Ayya Saccavadi

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Ayya Saccavadi Bhikkhuni was born in Myanmar (formerly Burma) in the 1965. She was educated at Rangoon University in Myanmar where she received in B.A. Degree in Burmese Literature in 1986. That same year she ordained as an 8-precept thilashin nun. Coming first in most of her classes in Buddhism, seven years later she received her Dharmacarya (Teacher of Dhamma) degree which is the highest level of study for Buddhist nuns in Myanmar. She excelled in the Buddhist examinations for which much of the Tipitaka must be memorized.

Ayya Saccavadi’s main teacher is the dhammadhuta Sayadaw U Pannyajota who specializes in Dhamma teaching or Saccha (instruction in Buddhist literature). Thus, in her first nearly 20 years as a Buddhist nun, Ven. Saccavadi was active in Myanmar in teaching children and the instruction of Buddhist thilashin nuns, training them as Buddhist teachers.

After studying for several years in Sri Lanka, she received her Master’s Degree in Buddhism at Kelaniya in the year 2000. In 2002 she ordained as a sameneri (female novice) in Sri Lanka. In 2003, she and Ayya Gunasari became the first two Burmese bhikkhunis to receive the dual higher ordination (bhikkhuni upasampada) in Sri Lanka in the modern era.

When her father fell ill in 2005, she returned to her home country of Myanmar, where she was subsequently charged with “impersonation of a Buddhist monk” and imprisoned until she agreed to leave the county and return to Sri Lanka.

In 2007, she came to the United States and, after Ruth Denison’s offering of women’s monastic lodging at Samadhi House at Dhamma Dena Desert Vipassana Center; she took up residency with Ayya Gunasari Bhikkhuni and Thilashin Uttamatheri there.