Most Ven. Ñāṇadīpa Mahāthera Passed Away

We are sorry to be the bearers of sad news, but Bhante Nyanadipa Mahathera passed away today (7:15am Sri Lankan time.) Growing up in Denmark, he left his comfort for Dhamma in 1967. For half of a century he spent his monastic life in secluded jungles of Sri Lanka and became an inspiration for many monks to follow the Forest Path of Dhamma. Though his seclusion has been very protected, he was gradually becoming very well-known among monks and laypeople.

Bhante Ñāṇadīpa, French born Dane arrived to Sri Lanka in 1968, being twenty-four year old. He was just finishing traveling (or rather walking) around the Asian continent – from Yugoslavia to Japan, from Russia to Sri Lanka. He had spent eight months at the Island Hermitage learning Pāli (he had a Latin/Greek-based education and a brilliant mind for languages), practicing ānāpānasati and using the Notes on Dhamma and the Collected Writings of Ven. Ñāṇavīra. Monks were fascinated by this young man’s intelligence and interest in Dhamma.

This young man subsequently took sāmaṇera ordination that year and received a new name: Ñāṇadīpa. He was independent of character, inspired by the forest life of the old generations of forest monks and by the idea of more secluded life. Not finding any suitable teacher, he became skilled in Pāli and the Suttas and soon removed himself from the entanglements of any kind of personal relationship. Highly impressed by Ñāṇavīra’s writings, he for many years carried a notebook in which he had hand copied the Notes, and which he used for his own investigation and reflection. The Notes was his first teacher and his guide to the Suttas. In later time only Suttas, especially the verses of Sutta-nipata, remained his constant guide.

In recent years he has suffered various illnesses and minor accidents, and a few months ago was also diagnosed with cancer. Even though the body was frail he insisted to continue to live a simple and secluded life as much as possible to the very end of his life.

Being an expert in Pali and in particularly in gathas, he also occasionally advised Bhikkhu Bodhi with translation work of the Suttas. And Bhante is also the translator of The Silent Sages of Old.

More about his life can be found also in the blog of Bhante Rahula: Meetings with Remarkable Monk.


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