Respected as one of the most accomplished spiritual masters of his age, Ajahn Chah has inspired and guided innumerable people in the arts of Buddhist meditation and skillful living. He committed himself to a life of simplicity and renunciation, conveying the Buddha’s teachings through wisdom, humor, and a great sense of compassion. Ajahn Chah’s influence and teachings were of seminal importance to many prominent Western Buddhists.
Born into a family of subsistence farmers in northeast Thailand in 1918, Ajahn Chah chose to enter the monastic life at the age of nine; at twenty he took higher ordination. Some years later, spurred on by the death of his father, he left the security of his local monastery and undertook the life of a wandering, ascetic monk devoted to meditation. Staying in forests, caves, and cremation grounds Ajahn Chah trained under several of the local meditation monks of the Forest Tradition, including Ajahn Mun, one of the most famous and respected Thai meditation masters of the last century.
Ajahn Chah’s simple yet profound style of teaching had a special appeal to Westerners, and many came to study and practice with him. In 1975 Ajahn Chah established a special training monastery for the growing numbers of Westerners interested in undertaking monastic training. Since then Ajahn Chah’s large following has continued the work of spreading the Buddha’s teachings around the world. Ajahn Chah passed away in 1992, but his students continue to teach in over two hundred monasteries on four continents.
Read Ajahn Chah's classic book Food for the Heart (Wisdom Publications).