Bhante was one of the first African Americans to be ordained as a Buddhist monk. He was ordained by the late Ven. Thich Thien An at the International Buddhist Meditation Center (IBMC) in the 1970's.
A longtime social justice activist and social worker, Bhante began working with Indo-Chinese refugees entering the U.S. in 1975 and has since worked with homeless persons, people with HIV/AIDS, and ex-offenders. Bhante teaches compassion meditation for everyday life and practice for those who are working with people in different communities, emphasizing a one-to-one approach as well as introducing students to the practice of Kalyanamitta (spiritual friend) and helping those who are within the sea of samsaric suffering.
IBMC held a memorial service for Bhante to honor his legacy on January 5, 2014.