Biography

Early years

Dhammaruwan was born in a small village near Kandy, Sri Lanka in November, 1968. From the age of about two, before he could read or write, he spontaneously started to chant the ancient Buddhist scriptures in the original Pali language, known only to a few scholar monks. Each day, somewhere around two o’clock in the morning, after sitting in meditation with his adopted and devoted Buddhist foster father for about twenty to forty minutes, he would spontaneously start to chant Pali suttas. On the Poya or lunar observance day, he would sometimes chant for two hours. Dhammaruwan’s foster father started making amateur recordings of the chanting and invited prominent scholar monks to listen. The monks verified that it was indeed the ancient Pali language and the boy was chanting it in an ancient style which no longer existed in the world. At the age of three in “Kelstan” Kandy he started to chant a certain verse of “Dammacca Sutta” (“Chakkukarani Nayanakarani”).

Ever since that day he has been chanting suttas from the Tripitaka (Pali Canon) with little or no mistakes. The chanting style of these suttas are his own and are nowhere else to be found or traced back to. As the child grew in age and was able to speak more, he related where he learnt this particular style of chanting the suttas and how he was able to chant such deep and profound suttas, which even an adult finds difficult to chant precisely. He has said that in 5th century A.D. he together with a few monks accompanied the scholar Monk, Bhadanthachariya Buddhagosa to Sri Lanka. He has said that including him (Mudithagosa) the others were monks who had by-hearted the Tripitaka or part of it. He says it is from this memory that he chants the suttas by recollecting that life. Until the age of 10, he was able to chant the suttas. The earliest recorded chanting was at the age of three.

Ever since that day he has been chanting suttas from the Tripitaka (Pali Canon) with little or no mistakes. The chanting style of these suttas are his own and are nowhere else to be found or traced back to. As the child grew in age and was able to speak more, he related where he learnt this particular style of chanting the suttas and how he was able to chant such deep and profound suttas, which even an adult finds difficult to chant precisely. He has said that in 5th century A.D. he together with a few monks accompanied the scholar Monk, Bhadanthachariya Buddhagosa to Sri Lanka. He has said that including him (Mudithagosa) the others were monks who had by-hearted the Tripitaka or part of it. He says it is from this memory that he chants the suttas by recollecting that life. Until the age of 10, he was able to chant the suttas. The earliest recorded chanting was at the age of three.

(Bhante H. Gunaratana: Compiled in 1990s in Bundanoon, NSW)

Dhammaruwan in early years at the time when he was spontaneously chanting suttas.

Late Anagarika Acharya Munindra of India           Dhammaruwan's 1st meditation Teacher (1975)

Bhanté Samadhikusalo Bhikkhu

Born             Dhamma Ruwan Chandrasiri 

                      (Meaning: Gem of the Dhamma,

                              Lustre of the moon)

 

                       November 18, 1968

                      Kandy, Sri Lanka

 

 

Education    Dharmaraja College, Kandy

    

 

Occupation  Bhikkhu (Buddhist clergy)

                      Meditation Teacher

                      Spiritual Director

 

Years

active           1988 2003 Practitioner Teacher

                      2004 onwards - Meditation                             Teacher (full time)

                      2016 onwards - Bhikkhu

 

Known for    Childhood Chanting

                      Recalling Past Life                                           Experiences

                      Founder of Nirodha Retreats                           Worldwide

                      Founder of Samadhikusala                             Foundation

Bhanté Samadhikusalo Bhikkhu

Bhanté Samadhikusalo is a Buddhist monk in the Sri Lankan Theravada tradition.  He is a well known meditation teacher and the founder and spiritual director of Nirodha Retreats Worldwide.   

 

Before ordaining as a monk while a lay teacher (Dhammaruwan) was training (Nirodha) meditation groups around the world.  Currently, he teaches and resides in Sri Lanka while frequently traveling to teach retreats overseas.  

 

Born in a traditional Buddhist village in rural Sri Lanka, he became famous for spontaneously chanting early Buddhist scriptures (suttas) in his early childhood.  He was sought after by many for his recollections of past lives. 

 

In 1978, Bhanté began his meditation practice with the guidance of Anagarika Shri Munindra of India and has since associated many world renowned meditation and Dhamma teachers. With over 35 years of meditation practice, he was trained for many years under the guidance Bhanté Henepola Gunaratana Nayaka Maha Thero (Bhanté G.), during which time in the year 2006 he took ordination as Samanera (novice monk) Dhammaratana.  Bhanté also was trained under the Western teaching methodology as he became a graduate of the Insight Meditation Society’s Professional Teacher Training Program (2005 - Barre, MA).  In 2008 he founded the Nirodha Trust now replaced by Samadhikusala Foundation (2021).  Nirodha City Centre and Nirodha Retreat Centre are concepts developed by Bhanté that benefit many yogis practicing meditation.  Himself previously married, being a single parent raising two children, he is known to bring a complex teaching in an easy-to-understand and applicable way for the modern challenging lifestyle.

 

Rather than teaching the theory of meditation through lectures and public forums alone, Bhanté’s teaching propels around the “Nirodha Retreat” making yogis benefit from a training of meditation lifestyle practice in a silent and secluded environment which many find as a life changing experience and immeasurable asset for self development.

 

In his quest for his own liberation, the layman Dhammaruwan took permanent ordination as a Buddhist monk on April 10, 2016.  The ordination ceremony took place in the Bhavana Society’s Forest Monastery in West Virginia, USA before a large gathering of monks, lay devotees, his students and his friends. The ordination ceremony was conducted by his long-time Meditation Master Bhanté Henepola Gunaratana Nayaka Maha Thero, who awarded him the monastic name of “Samadhikusalo”.

 

Later the same year, he entered the higher ordination at the Kotte Sri Sāmagri Dharma Mahā Sangha Sabha in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

 

 

 

Please find details on his early childhood, his teaching as a lay teacher as well as currently  as a monk.

Early Years of Training and Teaching

In his early years, Dhammaruwan trained under many teachers and practised with different traditions around the world. Ayya Khema (a German Bhikkhuni who resided in his home in Kandy, Sri Lanka in 1984) became the first person to encourage him to become a meditation teacher. As a teenager, at the time, he may not have taken this advice seriously. It did, however, guide his decisions as he taught his first meditation retreat with Bhikkhu Wannasara (a Canadian Monk) in 1986. Since they both were new to teaching, at the time, they played talks given by Joseph Goldstein. Dhammaruwan led the individual guidance interviews, and Bhikkhu Wannasara led the Dhamma discussions with the group of five yogis. 

 

Dhammaruwan frequently served as the 'kappiya' (meaning assistant to a monastic) for Bhante Gunaratana (known as Bhante G) and would accompany him to retreats in Australia and travel throughout India. The opportunity to experience Bhante G's teaching style and the clarity with which he lectured on Buddhism made a positive impression, which allowed a beautiful student-teacher relationship to flourish. 

 

Dhammaruwan continued to attend retreats and teach meditation while engaging in a variety of jobs and beginning his family life with his marriage at the age of 24. He, at one time, held the government office of Coordinating Secretary to the Minister of Buddha Sasana in Sri Lanka. Additionally, he studied Personnel Management and worked within the private sector as a general manager. Subsequently, he was appointed the Administrative Secretary of the Mahabodhi Society. 

 

After being infected with viral flu during the dengue epidemic in Sri Lanka - which he barely survived - he decided to dedicate his life toward the spiritual path and help others along the path. Dhammaruwan had envisaged building a retreat centre conducive to meditation practice in his early childhood. When a friend - now Bhikkhuni Nirodhā - heard of this interest, she became the first donor toward this vision and supported the purchase of suitable land in the central highlands of Sri Lanka. 

 

While at a conference in New York in 2001, Dhammaruwan reconnected with Joseph Goldstein after several years. Joseph invited him to teach at the Insight Meditation Centre in Barre, MA and over the next few years, Dhammaruwan completed the Insight Meditation Society’s Professional Teacher Training Program.

 

Starting Nirodha

In 2008, now a single parent, Dhammaruwan founded the Nirodha Trust and subsequently Nirodha Retreats Worldwide in 2010 while teaching internationally. 

 

As a more senior practitioner and teacher, Dhammaruwan realized that dedicated spiritual seekers are forced to spend many years engaged in mediocre practice before they gain access to skilled teachers. He also realized that the constraints of modern life prevented these teachers from providing students with constant support that is indispensable to progress on the spiritual path. After giving these problems a great deal of thought, he decided that he would go to the yogi instead of the yogi having to search for a skilled teacher. To provide them with constant support, he created the four guidelines, which are support for daily sitting practice, weekly classes, regular contact and guidance, and retreats that provide personalised guidance. This philosophy of personalized support and teaching evolved into what is now called the Nirodha practice, where Nirodha means the total cessation of suffering. 

Late Ayya Khema Encourages Dhammaruwan to be a Meditation teacher (1984)

Canadian Bhikkhu Wannasaara whom he Co-taught his first Retreat with(1984)

Dhammaruwan

as a lay teacher

Training Under

Bhanté Gunaratana

In 2016, entering the holy life as a Buddhist monk

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