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Curtin University
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John Curtin Medallists

Ajahn Brahmavamso (2004)

Ajahn Brahmavamso - 2004 John Curtin Medal recipient Ajahn Brahmavamso - 2004 John Curtin Medal recipient

Ajahn Brahmavamso – known to all as Ajahn Brahm – has spent the past 30 years as a Buddhist monk, practising and sharing his deep knowledge of Buddhist teachings in Western Australia, Australia and internationally.

After graduating from Cambridge University with a degree in theoretical physics, Ajahn Brahm travelled to north-east Thailand, where he was ordained as a Buddhist monk in the Theravada Forest Tradition. He came to Western Australia in 1983 to establish a monastery at Serpentine.

Ajahn Brahm’s vision for a vibrant Western Australian Buddhist community has resulted in the establishment of three important spiritual centres: the Bodhinyana Monastery in Serpentine, the Dhammaloka Buddhist Centre in Nollamara and the new Dhammasara Nuns’ Monastery in Gidgegannup. Under Ajahn Brahm’s stewardship, the Buddhist Society of Western Australia has grown from a handful of individuals to become the largest multi-ethnic Buddhist society in Australia, promoting a strong dynamic of mutual support between the monastic and lay communities.

Nationally and internationally, Ajahn Brahm has become a key figure in Buddhism. In addition to being Abbot of what is now the single largest community of monks outside Asia, he is Spiritual Advisor to the Buddhist Societies of Victoria and South Australia. He has represented Australia at three Global Conferences on Buddhism, and is currently leading a team planning the Global Conference on Buddhism to be held at the Perth Convention Centre in 2006.

Ajahn Brahm’s leadership is driven by a deep love and understanding of Buddhist teachings that he selflessly shares to help individuals find inner peace and happiness. Fluent in Thai and Lao, Ajahn Brahm has prepared a comprehensive guide to the intricate Buddhist monastic code – or Viyana – working from the original Pali texts. Acknowledged by leading scholars as a major achievement in modern Buddhist studies, the guide has become the practical foundation for monastic discipline around the world.

While a scholar and practitioner of strict monastic codes, one of the most engaging attributes of Ajahn Brahm is his accessibility. Often using humour, he has a profound ability to make the philosophy of Buddhism meaningful to those facing the difficult realities of life. His daily counselling in prisons, hospitals and schools is a reminder that Buddhism can alleviate suffering by nurturing self-acceptance and human compassion. What others see as extensive community service is, for Ajahn Brahm, the practice of the fundamental Buddhist principle of generosity. Everything Ajahn Brahm does is voluntary. Nothing is remunerated. Despite his busy schedule, he gives fully to his many responsibilities and to those whom he counsels and with whom he works.

It is indeed an honour for Curtin to award Ajahn Brahm the John Curtin Medal.

For more information on the Buddhist Society in Western Australia please visit: