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Ajahn Jayasaro to Attend Abhayagiri Kathina

We are pleased to announce that Ajahn Jayasaro will attend the Kathina Cermony on Sunday, October 20th. Since the time of the Buddha, this annual ceremony has taken place during the month after the Vassa Retreat, which is the three-month rains retreat season (the monsoon season in Southeast Asia) for the monastic order. It is the time of the year when new robes and other requisites may be offered by the laity to the monks.

Ajahn Jayasaro will give the Saturday night talk in English on October 19. On October 20, Kathina will commence with the meal offering promptly at 11:00 am. After the meal, the robe-offering ceremony will take place, commencing at 1:00 pm, followed by Dhamma talks by Ajahn Jayasaro in Thai and Ajahn Pasanno in English. Please feel free to join us for this special day. Please contact us if you wish to help with any of the practical aspects of the day, such as preparing the monastery for the event.

If you are interested in viewing a list of the material needs of the monastery, please see the Kathina Dana List.

Kathina announcement

What Is the Kathina Ceremony? And How Can You Get Involved?
by Jeannie Bendik

Since the earliest days of Buddhist monastic life a three-month Rains Retreat has been observed. During this time that begins with the full moon of July, the renunciants would commit to staying in one place to live and practice together. As the name suggests, the rainy season was a logical time to stop the wandering aspect of the homeless life since travel during this time was so difficult. When this practice period (also called the vassa or pansa) was over, the lay community supporting the monastery gathered to celebrate the completion of the retreat with a festival called the Kathina.

Though the monsoon season affects life less in modern times, the tradition of the Rains Retreat continues. And while summer and early autumn are the driest times in California’s Mediterranean climate, the Kathina celebration at Abhayagiri also marks the end of the Rains Retreat. The Kathina day begins with a traditional meal offering and is followed by chanting and taking the precepts. A Dhamma talk is offered and the celebration includes gifts of supplies that are needed by the community for the coming year. A central gift is the offering of cloth for monastic robes. Traditionally the monastic robes were sewn together from bits of cloth collected from charnel grounds. At some point, a generous supporter decided to offer fresh, clean cloth for a robe, and that continues in the formal part of the Kathina ceremony. Even today, an individual (or sometimes a group) will ask to offer the Kathina cloth. Some years at Abhayagiri the cloth has been offered by the Ft. Bragg lay Sangha, in other years by long-distance supporters from Thailand, and once by the Sanghapala Board of Directors.

If you haven’t attended a Kathina celebration before, you’re in for a treat. I’ve come to think of it as the equivalent of all our lay holidays rolled into one. There is the abundance of Thanksgiving with gratitude for the completion of a long retreat and for having monastics in this country. The chance to gather together with gifts resembles the winter holidays of Hanukkah and Christmas, combined with a kind of birthday anniversary marking another year of monastic life. It’s a particularly joyous time to show appreciation for those who have gone forth into the homeless life and who provide support and inspiration to lay practitioners. It’s especially timely as fall and winter draw nearer, when visitors become less frequent and a full storeroom of supplies is so valuable.

If you are new to the Kathina celebration, you might be wondering how to join in. There are many ways to take part and greatly varying degrees of offering support. For those living near enough to attend in person, there are many tasks to be done ahead of time. The day before, you might find yourself making signs, helping put up awnings, arranging flowers or hanging prayer flags. On the day of the Kathina there are even more ways to pitch in, from directing cars for parking to receiving food, tidying bathrooms to the inevitable clean up. It’s a joy to work together with both lay and monastic community members.

If you can’t attend because of distance or calendar conflicts, you can still take part in the Kathina offering. If you enjoy shopping for a specific item that you know is needed, a Kathina “wish list” is available. Many small and medium-sized gifts can be sent by mail. You can notify a contact person when you’ve chosen what you’d like to give, and they will update the list accordingly, which helps eliminate duplication. Financial offerings are also gratefully received. Abhayagiri has many ongoing expenses. You can designate your gift for general operating costs such as medical insurance or utility bills or earmark your contribution for building projects or publications. Gifts of all sizes and kinds provide needed support and bring much happiness to both givers and recipients.

Whether you are able to come and enjoy the actual day of Kathina or can only participate in spirit, it is a rich experience to lend a hand, in whatever way, to the support of Abhayagiri. The monastic Sangha, as alms mendicants, exists completely through the generosity of lay supporters. In turn, the teachings offered by monastics (both by formal talks and by living example) are given freely. Their generous example helps our dana (generosity) flow out in response. It’s such a lovely circle of giving and receiving between the lay and monastic communities.

I recall a story of several medieval craftsmen working on an enormous church. When asked what each was doing, the first answered that he was building a wall in the nave. Another replied that he was carving a panel for a side door. The wisest worker responded, “I am building a cathedral.” No matter how we give or whether it’s in person or from a distance, we too are “building a monastery.” Please join us in whatever way you can as we celebrate the end of the Rains Retreat, this year on October 20th, 2013.

Practicing in Tandem: Abhayagiri and the Buddhist Bicycle Pilgrimage

Sometime during the afternoon of the last Sunday of September, a rolling community of bicyclists and supporting volunteers will stream up Tomki Road and arrive at Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery. For at least a week before these dusty, lycra-clad pilgrims dismount from their bicycles, the monastic community will have been preparing for their arrival—discussing logistics, setting up canopies, and finding a role for each community member to support the effort.

The day itself when the bicycle pilgrims arrive will be busy. Word will have gone out amongst the monks that this is not a time for solitude and retreat but rather for active engagement with the visitors. If the afternoon is hot, junior monastics may greet the riders with a fine mist of cooling water from hoses. Then the pilgrims will freshen up and gather for the weekend’s closing ceremony and the final Dhamma talk of their spiritual journey before returning to their homes in the Bay Area.

So will end the 12th annual Buddhist Bicycle Pilgrimage (BBP). The pilgrimage is a two-day, 135-mile journey by bicycle from the Bay Area. It begins early Saturday morning at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in West Marin with opening ceremonies; travels on to Sae Taw Win II Dharma Center for lunch and teachings; and pauses for the evening at the KOA campground near Cloverdale, with dinner, meditation, and a Dhamma talk before the night’s rest. The following morning the pilgrims ride north into Mendocino County en route to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas for lunch and a tour, and then continue on to Redwood Valley and their final destination, Abhayagiri.

At each of these stops, the pilgrims meditate and hear Buddhist teachings related to the annual spiritual theme of the pilgrimage (the 2013 theme being “generosity” or dana). In between, the volunteers, many of whom have also ridden their bikes in previous pilgrimages, provision rest stops and offer the cyclists physical and psychic nourishment as well as technical assistance. Over the years, Abhayagiri monastics have also accompanied the riders in the monastery minivan, stopping at each rest stop to offer encouragement and good cheer and later leading the Saturday evening and Sunday morning meditations at the campground.

“Just seeing so many people come together to create this event has been a wonderful experience,” says Ajahn Jotipalo, who has been part of each of the first 11 bicycle pilgrimages. “To see all this happen with almost complete harmony and good will is amazing.”

Renee Rivera rode the pilgrimage in its second and third years and plans to ride again in 2013. She says, “I’m part of a community of people who both bike and practice Buddhism, so there seems to be a connection.” Renee, who spent part of her girlhood in Redwood Valley and now heads the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, has been practicing and learning about Buddhism for more than a decade. She first heard about the bike pilgrimage at Abhayagiri’s “First Tuesday” meditation group in Berkeley. “Biking to get around always brings me into the moment. I’m out in the world, I notice things, I feel connected to the landscape that’s underneath the urban landscape. Those things feel connected to my meditation practice. In a way, bicycling is a kind of rolling meditation.”

How It All Began

Since the pilgrimage’s inception in 2002, Abhayagiri has been the goal and end point for the ride. In a sense it was also the ride’s starting point.

The ride began as the brainchild of upāsakā Dennis Crean, who traveled frequently between Berkeley and the monastery before he moved permanently to Redwood Valley in 2002. Dennis first thought he would map out a weekend ride from the Bay Area to Abhayagiri for himself and a friend. Somehow the idea mushroomed to include dozens of new friends. Over the course of a year, while he was also rehabbing his new home, Dennis drove, then cycled, every section of his proposed ride, negotiated with rest stop hosts, connected with Buddhist monasteries and centers along his proposed route, and worked through all the complex logistics of a multi-day ride. His efforts resulted in the template for the bike pilgrimage that, with slight annual adjustments, is used to this day. Dennis now serves as the “spiritual coordinator” of the ride, the person who suggests the meditation theme for each year’s pilgrimage.

“For people who are mostly there as cyclists,” Dennis observes, “this ride may give them a different perspective on a cycling community, like riding at a slower pace or with a different intention, being in the present moment and looking out for each other. In a longer-term sense, for people who are newly curious about meditation or Buddhism, it’s often their first time to visit the spiritual centers on our route, so they learn more about who and what is out there.”

Carrying on the Tradition of Dana

During his initial planning for the ride, Dennis relied heavily on the monastery for guidance and material and moral support. Abhayagiri was the fiscal sponsor for the ride in its first year, before passing on that responsibility the next year to the newly formed nonprofit Dharma Wheels Foundation, which now organizes logistics and coordinates the ride.

More importantly, Abhayagiri profoundly shaped the ethos of the ride. Having ridden and been inspired by a large AIDS fundraising ride, Dennis first thought the BBP ride might also function as a formal fundraiser for Abhayagiri, with riders gathering pledges of support from family and friends. But after some deliberation, the monastery decided that that was not their way. As a result, since its inception, the BBP has followed the tradition of dana. There are no fees or minimum donations required of riders. Instead, the costs of the event are covered by voluntary donations from riders and volunteers alike. And at the end of the weekend, leftover food and all remaining funds are offered to the four centers that have provided spiritual guidance for the ride.

“In our tradition, we undertake something called tudong,” explains Ajahn Jotipalo. “We walk on faith, without carrying any money or food, and pay respects at holy spots or seek out teachers. This pilgrimage has that element as well. The bicycle pilgrims are setting out on faith, and the organizers rely on donated food for the rest stops and don’t charge the riders. The riders have to make the effort to do the journey, and it is unknown what will happen. Something that’s neat about tudong are the strong bonds we make with the people we’re walking with or whom we meet on the road. This pilgrimage gives a taste of that as well.”

Connecting with Abhayagiri

Both Dennis and Ajahn Jotipalo see the BBP as offering a kind of invitation for pilgrims to become more connected with Abhayagiri and the other spiritual centers they visit.

In 2007, while still a layman, Venerable Kovilo saw the ride as exactly that kind of invitation and jumped on it. “When I heard about the bicycle pilgrimage, I already had a strong inclination to ordain and had heard good things about Abhayagiri. But I had never even visited the place before and didn’t own a car to get there. So I thought I would just show up at Spirit Rock the morning of the ride with my regular street bike and do the 140-mile trek to Abhayagiri, no problem. A week or so before the event, I realized I wasn’t really in any kind of shape to ride that far, so I decided instead to help drive a support vehicle and do odds and ends helping out however I could along the way. Once I’d arrive at Abhayagiri, I figured that, whatever the conditions were, I would just be with it and hopefully they would let me ordain.”

Not every pilgrim has leapt toward life as a monk at Abhayagiri, but as Ajahn Jotipalo says, “Just having this little bit of invitation means somebody might come to the monastery who otherwise would never visit here. And once they’ve seen ‘Oh, those monks are really quite normal,’ they might have a stronger impulse to come back again in the future.”

For more information about the 12th annual Buddhist Bicycle Pilgrimage (or to join as a cyclist or volunteer), visit www.dharmawheels.org.

Alden Mudge lives in Berkeley and first rode in the BBP back in 2002.

Ajahn Viradhammo Visits Abhayagiri

Ajahn Viradhammo, abbot of the Tisarana Monastery in Ontario, Canada is expected to visit Abhayagiri from 05 Sep evening through 11 Sep.

A Birthday Gift for Abhayagiri

On June 16, 2013, a large assembly gathered high up on the Abhayagiri mountainside for a ceremony that happens about once a year at the monastery – the addition of one more fully ordained monk into the monastic Sangha. However, this year the ordination area was noticeably improved. As the laity watched Samanera Sudhīro become Sudhīro Bhikkhu, they sat comfortably on a newly leveled area recently covered with 20 cubic yards of Mendocino Arbor Mulch. Furthermore, the monks seated on the platform were protected from the fierce Mendocino sun by four new cantilever umbrellas, each 11 feet in diameter. Other noticeable improvements included rebuilt landings around the wooden deck as well as a smooth circumambulation path replete with lighting.

Where did all these improvements come from? The answer involves birthdays, Buddhist traditions, and a group of laypeople organized by local supporter Dennis Crean. With his 50th birthday approaching, Dennis considered how he might include the monastery in commemorating the big 5-0. Dennis had been drawing closer to the Ajahn Chah lineage ever since attending his first monastic retreat at the Insight Meditation Society in 1995 and then the 1996 Thanksgiving Retreat with Ajahn Amaro. He began visiting the newly opened Abhayagiri Monastery soon thereafter, and by 2002 he had moved into a house within walking distance of the monastery in order to participate more fully in the life of the monastery.

Over those years, Dennis has seen various Thai people come to the monastery to make offerings as a way to celebrate their birthdays. Inspired by this tradition, he felt drawn to make a special offering for his own big birthday this year. Being a publishing professional, he first thought he’d like to edit and print a Dhamma book. Thanks to his wife Heidi’s advice, he came to his senses after realizing how much work that would be. Instead, the two of them – this year being Heidi’s big 4-0 – decided to sponsor some sort of a building project at the monastery. After consulting with abbot of Abhayagiri, Luang Por Pasanno, Dennis opted to provide the supervision and financial support for improvements to the ordination platform area.

His mind always busy concocting plans, Dennis decided to invite everyone with a big birthday this year to join the effort, and the “Born on a 3” (i.e., 1963, 1973, 1983, etc.) project was born. At the suggestion of Abhayagiri’s abbot, Luang Por Pasanno, Dennis proposed to the group that they provide the supervision and financial support for improvements to the ordination platform area. The project picked up steam as more and more people decided to celebrate their birthdays as part of the group. Eventually, nearly 20 people raised over $8,000.00 to cover all the costs of the improvements to the ordination platform area. In addition to chipping in funds, a handful of group members and others pitched in with their own labor to spread out the mulch and do the final cleanup in anticipation of the upcoming ordination ceremony.

“Born on a 3” participants’ birth years span 90 years – from 1923 to 2013 and nearly every decade in between, the youngest being the newborn Leo Ananda Bernstein. Contributors to the project include an interesting cross-section of the greater Abhayagiri community. For instance, the Thai-born Janejira Sutanonpaiboon (1973) and Nook Fitzpatrick (1983) were already familiar with this Buddhist birthday tradition, while others born and raised in the U.S. joined as enthusiastic newcomers. However, no matter their age or country of origin, a common thread for all involved has been the wish to celebrate their birthdays by giving back to the monastery. As Casey Kho (1973) notes, “Instead of thinking too much about whether to get involved, I followed my heart. I felt like a kid again. I can’t recall the last time I got so excited about having my own birthday party!”

As a grand finale, the group will gather at the monastery on August 31 to celebrate their birthdays together and to formally offer the meal and their gift to Abhayagiri. All are welcome to attend; festivities begin with the 11 a.m. meal offering, followed by a dedication ceremony afterwards. As the project winds down, Dennis hopes that it might inspire others to come up with their own ideas (maybe a “Born on a 4” group in 2014?) for ways to support to the Abhayagiri community.

(Author Thitapañño Bhikkhu was born in 1983 and recently celebrated his big 3-0.)

Tudong Progress (June 28)

Our two monks on tudong (‘wandering’) are making their way North up the coast towards the Pacific Hermitage. Here are their latest messages:

(June 16) “We followed the Coast Trail (CT) from Klamath to Enders Beach and camped. Walked 3 miles on beach into Crescent City. The CT is an excellent alternative to 101, goes all the way up Oregon Coast.”

(June 17) “We are currently staying on Reservation land, South bank of the Smith River. The Native Americans here are impressed with our life and what we are doing, and are keen to look after us.”

(June 18) “We walked a gruelling 14 miles from Smith River to Brookings, OR. Got to Brookings just before midday and attempted to stand for almsfood at a gas station… the manager came out and asked us to leave. It was starting to rain. We gave up hope of getting food, then Tonya, who has a connection with Shasta Abbey, spotted us on the road, took us to a restaurant and quickly got us a meal.

She then introduced us to her friends at a local Reiki / Taroh reading shop, and they put us up for the night in a large apartment above the shop. Out of the rain.

Tudong is amazing, and absolutely everything is uncertain.”

(June 21) “Yesterday we walked north from Gold Beach, OR. We parted ways with Kidd and Amy, some of our newest friends, then it was long walk and we only stopped to camp after 9pm, just off the side of 101. This morning we got up and walked again, knowing we probably would not get to Port Orford in time for almsround. We were hoping someone would stop and give us a ride, but no one did, so day 21 of the walk has the distinction of being the first day we have gone without food.

After a midday sit down at Humbug Mountain campground, we trudged on. About 3 miles before Port Orford a man stopped and gave us a ride to a small forest resort in Port Orford. Now, once again, we are extremely well looked after.”

(June 24) “By way of some uncanny timing and circumstaces, Tan Thitabho and I are staying at my uncle’s house in Langlois, OR, out of the rain. It has been great to reconnect with my dad’s brother and his wife, and also to have a full day of much needed rest and recovery.”

(June 28) “We walked from Coos Bay towards a small town called Lakeside. Got picked up by two very kind locals, Carl and River, who took us to a nearby campground and paid for the campsite.

The ranger lady at the campground offered us firewood in the evening, then breakfast the next morning. We continued walking to Winchester Bay, where a local bought some sandwiches and fruit for us. Met and talked to more good people. Then we walked past Reedsport and got spotted by Tan Saddhammo and his parents, driving north on 101… How unexpected! They took us to Florence and got us a room at the Best Western there.”

Upāsika Day and Ordination

Upcoming Events at Abhayagiri:

Saturday, June 15 - Upāsika Day: “Devotion and Ritual: A Monastic’s Life.”

An exploration of various ceremonies and activities specific to the monastics’ way of life and how they apply in lay life.

The day will include topics such as a monk’s confession of offenses and the Patimokkha (the fortnightly recitation of the monks’ 227 precepts) and how it informs the monks’ daily life; and “Korwat”: various duties and protocols of the monastery that inform our practices of mindfulness, service, hospitality, and generosity.

The ceremony of Asking for Forgiveness will be discussed in relation to the teachings on Forgiveness and Reconciliation.

There will be audio-visual aids and demonstration of some of the ways monastics care for their requisites.

Schedule:

10:30 am Precepts,

11:00 am Meal offering,

1:00 - 4:30 pm Teachings and Discussion

4:30 pm Informal Tea

All are welcome.

Sunday, June 16 - Ordination Ceremony of Samanera Sudhīro.

All are welcome to attend the formal ceremony in which the novice Sudhīro will enter the monastic Sangha. The ceremony will take place at the recently improved ordination platform area. The ceremony will begin at 4:00 pm at the platform. Please arrive early as vehicles will begin taking people up the hill at 3:30 pm.

Tudong Monks Spotted in northern California

At mid-day on June 1, 2013 , Ajahn Ñāniko and Tan Thitābho set off on foot from Abhayagiri to walk north to the Pacific Hermitage in White Salmon, Washington. They are engaged in a traditional walking pilgrimage, commonly known as a tudong. On Sat., June 8, Doug Sherman caught up with them in Eureka, CA and provided a few photos of them as the go along in their journey. The photos are available in the photo gallery below.

Four days later the monastery received a brief message from Ajahn Ñāniko along with two more photos. Ajahn Ñāniko said, “We continue to have one amazing experience after another. At this point we are humbled by the support and generosity we have received from others.” As of the afternoon of June 12, the two travelers were in Trinidad, CA. They might end up getting a ride to Redwood National Park, south of Klamath and then continue walking from there.

Photos of Ajahn Ñāniko and Tan Thitābho in northern California

Ajahn Candasiri Visiting Abhayagiri

Ajahn Canadasiri, a senior nun of the Ajahn Chah Thai Forest Tradition, will be visiting Abhayagiri from June 5th until June 9th. Furthermore, she has been invited to offer the evening Dhamma talk on Saturday, June 8th.

Ajahn Candasiri was born in Scotland in 1947 and was brought up as a Christian. After university, she trained and worked as an occupational therapist, mainly in the field of mental illness. In 1977, an interest in meditation led her to meet Ajahn Sumedho, shortly after his arrival from Thailand. Inspired by his teachings and example, she began her monastic training at Chithurst as one of the first four Anagārikā.

Within the monastic community she has been actively involved in the evolution of the Nuns’ vinaya training. She has guided many meditation retreats for lay people, and particularly enjoys teaching young people and participating in Christian/Buddhist dialogue. Ajahn Candasiri currently resides at Amaravati Buddhist Monastery.

Ajahn Sucitto to Visit Abhayagiri

Ajahn Sucitto, the abbot of Chithurst Buddhist Monasteryin England, will be visiting Abhayagiri from May 22nd to May 30th. It is planned to have him offer teachings the evening of Vesakha Puja, May 24th, and on the following Saturday evening, May 25th.

Below is a brief biography of Ajahn Sucitto from his recent book Parami : Ways to Cross Life’s Floods

“Born in London in 1949, Ajahn Sucitto entered monastic life in Thailand in 1975. He subsequently took bhikkhu ordination there in 1976, but returned to Britain in 1978 to train under Ven. Ajahn Sumedho in the lineage of the Thai forest master, Ven. Ajahn Chah.

In 1979, Ajahn Sucitto was part of the group that established Cittaviveka, Chithurst Forest Monastery, in West Sussex. He has lived there for the greater part of his monastic life, but travels on teaching engagements throughout the world.”

Ajahn Dtun to Visit Abhayagiri

Ajahn Dtun, a prominent meditation teacher within the Thai Forest Tradition, is expected to arrive at Abhayagiri late on the evening of Saturday, May 4th and depart on Friday, May 10th. Ajahn Dtun will be present at the Samanera Ordination of Anagarika Evan on Sunday, May 5th. The exact time of the ordination is slated to be determined the day of the ordination or the day before. Ajahn Dtun will also be invited to offer Dhamma reflections on the Lunar Observance Day Thursday, May 9th. Although we are filled to capacity for overnight guests at this time, as usual, all are welcome to come to Abhayagiri as day visitors. Below is a brief biography of Ajahn Dtun.

A Short Biography of Venerable Ajahn Dtun excerpted from This is the Path a collection of teachings by Ajahn Dtun.

Venerable Ajahn Dtun (Thiracitto) was born in the province of Ayutthaya, Thailand, in 1955. At the age of six his family moved to Bangkok and he remained living there until June 1978.From a young age he was a boy whose heart naturally inclined towards having a foundation in moral discipline. By the time he was a teenager and on into his university years there would be many small incidents that would fashion his life and gradually steer him away from the ways of the world towards wishing to live the Holy Life.

After graduating in March 1978 with a Bachelors degree in Economics, he was accepted into a Masters Degree course in Town Planning at the University of Colorado, USA. However, in the period that he was preparing himself to travel abroad many small insights would amalgamate in force and change his way of thinking from wishing to take his studies as far as he could and then lead a family life, to thinking that after graduating he would remain single and work with the aim of financially assisting his father until the time was right for him to ordain as a monk. One evening he happened to pick up a Dhamma book belonging to his father which opened, by chance, at the last words of the Buddha: ‘Now take heed, monks, I caution you thus: Decline and disappearance is the nature of all conditions. Therefore strive on ceaselessly, discerning and alert!’ Reading over this a second and then a third time, the words resonated deeply within his heart causing him to feel that the time had now come to ordain, knowing this was the only thing that would bring any true benefit to him. He resolutely decided that within two months he would ordain as a monk and that his ordaining would be for life.

In June 1978, he travelled to the north eastern province of Ubon Ratchathani to ordain with the Venerable Ajahn Chah at Wat Nong Pah Pong. Resolute by nature and determined in his practice he was to meet with steady progress regardless of whether he was living with Ajahn Chah or away at any of Wat Nong Pah Pong’s branch monasteries. In 1981, he returned to central Thailand to spend the Rains Retreat at Wat Fah Krahm (near Bangkok) together with Venerable Ajahn Piak and Venerable Ajahn Anan. The three remained living and practicing together at Wat Fah Krahm until late 1984. At this time Venerable Ajahn Anan and Venerable Ajahn Dtun were invited to take up residence on a small piece of forest in the province of Rayong in Eastern Thailand. Seeing the land was unsuitable for long term residence, Ajahn Dtun chose another piece of land that was made available to them - a forested mountain that would later become the present day Wat Marp Jan.After spending five years assisting Venerable Ajahn Anan in the establishing of Wat Marp Jan, he decided it was time to seek out a period of solitude so as to intensify his practice, knowing this to be necessary if he were to finally bring the practice of Dhamma to its completion. He was invited to practice on an eighty -acre piece of dense forest in the province of Chonburi and remained in comparative isolation for two years until 1992 when he eventually decided to accept the offering of land for the establishing of a monastery - Wat Boonyawad. Presently, the monastery spreads over 160 acres of land, all kindly given by the faith and generosity of Mr and Mrs. Boon and Seeam Jenjirawatana and family.Since allowing monks to come and live with him in 1993, the Venerable Ajahn has developed a growing reputation as a prominent teacher within the Thai Forest Tradition, attracting between forty to fifty monks to come and live, and practice, under his guidance.