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.

New Reception Hall Building

This year Abhayagiri is planning the construction of a new Reception Hall building that will include a Dhamma Hall, large kitchen and food storage room, library, laundry, bathroom, children’s room, meeting room, storage and more. This building is the largest construction project Abhayagiri has taken on to date, and has been in planning for many years.

Abhayagiri is currently functioning with the original Dhamma Hall and main building/kitchen which were present when the monastery was first established in 1996, and have had various additions and remodels made to support the continual growth of the monastery. The Dhamma Hall was converted from a garage, and the main building, where the kitchen, library, and some guest amenities reside, was originally a small bungalow house.

As the community at Abhayagiri has grown, we have done our best to make use of these buildings, and they have served well, but the monastery is now in a position where it has outgrown these buildings. The Dhamma Hall is crowded with visitors on a weekly basis, and for special events and festival days it is unable to accommodate the large numbers of people. The monastery has also outgrown the kitchen and food storage facilities. It is difficult for more than a few people to work in the kitchen with enough space to prepare the meals, and the food storage is crowded and difficult to organize. These are some of the reasons for the construction of the new building, and we expect it to provide many benefits on into the future.

We are hoping to begin construction later this year depending on the completion and approval of plans, as well as funds available.

Click here to download a PDF with images and more information