Ajahn Sujato

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Ajahn Sujato (Anthony Best) is an Australian BuddhistMonk, a popular Dhamma and Meditation teacher, founder and Abbot of Santi Forest monastery

Bhante Sujato was born in Perth and raised in a liberal Catholic family. After dropping out of University he played music, notably in the indie folk-pop band Martha’s Vineyard. In 1992 he travelled to Thailand, ostensibly as a tourist, but actually in search of a new direction. He entered an intensive vipassana retreat at Wat Ram Poeng in Chieng Mai, after which he knew that this would be his path.

A year later, he ended up at Wat Nanachat, where he took novice (samanera) ordination and, on 5/5/1994, full ordination as a bhikkhu. In Thailand, he stayed mainly at Poo Jorm Gorm, a remote hermitage attached to Wat Nanachat. From the little-known Thai monk Ajahn Maha Chatchai he learnt the practice of Metta or loving-kindness meditation, which still forms the backbone of his own meditation and teaching. In 1996 he returned to Perth, and sent three years at Bodhinyana Monastery practising under Ajahn Brahm, who he considers his primary teacher. He left Bodhinyana in 1999 and spent three years in isolated hermitages in Malaysia and Thailand.

In 2003, Bhante Sujato came to the Coalmines Road property, where he established Santi Forest Monastery and has overseen its development.

As well as being a meditator and teacher, Bhante Sujato is a scholar of early Buddhism, with several books and essays of original and often groundbreaking research. He contributes to Buddhism in Australia through a wide variety of forums and organizations, including the Australian Sangha Association, Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils, Australian Partnership of Religious Organizations, Australian Association of Buddhist Councillors and Psychotherapists, Australasian Association of Buddhist Studies, and Australian Religious Response to Climate Change.

In 1994 he left his music career to take higher ordination in Thailand in the forest lineage of Ajahn Chah. As well as living for several years in forest monasteries and remote hermitages in Thailand, he spent three years in Bodhinyana Monastery (Perth) as secretary of Ajahn Brahmavamso, and over a year in a cave in Malaysia.

He has combined his love of meditation with study of the Buddha's Teachings, and in 2001 published his first book, "A Swift Pair of Messengers", a compilation of Sutta passages on the theme of tranquillity and insight.