The Ajahn Pasanno Question and Story Archive

The Draft Biography of Ajahn Chah

At the request of the Wat Pah Pong Elders, Ajahn Jayasaro began writing the Thai biography of Ajahn Chah in 1987. It was published as Upalamani in January 1993 in time for Ajahn Chah's funeral. He began adapting this work into an English language biography a few years later. However, this took much longer to finish. In his own words:

This book has been a long time in the making. After a productive beginning in 1996, I put the manuscript aside for around ten years. At first, the responsibilities of leading a large monastic community gave me little time to devote to the project. Subsequently, a long period of retreat gave me time but took away the inclination. Over the following years, the manuscript became like a dear old friend. I would return to it every few months, enjoy having some quality time together, and then with a click, say goodbye. It was only as two important dates began to loom – the 25th anniversary of Luang Por Chah’s death in 2017, and the 100th anniversary of his birth in 2018 – that I was forced to accept that, at my present rate of progress, the book would never be completed. I adopted a regular writing schedule and, slowly, the book you hold in your hands at last took shape. – Preface to Stillness Flowing by Ajahn Jayasaro.

Stillness Flowing was finally published in early 2018. Thus during most of the time period covered by this Archive, by far the best English-language text1 for information and stories about Ajahn Chah's life was an evolving but unpublished manuscript. Concerned that the manuscript might contain errors or other flaws, Ajahn Jayasaro did not permit its distribution. However, he sent a series of drafts to Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Amaro at Abhayagiri Monastery, who in turn read from them at several recorded events beginning with the Ajahh Chah Conference in in 2001.

These readings usually form the backbone of the sessions in which they were read. Thus despite the presence of some errors which were corrected in the official biography, Ajahn Jayasaro has kindly allowed their inclusion in the Archive. Each reading from the draft biography is followed by a link to the corresponding pages in Stillness Flowing.

Please do not cite readings from the draft biography as a source of information without cross-referencing Stillness Flowing. We trust the listener will be able to distinguish between sections of the draft that were abridged to maintain Stillness Flowing at a reasonable length and factual errors that were later corrected.

  1. Ajahn Jayasaro released a video rendition of the biography on in 2008.