The Most Venerable Professor Dr. Phra Dharmakosajarn
The Most Venerable Professor Dr. Phra Dharmakosajarn is currently Rector of Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University (MCU), Ecclesiastical Governor of Region II, Chief Abbot of Wat Prayurawongsawat in Bangkok, and a member of the Secretariat to the Executive Committee for the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand.
He was born on September 17th, 1955, in Suphan Buri Province, and entered the monastic life as a novice at the age of 12. In 1976, while still a novice, he completed the highest degree of traditional Pali Studies in Thailand, Pali Grade IX. In the same year, His Majesty, the King of Thailand, sponsored his higher ordination in the temple of the Emerald Buddha.
Two years later, he received his Bachelorย’s degree in Philosophy, with first-class honors, from MCU. He then entered the University of Delhi, India, where he obtained the Diploma in French, an M.A., M.Phil. and a Doctorate. His Ph.D. thesis, written in English and published as: Selflessness in Sartreย’s Existentialism and Early Buddhism, has been very popular and reprinted many times.
After receiving his Doctorate, he lectured for a time at MCU. In 1986, the Thai Sangha Supreme Council posted him to the Thai Buddhist Temple in Chicago, U.S.A. as a Dhammaduta (missionary monk). He returned to MCU to serve as Director of the Academic Division and later served as the first Dean of the Graduate school, Deputy Rector for Research and Planning, and Deputy Rector for Academic Affairs. His Holiness, the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand, made him Rector of MCU 1997, and a year later appointed him Ecclesiastical Governor of Region II covering the provinces of Ayutthaya, Saraburi, and Ang Thong.
Apart from Sangha administrative work, he is one of Thailandย’s scholar monks, and the author of more than 60 books on Buddhism and philosophy. His published works in Thai and English include, among others, History of Greek Philosophy; A Buddhist Approach to Peace; Buddhist Morality; Buddhist Worldview; and International Recognition of the Day of Vesak.
He has been invited to give Dhamma talks on Thai radio and television and has, for the past twenty years, annually delivered lectures not only throughout Thailand but also around the world, including a series of Dhamma lectures in the United States. In 1994 alone, he presented papers at the Symposium of the General Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists, held in Bangkok, and at the Religious Leaders Seminar, held in connection with the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt.
In August 2000, he was invited to give a lecture, entitled A Buddhist View on Conflict Resolution, to the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders at the United Nations in New York. Three months later, he delivered the distinguished lecture, Buddhism Propagation for Word Peace, at the Second World Buddhist Propagation Conference (Buddhist Summit) at Buddhamonthon, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand.
In recognition of his academic work and dedication to society as a whole, His Majesty, the King of Thailand, on December 16, 2003, graciously appointed him to the position of Professor of Philosophy at MCU.
He was Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Second Buddhist Summit, co-hosted by MCU and the Nenbutsushu Buddhist sect of Japan. The conference was held from November 9-11, 2000 in order to exchange ideas and techniques for propagating Buddhism, to build friendships among world Buddhist leaders and to celebrate the 72nd Anniversary of the Birth of His Majesty, the King of Thailand.
In addition, he acted as Chairman of the Organizing Committee launching the Founding Meeting of the World Council of Religious Leaders (WCRL) held at Buddhamonthon and at UNESCAP from June 12-14, 2002.
Two years later, he acted similarly as Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Board Meeting of the WCRL held, in conjunction with the World Youth Peace Summit (WYPS), at Buddhamonthon, from February 24-29, 2004. He once again acted as Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the First International Buddhist Conference (IBC) Working as One: Buddhist Unity and Cooperation, held at Buddhamonthon and at UNESCAP, Bangkok, from July 16-20, 2004, and has, since then, been the main architect and Chairman of the United Nations Day of Vesak celebrations held in Thailand. He has continued to act as Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the 2nd and 3rd IBC on the United Nations Day of Vesak, in 2005 and 2006 respectively.
He is currently Chairman of IOC for the 4th IBC on the United Nations Day of Vesak to be held from May 26-29, 2007.
Previously known as Phra Maha Prayoon Mererk, Phra Methithammaphon, Phra Rajavaramuni, and Phra Thepsophon, he was given the new title of Phra Dharmakosajarn by His Majesty, the King of Thailand, on December 5th, 2005 in recognition of his continuing contributions to the Sangha and the broader society.