English-born Buddhist monk Ajahn Jayasaro becomes Thai

HRH the King may have bestowed Thai nationality upon famous farang Buddhist monk Ajahn Jayasaro back in 2020 but it took almost three years to get his Thai ID card.

On Sunday, Phra Ajahn Jayasaro took photos for his new Thai ID card in Nakhon Ratchasima province in northeast Thailand.

On March 9, 2020, King Vajiralongkorn of Thailand bestowed Thai nationality upon the monk under “special circumstances” by nature of his service to spreading the Dharma both in Thailand and internationally.

The 64 year old monk has held important roles, previously serving as the abbot of Wat Pah Nanachat (Bung Wai International Forest Monastery) in northeast Thailand from 1997-2002.

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Ajahn Jayasaro was born on the Isle of Wight in England in 1958 as Shaun Michael Chiverton. As a child, he suffered from asthma and often missed school because of it. Determined to learn, he would educate himself at home.

The philosophical questions interested Jayasaro the most, and he was particularly interested in what we can get from being a human.

He asked himself, what truth is universal to all human beings? Why do people want to live in harmony but can’t stop fighting and killing each other?

As a teenager, Jayasaro discovered Buddhism through reading and left for India at 16 years old. He spent a couple of years travelling and learning before hitchhiking all the way back to England.

Jayasaro heard about the Thai forest tradition and learned about it from Ajahn Sumetho at Hampstead Temple in England, realising that this was the path he was looking for.

In 1979, Jayasaro was ordained as a novice at Wat Nong Pa Phong in Ubon Ratchathani province before being ordained fully by pioneering forest monk Ajahn Chah in 1980, 43 years ago.

Now, he lives alone in a hermitage near Khao Yai National Park and gives Dharma talks and meditation classes at regular intervals at a nearby retreat centre for both lay Buddhist and monastics.

Ajahn Jayasaro has dedicated his life to studying and teaching others about Buddhism. After spending much of his life in Thailand, he speaks reads and writes the Thai language to an extremely advanced level.

In 2018, Ajahn Jayasaro authored a biography of Ajahn Chah called Stillness Flowing.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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