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The Role of Religion: Apolitical but not Apathetic
PROGRAM 2:30 p.m.

Buddhist monks, leaders, nuns should be examples of calm and tolerance and remind everybody that the things that unite us far, far exceed the things that divide us.
-Phra Ajahn Jayasaro

Ajahn Jayasaro (originally Sean Michael Chiverton) was born on the Isle of Wight, England in 1958. Twenty years later he moved to Thailand and became a disciple of Ajahn Chah, one of the most renowned Buddhist spiritual leaders of this past century. In 1980 Ajahn Jayasaro became a fully ordained monk in the Thai Forest Tradition of Buddhism. He was appointed by elders of the monastic order to write the official biography of Ajahn Chah, and served as the Abbot of the Wat Pa Nanachat Monestary.

Thai Forest Tradition is a branch of Theravada Buddhism, which is believed to have remained closest to the original teachings of Buddha. The Forest Tradition strongly emphasizes the importance of meditation and reaching enlightenment. At Thai Forest Monasteries, monks follow Buddha’s path to enlightenment, and embrace a life of discipline, renunciation of the physical world, and meditation.

Since 2003 Ajahn Jayasaro has lived in hermitage, but occasionally travels to teach and share his wisdom. Although the time he spends doing this is limited, he has emerged as a leader and advocate for incorporating many Therevada Buddhist principles into aspects of public life. In today’s exceptionally polarized political climate, Jayasaro’s message about the power of Buddhist teachings to harmonize conflicting groups in society is of great importance.

Ajahn Jayasaro comes to the Athenaeum as a guest of CMC alumna, Somruthai Prasarttongosoth, class of 1989.