On Sunday, Aug. 10th, Ajahn Yatiko formally took leave of the Abhayagiri Sangha. After the fortnightly recitation of the monastic rules by the bhikkhus, all of the resident community assembled as Ajahn Yatiko formally asked forgiveness from the Abhayagiri Sangha for any wrongdoings during his past 24 years as a monastic. On behalf of the Sangha, Ajahn Pasanno responded in the traditional Pāli language, granting forgiveness and asking forgiveness in return.
Thereafter, Ajahn Yatiko relinquished the bhikkhu training and changed in to lay clothing. In his first act as a lay person, with the community assembled, Yatiko took the Five Precepts, following Ajahn Pasanno’s lead. Ajahn Pasanno then offered a Dhamma reflection to mark the occasion including appreciation for Yatiko’s 24 years of monastic life. Ajahn Pasanno also noted that Yatiko has made the transition from monastic life to lay life in a proper and respectful way, thereby laying a solid foundation for beginning his new life well. Yatiko plans to live in Santa Rosa, California so that he can stay connected to the monastery while beginning a new life.
Yatiko is currently residing at Abhayagiri and will be departing on Sun., Aug. 17th for his new life in Santa Rosa. People are welcome to stop by Abhayagiri during this week to connect with him or wish him well.
Prior to the formal act of giving up his monastic vows, Ajahn Yatiko passed on the following message to many of the laity connected with Abhayagiri:
To all the lay people who have supported me over the years, both materially and spiritually, I send out this email as a way of informing you of my upcoming plans. Most of you will know that I have had a hard time lately, especially in the past year or two. I needn’t go into details here, but I have made the decision to take leave of the robes on August 10. I plan on leaving the monastery itself on the 17th.
I can imagine this is a shock to most of you, and I regret any disappointment it may cause. I have thought long and hard about this decision, and it was not easy to come to a conclusion. I have been a monastic for 24 years now, my entire adult life, and I have no small reticence about leaving something I love and know so well. Yet I feel that it is something I must do if I am going to overcome some basic difficulties in my life at the moment.
This has not come about through a crisis of faith or lack of confidence in the tradition. I have unbounded respect for LP Pasanno and the community of monks, and I aspire deeply in my heart to make it back to the robes, be it in this life or in some future life. I simply feel that now is not the time to be a monk, and I must make a move.
My plans, though somewhat tentative, are to rent a room in Santa Rosa, work and/or go to school. I very much still want to be near enough to the monastery so that I can plug in from time to time. I am sure our paths will cross in the future, so until then,
With much gratitude and appreciation,