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.
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.
Amma Ṭhanasanti is a California born spiritual teacher dedicated to serving all beings. Since she first encountered the Dharma in 1979, she has been committed to awakening. As a former Buddhist nun of 26 years, she combines the precision and rigor of the Ajahn Chah Forest Tradition, compassion, pure awareness practices and a passion for wholeness. Amma has been teaching intensive meditation retreats in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia since 1995. She invites an openness to pause and inquire into the truth of the present moment, integrating what is liberating at the core of our human condition.