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Ajahn Viradhammo

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Ajahn Viradhammo
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Pictured (left) with a Luang Por Sumedho at Tisarna Monastery in May 2010
ReligionBuddhist
SchoolTheravada
Other namesLuang Por Viradhammo
Personal
NationalityCanadian
BornVitauts Akers
(1947-04-27) April 27, 1947 (age 71)
Germany
Senior posting
Based inTisarana Monastery, Perth, Ontario
Religious career
TeacherAjahn Chah
Websitetisarana.ca

Luang Por Viradhammo or Ajahn Viradhammo (born Vitauts Akers, April 27, 1947 Esslingen, Germany) is a Canadian monk in the Thai Forest tradition of Theravada Buddhism. He was ordained as a monk in 1974 by Ajahn Chah at Wat Nong Pah Pong monastery. Luang Por Viradhammo is the most senior Thai Forest monk in Canada, the only Thai Forest monk in Canada entitled to ordain other monks in this tradition, and currently the abbot of Tisarana Buddhist Monastery in Perth, Ontario. Luang Por in the Thai means Venerable Father; Ajahn means teacher.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Ajahn Viradhammo (Vitauts Akers) was born in Esslingen, Germany, where his parents had found refuge after fleeing from the Soviet re-occupation of Latvia in 1944. He, his parents and two year older brother immigrated to Toronto, Canada in 1951.[1][2]

Ajahn Viradhammo's parents were both Lutheran and he himself was confirmed in the Lutheran Church. His early experiences of silence and pure awareness came at around the age of five but it was not until much later that he was able to explain them.[3]

He enrolled in an engineering program at the University of Toronto, at the age of sixteen, but quickly discovered that this was not his vocation and, in 1969, decided to travel to satisfy his continued search for meaning, first in North Africa and then in Europe and finally in Almora, India, near the Nepalese border. It was while reading a book by J. Krishnamurti that Ajahn Viradhammo re-lived his experiences of pure, non-dual awareness that he had had as a child. While living in India in 1969 he met the late Sāmanera Bodhesako, who introduced him to the teachings of the Buddha, which led him to travel to Thailand and become a novice at Wat Mahathat in 1973.[3] Ajahn Viradhammo was ordained as a monk in 1974 by Ajahn Chah at Wat Nong Pah Pong monastery and became one of the first residents at Wat Pah Nanachat, the international monastery in north-east Thailand.[1]

Monasteries in the UK, New Zealand and Canada[edit | edit source]

In 1977 Ajahn Chah asked Ajahn Viradhammo to join Ajahn Sumedho at the Hampstead Vihāra in London and he later helped establish both the Chithurst Buddhist Monastery monastery and Aruna Ratanagiri monastery in the UK, where he was abbot. In 1985 he was invited by the Wellington Theravāda Buddhist Association to move to New Zealand where he lived for 10 years, helping build Bodhinyānārāma monastery [4]. In 1995 he came to the UK to assist Ajahn Sumedho and became the abbot of Amarāvati[5] for four years before returning to New Zealand, where he lived until 2002 [6].

Starting in 2002, Ajahn Viradhammo lived in Ottawa, Ontario [7], caring for his mother until her death in 2011[8]. In 2006, with the support of the Ottawa Buddhist Society and affiliated Buddhist groups in Ontario, Canada and abroad, Ajahn Viradhammo founded the Tisarana Buddhist Monastery, of which he is the abbot.[9] The monastery is located in Perth, Ontario, about sixty kilometers southwest of Ottawa.

Publications[edit | edit source]

  • Viradhammo, Ajahn (2005), Stillness of Being
  • Viradhammo, Ajahn (2017), The Contemplative's Craft: Internalizing the Teachings of the Buddha, ISBN 9780995170018

Audio Recordings[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Biography of Ajahn Viradhammo on Amaravati Web Site
  2. Ajahn Chah (1989). Seeing the Way: Buddhist Reflections on the Spiritual Life (An Anthology of Teachings by English Speaking Disciples of Ajahn Chah). Amaravati Publication; 2nd edition. p. 69. ISBN 1-8702-0504-9.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Mauro Peressini (2016). Choosing Buddhism: The Life Stories of Eight Canadians. Ottawa University Press; 1st edition. pp. 69–101. ISBN 978-0-776-62333-7.
  4. Viradhammo, Ajahn (1990). "Buddhism". In Donovan, Peter. Religions of New Zealanders. Palmerston North [N.Z.]: Dunmore Press. pp. 32–45. ISBN 978-0-864-69125-5.
  5. Amaravati Newsletter, January 1995
  6. Snelling, John (1991). The Buddhist handbook : a complete guide to Buddhist schools, teaching, practice, and history. Inner Traditions, Rochester, Vt. p. 337. ISBN 978-0-892-81319-3.
  7. Sumegi, Angela (2005). "Buddhism in Ottawa". Canadian Journal of Buddhist Studies. 1 (1): 87–110. Retrieved 28 July 2018.
  8. Obituary for Astrid Akers in the Ottawa Citizen
  9. Community page of the Tisarana Monastery Web Site

External links[edit | edit source]

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