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)
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.
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)
as a lay teacher
In 2016, entering the holy life as a Buddhist monk