(In Thailand with Luangpor Khemadhammo, my preceptor, and Chao Khun Dhammabhojo, my chanting ajahn.)

My life began in the village library. I was eighteen years old at the time, and I had just picked up an unassuming little white book called ‘How to Meditate’.  I had certainly never been religious (far from it: I couldn’t stand religion) but I had always had questions: What is this life? What’s the point? Why am I here? Was I anything before I was born? Who am I? I had also been all too aware of a pervasive discontentment within myself from very early on. This twin conundrum is what eventually led me to pick up that book. I didn’t know it at that moment, but I had found what I was looking for.

After quickly leaving the library, I sailed home on my skateboard, kicked off my shoes at the door, sat down, and then opened the book – skipping straight to the instructions on mindfulness of breathing. I then focused my mind and my life was never the same again.

A month or so later my mother was flicking through a local newspaper when she came across an advert: ‘Meditation at The Forest Hermitage’. “Why don’t you give them a call?” she said, having seen a dramatic change come over her once troubled son. So, I went along and was soon attending almost every Monday and Friday open evening. I also tried to meditate at least twice a day at home as well as on the bus, in the library at college, and at every other available opportunity. I was excited. I was onto something

Then, one evening at the Hermitage, several months later, during the tea after the meditation session, Luangpor asked a young man who had been intending to become a novice when he was going to take the plunge. Hardly had that young chap answered when my mouth burst open: “How do you become a novice?”

Once everyone had left I stayed behind to ask Luangpor if I could become one. A few months later I was in robes. It was the easiest decision I’ve ever made! In May 2001 I received full ordination as a bhikkhu under Luangpor Khemadhammo and I’ve been training at the Forest Hermitage ever since, with a spell of sixteen months spent in Thailand from the end of 2011.

I’m often asked, especially at the schools, why I became a monk. For two reasons, I say: because I want to be free from suffering, and I want to know.

And I realise I don’t have much time.

I know my life would be very different if it wasn’t for Buddhism. And I realize that having access to Ajahn Chah’s teachings is a great privilege. When reading his words I feel like a weary man who has been stumbling through the desert and finds an oasis: he drinks and is refreshed; every sip is precious.

I’m deeply indebted to Luangpor at the Hermitage as well. He is a tremendous role model in many ways: his determination, sincerity, integrity, and strength of mind are second to none. I bow to the Buddha, Ajahn Chah and Luangpor.

18 Replies to “Bio”

  1. Dear Tahn Manapo,

    You must be a parami millionnaire! For most of us, renouncing the worldly life is one of the hardest decisions to make.

    Your spiritual journey inspires me. Your good kamma, both past and present, has led you to meet great and wise teachers like Ajahn Chah and Luangpor.

    Thank you so much for your wonderful teachings. May you be free from suffering.

  2. Dear Tahn Manapo
    What a generous gift this site is! Thank you so much for your determination, sincerity, integrity and strength of mind. I am so grateful for your support and inspiration. Your presence is very much appreciated…
    with mudita

  3. Dear Tahn Manapo,
    This site is actually a gift! I am a senior lecturer in a Medical School in Sri Lanka. I am on leave and working and training in the UK. I used to read a lot of Dhamma books back in Sri Lanka. I am very happy that I got the opportunity of associating with the hermitage. I’ve been to it twice and am very impressed with the environment. It is one hour’s drive from where we live. We will try our best to visit more frequently. Thank you for the books that you sent me. My husband reads them too. So does my elder daughter, even though she understands only a little, still. She is 12 years and interested in meditation.
    With metta

  4. Thanks Matthew.

    I’m well enough to practise the Dhamma.

    I hope you are well and have developed a good Scottish accent.


    Tahn Manapo

  5. Great to meet you in the Thai house in Sheffield, Tahn Manapo. Thanks for inspiring me to persevere in my meditation practise. Sam.

  6. Thanks for your introduction to Buddhism at the Quaker Meeting Hall, Warwick. I look forward to continuing my practice further, and stilling my mind for at least 20 minutes.

    Happy birthday, and may your practice deepen in the coming year.

    Metta to you and your brother monks

    Paul D

  7. Thank you for transferring your meditation and talks from Warwick to The Hermitage. A far more conducive atmosphere. I think the ‘question and answer’ session is much better than writing down questions. All in all, a good move.

  8. June 23,2009

    Dear Tahn Manapo

    Thank you very much for your wonderful, meaningful website. It is truly a blessing.


  9. Namaste Tahn Manapo,

    I’m so lucky I found this website.
    There’s very rare Buddhists that have a chance to learn a core of Buddhism from a great teacher like Ajarn Cha. I’m glad that we have a monk like you that learned a real Buddhism and practice, and last but not least, you volunteer doing this website, which will be a good way to extend the core of Buddhism to the rest of the world, to get to know “Way of being free from Suffering”


  10. Thanks for the comment, Kanoknapat. We are truly fortunate to have the teachings of Ven. Ajahn Chah. He was one in a billion.

    I am planning to start writing new posts soon so stay tuned.

    Tahn Manapo

  11. Dear Tahn Manapo,

    Thank you for coming to Gilwell park with Luangpor to belss the Buddha Sala.
    It was last blessed in 1966, so it was long overdue 🙂
    Most of the people who were present had never witnessed anything like that before and many people have contacted me to say that being present was a privelige



  12. Dear venerable sir,
    I’m buddhist and want to become a monk like you.
    Pls help
    Meth Sithin

  13. Greetings Ajahn Manapo.
    May I introduce myself as a former member of the Forest Hermitage, I mainly attended the meditation meetings from the early until the late 90s.
    The hermitage gifted me many happy memories, and I will always be indebted to the insightful teachings of Ajah Khemadamo who I also knew as Bhantie.
    Although I am not as close to Buddhism as I was all those years ago, I do occasionally read Buddhist literature.
    Perhaps one day I may suddenly have the urge to visit a Buddhist temple again.
    May I wish you and all the followers at the Forest Hermitage to be well and happy.
    Best wishes,

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