Biography of Father AMA Samy S.J.


Fr. AMA Samy (Arul Maria Arokiasamy) was born of poor Indian parents in Burma in 1936. As a boy he came into some contact with Burmese Buddhism and Buddhist monks. Back in India after the War, he was brought up for a few years by his maternal grandfather, who was a devotee of a Muslim saint and was caring for the burial shrine of the saint. The grandfather died in an accident leaving the young boy without support and guidance. However, the boy finished school and joined the Jesuits.

Even after becoming a priest, his heart was restless after God. His heart was not fulfilled by the then Christian spirituality. He began visiting Hindu ashrams and buddhist meditation centers. He was introduced to Ramana Maharishi by Swami Abhishiktananda, and was much moved by Ramana's vision. His quest and searching led him to become a wandering beggar for a while and settle down as a hermit near a holy shrine; the village people fed him.

It was the zen way which drew him most. With the help of Fr. Enomiya Lassalle, he went to Japan and was able to train with Yamada Ko-Un Roshi of Sanbo Kyodan. In 1982 Yamada Ko-Un gave him transmission and authorization to teach. Fr. AMA Samy is rooted in Christianity and in Zen; he can be said to stand in-between Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. He stands true to Christ, true to Zen and true to the human heart-mind.

Fr. AMA Samy spends a few months every year abroad, mostly in Europe, teaching and helping his students (see the sesshin list). He is the founder of Bodhi Sangha.


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