Santikaro (Robert Larson)
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Santikaro is guiding teacher at Liberation Park, which he founded with his wife, Jo Marie, in 2004. He has taught regularly at Cloud Mountain since 2003. His training under Buddhadasa Bhikkhu included meditation and study, a simple life in the woods, and service to society. Ajahn Buddhadasa sought to rejuvenate Theravada Buddhism by going back to its roots in the Pali suttas; dropping customs and rituals that no longer served; interacting with science, modern social movements, & other religions; encouraging creativity; and relaxing stodgy commentarial orthodoxy, which is often literalist, moralistic, and dilutes the importance of emptiness. Ajahn Buddhadasa pioneered a profound dialogue between the original teachings of Theravada Buddhism and modern realities. His approach honored Nature as Dhamma, focused on liberation in this life, and considered all the central teachings and practices as applicable for lay practitioners. He shook things up in Siam and Santikaro does what he can to further the constructive shaking, though in response to different social conditions and wanderings from the Buddha's teaching and path. Further, Santikaro draws upon recent research into the Early Buddhist teachings that underlies all the later traditions now co-existing in the West: Theravada, Mahayana, Zen, Vajrayana, and more, including the American Vipassana movement.