On November 7, 2016, in the presence of the Abhayagiri community and Ajahn Tiradhammo, who was visiting the monastery at that time, three ordinations took place at Abhayagiri. The former Ven. Kyung Bon went forth as Sāmaṇera Sampanno, taking robes as a novice with Luang Por Pasanno as his preceptor. Going forth as a sāmaṇera is training for taking upasaṃpadā, full ordination as a bhikkhu. Also on November 7, 2016, Gary and Ryan went forth as Anagārikas, taking the Eight Precepts and committing themselves to practice and service to the Abhayagiri monastic community.
Sāmaṇera Sampanno was born in 1986 and raised in Michigan and Missouri. While attending Indiana University, he encountered the Buddha’s teachings and the practice of meditation and found a completely new direction. Continuing to practice during his college years, he realized that devoting himself to these pursuits would be the most beneficial and meaningful thing he could do with his life. After graduation, an affinity with the Mahayana and Zen Traditions led him to South Korea and ordination as a monk at Songgwang-sa Monastery. During his seven years of practice in Korea, as he became interested in studying the Pali Cannon and living a monastic life based on the Vinaya, he was fortunate enough to encounter the Ajahn Chah tradition. After being inspired during a short visit to Abhayagiri, he returned and changed monastic affiliations, ordaining as a Sāmaṇera at Abhayagiri in November of 2016.
Anagārika Gary was born in 1961 in New Jersey. He lived most of his adult life in Oregon. As a young man he was drawn to the samana life he read about, but at the time he was not able to follow that path. Many years later, after a life in the world, a timely reading of Bhikkhu Bodhi’s In the Buddha’s Words inspired him to once again explore monasticism. He found accord with the beloved and respected teacher Luang Por Pasanno, along with the Dhamma-rich Thai Forest Tradition community. Gary took anagarika precepts in November, 2016.
Straight out of high school, Ryan was first exposed to Buddhism in Thailand during his gap year in 2011. Over the next five years of graduated exposure, predisposition and curiosity would compel him to learn more about the Buddha’s teachings in order to live a more meaningful, beneficial, and harmless life; motivated by one of life’s most elusive question: what is happiness? After serving the 2016 winter retreat, Ryan returned to Abhayagiri, inspired by its community, and went forth as an Anagārika on November 7th later that year. Acknowledging the significance of this opportunity and its benefit, he would like to recognize and give thanks for the incredible love and support of his parents and family members, friends, and the many mentors along the way that have encouraged him over the years, leading him to where he finds himself today.