How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?
I frequented a fairly large Thai Wat in Chicago some years back. There were monks and lay followers who were students of Buddhadasa. So he has been highly influential in my understanding of the Dhamma. There were also other monks who were not students of Buddhadasa. Most if not all of the senior teachers had a very good focus on the sutras, especially the Majjhima Nikaya. One American monk felt that Buddhadasa was verging on being an annihilationist . But I am not sure if he fully understood Buddhadasa in that there ultimately is no atta to live forever or be annihilated from the get go. I have been around the suttas a fair amount but am no scholar. I appreciate Buddhadasa (and many others from all the yanas) for his pragmatic approach to the Dhamma. That is, when you shelve the suttas and are meditating or out living your life, Buddhadasa has much to offer. His teachings on Dependent Origination as happening in the here and now are indispensible for where the rubber meets the road. To see the process of .../contact/vedena/.../birth (of ego)... within my own mind stream has brought the dhamma to life before my very eyes. In this respect I don't really see what a 3 lifetime view of Dependent Origination really brings to practice. For instance, if ignorance is always in the last life, how are you supposed to end it? I mean you can't go back in time and eradicate it there now can you? As you contemplate D.O. it is obvious this process is happening right here and now. All else is nothing but (cultural) belief i.e. societal conventions. Also, I don't see re-birth mentioned in D.O. but birth is.
I sat a retreat with Ajahn Amaro a few years ago. There were 3 monks he mentioned equally in his dhamma talks. Ajahn Chah (his teacher), Ajahn Sumedho (his friend) and Ajahn Buddhadasa.
Don't know if this is the right place to mention this but some friends are organizing a retreat with Santikaro and Leigh Brasington on April 2 2010. You all know Santikaro from this thread . Leigh was a student of Ayya Khema and teaches a very accessable method of jhana, http://www.leighb.com
. Also, Santikaro moderates a yahoo group called Buddhadasa if you're interested.