Aloka Vihara bhikkhunis' history

The founding nuns, Ayya Anandabodhi and Ayya Santacitta, lived and trained with the Siladhara Order at Amaravati and Chithurst Buddhist monasteries in England from 1992 to 2009. These communities were founded by Venerable Ajahn Sumedho, the foremost western disciple of the Venerable Ajahn Chah, a meditation master of the Thai Forest Tradition.

In 1983 four women ~ Ayya Rocana (deceased), Ajahn Sundara, Ajahn Candasiri and Thanissara ~ took the 10 precept ordination at Chithurst Buddhist Monastery with Ajahn Sumedho as their preceptor. Read the Forest Sangha Newsletter that commemorates the 25th Anniversary of the Siladhara Order.

With full ordination for women not being available in this lineage, a system of training based on the bhikkhuni, bhikkhu and samaneri vinaya was developed for the growing nuns’ community in England, which came to be known as ‘Siladhara Training’. In 2009, Ayya Santacitta and Ayya Anandabodhi were invited to the US to establish a training monastery for women and after some time saw that in order to fulfill their intention, a more broadly recognized form of ordination was needed.

Handwritten Blessing of Ajahn Buddhadasa, Ayya Santacitta's first teacher

Handwritten Blessing of Ajahn Buddhadasa, Ayya Santacitta’s first teacher

In April 2011 they took leave of the Ajahn Chah lineage and the Siladhara Order so as to pursue full Bhikkhuni Ordination. On October 17, 2011 at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California with Ayya Tathaaloka Theri as preceptor, Ayya Anandabodhi and Ayya Santacitta received full Bhikkhuni Ordination.

In 2012, Anagarika Maria also took leave of Amaravati and Chithurst monasteries to join the Aloka Vihara community. Ayya Jayati received Bhikkhuni Ordination at Aloka Vihara Forest Monastery on November 1, 2014.

In 2016, Samaneri Ahimsa joined the community, and received full ordination in August 2017.

In 2017, Samaneri Dhammadipa joined the community.

To read more about our current community members, please click here.