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Modern Age Siddharta Gautama - Giving up Billions and Lead a Life of Monkhood

Updated on September 28, 2017
Ajahn Siripanno
Ajahn Siripanno

AJAHN (meaning teacher in Thai) Siripanno is a humble Theravada Buddhist monk from Thailand. He was educated in the UK and can speak 8 different languages. He is the one and only son of the second richest man in Malaysia, T. Ananda Krishnan, a low profile successful businessman that has business interest in media, oil and gas, telecommunications, gaming, entertainment and property. Ananda Krishnan is estimated to have a net worth of US$9.6 billions according to Forbes's 2012 world wealthiest people. He ranks the second richest man in Malaysia while at the number of 89 in the world.

Ajahn Siripanno's mother is a Thai and he has two other sisters. It was during a retreat in Thailand where he wanted to pay homage to his mother's family and took up temporary ordination as a Thai forest monk. He was eighteen then (1989) and growing up in UK has made him quite open to different culture and to him the temporary ordination could be something 'fun'. That was the first time he encountered Buddhism, something that was very new to him.

*It is a culture for the Thais where the male will join the Sangha (not compulsory) for a short period of time before returning to ordinary life.

With his father, Ananda
With his father, Ananda

His aim during that time was simple and according to a talk that he gave at Maha Vihara, a Theravada Buddhist Temple in Malaysia, some years ago, his initial plan was to stay in the forest for just two weeks. He had never thought of becoming a forest monk would be his life career. What had really moved his heart was none other than visiting and learning how Ajahn Chah had done to the Sangha community during that time.

Ajahn Chah was a well-known Theravada monk and he had many followers/disciples from the West. Some of his most famous diciples include Ajahn Sumedho, Ajahn Amaro, Ajahn Khemadhammo, Ajahn Brahm and Jack Kornfield (a notable author and meditation instructor).

However, his hope of learning directly from Ajahn Chah shattered because this great master was already very ill. He could hardly talk and needed aids moving around on his wheelchair. Ajahn Siripanno only had the chance to meet him once but the impact that had on him was huge. It was a life changing moment!

What he experienced during the stay at the forest temple had totally changed his perception towards Buddhism and monkhood. The initial two weeks plan had now become a permanent one. He had never look back and after more than two decades, he is now an abbot of Dhao Dham Monastery, located in National Forest Reserve near Thai-Myanmar border.

Ajahn Siripanno is still in contact with his father and, which his father will visit him from time to time. It is the top priority for all Buddhist followers to practice filial piety and monks are not exceptional too. There was a time when Ajahn Siripanno travelled in his father's private jet to Italy as he was requested by his father to spend some time with him for his 70th anniversary. This humble monk with only a robe and a small tote bag drew quite a lot of attention during the stay in one of the finest hotel in Italy. The story that you might have read over the net about a monk that travelled in a private jet was none other than Ajahn Siripanno.

Nothing VS Everything

Can you imagine how a young man could give up everything (billions) and lead a simple life as a forest monk? Note that a Theravada tradition monk only eats once a day and after 12 noon, they are prohibited to consume any solid food.

It is quite normal for a young man from rich family to enjoy his luxurious life; driving a sports car, wearing fancy clothing and of course with a hot lady sitting at the side. However, an exceptional one will truly choose an extraordinary path of life and Ajahn Siripanno is one of the least examples of the Modern Age Siddharta Gautama.

Below is the talk that given by Ajahn Siripanno at Maha Vihara, Brickfields, Malaysia, 2010. There he shared about the teachings of Ajahn Chah and what he encountered during his first visit at the forest Shangha community. The title of the talk is 'Timeless Teachings of Ajahn Chah'.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

The temple in Malaysia where the talk took place

A marker123, Jalan Berhala, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -
Jalan Berhala, Brickfields, 50470 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
get directions

© 2012 KenWu


Submit a Comment

  • KenWu profile image

    KenWu 2 years ago from Malaysia

    Glad you like it..! I enjoyed it as much as you did.

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    Maurice Glaude 2 years ago from Mobile, AL

    I enjoyed the videos immensely.

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    amanda 3 years ago are breathtaking dear sangha

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    Rachel 3 years ago

    Totally agree Ajahn Siripanno is the Living Buddha - Modern Age Siddharta Gautama.He must have accumulated good karma in his previous lives to be Billionaire's son.Obviously, he renounced wealth voluntarily to attain everlasting happiness - nibbana.

    @micksandra: agree with Jordan Kaplowitz,from the bottom of my

    Buddhist heart - I suggest you find out more about the Dhamma, the life of Buddha and read the Sutta.Chant the Pali Text and meditate you will soon discover the message.NAMO TASSA BHAGAVATO ARAHATO SAMMA SAMBUDDHASA (3x).SADHU,SADHU,SADHU.

  • profile image

    Ken 4 years ago

    Buddha taught us the Truth. The truth about what all living beings will feel and need to go through. A great man who given up everythings and his huge wealth to spread Buddha's Teaching to end sufferings. This short talk helped many people who is going through separation. More of his talks about Buddha's Teaching can be follow to spread the Truth

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    micksandra 4 years ago

    @Jordan Kaplowitz : Are you kidding me? One who attained Buddhahood will not born again in any realm, with a humble heart i suggest you to learn further more..

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    Logainthiran 4 years ago

    Ajahn Siripanno is a living Buddha. Even the Buddha tasted an extreme luxurious as well as a married family life, but Ven. Siripanyo gave up all these at such a young age! Truly, there could be none who cd superceed him in terms of the billions he threw away in return for a poor monk's life. He is God in human form. Buddham Saranam Gatchami, Dharmam Saranam Gatchami, Sangam Saranam Gatchami. Praise the Lord!

  • profile image

    Neelmekan 4 years ago

    Ajahn Siripano' journey is a message

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    Jordan Kaplowitz 4 years ago

    It looks like he is the reincarnation of Buddha....He lived pretty much the same lifestyle, it's almost the same story. Buddha was the son of a king, he could have been a king if he stayed with his the modern age, it means he could have had more than all the riches he could have ever imagined if he stayed with his family.....Buddha left to the forest away from the kingdom...this guy left to the forst as well.....i don't know, it seems really close to the original story...But i don't think he will have to do the other parts, like how Buddha almost died, because maybe he learned from that in that lifetime....Idk just a thought....

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    Koo Vit Fricher 4 years ago

    Anumothana sathukkk...

  • profile image

    Anumothana sathukkk 4 years ago

    Sathukkk sathukkk sathukk

  • profile image

    l.a .wickramasinghe 4 years ago

    i like to meet this monk please send details on how to meet him

  • profile image

    Tan h b 4 years ago

    Sadhu, sadhu, sadhu

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    Taty 4 years ago

    He realize the uncertainty, which is very much part of Buddhist teaching. It is wonderful to know that someone is willing to give up his wealth right to become Monk and start his journey to enlightenment. Who are we to judge? To give up your money and wealth is a real challenge to your physical attachments. It is easy to say and judge; isn't it? Put into practise, there is the real challenge. Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

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    Victor Ooi 4 years ago

    What's so special of him than others? Is he because he has a rich daddy? Do you all mean those monks from poor background sacrifices not as much as his? What he did is for himself. Not for us Buddhist to glamorize.

    Many still trap in the material world. If I am him. I would put all my billions to good uses and help the world.

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    Allan Loh 4 years ago

    He showed the way that the Buddha lead 2500yrs ago. One of the Greatest Achievement in Life. Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu.

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    Myo Min 4 years ago

    He truly is the modern days Sidhatta. Buddhism needs such an inspiring heroes. He is truly a role model fo the young Buddhists. Long live Ajgan.

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    Mayuri 4 years ago

    Bavatu Sabba Mangalam ... Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu

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    Pum 4 years ago

    32“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Luke 12

    "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." Matthew 19:27

    “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first." Matthew 19

    "So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:33


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    alan leong 4 years ago

    I sure is not money ,is not power,is not greed.the hardest hardest is lust.we cultivate lust not only in our day and night but also the hardest is in our dreams.we can control our lust at morning at evening but not in our dream.

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    alan leong 4 years ago

    What is the hardest aspect for monks to cultivate?

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    OneOne 4 years ago

    I' m very proud to know and about the Theravada Buddhist monk of Ashin ( Ajahn Siripanno ) .Sadhu !Sadhu! Sadhu!

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    Hiranya 4 years ago

    So Heartening to know that true Buddha Putras still are with us

  • profile image

    林瑞民 4 years ago


  • profile image

    suthana 4 years ago

    Glad to know Acharn Chah had a devoted follower.

    Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu

  • profile image

    great 4 years ago


  • profile image

    myathtet 4 years ago

    Welcome to buddhasen

  • profile image

    Sally M Win 4 years ago

    Such an inspiring piece of news !

    Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu

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    Shantha Indrajith 4 years ago

    Noble teaching from the folowers of Lord Buddah is the only effective way to pass dhamma from generation to generation.

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    Peace and Tranquility 4 years ago

    Sadhu! sadhu! sadhu!

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    Prabhath Wigetha 4 years ago

    Watching most views, i think the evaluation is not ethical to be so

    amazed. What he has given up is physically, we won't know mentally.

    No one should be emotional by judging at a rich man's money.



    Are we to accept that this is a rich man's world and forget those genuine ones who take the sffron robe with more understanding and follow

    proper steps, rather than accidentally deciding later ???

    I hope our Buddhist will not value , but judge from dharma reasons

    and not base on money: to value a person's becoming a monk or a


  • profile image

    Susantha 4 years ago

    He has demonstrated to all that life with ostentation and having material possessions will not help end suffering. Lord Buddha said that birth and death was suffering and exhorted his followers not to blindly follow him but to evaluate what he said and if acceptable to to follow the path he indicated to end suffering.He can be classed as a moden day Siddartha Gautama as he despised wealth and decided to follow the noble teachings of the Buddha to attain Nirvana.

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    tikiri 4 years ago

    This is the good fortune of life,he showed all that hapiness is not with the grabbing things with eager,but with dropping them and release materials fronm the life,real freedom

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    Indrani 4 years ago

    This person is amazing. He is just like Siddhartha Gauthama. As a Buddhist I understand all the teaching of Buddha. I follow this story with great interest . We don't see these types of people nowadays .

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    Rohana Dayaratne 4 years ago

    This is a very interesting story and I was very happy to read it. Ajan siripano has rejected the material wealth and the comfort.

    Ajan Cha has done great work for Buddhism.

  • KenWu profile image

    KenWu 4 years ago from Malaysia

    Lisa, thanks for stopping by and your valuable comment. God bless,

  • LKMore01 profile image

    LKMore01 4 years ago

    KenWu thank you for sharing this HUB. It is really amazing how one person or experience can influence your entire life.

  • KenWu profile image

    KenWu 5 years ago from Malaysia

    Alicia, that is so true! But not many of us can do that :)

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    This is a very interesting story. What a dramatic change in lifestyle for Ajhan Siripanno! He gave up a lot, but in return he gained so much more.

  • KenWu profile image

    KenWu 5 years ago from Malaysia

    Neil, yeap, agree with you but if it happens to me that might be not the same case :).

    Prasetio, thanks man.

  • prasetio30 profile image

    prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

    Very inspiring hub. Buddhism always taught peacefulness to mankind. I learn many things here. Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up!


  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

    It just goes to show that money doesn't bring happiness all the time, what a great man, and I totally understood why he did it, sometimes nature, religion or just peace is worth a whole lot more, voted up and shared! nell