Biography: Born Robert Jackman, Seattle, Washington 1934. Studied Chinese and history at university. Spent 4 years as a navy medic during the Korean war. During this time contacted the Buddhist Society of Japan. After the war completed a BA in Far Eastern studies. Worked for a year as a red cross social worker. In 1963 completed a masters degree in South Asian studies. From 1964 to 1966 taught English in Sabali, Borneo for the Peace Corps. In June 1966 ordained as a samanera at Wat Sri Saket, Nong Khai province. Fully ordained May 1967. 1967-77 sought out and meditated under Ajahn Chah, the famous Thai meditation master at Wat Pa Pong. 1973 undertook a tudong pilgrimage to India. 1975 established the forest monastery Wat Pah Nanachat, the international forest monastery, in Ubon province, Thailand. 1977 visited England with Ajahn Chah. Seeing an interest in Buddhism there, Chah decided Sumedho should stay in England to set up an English order. The English Sangha Trust invited Ajahn Sumedho to run their Hampstead vihara. In 1979 the Trust sold the vihara and bought Chithurst House [now Wat Pa Cittaviveka] in West Sussex. Cittaviveka grew, especially after a sima [boundary] was established in 1981 and Ajahn Sumedho was given ordination authority. It now includes a nuns’ vihara. Since then, monasteries have opened in Northumberland, Devon, California, New Zealand, Switzerland and Italy. In August 1984 Amaravati Buddhist centre opened in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. Ajahn Sumedho now resides there as abbot.
Comment: Ajahn Sumedho is the senior Western disciple of Ajahn Chah, the revered Thai meditation master. A famous monk, he is known for the humour and accessibility of his teachings. He is a founding figure of the Thai Forest monastic order in Britain and other countries.