Venerable Dr. Phra Shakyavongsvisuddhi (Anil Sakya) was born in Nepal in the Buddha’s clan of ‘Sakya.’ He left a secular life to be an ordained Buddhist novice (Samanera) at his early age of 14 just out of a life curiosity and wanted to try an alternative life. However, he ended up sustaining this sacred alternative life till today with contentment.
Since the age of 15, he was trained in Thailand under the late 19th Supreme Patriarch, His Holiness Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara, the Supreme Patriarch of Kingdom of Thailand. With graduation in social anthropology from Cambridge University and Brunel University in UK with MPhil and PhD respectively he fully became a ‘monk anthropologist’ while he maintained his scholarship in Buddhism. Notably, throughout his study in the UK, he was awarded with the Royal Scholarship from His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand.
Being a global citizen, following are some contributions he made for a cause of sustainable world:
After 9/11 incident (2006), he represented the government of Thailand at the Second Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Interfaith Dialogue in Larnaca, Cyprus where he left an impression among representatives of governments of Eurasia on how can we live peacefully through positive and creative interfaith dialogues.
In 2012, he was a panellist at the High Level Meeting on “Well Being and Happiness: Defining a New Economic Paradigm” at the United Nations headquarters in New York where more than 800 participants including political and government leaders, representatives of governments, international organizations, civil society organizations, media, and business, as well as leading economists, scholars, academics, and spiritual leaders from the world’s major faiths participated in the proceedings. At the UN Meeting, he suggested increased analysis of sustainable patterns of consumption, to reverse the GDP’s over-focus on production. The paradigm of GDP, now “getting old,” must “birth a newborn child,” he advised, — an economic system that serves the world better and promotes the values of moderation and resilience.
In 2013, he delivered a speech at Global Conference 2013 at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris where he was awarded with a medal of ‘Legends of Planet,’ one out of six in the world, for his contribution on Greener world.
In 2014, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand awarded him with a special Ecclesiastical title of ‘Phra Shakyavongsvisuddhi.’ Similarly, in 2008, the Government of Myanmar conferred him with an honorary monastic title of ‘Maha Saddhamma Jotikadhaja.’ He could be called a ‘media monk’ of today as he is often interviewed for current affairs by media in Thailand and Nepal as well as international media like BBC. (There are many BBC program under his credit). He runs a Buddhist Sunday programme on Radio Thailand and a speaker of a weekly talk-show on Buddhism broadcast on TV channel UBC 8 or TNN2 entitled ‘Let’s spare some time for Happiness.’
Unlike a popular image of meditating monk, he is a modern versatile monk. He writes, preaches, organizes, and speaks at national and international conferences covering all different fields of being a competent ‘human.’
Currently, he is residing at the royal monastery of Wat Bovoranives Vihara, Bangkok in the capacity of an Assistant Abbot. In the university, he is Deputy Rector for Foreign Affairs of Mahamakut Buddhist University of Thailand, a Visiting Professor in many universities both in Thailand and overseas, for example, Mahidol University, Chulalongkorn University and Kasetsart University of Thailand as well as at Santa Clara University, California, USA and the University of Oxford in UK.