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Meet Ajahn Siripanyo: The billionaire heir who gave up riches to become a monk

2 Mins read

What is the meaning of being rich? For Ajahn Siripanyo, born a billionaire heir, true wealth comes from profound teachings and not material things.

According to Forbes, Ajahn is the only son of Malaysian billionaire Ananda Krishnan, who currently has a net worth of $5.4 billion. Krishnan’s empire is so huge that it includes telecommunication companies, shipping lines, oilfield services, etc.

Being the heir to his father’s wealth, Ajahn lived a comfortable life. He grew up in London and studied in the United Kingdom with his two sisters. He also practiced journalism and speaks eight languages. Life is great for the young man as he was admired for his looks and wealth.

After attending a short ordination, Ajahn realized that material wealth isn’t what he wanted in his life. He decided to leave behind everything to live a secluded life in the forest as a monk.

Ajahn started being a monk at 18 years old

Being a monk wasn’t something that Ajahn expected to become. According to South China Morning Post, Ajahn discovered the monk life when he attended an ordination in Thailand “for fun.” The ordination lasted for two weeks, and he experienced the life of a monk in a monastery.

He was 18 years old when he made a decision that would change his life forever. He became a forest monk and the appointed abbot of the Dtao Dum Monastery, located somewhere on the Thailand-Myanmar border.

According to reports, Ajahn’s father launched a search party when he didn’t return home. He was found in a Buddhist monastery in northern Thailand. After seeing his son’s transformation, he was surprised and asked him to eat for dinner.

But according to The Good Times, Ajahn was noted respectfully refusing his father’s request saying, “Sorry, but I cannot accept your invitation. Like all monks, I have to ask for food.”

Because of his son’s transformation, Krishnan gave him his blessings and became more involved in charity works. He even bought and renovated a forest monastery that had been abandoned for many years in Penang.

Since then, Ajahn has lived a quiet and secluded life as a forest monk. There hasn’t been much news about his personal life since monks shy away from public life.

However, a Dhamma Talk by Ven. Ajahn Siripanyo on the reflections on “Loving The Humour of Human Life” was shared on Facebook by the Bandar Utama Buddhist Society.

You can also watch some of Ajahn’s teachings via Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery’s official Youtube account.

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