Originally from West Germany, Bhikkhu Dhammasiha finished high school in Hanover, served as a conscript in the German armed forces and went on to study business administration in West Berlin. As the curriculum was not too demanding, he was left with plenty of time and energy for his genuine interests: Schopenhauer’s philosophy, Indian religion and culture, and a thorough exploration of the suffering and disappointment inherent in sensual pleasures. A powerful lesson on impermanence was provided by the fall of the Berlin-Wall, and the dramatic changes it entailed.
After finishing his degree in 1993, he attempted a compromise of material necessities and spiritual aspirations by starting a PhD on “Indian Corporate Culture”. While in India, he read the Dhammapada which hit him as a true revelation. He travelled to Sarnath and Bodh Gaya, and finally succeeded in dropping worldly concerns to fully devote his life to the spiritual quest. He ordained as a Theravāda Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka in June 1995. For three years he trained at Nissarana Vana, Meetirigala in Sri Lanka, a forest monastery dedicated to solitary practice of meditation, and meticulous observance of the Theravāda Vinaya.
In 1998 he came to Australia and started training in the tradition of Ajahn Chah, first at Bodhinyana Monastery in Perth, and later at Vimokkharam, a quiet Forest Hermitage in Melbourne’s Dandenong Ranges. Bhikkhu Dhammasiha arrived in Brisbane in 2007 on invitation by Brisbane Buddhist Vihara, to help in establishing a forest monastery in South East Queensland. Since then, he has served as the abbot of Dhammagiri Forest Hermitage, the first forest monastery in Brisbane, and the only one in Queensland associated with the tradition of Ajahn Chah. The hermitage is located in a serene, natural environment amid forested hills adjoining D’Aguilar National Park, only 33km (45mins) from Brisbane’s city centre.