November 2, 2003 by

Dharmachari Aryadaka

1 comment

Categories: Religious Leaders

Dharmachari Aryadaka, Washington state’s first paid Buddhist prison chaplain, died on Oct. 6 from liver disease caused by Hepatitis C. He was 55.
Born Philip S. Miller, Aryadaka left the United States in the 1960s to avoid serving in Vietnam. He traveled the world, trekked the Himalayas and served 22 months in prison in Finland for a drug offense. It was in jail that Aryadaka found enlightenment.
In 1984, Aryadaka was ordained into the Western Buddhist Order and took his new name, which means “noble skygoer.” He returned to Seattle and began doing volunteer religious work. After co-founding the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order/Seattle Buddhist Center, he became Washington’s first paid Buddhist prison chaplain. Each week, he traveled over 100 miles to teach prisoners meditation and useful ways to deal with negative mental states.

One Response to Dharmachari Aryadaka

  1. bill downe

    my first teacher, elder brother, fierce friend, and royal pain in the ass! who challenged me when others didnt bother; i love him and will miss him deeply. rarely do we meet someone who truly changes our lives, and Aryadaka was one of those people. may he be well and return as the ‘stream entrant’ or ‘once returner’ he truly is. i prostrate myself before you, old buddy. bill downe

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