Ajahn Sumedho Retires

Ajahn Sumedho © AmaravatiAjahn Sumedho has retired from his abbotship and duties at Amaravati Buddhist Monastery. The Kathina ceremony on Sunday 14th November was an appropriate occasion which marked his official ‘goodbye’, and the temple was packed to overflowing. He will leave the country towards the end of this month (November) when, as was announced by the incoming Abbot (Ajahn Amaro) he will depart on a one-way ticket to Thailand.

Many of us were truly sad to be saying goodbye to him ― not only because of his powerful and engaging teachings which we have valued so very much over the past forty years — but also because he was a genuine friend in the dhamma, a genuine Buddhist friend. His commitment to living the Buddhist life which he has given himself to fully allows him ― even when his back is against the wall, as he would say, ― to ‘trust in awareness’ and let life unfold as it will.

Amaravati Buddhist Monastery. The Kathina ceremony 14th November 2010In his time in Britain, Ajahn Sumedho has taken on massive commitments and responsibilities in the organisation of monasteries and the setting up of the Bhikkhu-sangha and the Siladhara-sangha. It was a tremendous undertaking which he stuck to throughout, thick and thin.

Amaravati Buddhist Monastery. The Kathina ceremony 14th November 2010For many of us ― and there are many of us (perhaps more than he knows) ― his departure is an unexpected and sad, sad event, and our thoughts of goodwill and gratitude go with him on his continuing journey in life.

Diana St Ruth

Amaravati Buddhist Monastery. The Kathina ceremony 14th November 2010

Categories: Ajahn Sumedho, Diana St Ruth, Encyclopedia, Theravada

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18 replies

  1. I knew Luang-Por Sumedho for many years. He came to my house several times when I was running a Buddhist Group in Bedford, and I went to say goodbye to him at Amaravati a couple of days before he left England.
    I remember clearly taking him to a talk by the Dalai Lama in London. He described HH as a “very special being,” I was wearing white as I always do when on “Monastic Duty”… I was allowed to park anywhere as I was in Whites!

    He was always so down-to-earth and practical, the more esoteric aspects of the Dhamma didn’t seem at all difficult to understand. He had the knack of making deep theoretical matters seem accessible.

    I will always treasure his friendship… and will always miss him.

    I have known his anointed successor, Ajahn Amaro, for may years too, and wish him well. A lovely man!


  2. I just now learned of Ven Sumedho’s retirement. The heart ache and sorrow was intense and still lingering…the thought of never seeing him again. I kept taking for granted that he would always be there where I could just go and see him. I guess this would be an opportunity to practice non-attachment or something.

    I can only get solace by being intensely and immensely grateful for what he has given me and the rest of the world…

  3. Ajahn Sumedho is a great teacher, as are some of the other Ajahns in the Ajahn Chah tradition. He has had a big positive impact on my life even though I have never spoken with him or heard him give a talk live. I wish him well in Thailand.

  4. Ajahn Sumedho’s guidance in my own path is deep in my heart and I pray for another face to face learning with him. I pray that retiring as abbot does not become retiring from teaching.

  5. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. If I had not come across Ajahn Sumedho many years ago I would never have taken Buddhism seriously. He has had a massive impact on my life. I wish him a very long and even happier retirement.

  6. Hi friends,

    Does anyone know which part of Thailand/monastery Ajahn Sumedho is going to?

    He has been a life inspiration of mine for many years now, and I’m thinking of seeing him in person. I want to talk with him, before he retires from the world forever.

    Any help and directions would greatly be appreciated.


  7. Right now, it’s like this. His words have changed my life. What a great teacher…

  8. After listening to a cd talk by Ajahn Sumedho, I was so moved that i asked my friend if there was any way we could go together to listen to his wisdom at his next teaching seminars in England…TOO LATE…!! So sad, but so enriched by his books .His tape is always in my car…waiting to guide me into grounding Mindful Awareness. Always available in times of need, like a GOOD FRIEND. THANK YOU AJAHN SUMEDHO, for your heartwarming humour and enlightening wisdom. You gave so much for so long, it is now time for you to reap the sowing and enjoy a happy retirement in you favourite place in Thailand. Many blessings to you dear dear FRIEND .

  9. Ajahn Sumedho will be missed in England, but looks like he’s headed for Thailand where he will be welcomed. by the by, you can’t go to Thailand on a one way ticket.. Just thought I should throw that out there.. unless your a Thai citizen, you have to have a forward on ticket.

  10. Sad to see Ajahn Sumedho go,he will be sadly missed. Wishing him every happiness and peace in his retirement.

  11. Sad to see Ajahn Sumedho retire, but his teachings will always be accessible through his books. Thank you Ajahn for sharing your wisdom.

  12. Amaravati Buddhist Monastery. Photo © Buddhist PublishingAjahn Sumedho’s retirement from Amaravati reminds me of a cartoon I once saw in one of the national newspapers (can’t remember which) on the retirement of one of England’s greatest cricket bowlers: the legendary Fred Trueman. The cartoon was of a Lilliputian cricket pitch complete with players, pavillion, and scoreboard which displayed Fred Trueman’s impressive bowling figures. In the middle of the pitch were two giant legs in whites and great big cricket boots — a giant walking off the field ― that was it! The caption read: ‘Goodbye Fred!’ (It was a fond farewell.)

    I could say more, but I think I’ll leave it at that: ‘Goodbye Sumedho!’

    Richard St Ruth

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