Ajahn (formerly Vitauts Akers), was born in Germany, 1947, to Latvian refugee parents. They moved to Toronto when he was four years old. Around 1969, while living in India, he encountered Buddhism, meeting the late Sāmanera Bodhesako, who introduced him to the teachings of the Buddha. He eventually travelled to Thailand to become a novice at Wat Mahathat in 1973 and took bhikkhu ordination the following year at Wat Pah Pong with Ajahn Chah. He was one of the first residents at Wat Pah Nanachat, the international monastery in north-east Thailand. Having spent four years in Thailand, he went back to Canada to visit his family in 1977. Instead of returning to Thailand, he was asked by Ajahn Chah to join Ajahn Sumedho at the Hampstead Vihāra in London. Later, he was involved in the establishment of both the Chithurst and Harnham monasteries in the UK. In 1985, invited by the Wellington Theravāda Buddhist Association, he moved to New Zealand, accompanied by Venerable Thanavaro, where he lived for 10 years, setting up Bodhinyānārāma monastery. In 1995 he came to the UK to assist Ajahn Sumedho at Amarāvati and stayed for four years before returning to New Zealand, where he lived until 2002. He was living in Ottawa caring for his mother for nine years and is now resident full time at Tisarana.
After retiring from an academic career, beginning in 2001, Ajahn Pavaro’s early, formative monastic training took place with Ajahn Sona at Sitavana Forest Monastery in BC. He spent his 7th year as a Bhikkhu with his preceptor, Luang Por Pasanno, and the Sangha at Abhayagiri. Late in 2010 he moved to Thailand, where the majority of the next 9 years were spent with Ajahn Achalo at Anandagiri Monastery in Petchabun. During this time he benefitted from periods of practice at Wat Pah Nanachat and from opportunities to receive teachings from leading elders of the Wat Nong Pah Pong Sangha, including Luang Por Liam and Tan Ajahn Anan. In June 2020 he was welcomed to Tisarana, where he now resides.
Amarasiri Bhikkhu (formerly Siddarth Deepak) was born and raised in Chennai, India. His education and career led him to live in many parts of the world. Venerable Amarasiri moved to Toronto in 2009 and attended a Vipassana retreat in the Goenka Tradition where he was inspired by the teachings and practice of Theravada Buddhism. On his very first visit to Tisarana, his interaction with Ajahn Viradhammo impacted Ven. Amarasiri to commit to Theravadin Monastic life. He subsequently took Anagarika precepts on the 29th of November 2016, Samanera Precepts on 20th September 2017 and was accepted into the Bhikkhu Sangha on September 16, 2018, with Luang Por Viradhammo as Preceptor.
Sirimedho Bhikkhu (formerly Peter Pauls) was born in Ontario to a Mennonite family and raised in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. After returning to Ontario, his spiritual search took him on a pilgrimage to India and a couple of long retreats at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS). This culminated in a strong desire to ordain. Unfortunately, during this time he became ill with chronic Lyme disease. After many years, during which he visited Tisarana regularly, he recovered well enough to pursue ordination. He took on Anigarika precepts at Tisarana on January 5th 2017, ordained as a Samanera (novice) on December 15, 2017 in Chennai, India and was accepted in to the Bhikkhu Sangha on September 16, 2018 with Luang Por Viradhammo as Preceptor.
Samanera Karano grew up in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac in Quebec. He studied and worked both as a welder and a wildlife technician. He was introduced to Buddhist teachings and practices while attending a Goenka style retreat in 2016. In 2019, following his interest in monasticism, he came to stay at Tisarana. The next 3 years were spent serving the community as a steward. Karano asked for the going forth as a samanera on August 26th 2022.
Anagarika Aidan was born and raised in British Columbia. After encountering Buddhism in 2019 through Ajahn Sona’s Youtube channel he quickly became interested in pursuing a life of simplicity and renunciation. In 2021 he arrived at Tisarana and, after receiving the community’s acceptance, donned the white robes and took the anagarika precepts in the December of that same year.
Daniel Nyssen was born and raised in Mexico City. At the age of 20 he took his first meditation course where became very interested in the practice. After finishing his studies, and working in the family´s environmental consulting business for a few years, he travelled to India, Nepal and Sri Lanka for a year and he became more interested in Buddhism. Once back in Mexico he frequently visited Dhamma Vihara, a Theravada Buddhist Monastery in the state of Veracruz. There he heard about the Thai Forest Tradition for the first time and became so inspired that he contacted Tisarana. The COVID pandemic delayed his first visit but, when the conditions allowed in December 2021, he came to stay and shortly after took Anagarika precepts in January 2022.