binocular wrote:You're fortunate to be allowed to express your appreciation.
Not so long ago, in some Buddhist circles, for one to declare any affinity for Thanissaro Bhikkhu amounted to painting a bull's eye on one's forehead.
Things have been changing, though.
I'd be interested to get some feedback on this question, too. What I've observed for a few years is that he is often interviewed and cited for positions on traditional Buddhism by any number of periodicals. He travels some, and teaches at excellent centers. He also is not invited to some Buddhist retreat centers because he took a position against the overcharging by some centers for their retreats, and cautioned these centers that the Dhamma was to be offered freely with support through dana. For this Dhamma centered perspective, he was no longer invited to some of the $500 a day centers to teach. Their loss, IMO.
I have some bias in this as I am lucky enough to be in San Diego time to time and can go to Wat Metta to be with Ajahn Geoff at his Wat. While there, I have directly observed the quality of the young monks that he supervises, and the high quality of the lay people from around the world that come to stay and learn from him. I see how warm and close he is to the Thai people that come to the Wat; I'm amazed when he gives a detailed Dhamma talk in English, and then gives the talk in Thai. His Dhamma talks are serious and detailed, very much the way they are presented on youtube, but in fairness there's a real friendliness to his personality that one doesn't always see. The level of Vinaya at his Wat is unsurpassed, and I have always been invited to take ( for no charge) his books for my own study.
I've read sometimes some criticism of him from "scholars" in ivory (or cardboard) towers who claim he teaches an eternalist "atman" doctrine. He does not, of course, and one needs to study his writings on anatta
to understand the strategy based positions he takes he takes on anatta, anicca, kamma, etc. I sometimes feel that there are mice in the Buddhist academic circles that feel the need to test the noble elephant by chewing on his toes, if only to raise their own anonymous profiles. I haven't always agreed with him...on the issue of Bhikkhuni ordination I felt he, like a lawyer for the Thai Sangha, took a traditional position in a legal brief against the ordinations that was trumped by the need for a more expansive scholarship on this issue and a touch of compassion. Even if he was right hyper-technically, the time had come to argue the position from the more compassionate side of the question.
I feel that we are lucky that we occupy the planet during his tenure teaching...there have been many decades in the west where the level of teaching has been lacking, fraudulent or abysmal. I feel we are very fortunate to have people like Ajahn Geoff, Bhikkhu Bodhi, and a select few others doing translations and explanations of the Pali Canon, the Dhamma, and making the world of the Buddha's Dhamma accessible and understandable.
Maybe he's not everyone's cup of tea, but imagine what the Dhamma landscape would look like without his presence and scholarship. Imagine if he'd stayed in Thailand, where he probably would have liked to, had he not been suggested to come to California and start, with another senior abbot, Wat Metta.