Luang Por Ajahn Sumedho (often referred as Ajahn Sumedho) was born Robert Jackman in 1934, in Seattle (USA). Ajahn Sumedho is the senior Western representative of the Thai forest tradition of Theravada Buddhism. He has been abbot of Amaravati Buddhist Monastery just north of London since its consecration in 1984. Luang Por means Venerable Father (หลวงพ่อ), an honorific and term of affection in keeping with Thai custom; ajahn means teacher. A bhikkhu for 40 years, Sumedho is considered a seminal figure in the transmission of the Buddha’s teachings to the West.
Ajahn Sumedho‘s teachings are very direct, practical, simple, and down to earth. In his talks and sermons he stresses the quality of immediate intuitive awareness and the integration of this kind of awareness into daily life. Like most teachers in the Forest Tradition, Ajahn Sumedho tends to avoid intellectual abstractions of the Buddhist teachings and focuses almost exclusively on their practical applications, that is, developing wisdom and compassion in daily life. His most consistent advice can be paraphrased as to see things the way that they actually are rather than the way that we want or don’t want them to be (“Right now, it’s like this…”). He is known for his engaging and witty communication style, in which he challenges his listeners to practice and see for themselves. Students have noted that he engages his hearers with an infectious sense of humor, suffused with much loving kindness, often weaving amusing anecdotes from his experiences as a monk into his talks on meditation practice and how to experience life.
In this video, Ajahn Sumedho gives a Dhamma talk during his visit at Wat Atammayatarama in Woodinville (USA).