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July 23 Joint Birthday Celebration for Luang Por Sumedho and Luang Por Pasanno
June 21, 2017

We invite you to join us on Sunday, July 23 for a joint birthday celebration for Luang Por Sumedho and Luang Por Pasanno. This will be Luang Por Sumedho's 83rd year of life and his 51st rains retreat as a bhikkhu (fully ordained monk). The schedule of the day has yet to be determined, but we recommend that people arrive by 10:30 am, well before the 11 am meal offering.

Luang Por Sumedho plans to visit Abhayagiri from July 17 to July 24, but because of age and health concerns, the July 23 birthday celebration will be the only public event. Abhayagiri's guest accommodations are full during these dates.

A brief biography of Luang Por Sumedho, the most senior Western disciple of Ajahn Chah, is included below:

Luang Por Sumedho was born in Seattle, Washington in 1934. After serving four years in the US Navy as a medic, he completed a BA in Far Eastern Studies and a MA in South Asian Studies, and then served two years in the Peace Corps in Malaysia. In 1966, he went to Thailand to practice meditation at Wat Mahathat in Bangkok. Not long afterwards, he went forth as a novice monk in remote Nong Khai. A year of solitary practice followed. Although fruitful, it showed him the need for a teacher who could more actively guide him.

Luang Por Sumedho received full ordination in 1967.  A fortuitous encounter with a visiting monk led him to Ubon province to practice with Luang Por Chah. He took dependence from Luang Por Chah and remained under his close guidance for ten years.

In 1975, Luang Por Sumedho, established Wat Pah Nanachat, International Forest Monastery where Westerners could be trained in English. In 1977, he accompanied Luang Por Chah to England and took up residence at the Hampstead Vihara, with three other monks.

Luang Por Sumedho was made an Upajjhāya (ordination preceptor) in 1981. Since then he has given upasampada (Bhikkhu precepts) to more than a hundred aspirants of many nationalities. Luang Por Sumedho was integral in establishing the Forest Sangha tradition in the United Kingdom. He was central in establishing Amaravati Buddhist Monastery and Chithurst Buddhist Monastery. He remained as senior incumbent at Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in Hertfordshire until November 2010, at which time he handed over the duties of abbot to Ajahn Amaro. Luang Por Sumedho is now based in Thailand where his monastic life began in 1966.

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