van Gorkom, Nina (1928- )
"Nina van Gorkom was born in 1928 to a family of socialist intellectuals. Her father was a member of the Dutch parliament. She studied at Leyden University and during this time she became a Catholic. In 1952, she married Lodewijk van Gorkom, a Dutch diplomat. In 1965, Lodewijk was posted to Thailand and Nina started learning Thai language. She took a keen interest in Buddhism, attending classes for foreigners at Wat Mahathat. There she met, in the summer of 1966, Sujin Boriharnwanaket. Impressed by the profundity of the Buddhist teachings, she became convinced of the truth of the Buddha's words and later assisted Khun Sujin in discussions about Buddhism for Thai radio stations. These talks were later published as Buddhism in Daily Life, her first book. Nina and Lodewijk left Thailand in 1970 and lived in Japan, New York, Indonesia (where Lodewijk was the Dutch ambassador) and Austria. Lodewijk retired in 1990 and they now live in The Hague in Holland." [Source: "Interview with Nina van Gorkom, September 1999, by Robert Kirkpatrick," Abhidhamma.org (http://www.abhidhamma.org/interview%20with%20nina.html)
Jhanananda's critique of Nina van Gorkom
In the spring of 2003, I researched jhana on the web to see if anyone in Theravadan Buddhism understood the jhanas. At that time I joined every Yahoo group that was interested in the study of the Pali language and the Discourses of the Buddha. I joined a Yahoo group that was interested in the study of the Abhidhamma, which was led by Nina van Gorkom. When I posted my jhana sensitive mission statement Nina shredded it with quite some arrogance. In the course of dialog with her she happened to say that she did not meditate. She claimed she was waiting until she fully understood the dhamma before taking up the practice of meditation.
Well, if she has been studying Buddhism for 40 years and still has not figured out enough about meditation to begin the practice, then what does she, a scholar who does not meditate, know about the Noble Eightfold Path, the practice of meditation and the attainments of the Buddha? So, why should we contemplative, who do meditate, look to one who does not meditate for our translations and commentaries? One who does not meditate does not follow the Noble Eightfold Path. One who does not follow the Noble Eightfold Path can never understand the way to enlightenment (dhamma).