Ven. Dr. Pannavati is Co-Abbot of Embracing Simplicity Hermitage. An African-American Buddhist monk ordained in the Theravada and Mahayana traditions and with transmission from Roshi Bernie Glassman of Zen Peacemakers, she is both contemplative and empowered for compassionate service. More than 70 homeless youth between the ages of 17 and 21 have resided at the hermitage over the past 2 ½ years and that effort has evolved into a separate 501(c)(3), MyPlace, Inc. which has its own accredited high school, jobs training program, youth center and residential program. An international teacher, she advocates on behalf of disempowered women and youth globally; and insists on equality and respect in Buddhist life for both female monastics and lay sangha. She was a 2008 recipient of the Outstanding Buddhist Women’s Award. In 2009, she received a special commendation from the Princess of Thailand for Humanitarian Acts and ordained the first Thai Bhikkhunis, on Thai soil with Thai monks as witnesses. In May 2010 she convened a platform of Bhikkhunis to ordain 10 Cambodian Samaneris, performing the ceremony in a Cambodian temple, witnessed by Cambodian abbots and sanctioned by Maha Thera Ven. Dhammathero Sao Khon, President of the Community of Khmer Buddhist Monks of the US. Finally, Venerable is a founding circle director of Women of Compassionate Wisdom, a 21st century trans-lineage Buddhist Order and Sisterhood. She recently ordained their first American oblate.
Bhikkhu Pannadipa, Co-founder and Co-spiritual Director of Heartwood Refuge and founding Co-Abbot of Embracing Simplicity Hermitage, ordained in the Theravada and Mahayana (Chan) traditions. A former Taoist monk and an initiated yogi, he taught Tien Shen Pai Kung Fu, qigong, Tai Chi and Fitness for more than 25 years. As meditation counselor of the Hermitage, his finely honed skills add unspeakable depth to a practitioner’s experience.
Powerfully present with penetrating awareness, he guides meditators towards jhanic attainment, teaching them how to use this empowerment in all circumstances of practical life. In addition, he has extensive experience assisting in the transition from this life to the next for both humans and animals.