Ajahn was ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1990 in the lineage of Venerable Ajahn Chah of the Thai Forest Tradition. Born in 1962 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A., his interest in the teachings of the Buddha grew as he studied towards a BA degree in Religious Studies from Carleton College (1984). Following graduation, he began applying himself to training in meditation and subsequently went to Asia to find a monastery suitable for fully devoting himself to the Dhamma.
After practicing intensive meditation in various monasteries in Thailand and traveling extensively in Tibet, Nepal and India, he eventually settled at Wat Pah Nanachat, The International Forest Monastery, in the North-east of Thailand. Ajahn Chah established this branch monastery specifically for his English-speaking disciples. For the first five years after his full ordination as a bhikkhu, Ajahn Chandako was based at Wat Pah Nanachat.
Ajahn Jotipālo was born in 1965 in Indiana. He received a B.A. from Wabash College and worked for six years in technical sales. He became interested in Theravada Buddhism after sitting several Goenka retreats. While on staff at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, he met Ajahn Amaro and Ajahn Punnadhammo. After leaving IMS, he spent three months with Ajahn Punnadhammo at the Arrow River Forest Hermitage in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. Ajahn Jotipālo came to live at Abhayagiri in 1998 and subsequently spent two years training as an Anāgārika and Sāmaṇera. He ordained as a Bhikkhu with Ajahn Pasanno as preceptor on Ajahn Chah's birthday, June 17, 2000. Since that time, Ajahn Jotipālo has also stayed at Ajahn Chah-branch monasteries in Thailand, Canada, and New Zealand. He has returned to Abhayagiri for the vassa of 2012.
Ajahn Punnadhammo has been studying and practicing Buddhism since 1979 and was ordained in Thailand in the forest tradition of Ajahn Chah (novice ordination Feb. 1991, higher ordination Feb. 1992). Between 1990 and 1995 he was based at Wat Pah Nanachat, Thailand. Punnadhammo is a Canadian, born Michael Dominskyj in Toronto in 1955. He began studying the Dhamma under Kema Ananda, the founder and first teacher at the Arrow River Center.
Amma Thanasanti Bhikkhuni was born in California and first encountered the Dhamma in 1979. Since that time she has been committed to awakening. On a trip to Asia she met highly accomplished meditation masters Ajahn Chah, Ajahn Buddhadasa and Dipa Ma. In 1989, she went to England where she joined the nun’s community in the Ajahn Chah Forest Tradition. After 20 years she left her monastic community to return to the USA where she founded Awakening Truth whose mission is eventually developing a Bhikkhuni training monastery integrating ancient teachings of the Forest Tradition into the modern world. Currently she is based at the Shakti Vihara hermitage near the Garden of the Gods in Colorado, where she uses wilderness as a daily part of her practice.
Alex Haley is the Director of Mindfulness Programs at the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality & Healing where he teaches, assists with research and sets the strategy for the mindfulness program area. He has been trained by the Center for Mindfulness, the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute, Spirit Rock Meditation Center, the Insight Meditation Society and the Coaches Training Institute. He has practiced meditation for over 15 years, including many months of intensive retreat practice, and worked for start-ups, mid-sized companies and large multinationals both domestically and internationally in legal and business roles. Alex is a founding member of the Mindfulness for Students network and leads residential retreats around the country. For more info visit www.alexanderhaley.org.
As a young child growing up in Tibet, Anam Thubten was intent on entering the monastery, where for much of his childhood and young adult life he received the benefit of extensive academic and spiritual training from several teachers in the Nyingma branch of Tibetan Buddhism. He conveys the Dharma with the blessing of teachers Khenpo Chopel, Lama Garwang and others gone before in a lineage of wisdom holders and enlightened masters. During his formative years in Tibet he also developed a special affinity with a yogi and lifetime hermit Lama Tsurlo, who remains a deep source of inspiration in Anam Thubten’s expression of the Dharma.
After arriving in America in the early 1990’s Anam Thubten began to teach the Dharma at the request of others. Today he travels extensively in the U.S. and occasionally abroad, teaching in fluent English and offering in a direct experiential manner the essence of the timeless, non- conceptual wisdom teachings of the Buddha. These teachings, free of any sect, point directly to one’s true nature as boundless love and wisdom. In his teachings and presence with others, Anam Thubten invites the heart-opening, mind-emptying awakening to one’s true nature that is already enlightened. The transformative power of these teachings that flow from the wisdom mind of the Buddha through teachers such as Anam Thubten is apparent in the lives of many who have embraced them.
Anam Thubten is the author of various articles and books in both the Tibetan and English language. His first book in English appeared under the title ‘No Self, No Problem.’ He is the founder and spiritual advisor of Dharmata Foundation based in Point Richmond, California.
Anam Thubten’s personal scheduling and events coordinator is Joanie Mercer. For event and booking requests please contact Joanie at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (512) 330-1741.