Ajahn Anan

V enerable Ajahn Anan Akiñcano was born in the provincial town of Saraburi, Central Thailand, on the 31st of March, 1954, with the name of Anan Chan-in. From an early age he regularly accompanied his parents to the local temple to chant and pay respects to the monks, and felt great faith at seeing monastery images of the Buddha. He excelled in studies and was hired soon after graduation as an accountant at the Siam Cement Company. Though a diligent employee, he found himself increasingly drawn to Buddhist practice and began living at a nearby monastery during his hours away from work.

For the next year, he worked as an accountant while strictly observing the eight precepts of a lay practitioner and increasing his efforts in practice. After offering food to the monks each morning, he traveled to work and then returned to the monastery in the evening to meditate.

The insight resulting from his practice eventually removed any remaining doubts about committing his life to the Buddha’s teachings, and he decided to enter the monastic order.

On July 3rd, 1975, the young Anan took full ordination under his preceptor and teacher, the Venerable Ajahn Chah and was given the Pali name Akiñcano, meaning “One Without Worries.” He spent the next four years practicing meditation at Ajahn Chah’s main monastery, Wat Nong Pah Pong, and associated branches in Northeast Thailand, developing a close relationship as Ajahn Chah’s personal attendant.

Ajahn Anan’s understanding of the practice developed quickly from spending so much time near his teacher, and he was soon encouraged by Ajahn Chah to search out more secluded places to further his efforts in meditation. Wandering the arid forests of Isaan and thick jungles of Central Thailand for the next five years, Ajahn Anan met with wild animals, five nearly-fatal bouts of malaria, and other difficulties of the untamed wilderness.

In 1984, Ajahn Anan ended his wandering to found a monastery on a newly-offered section of uninhabited land on the coast of Central Thailand.  Accompanied by two other monks and a novice, the group settled in the dense forest of Rayong province at what is now known as Wat Marp Jan, or “Monastery of the Moonlit Mountain”.

Over thirty years later, Ajahn Anan’s reputation as an accomplished meditation teacher has grown, along with the number of monks coming to live under him. While his teachings stress the fundamentals of day-to-day meditation and mindfulness practice, Ajahn Anan is also known for his ability to articulate the Buddhist path in terms that practitioners of varied backgrounds can understand.  His instruction has attracted a large following of foreigners, with monks from Australia, Brazil, and other Western countries residing at Wat Marp Jan and its branches. Today, Ajahn Anan attends to his duties as abbot and teacher, looking after a growing number of branch monasteries in Thailand and overseas, teaching visiting laity, and instructing the monks who practice under his guidance.