Ajahn Jamnian's Biography

Luang Por Jamnian Seelasettho[1] is one of the most highly revered meditation masters in the Theravada tradition. He is known throughout the world for his fierce wisdom and soothing love, infectious laughter and uncanny knack for conveying the Buddha’s teachings directly from the Pali Suttas.

His teaching style does not fix upon any one particular form of vipassana or insight meditation, and yet all of his teachings point back to seeing the changing, unsatisfactory, and impersonal nature of all that arises. He sees meditation “as a living practice in which the development of insight must pervade every aspect of life, not just during hours devoted to formal meditation.” He reminds us how, “Every situation that arises is an opportunity to practice insight so we can steer ourselves back to the Middle Path.”

Luang Por Jamnian intuitively senses what each person needs, and offers whatever that person is most capable of receiving — blessings, loving-kindness, protective amulets, personal advice, or Dhamma teaching. When disciples from all over the world telephone him twenty-four hours a day, Luang Por will often place his several mobile phones on his chest so callers are able to directly hear Dhamma talks, or chanting.

This Thai Forest master lives west of Bangkok, and has dedicated his life to sharing the Dhamma to all those who listen. He continues to teach throughout Thailand, the United States, Europe, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore, and India.

Early life

Luang Por Jamnian lives a life dedicated to help others. Luang Por Jamnian was born in 1936 in a rural village in Southern Thailand. At the age of five, he began practicing meditation under the guidance of his parents, both of whom were accomplished practitioners. His father, a local doctor, healer, and shaman trained his young son in herbal medicine, astrology, and shamanic practices. His mother and blind step-grandfather both taught him by example how to generate non-discriminating loving-kindness. All of these skills enabled Jamnian to spend his childhood serving and helping others. By the time he was eight, people of all ages and stature sought his help for physical and emotional healing, and for his wisdom on topics ranging from inter-personal and community relations to national politics.

Entering monastic life

At age twenty, Jamnian ordained as a Buddhist monk and continued practicing meditation with great dedication. One of his teachers, Ajahn Dhammadharo, instructed him in the Four Foundations of Mindfulness according to the Satipatthāna Sutta. Luang Por Jamnian’s single-minded dedication to these practices led to a breakthrough in understanding. Along with the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, the Noble Eightfold Path, and the Seven Factors of Enlightenment remain at the core of his Dhamma teachings.

A significant part of Luang Por Jamnian’s practice as a young monk was to pay respect to, and learn from, the great forest masters of his generation. He had a particularly strong connection to, and deep reverence for, Luang Por Chah and Luang Por Clai. Whenever the opportunity arose, he wandered as a mendicant through the remote regions of Thailand and the border areas of Cambodia, Burma, and Laos.

During the civil war

During the civil war in Thailand that began in the early 1960’s, Luang Por Jamnian moved to Surat Thani, the Southern province with the highest concentration of Communist rebels. His goal was to bring safety and peace to the region. With undiscriminating kindness, Luang Por Jamnian cultivated respect and trust by helping people on all sides of the conflict, including military personnel, local government officials, police forces, the Thai border patrol, local villagers, and communist insurgents. He facilitated many ceasefires between the officials and the Communists. Luang Por Jamnian negotiated political amnesty for the communist insurgents, who, with his help, renounced violence and surrendered to the government.

The establishment of Wat Thum Sua

At the end of the civil war, Luang Por Jamnian established Wat Thum Sua (Tiger’s Cave Monastery) located near Krabi, in Southern Thailand. He helped the local villagers, mostly Muslim, develop a strong municipal infrastructure by building roads and bringing electricity and water into the town. Krabi prospered, growing from a tiny town to one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.

Luang Por Jamnian currently teaches the Dhamma throughout Thailand, the United States, Europe, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore, and India. He moved from Wat Tham Sua to Wat Khaolao, Ratchaburi province, west of Bangkok in 2010. His life continues to be dedicated to helping others realize the truth of their own nature and to spreading the teachings of the Buddha with great compassion, wisdom, and a lighthearted smile.

[1]. Alternate spellings of Jamnian are Jamnean, Jumnien and Jumnian.  Luang Por or venerable father is used as a title for respected senior Buddhist monastics.

Translator’s profile

Dujruedee “Amdee” Vongthongsri has studied with Luang Por Jamnian since 2003 and has served as his primary English Dhamma translator since 2005. Over the last ten years she has helped bring Luang Por Jamnian’s Dhamma teachings to English speaking audiences throughout the world. She is native Thai living in the San Francisco Bay Area and has worked for international high-tech companies in the Silicon Valley including Apple and IBM.

Ajahn Jamnian's teaching

A collections of Luang Por Jamnian teaching can be found at the main website for his U.S. retreats.


More biography information

The following books contain additional biographical information about Ajahn Jamnian.

Son of the Buddha Book
Sons of the Buddha: The Early Lives of Three Extraordinary Thai Buddhist Masters by Kamala Tiyanvanich
Living Dharma Book
Living Dharma by Jack Kornfield