me-black-cliff

…is an English Buddhist monk of the Theravadin Thai Forest Tradition living and practising at the Forest Hermitage in Warwickshire.


It all began on a fateful day in April, 1981. Life wasn’t too bad until I reached the age of about nine, when life began to lose its shine. Up until then I’d quite enjoyed playing tig in the playground and tennis with those squidgy yellow balls and chunky red rackets. But then, well, what can you say? Dukkha.

I think I was eighteen when I first practised meditation. I’m not exactly sure why but I went to my local library to see if they had a book on it. I found one called ‘How to Meditate’, went home, read the instructions – a paragraph on mindfulness  of breathing – and assumed that most traditional of postures: I lay on the couch. I then focused on the breath and my life was never the same again.

A month or so later my mother (of all people!) discovered an advert in a local newspaper: meditation at the Forest Hermitage. It was a moment that came back to haunt her. So, I went there and found myself returning at least once a week, all the while trying to meditate at home at least twice a day, as well as on the bus and during free moments at college.

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

A few months later I was in robes. It was one of the easiest decisions 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.

I’m often asked, especially at the schools, why I became a monk. For two reasons, I say:

1. Because I want to be FREE FROM SUFFERING; and

2. I want to KNOW.

And I realise my time in which to find them is passing quickly.

In June 2006 the retreats at Bhavana Dhamma started and since then they’ve become an important part of my life. For a start I enjoy teaching. But it’s the results that you see people experiencing that makes them so worthwhile.

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.

12 Responses to “Tahn Manapo”

  1. Tina Kyi said

    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. Mark Arthur said

    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
    Mark

  3. Dr. Amali Abeysekera said

    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
    Amali

  4. Kalyasiri said

    Good website. Well done. Thank U

    with metta,

    Kalyasiri

  5. Matthew said

    Dear Tahn Manapo,

    I hope you are well…

    Metta,

    Matthew

  6. Tahn Manapo said

    Thanks Matthew.

    I’m well enough to practise the Dhamma.

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

    Metta

    Tahn Manapo

  7. Sam said

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

  8. Paul said

    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

  9. Tahn Manapo said

    Thanks Paul.

  10. Mutta said

    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.

  11. Dharmananda said

    June 23,2009

    Dear Tahn Manapo

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

    Dharmananda

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