Venerable Phra Mana Viriyarampo

Venerable Phra Mana Viriyarampo was born in 1964 in Bangkok Thailand. After completing 3 years medical study at Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj hospital of Mahidol University he ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1986, and travelled to the North of Thailand to train in the Forest Tradition. In 1987 he was invited to Australia together with his master, to translate Dhamma teachings into English.

After travelling and teaching in many countries, he was appointed to be the first ever Buddhist chaplain in the Best ever Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sydney, 2000. Venerable Phra Mana Viriyarampo is abbot of Sunnataram Forest Monastery, Bundanoon, in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, half way between Sydney and Canberra.


The monastery consists of 99 scenic acres adjoining the Moreton National Park, and is also an International meditation retreat monastery with Phra Mana as head teacher and the Abbot.


In 2003 Phra Mana commenced his inspired project to build the Gratitude Pagoda in Australia. He based the design of the stupa on three ancient pagodas in the north of Thailand, Wat Doi Sutep, Wat Phra That Jomkitti and Wat Pasak. The pagoda is constructed in rustic Bundanoon sandstone, and built by monks and volunteers under the leadership of Venerable Phra Mana.


In 2008 Venerable Phra Mana constructed the Asoka Pillar 150 metres north of the Gratitude Pagoda at Bundanoon. A special consecration ceremony in November 2008 was attended by Buddhist monks and nuns from Therevada, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions, as well as Hindu swamis and VIP guests including the Indian Consul General Mr Sujan R. Chinoy.


The Asoka Pillar in Bundanoon is the centre piece of a large outdoor teaching area, including a 3D map of the world showing the spread of Buddhism from India to all other countries, via the Silk Road and the Spice Sea Route. The Asoka Pillar is surrounded by 40 carved sandstone panels, copied from Sanchi Stupa in India, which depict the Life of the Buddha. Venerable Phra Mana is a keen researcher of Indian Buddhist history, specializing in Gandhara Art.


Venerable Phra Mana conducts history and Dhamma talks every weekend in the Asoka Pillar teaching area, to regular visitors and groups such as the Theosophical Society of Canberra, Universities of Sydney, New South Wales and Macquarie, and to local primary and high schools. With an extensive knowledge of history and Buddhist studies, as well as his medical training and meditation practice, Venerable Phra Mana is also a regular guest speaker at universities, schools and other organizations.


Over the past few years Venerable Phra Mana has led several international groups on pilgrimage to India, Greece, Egypt and Thailand, including Australian, Thai and Singaporean. In 2008 Phra Mana co-authored his first book, A Buddhist Pilgrimage to Northern India, and in May 2010 his second book, Forgotten Pathways, was published.