmar, became a staff of the Indonesia Embassy there while furthering his knowledge in Buddhism. In 1982, he went for a religious journey with his wife to India and upon his returned worked as the General Director of the Education and Cultural Department for 5 years, travelling extensively to all 27 provinces in the country. Despite his respectable position in the government service, he started to comtemplate to dedicate his life follow the Dhamma path. Finally on Decebmer 6, 1987, he was ordained as a monk and adopted a monastic name of Khantidharo

Today he is the chief monk of the Dhammadipa Buddhist Vihara in Malang, Jawa, Indonesia and recently celebrated his 80th birthday.