An Unentangled Knowing with the subtitle; The Teachings of a Thai Buddhist Lay Woman outlines the life and work of Upāsikā Kee Nanayon he foremost female Dhamma teacher in twentieth-century Thailand. She was born in 1901 to a Chinese merchant family in Rajburi. During her teenage years, she devoted her spare time to Dhamma books and to meditation. In 1945, she gave up her business, joined her aunt and uncle in moving to the mountains, and there the three of them began a life devoted entirely to meditation. The small retreat they made for themselves in an abandoned monastic dwelling eventually grew to become the nucleus of a women’s practice center that has flourished to this day.
Upāsikā Kee was something of an autodidact. Although she picked up the rudiments of meditation during her frequent visits to monasteries in her youth, she practiced mostly on her own without any formal study under a meditation teacher. Most of her instruction came from books—the Pali Canon and the works of contemporary teachers—and was tested in the crucible of her own relentless honesty.
In the later years of her life, she developed cataracts that eventually left her blind, but she still continued a rigorous schedule of meditating and receiving visitors interested in the Dhamma. She passed away in 1978 after entrusting the center to a committee she appointed from among its members. Her younger sister, Upāsikā Wan, who up to that point had played a major role as supporter and facilitator for the center, joined the community within a few months of Upāsikā Kee’s death and soon became its leader, a position she held until her death in 1993. Now the center is once again being run by committee and has grown to accommodate 60 members.
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