Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery, in Redwood Valley California, was the first monastery in the United States to be established by followers of Ajahn Chah, a respected master of the Thai Forest Tradition.

In 1988, lay disciples of Ajahn Chah’s student Ajahn Sumedho formed the Sanghapāla Foundation with the mission of creating a branch monastery in the lineage of Ajahn Chah. In 1990, Ajahn Amaro accompanied Ajahn Sumedho to California and became the central teacher for the Californians.

Efforts to establish a California monastery moved slowly until 1995, when Venerable Master Hsüan Hua, the founding abbot of The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (CTTB), approached his death. He instructed his students to give Ajahn Chah’s disciples 120 acres of CTTB-owned forested property in Redwood Valley. Master Hua had made a point of stating that it had been his life’s dream to bring the northern and southern traditions of Buddhism together again. His open-hearted offering enabled the communities (just 15 miles apart) to be physically close and to relate to each other with an atmosphere of mutual respect and harmony.

Venerable Ajahn Pasanno and Venerable Ajahn Amaro guided the monastery as co-abbots starting in 1996. In 2010, Ajahn Amaro accepted an invitation to serve as abbot of Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in England, leaving Ajahn Pasanno to lead the community for the next eight years. In the spring of 2018, Ajahn Pasanno stepped back from his role of abbot to enter a year-long retreat, after which he returned to Abhayagiri as its Guiding Elder. The monastery is now under the leadership of co-abbots Ajahn Karuṇadhammo and Ajahn Ñāniko.

~ From Abhayagiri’s website

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