Many lay people provide their support to the monastery. Every individual helps in different ways. Some come for a day and some for longer periods, staying with us to give support in certain areas of the monastery. These laypeople are part of the Amaravati resident community.
Suvira (Nisakorn Wanaphong) was born in Nakhon Sawan, north of Bangkok in Thailand. After graduating from Sri Nakharinwirot University, Phitsanuloke Campus, she moved to Phuket and worked there for five years in her family's business resort and in a bank. Then she moved to Bangkok and worked in a computer company.
After she attended a ten-day meditation retreat led by Upasika Khun Runjuan Indrakamhaeng and others in 1992, her perception of life totally changed and deep interest in Dhamma practice became established in her. She became a volunteer at Sathira-Dhammasathan (Mae Chee Sansanee’s Dhamma Centre), and also at the Maya Gotami Foundation, a charity for poor youth in Thailand and for supporting tsunami victims founded by Ajahn Gavesako.
In 2001 Suvira resigned her job at Telecom Asia, a leading telecommunications company in Thailand, and came to Amaravati. This was the first time in her life that she had left her home country, and also her first experience of residing in a monastery. Her intention was to live in a more committed way for developing the spiritual life. After finishing an initial one-year commitment working as the office assistant, she found the life at Amaravati beneficial and joyous, so she decided to stay on. Also, the teaching of Luang Por Sumedho gave her great inspiration and happiness. Now she deeply appreciates the support of the Sangha and the kind lay supporters, which makes her feel as if surrounded by family and friends.
English Sangha Trust Secretary
Caroline moved to Amaravati in 2004, having spent most of her adult life in Newcastle upon Tyne. During the years up north she practised at Harnham Buddhist Monastery, of which she was a trustee for thirteen years. Her paid work included the development of voluntary organizations, women’s and inter-agency groups of various sorts, and training as a psychosynthesis psychotherapist. Having practised for many years, she felt that the next step should be to give more time to contemplative practice, and she was accepted at Amaravati as a long-term lay resident. She was the Amaravati Librarian from 2005 to 2012, and is now the Trust Secretary and a Director of The English Sangha Trust.
Juan Serrano was born in Madrid in 1970. He trained as a lawyer though subsequently his life has taken him down different paths than the law courts.
He has been a practising meditator for the last 24 years in both the Mahayana and Theravada traditions and has had a growing involvement with Amaravati over the last 15 years. For the last 5 years he has been the Amaravati Librarian during which time he has overseen the implementation of new technologies into the Library.
Retreat Centre Household Manager
Born in Genoa (Italy) in 1965, Eleonora discovered in 2014 that she had been an "unaware Buddhist" for a long time. So she chose to let go of her hedonistic, career-oriented, apparently successful but actually unfulfilling lifestyle, and started visiting Cittaviveka first and Amaravati later, finding nourishing teachings, great friendship and skilful support.
Finally feeling that she was doing the right thing, she offered to the Sangha her experience in engineering and organisation and became Household and Maintenance Manager at Amaravati Retreat Centre in June 2017.
She is now very happy to follow the path from theory to practice and support retreatants in their search for inner peace, aiming to make them feel safe, comfortable and cared for.