International Elders Meeting at Wat Pah Nanachat, January 12-15th

Posted on Mon, 30 Jan 2012

To coincide with the commemoration of the twentieth-anniversary of Ven. Ajahn Chah’s passing away, there was a gathering of senior Western monks and nuns at Wat Pah Nanachat, the ‘International Forest Monastery’ in Ubon, NE Thailand. Luangpors Liem and Sumedho opened the gathering by offering encouraging addresses and Luang Por Khemadhammo presided over the meetings. More than forty monks and nuns, hailing from monasteries in Canada, USA, Europe, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand, then met for four days of discussions. The gathering was consciously aimed at discussion rather than decision-making, an overriding intention being to strengthen the sense of fellowship rather than to create a governing body. Topics ranged from the standards established by Ajahn Chah, the role of abbots, support for women’s training, usage of internet and effective communications. As could be expected, opinions throughout the group differed on many topics, but the overall effect was one of enriching the quality of the dialogue rather than creating conflict.

The meetings concluded with a group intention to meet again, probably in May at Amaravati in 2014.

On January 16th the participants joined the wider community of Thai disciples in the commemorations at nearby Wat Pah Pong. It is a tradition on this occasion to invite senior Sangha members to give Dhamma talks during the day and throughout the entire night. This year Luang Por Liem took the opportunity to invite a total of 9 of the Western Ajahns to offer teachings to the large assembly.