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Pure and Simple

The Extraordinary Teachings of a Thai Buddhist Laywoman

Translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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Upasika Kee was a uniquely powerful spiritual teacher. Evocative of the great Ajahn Chah, her teachings are earthy, refreshingly direct, and hard-hitting. In the twentieth century, she grew to become one of the most famous teachers in Thailand--male or female--all the more remarkable because, rarer still, she was not a monastic but a layperson. Her relentless honesty, along with her encouraging voice, is one reason so many contemporary Buddhist teachers recall Upasika Kee so fondly, and so often. With this book, readers seeking something reminiscent of the classic Mindfulness in Plain English can receive instruction on meditation practice as they become acquainted with the legacy of a renowned Buddhist figure. Pure and Simple, the first widely-available collection of her writings, will be gratefully received not only by those who knew Upasika Kee, but by anyone who encounters her for the first time in its pages.

Upasika Kee Nanyon was a uniquely powerful spiritual teacher. Evocative of the great Ajahn Chah, her teachings are earthly, refreshingly direct, and hard hitting. In the twentieth century, she grew to become one of the most famous teachers in Thailand-male or female-all the more remarkable because, rarer still, she was not a monastic but a layperson. Her relentless honesty, along with her encouraging voice, lead many contemporary Buddhist teachers to recall Upasika Kee fondly and often. Pure and Simple is the first widely available collection of her writings.

"She is described as one of the foremost lay Buddhist teachers of the twentieth century, but many Western readers will be introduced to Upasika Kee Nanayon for the first time in Pure and Simple. Born in Thailand at the turn of the century, Upasika Kee gave up the family business in mid-life to found a forest retreat center, where she devoted herself to meditation and study until her death in 1993. Thanissaro Bhikkhu, an American who studied in the Forest Tradition for twenty years in Thailand, is a translator of Pali and Thai and here he turns his adept hand to Upasika Kee. She was a Buddhist from the old school who talked the talk and walked the walk. The book's title neatly summarizes the themes that run through many of these talks: keep it pure by staying away from defilements, and keep it simple by avoiding distractions. That's keeping it real, Upasika Kee-style."

– Shambhala Sun

"Upasika Kee teaches from her own experience in a voice that is clear and unwavering. Her devotion to liberation is apparent everywhere on these pages."

– Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Faith

"Wonderful news! These extraordinary teachings are now available for a wide readership. Upasika Kee presents Buddhadharma in a simple, direct and unadorned way. Profound insights and approaches to practice are delivered with a freshness that seems to be coming right out of her own meditations--right then and there."

– Larry Rosenberg, Senior teacher, Cambridge Insight Meditation Center and Insight Meditation Society, and author of Breath by Breath and Living in the Light of Death

"Delve deeper into your own spiritual practice with Pure and Simple, a translation of the teachings of Upasika Kee Nanayon, a Thai Buddhist laywoman and the foremost woman Dharma teacher of 20th-century Thailand."

– Body and Soul

"Upasika Kee broke through to complete inner peace. Here is one woman's universal achievement."

– Kate Wheeler, editor of Nixon Under the Bodhi Tree and Other Works of Buddhist Fiction

"Upasika Kee is a true 'dharma warrior.' Her teaching is always uncompromising and tough-as-nails. She always speaks the truth no matter what."

– Mu Soeng, author of Trust in Mind and The Diamond Sutra