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.
Venerable Khemako was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1959 into a large Catholic family and received his education from priests and nuns at the local Church-run schools. His long-standing interest in the core questions of philosophy and religion led him to begin lay Buddhist practice in 1997. Eventually he abandoned a career in Silicon Valley and found his way into the order of monks, ordaining as a Bhikkhu on June 2, 2012 with Ajahn Pasanno as preceptor, at Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in California. In June of 2014 Ven. Khemako moved to Tisarana.
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 Vipassi (formerly William Merring) was born in Hastings, Michigan, in 1999. In his mid-teens, he became interested in spirituality and meditation, which eventually led him to Buddhist teachings. An important part of Williams journey was traveling to Hamilton, ON, to go through a meditation course under the guidance of the venerable Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu. As he learned more about Buddhism and practiced meditation, the more interested he became in the monastic life, which he felt was his path in life. After a few visits to Tisarana and serving the winter retreat, William requested for training and joined the community as an Anagarika on May 14th, 2018. He received Samanera precepts on July 20th, 2019.
Samanera Nāndano (Formerly William Cossette, aka “Gabriel”) was born in Québec city and grew up in the suburbs around Montreal. After having finished high school, his spiritual search took him to the roads and forests of Canada. On that journey someone gave him a pamphlet describing the Goenka retreat. He went and ended up spending almost a year there. There, he read about the Buddha’s life and heard of Tisarana which inspired him to go forth and live a life of simplicity and renunciation. He took the Anagarika precepts on May 18 2019. He received Samanera going forth on September 24th, 2020.