For a westerner I think reading Ajaan Buddhadasa is difficult. At one time I described his style as tedious and I could also think it is a bit pedantic but overcoming these western perceptions is well worth it. I would describe his style as that of a Buddhist scholar (scholar of the Buddha’s suttas). But he has gone beyond the dogma, and shows this now and again with what he says. I should note here that most of his works are spoken or translated by Santikaro. He was at one time a monk with Ajaan Buddhadasa at Suan Mokh, but is now lay running a retreat at Liberation Park (put in link). I surmise that these talks were given under the supervision of Ajaan Buddhadasa in English by Santikaro.
In other words these talks are “Buddhist-scholarly” with a kick in the tail. I have studied Theravada a little, I did say at one time I would focus on studying Theravada only but I do not consider I am that knowledgeable of what is written on Theravada but I have sufficient grasp of the form of Theravada to be able to read Buddhadasa and hopefully grasp some of the gems that come our way when reading Buddhadasa.
But equally I would understand westerners, not western people used to reading Buddhist works especially suttas, not coming to terms with Buddhadasa because of his scholarly manner. This is their loss as there is much wisdom in his work, and it is the wisdom and undertsanding, not the scholarliness, that hopefully people can hook into.
I am not a Buddhist for the suttas, I am not a Buddhist for the rituals, I am not a Buddhist for the animism that often gets associated with national Buddhism such as Thai or Tibetan Buddhism, I am a Buddhist because I consider the way of life that is at the core of Buddhism, once you get beyond the proliferations and concoctions, is the way of life that brings the greatest peace (or joy or happiness in a spiritual sense). What little peace I have found is at the core of Buddhadasa’s works, and this is why I promote what he writes in this blog.
There are other spiritual teachers that have helped me as well, Thich Naht Hahn, Eckhart Tolle and Don Miguel Ruiz for example. Their wisdom comes through in their works but in a different way. On this blog I have looked at different teachers seeking wisdom, hopefully I have grasped from wide sources, but at present because of my limited knowledge of Theravada I find much in Buddhadasa. I feel there is a place for a book on the wisdom of Buddhadasa for westerners but who could write it? With Ajaan Buddhadasa being dead such a book could never be ascribed to him or do him justice.