Physical photographs, of or relating to Ajahn Sumedho, c. 1966 - ongoing.
Ajahn Sumedho photographs
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Administrative / Biographical History
Luang Por Sumedho or Ajahn Sumedho (Thai: อาจารย์สุเมโธ) (born Robert Karr Jackman, July 27, 1934, Seattle) is the senior Western representative of the Thai forest tradition of Theravada Buddhism. He was abbot of Amaravati Buddhist Monastery, UK, from its consecration in 1984 until his retirement in 2010. Luang Por means Venerable Father (หลวงพ่อ), an honorific and term of affection in keeping with Thai custom; ajahn means teacher. A bhikkhu since 1967, Sumedho is considered a seminal figure in the transmission of the Buddha's teachings to the West.
Ajahn Sumedho was born Robert Kan Jackman in Seattle, Washington in 1934. During the Korean War he served for four years from the age of 18 as a United States navy medic. He then did a BA in Far Eastern studies and graduated in 1963 with an MA in South Asian studies at the University of California, Berkeley. After a year as a Red Cross social worker, Jackman served with the Peace Corps in Borneo from 1964 to 1966 as an English teacher. On break in Singapore, sitting one morning in sidewalk café, he watched a Buddhist monk walk by and thought to himself, "That looks interesting." In 1966 he became a novice or samanera at Wat Sri Saket in Nong Khai, northeast Thailand. He ordained as a bhikkhu (Buddhist monk) in May the following year.
From 1967-77 at Wat Nong Pah Pong, he trained under Ajahn Chah. He has come to be regarded as the latter's most influential Western disciple. In 1975 he helped to establish and became the first abbot of the International Monastery, Wat Pa Nanachat in northeast Thailand founded by Ajahn Chah for training his non-Thai students. In 1977, Ajahn Sumedho accompanied Ajahn Chah on a visit to England. After observing a keen interest in Buddhism among Westerners, Ajahn Chah encouraged Ajahn Sumedho to remain in England for the purpose of establishing a branch monastery in the UK. This became Cittaviveka Forest Monastery in West Sussex.
Ajahn Sumedho was granted authority to ordain others as monks shortly after he established Cittaviveka Forest Monastery. He then established a ten precept ordination lineage for women, "Siladhara".
Until his retirement Ajahn Sumedho was the abbot of Amaravati Buddhist Monastery near Hemel Hempstead in England, which was established in 1984. Amaravati is part of the network of monasteries and Buddhist centres in the lineage of Ajahn Chah, which now extends across the world, from Thailand, New Zealand and Australia, to Europe, Canada and the United States. Ajahn Sumedho played an instrumental role in building this international monastic community.
Records are organised by Date (decade or year), and grouped by Event.