In one of Bhante Sujato’s talks on Metta, he spoke of a French Ajahn who introduced him to LP Maha Chatchai. I would be interested to know more about this Ajahn and his journey but I couldn’t figure out his name. It sounded like Ajahn (Thik?)nyano.
Does anyone know more about him?
It was Ajahn Thitinyano. He was a senior western disciple of Ajahn Chah, I think ordained a year or two before Ajahn Pasanno. He was most definitely a character! He came from an aristocratic French family, and apparently before coming to the monastery he had never eaten dinner that wasn’t in black tie served by waiters.
He was a highly intelligent and restless figure, who searched among an astonishing range of meditation teachers. He was relentlessly curious, always probing with questions. He studied under practically all the renowned meditation teachers in Thailand, then moved on to Sri Lanka, then to Myanmar. I believe he had more knowledge about different meditation teachers and their teachings than anyone alive.
I don’t think he ever really found what he was looking for. He disrobed, apparently planning to return to robes, but I don’t think that happened. I’ve been out of touch for many years, so who knows what happened to him since.
He was super-kind and helpful to me, answered many of my questions, and gave me support and encouragement. He was funny, insightful, and in a roundabout way, profoundly humble as to his own progress.
Ven. Thitiñāna (Vincent) was a friend of mine when I was in robes in Thailand (Dhammayutika) and also later in Sri Lanka. The last time I saw him was at the Mahabodhi, Bodhgaya in 2007 when he was on pilgrimage with Pa Auk Sayadaw.
A mutual friend, Ven. Ñānaramita (German), passed away on 1 January 2022 in Sri Lanka at age 80. I emailed Vincent to inform him and was pleased to receive a reply which included this brief status update.:
“As for myself, I am now 71, in good shape for my age. I’ve been living in Thailand for the last five years. I have no plans to leave this country. I have no plans to re-ordain as a Buddhist monk.”