Born in Brooklyn in 1948, Paul Breiter traveled to Thailand in 1970, where he took ordination as a monk. He soon met Ajahn Chah and became his student. Paul learned Thai and the local Lao dialect (Isan) and served as Ajahn Chah’s translator for the many Westerners who came to study with him. He kept a journal of his translations of Ajahn Chah’s teachings, some of which he published with Jack Kornfield in A Still Forest Pool (Quest Books, 1985). He traveled with and translated for Ajahn Chah when he visited the United States in 1979. He later published an account of his time studying with Ajahn Chah, Venerable Father: A Life with Ajahn Chah, which has become an underground classic (Buddhadhamma Foundation, 1994; Cosimo Books, 2004). He also published two books of Ajahn Chah’s teachings through Shambhala Publications, Being Dharma (2001) and Everything Arises, Everything Falls Away (2005).
After disrobing in 1977, Paul returned to the United States and continued Buddhist study and practice with Roshi Kobun Chino Otogawa of the Soto Zen school, and then with Lama Gonpo Tsetan and other masters of the Nyingmapa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. He currently lives in Florida and tries to keep an open mind.