American Buddhism: Reframing Eastern Principles for the Western World

Thursday, December 9, 7:00 p.m. CST

american buddhism with ajahn sonaBuddhism is growing rapidly in the United States, and as a result, an identifiably American Buddhism is emerging. Teaching centers, monasteries, and sanghas sprouting up as Western-born leaders reframe ancient principles in contemporary Western terms. John Cianciosi, Director of Public Programs for the Theosophical Society  will share a dialogue with Ajahn Sona, a senior Buddhist monk in the Theravada tradition, to explore a variety of subjects such as the state of Buddhism in America today, the meaning of “enlightenment” and how it is achieved, Buddhist views on ecology, and more.

ajahn sonaAjahn Sona is a first-wave Western Theravada ordained monk and the Abbot of Birken Forest Buddhist Monastery (‘Birken’). With over thirty years in the robes, he is now referred to as ‘Luang Por’ (‘Venerable Father’) by his closest disciples – a traditional honorific for senior monks of the Thai Forest Tradition. Ajahn Sona took full monastic ordination in 1989 at the first Theravada forest monastery in the United States. He later switched to the Thai Forest Tradition and trained at Ajahn Chah’s monasteries in northeastern Thailand for several years. Ajahn Sona now draws on both the Sri Lankan and Thai scholastic and meditative traditions in his teachings, in addition to his modern western sensibilities. His pre-monastic education in philosophy, humanities, and classical Western music have aided him in understanding the Western psyche and in establishing paradigm bridges between East and West. Ajahn Sona is also deeply interested in the ecological movements of this environmentally critical time, both at the practical and philosophical levels. The off-grid monastery, which he has carefully curated over the last two decades, employs the latest in green design technologies and principles.

This program will be streamed live on YouTubeFacebook, and our website  on Thursday, December 9 at 7:00 p.m. CST.

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