Ajahn Sumedho quotes

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Ajahn Sumedho (left)

Luang Por Ajahn Sumedho (born Robert Jackman, July 27, 1934, Seattle) is the most senior representative of the Thai Forest Tradition of Theravada Buddhism in the West. The word "Ajahn" is not a proper name, but a title which means "Teacher" in Thai. He is also affectionately known among his students as "หลวงพ่อ" (Luang Por) which means "Venerable Father" in Thai. He has been an ordained bhikkhu for 40 years and a seminal figure in the transmission of the Buddha-Dhamma to the West. He is currently the abbot of Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in the United Kingdom.


  • The Suttas need to be studied, reflected on, and practiced in order to realize their true meaning. They are not meant to be ‘sacred scriptures’ which tell us what to believe. One should read them, listen to them, think about them, contemplate them, and investigate the present reality, the present experience with them. Then, and only then, can one insightfully know the Truth beyond words.
  • Yesterday is a memory. Tomorrow is the unknown. Now is the knowing.
  • Meditation is a skilful letting go: gently but with resolution.
  • The pain, the discomfort, the sickness are what they are. We can always cope with the way life moves and changes. The mind of an enlightened human being is flexible and adaptable. The mind of the ignorant person is conditioned and fixed.
  • Some people do not know the difference between "mindfulness" and "concentration." They concentrate on what they're doing, thinking that is being mindful. . . . We can concentrate on what we are doing, but if we are not mindful at the same time, with the ability to reflect on the moment, then if somebody interferes with our concentration, we may blow up, get carried away by anger at being frustrated. If we are mindful, we are aware of the tendency to first concentrate and then to feel anger when something interferes with that concentration. With mindfulness we can concentrate when it is appropriate to do so and not concentrate when it is appropriate not to do so.


  • Introduction to the Mauríce Walsh translation of Dígha Nikaya.