Thai King Bestows High Honor on Western Buddhists

You were the abbot of Abhayagiri Monastery in California until you stepped back recently to take more time to practice. That seems very fitting with the Thai Forest Tradition’s history of retreating from society to practice.

As a Buddhist monk, and particularly as a monk in the West, I’m not just concerned about what I say. It’s important for me to be a steady and consistent example of that which is peaceful and compassionate. This is my 46th year as a monk. Firstly, I’m here to practice. But I’m also here to be an example and give encouragement and support to both the monastic and lay community.


Further info.:


I cannot get my head around this weird feature of Thai Buddhism, royal titles are a big thing there, and it is all about the non-Vinaya compliant model of clergy institutionalized over there when a ex-prince decided to reform (for the right reasons) the way Buddhism was practised in the country… :grimacing:

1 Like

May it not hinder them or anyone else from practicing as the Buddha taught.

edit: :slight_smile: It might be possible that the above comment is interpreted as ungenerous. But it, and this addendum, come from generosity, for the practice of generosity, out of respect, for the practice of respect, out of detachment, for the practice of detachment. :slight_smile:


Ajahn Pasanno was my first monastic teacher, and I have always looked up to his wisdom and kindness. He set a high bar for a spiritual practitioner in humility and his readiness to help with even the most unreasonable of students.

I am not a fan of the whole “titles” thing, but it was through him that I was able to receive the only title that has ever meant anything to me: bhikkhu.


Hear hear!

I am in robes now in this Thai forest tradition almost entirely because of the faith I gained witnessing Ajahn Pasanno’s inspiring example at Abhayagiri.

I am also happy to see Ajahn Jayasaro receive formal recognition for the work he’s done for the Thai people.

Hopefully a positive sign for the future of Thai-Western relations.


A few years ago, I was a bit disappointed with some experiences that I had had at wats in both Thailand and southern California, and decided to plan a visit to Abhayagiri, knowing of LP Pasanno’s history in Thailand and the excellent reputation of his Abhayagiri in northern California.

The part of the week spent there rejuvenated me, and gave me rekindled saddha in the practice of the Thai Forest tradition in the US/west. Much of this confidence came from just spending some time with LP Pasanno himself, which he was kind to grant to me. He defines gravitas, and yet is so kind, and has a distinctive and authentic laugh when he is with people that really shows his care and enthusiasm. Lay people I spoke with that have known him for years testify to his goodness, kindness and devotion. One of a kind. He is just absolutely genuine, in a world that severely lacks authenticity and true Metta. So, needless to say, the time spent with his Sangha in meditation, chanting, and tea talks, and time in the kitchen with lay folk and other anagarikas, was amazing, and spirit-lifting.


Those fans aren’t actual gold are they?

The invitees were Ajahn Sumedho, the retired abbot of Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in southeastern England (Sumedho was not able to attend);

He was in Canada! He was at the ordination for three monks, then gave a talk for his 85th birthday a few days later. Unfortunate that the timing conflicted, but very thankful he came to Canada.


No. The gold colour is from gold tinsel (din thong) and gold-coloured cord (thong laeng). The only part that used to be made of anything valuable were the handles which were formerly ivory, but now plastic resin is used instead.