Author Topic: Ajahn Sumedho retires, Ajahn Amaro steps in  (Read 2875 times)

Offline Optimus Prime

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Ajahn Sumedho retires, Ajahn Amaro steps in
« on: May 22, 2010, 04:38:11 am »
Ajahn Amaro to Move to Amaravati
Ajahn Amaro
May 14, 2010

One day during the time that I was in Thailand with Ajahn Pasanno, Luang Por Sumedho asked me to come to his kutī for a chat. I was expecting, if anything, little more than an informal chin-wag over a cup of tea, just to catch up on news and plans, but to my surprise Luang Por made it the occasion to formally invite me to take on the role of abbot at Amaravati Monastery, in England.

He had been keen to retire from that position for a long time, having been in the leadership role there for 25 years as well as, for the previous ten years, at Wat Pah Nanachat, the Hampstead Vihāra, and at Chithurst Monastery. It was only now, however, that he felt the conditions were ripe for him to be able to pass things on to another pair of hands. Needless to say I was both startled and honoured by the invitation, and in need of some time to digest it.

I let Ajahn Pasanno know the next day. We decided to wait until we had had a chance to get back to Abhayagiri, to discuss the matter with the Sangha there, before I would give any definitive “yea” or “nay” to the invitation. When it was brought up with the community, shortly after we returned at the end of January, the response (once eveyone had got over the shock) was unanimous “sadhu!” and thus the decision was made.

The current plan is that I will make the move to Amaravati in mid-July, to be there in time for the beginning of the Rains Retreat on July 27th – coincidentally being Luang Por Sumedho’s 76th birthday. He will remain there for the next three months, to facilitate the handover of duties, and then, after the Kathina festival in November, he will set off as a free agent with no fixed destination. He has already been the recipient of a vast slew of offers of places to stay but, for the time being, he is deliberately and gleefully keeping all his options open.

Once I had given him the news of Abhayagiri’s agreement, and we were discussing these changes, he reflected that, even though the wandering way of life is the essence of the mendicant spirit, it’s something he has never had the chance to follow since the very beginning of his monastic career. He has always been confined by one set of duties or another.

As one who has been a grateful student of his for more than 30 years it is a genuine pleasure to repay the immeasurable benefit he has brought into my life by enabling him to make this move. It will be a wrench to leave Abhayagiri, and all of the close connections that have formed in the 20 years since I first came to the USA, but I also welcome this change – unexpected though it might have been. Amongst other things it gives me a chance to clear out many accumulations; both those internal – my unconscious assumptions about cheerfully growing old in the forest at Abhayagiri, as well as external – all those bookshelves and filing cabinets groaning with the weight of papers of dubious worth.

I feel very grateful for the years that I have had working in collaboration with Ajahn Pasanno, the admirable group of lay friends who have served on the board of Sanghapala Foundation since its inception in 1988, and the fine monastic community that has developed here since 1996. It has been an honour and a delight to have been a part of bringing Abhayagiri Monastery into being but, by a fortunate confluence of circumstance, it is now in a state of maturity where it no longer needs both Ajahn Pasanno and I at the helm together. In this light, I have no doubt that it will continue to flourish without me, and I expect to come back and enjoy that flourishing from time to time as a visitor.

But aren’t we all, in truth, just visitors?

Transiency bears a bitter-sweet tang. The flavour of loss is an ache in the heart but the flavour of Dhamma is freedom. So, may this move and all that comes with it be a cause for the savouring of that finest of all tastes, utter freedom.

Source:  http://www.abhayagiri.org/main/article_print/2183/

Offline Monkey Mind

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Re: Ajahn Sumedho retires, Ajahn Amaro steps in
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2010, 07:04:52 pm »
I was planning a trip to Abhayagiri this summer... Guess I missed my chance to hear Ajahn Amaro speak....

Offline Optimus Prime

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Re: Ajahn Sumedho retires, Ajahn Amaro steps in
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2010, 10:04:06 pm »
MM,

Not sure whether he's gone just yet.  You might want to give Abhayagiri monastery a call to see if he's left yet. 

Otherwise, you can always download his talks on http://www.abhayagiri.org or http://www.dhammatalks.org.uk/.

Offline Khalil Bodhi

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Re: Ajahn Sumedho retires, Ajahn Amaro steps in
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2010, 02:55:52 am »
I just did a  daylong with him here in NYC. He was wonderful. He said he'll be at Abhayagiri until July. see him if you can get the chance! Metta.

Offline heybai

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Re: Ajahn Sumedho retires, Ajahn Amaro steps in
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2011, 05:32:48 am »
I have been listening to many dhamma talks by Ajahn Sumedho for the past month.  Many seem to be for beginners at retreats so there is some repetition but I love his style.  And here's something: for the first time ever I am actually getting into the sound of a chanting voice.  He chants in Pali and sometimes in English.

Anyway, I feel like I am learning a lot from this monk.  Here's my principal source for these recordings --

http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/10/ 

Offline heybai

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Re: Ajahn Sumedho retires, Ajahn Amaro steps in
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2011, 08:28:03 am »
I just found this site with what seems to be lots of good Sumedho content, and much else --

http://buddhismnow.wordpress.com/category/ajahn-sumedho/

Offline Monkey Mind

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Re: Ajahn Sumedho retires, Ajahn Amaro steps in
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2011, 08:44:01 am »
The monks I visit with say that Ajahn is enjoying the retired life. His supporters built him a kuti in Thailand, and that his needs are well provided for. He has family here near where I live, so it is possible he will make some guest teaching appearances here. And I agree with you, it was amazing to witness him speak.

Offline t

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Re: Ajahn Sumedho retires, Ajahn Amaro steps in
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2011, 08:50:13 am »
May the Sasana live long and prosper under Ajahn Amaro  :namaste:

« Last Edit: May 02, 2011, 08:52:58 am by t »

Offline heybai

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Re: Ajahn Sumedho retires, Ajahn Amaro steps in
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2011, 09:25:27 am »
I have listened to many of his talks in this mp3 collection, but would like to recommend this one --

"Where Jackals Cease"
http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/10/talk/4257/

From about 52:00 -- insight from the Third Noble Truth

"The personality, I know, is something not to bind myself to -- not to give it any chance to take over my consciousness because I know through examination and investigation that this Emptiness is Non-Suffering.  Attachment to personal habits, to my identities, to my positions, to my fears, to self-consciousness ['steps'? -- inaudible] back into the realm of samsara, of suffering -- immediately, I'm there.  But now, through the cultivation of this [the sound of silence and awareness of Cessation], I know how to empty this."   

 


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