Bhante’s Path to Upasampadā

In 2017, Bhante Ānanda chose to ‘go forth’, relinquishing lay-life for the purpose of developing the higher mind. After two years on a quest to find the right place to receive pabbaja, he encountered the teachings of Bhante Vimalaramsi and decided to take him as preceptor at Dhamma Sukha Meditation Centre in the Ozark mountains of Missouri. He received the going-forth on May 10th 2019 and stayed alongside Bhante Vimalaramsi for the 2019 summer retreat season. 

Pabbaja– humbly 'going forth', and accepting the monk robes
Bhante Ānanda (front right) with Bhante Vimalaramsi and fellow sāmaneras

Feeling the wish to bring the Buddha’s authentic monastic way of life and the precious teachings he had received to his own country, he decided to bring his practice as a forest monk to full bloom in Canada, practicing as a wandering mendicant, and allowing the chance for those interested to have the opportunity to encounter the Dhamma in the west. Bhante remained in a remote cabin in the Kootenays of British Columbia, Canada, in 2019, walking to town on daily alms-round and teaching at studios, homeless shelters  and private homes in town. 

A Canadian winter kuti

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Bhante remained for two years in a kuti-on-wheels. Here the HeartDhamma Hermitage was established.

In the winter of 2021, Bhante travelled to Sri Lanka to find his monastic forest sangha, pursue his training in vinaya, deepen his knowledge of the Buddha’s language, further his solitary forest practice and receive upasampadā or higher ordination. There he wrote the admittance exams for the Sri Kaliyāni Yogaśrama sansta (Galduwa) at Budugallena Aranya monastery in April 2022.

 

Budugallena Aranya monastery in Sri Lanka, also renowned for its rock cave surroundings

On June 18th 2022, Bhante Ānanda received upasampadā, at Galduwa, after completely re-doing his pabbaja with the same tradition. He describes the Upasampadā ceremony here in a message to our community:

 

 

“The next day early, I had to leave for the lake where the sīma (hall where monks conduct their official communal meetings) is located, as I was amongst the 9 first candidates due to my three years in the robes. 

 

We finally got boated on the sīma. The upasampadā ceremony took all morning for only nine of us. Nobody else is admitted on the floating platform, no pictures allowed, no lay people. Very special and somewhat intimate ceremony where we must stay within ‘hatthapāsa’ to the sangha, which means an arms length and make our requests and answer questions. 

 

Afterwards, we were boated back to the main land where a Bodhi tree is hanging over the water and drooping its branches low, all around the dock, more than a hundred lay people had thrown lotuses in the water for our arrival. Coming out of the boat, we were showered with gifts, barely could walk ahead, two lay people and a monk had to help me carry all of it. Robes, bowl, books, etc…

The lake sīma

Requesting Upasampadā:

“Sangham Bhante, upasampadam yācāmi,

Ullumpatu mam Bhante, sangho, anukampam upādāya.”

 

“Bhante, I request the Sangha for my acceptance,

 

Please Bhante, let the Sangha raise me up, out of compassion.”

Upasampadā for Bhante Ānanda
Bhante Ānanda's preceptor, Venerable Janananda Mahāthero
Bhante Ānanda takes dependence on the abbot, Loku Swaminwahanse, in Tanjan Taenna

 

Saddhidha vittam purisassa settham.

Dhammo sucinno sukhamāvahāti.

Saccam have sādutaram rasānam.

Paññājivim jivitamāhu settham.

 

Conviction is a person’s highest wealth.

Dhamma, when well-practiced, brings bliss.

Truth is the highest of tastes.

Living with discernment, one’s life is called best.

 

–Sutta Nipāta 1.189