When Santeri Ahola decides to leave Finland and return to Thailand in order to ordain for the second time in his young life, his Big Sis Anja decided to record the process by following him out to his future monastery.
The first part of the film is concerned with family history and the final farewells in Finland, including meetings with what is clearly a close family, and departures.
His Mother is very supportive, saying: “It opens up ways for us to practice Buddhism for us as well.”; but his sister is less enthusiastic, and would like to see him back in the arms of a girlfriend 🙂
After a long journey they get to Thailand and then to Wat Marp Jan, where he is received by an Australian monk Phra Kevin, and his future Abbot Ajahn Anan Akiñcano, who see that he settles in and is given postulant (pakhow) vows.
Anja has to leave before the higher ordination but somebody at the monastery films it and the family excitedly sit down to watch it back home.
The film is very charming and not a little sad, as we see Santeri (now Phra Thanavuddho) leave behind his family and friends, and head out into the woods in a foreign country. But it is also inspiring to see him finding joy in his new life.
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Anja Ahola, the Filmmaker
Santeri in Finland
Ajahn Anan Akiñcano
Main Buddha Statue