Ajahn Jamnian Seelasettho (also spelled as Ajahn Jumnien, Ajahn Jumnian, Ajahn Jamnean, or Ajahn Jumnean) is a remarkable Buddhist monk in the Theravada tradition and is highly revered throughout Thailand for his Vipassana (Insight Meditation Practice) teachings and his metta (radiant loving kindness).
Ajahn Jumnien’s Early Life
Ajahn Jamnian (Ajahn Jumnien) lives a life dedicated to help others. He was born on Friday May 1, 1936, in a rural village in Southern Thailand. At the age of five, he began practicing meditation under the guidance of his parents, who were accomplished meditators themselves. His father, a local doctor, healer and shaman, trained his young son with his extensive knowledge of herbal medicine, astrology and shamanic practices. As a child, Ajahn Jumnien was also taught the practice of generating non-discriminating loving-kindness (metta) by his blind step-grandfather. With such influences, Ajahn Jumnien has lived his life of service, and helping others from a very early age. Even as young as eight, adults from local and distance communities, came to him for help in physical and mental healings, advice about personal relationships and the future, as well as counsel about community political matters. His vast compassion, his skills, his unusual maturity as well as his sweet personality earned him widespread repute, and the heart-felt love and respect of the community.
Strongly inclined toward the spiritual life, Ajahn Jumnien independently studied the Tipitaka (the Pali Canon, Theravadan Buddhist scriptures) from the time he was eight until he was twenty, when he ordained as a monk. His early monastic life was spent practicing meditation with great ardor. He enjoyed traveling as a wandering mendicant through remote areas and jungles of Thailand, Laos, Burma (currently Myanmar) and Cambodia in the effort to meet and learn Dhamma from many great monks who wandered and lived remotely in the jungles.
Interested in investigating and attaining proficiency in various meditation techniques, Ajahn Jumnien sought out and studied under many well-known Thai Buddhist masters. One of his teachers was Ajahn Dhammadharo (Pan) who instructed him in the Four Foundations of Mindfulness according to the Satipatthana Sutta. With single mindedness, he mastered the practice. He then began to teach this Vipassana practice.
Ajahn Jumnien’s Life During the Thai Civil War and Establishment of a Monastery
During the period of civil war in Thailand that began in the early sixties, Ajahn Jumnien moved to Surat Thani, the province with the highest concentration of Communist rebels in the South, and began working to bring safety and peace back to the region. He facilitated ceasefires, and helped the communist insurgency renounce their violence and surrender to the government to receive political amnesty.
Following the end of the civil war, Ajahn Jumnien established a monastery, Wat Thum Sua (Tiger’s Cave Monastery), outside the small town of Krabi. As the years passed, his growing reputation brought many visitors to his thriving temple. When he became sixty, he gave up his position as abbot to devote his remaining years solely to teaching the Dhamma throughout Thailand and abroad including US, Malaysia, Singapore, and several countries in Europe.
Ajahn Jumnien’s Character and Teaching Style
Ajahn Jumnien is a charismatic monk; happy, wise, and playful. He teaches with limitless energy and boundless love and compassion. He teaches many different insight meditation methods (Vipassana), all of which directs the person back to seeing and understanding the impersonal process of mind and the body, which are in flux with changing, unsatisfactory, and empty of self. He encourages us to continuously explore the presence of desire and aversion in the mind. He tells us every situation is an opportunity to practice “steering ourselves back to the Middle Path”. A living meditation practice, in which the development of insight pervades every aspect of our life and not just the hours devoted to meditation, is a “life long process of constant observation and continuous investigation.”
More Biographical Information
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