Dhamma Talk by Thai Forest Monastery held at Georgetown University
On June 22, 2016 the Royal Thai Embassy and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs co-organized a lunch talk by Ajahn Pasanno Bhikku and Ajahn Jayanto Bhikku on “Buddhism : A Pathway to Peace and Conflict Resolution” at the Berkley Center of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
Mrs. Pattrawan Vechasart, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission on behalf of Thai Ambassador Pisan Manawapat graced some eighty distinguished scholars and guests from leading institutions in Washington DC, and introduced the two senior Theravada Buddhist monks. Katherine Marshall, former World Bank official and counselor to its president on questions of faith and ethics, moderated the talk.
Ajahn Pasanno Bhikku and Ajahn Jayanto Bhikku shared their unique perspectives on the notions of peace, mindfulness, compassion, and tolerance in Buddhism through the eyes of Western-born monks. “The fact that monks cannot hold money and rely on other on food offerings contributes to a close tie with lay local people, forming a communal harmony. Human beings need to understand their own suffering and ability to step back as we all rely on each other. If we cannot do it alone we then need the communal harmony or other to help you out.”, said Ajahn Pasanno. “Lord Buddha’s teachings focus on being with yourself and you have to be very mindful of yourself. Conflict happens with illusion of human being and as brothers we all are suffering if there’s a conflict, added Ajahn Jayanto.
Ajahn Pasanno Bhikku and Ajahn Jayanto Bhikku are among the most senior Western disciples of Ven. Ajahn Chah (Phra Bodhinyana Thera) teaching Dhamma in the United States.
Ajahn Pasanno, Abbot at Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in California took ordination in Thailand in 1974 with Venerable Phra Khru Ñāṇasirivatana as preceptor. During his first year as a monk he was taken by his teacher to meet Ajahn Chah, with whom he asked to be allowed to stay and train. One of the early residents of Wat Pah Nanachat, Ajahn Pasanno became its abbot in his ninth year. During his incumbency, Wat Pah Nanachat developed considerably, both in physical size and reputation. Spending 24 years living in Thailand, Ajahn Pasanno became a well-known and highly respected monk and Dhamma teacher. He moved to California on 1997 to share the abbotship of Abhayagiri with Ajahn Amaro. Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery, the first monastery in the United States to be established by followers of Ajahn Chah, was founded in 1996 in the mountainous forests of northern California.
Ajahn Jayanto, Abbot of Temple Forest Monastery, New Hampshire. Born in Boston in 1967, Ajahn Jayanto grew up in Newton and attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison, during which time a period of world travel kindled a great interest in the spiritual life. A meditation class at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center led him to live for a while at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, where he made plans to join the monastic community of Ajahn Sumedho as a postulant at Amaravati Monastery in England in 1989. Taking bhikkhu (monk) ordination at the related Cittaviveka Monastery in 1991, he trained there and at Aruna Ratanagiri Monastery until 1997, at which point he embarked on a period of practice in Thailand and other Asian Buddhist countries. He returned to the UK in 2006, where he lived at Amaravati until moving to Temple in 2014. Since 2009 Ajahn Jayanto has helped to lead the efforts to establish a branch monastery in New England, bordering a National Wildlife Refuge in the small town of Temple, New Hampshire, is the second such branch.