Pa Auk Tawya Vipassanadhura Hermitage, Georgia was established in February 2017, and is operated by the America Dhamma Society (ADS). ADS is a 501(c) nonprofit organization. It is the very first Pa Auk Monastery in the U.S. led by the Sangha Committee members. It covers an area of 100 acres for religious purposes and another 48 acres will be used for ADS future charitable activities. The hermitage is about 2 hours away from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
On April 1, 2016, Ven. U Mangala and Ven. U Buddharakkhita came to Atlanta, Georgia to conduct a four-day meditation retreat. The meditation retreat provided the fellow meditators a path with a clear navigation to self-realization and liberation. The power of Dhamma is unbelievable, and that power inspired the Dhamma friends to consider establishing a permanent monastery in the US.
One of the Dhamma friends, Megan Cai realized the impermanence in our lives and wanted to find a place where she could devote her retirement life to the practice of meditation. When Ven. U Mangala knew about this, he said “A Buddhist practitioner needs to have a big heart, in order to benefit all sentient beings.” Megan was very touched by the teaching, and made a wish to establish a monastery for the sangha and fellow mediators in US. Megan immediately acted on her wish; she and her sister, Amanda Liu, found and contracted to purchase a piece of land totaling 178.08 acres at 1975 Old Flat Branch Road in Ellijay, GA on May 31, 2016, with the purchase being finalized on July 29 of the same year. In August, a road was built so cars could get to the monastery.
In September, Megan Cai joined the meditation activities in Ven.U Mangala’s Tusita Hermitage in Malaysia (Pa Auk Monastery’s Malaysia branch). From there, in October, she went to Myanmar to visit Ven. Pa-Auk Tawya Sayadaw and offered the monastery to Ven. Pa-Auk Tawya Sayadaw. Finally, in November, Megan and several other Dhamma friends gathered in the Tusita Hermitage in Malaysia to attend the Dhamma Leadership camp where the Dhamma friends and Sangha members reached a consensus to establish a monastery in the US. On January 17, 2017, America Dhamma Society, a non-profit organization was legally registered in the US due to the great effort of Megan Cai and the Dhamma friends.
We wish the Dhamma to be like the Ganges River: nourishing every Dhamma friend’s mind; and where every sentient being receives true benefits from the practicing of Dhamma.