Venerable Thubten Gyatso
Ven. Thubten Gyatso grew up near the beautiful white-sand beaches of northwest Florida and spent his childhood lying in the sun and playing soccer. At the University of Florida he graduated with a BA in History and a minor in Business Administration, and then earned his MA in History. Determined to get out of the libraries, he spent the next 22 years wandering six continents as a ski instructor, waiter, and English teacher.
He first encountered Buddhism in 2005 with The Art of Happiness by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and was eager to learn more. Ven. Gyatso deepened his practice by volunteering at Dharma College in Berkeley as the registrar for 8 months. He continued with the same Nyingma Mandala organization by taking a volunteer position as an english teacher in Sarnath, India with the Sarnath International Nyingma Institute for three years.
While living, eating, and practicing together with monks he was able to deepen his commitment to the Dharma and train his mind to benefit all beings. A Goenka Vipassana retreat in Lumbini, Nepal had a profound impact by showing the calm, joy and clarity of a focused mind. Shortly after, he decided that the monastic life was the most conducive to benefiting others, and started looking for a monastery to ordain.
He arrived at the Abbey in September 2021 after the Exploring Monastic Life course online, and recognized that Sravasti Abbey had all the conditions necessary for spiritual growth. His request for ordination was approved and on May 20th, 2023 he ordained and became Ven. Thubten Gyatso.
Some of his opportunities for service at the abbey include Administration, Infrastructure, and Dharma Dissemination with the Prison Outreach team. He’s looking forward to one day joining the bhikshu sangha and attending the very first bhikshu posadha at Sravasti Abbey.