Ayya Khema

Via both The Buddhist Blog and lotusinthemud I found a really interesting quote from Venerable Khema. (Check out the links for the quote – figured repeating it a third time was a bit redundant. 0.O) I wasn’t familiar with the Venerable so I did a little research. Resources I found:

A brief summary of her life, quoted directly from Wikipedia:

Ayya Khema (August 25, 1923November 2, 1997), a Buddhist teacher, was born as Ilse Ledermann in Berlin, Germany, to Jewish parents.

Khema dodged the Nazis during World War II, but was interned by the Japanese. She eventually moved to the United States. After travelling in Asia she decided to become a Buddhist nun in Sri Lanka in 1979. She was very active in providing opportunities for women to practice Buddhism, founding several centers around the world. In 1987 she co-ordinated the first ever International Conference of Buddhist Nuns.

Khema wrote over two dozen books in English and German. Her autobiography, I Give You My Life, is an adventure story sprinkled with nuggets of spiritual wisdom.

Among her many other accomplishments, Ayya Khema was the spiritual director of Buddha-Haus in Germany, founded with her guidance. (An English language version of their website can be found here.) Her ashes rest in a beautiful stupa there:

As you can tell (^_^), I’ve gathered a lot of online resources to read and listen to. So far I’d say her speaking and writing style are very accessible and interesting to lay-person-me. I’d be very interested to know if any of y’all have read her books, and what your opinion is, or perhaps even which one is your favorite, if you’ve read much by her.
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Image sources – Sangha: Munks [sic] and Nuns in the Buddhist Community by Friedrich Reg and the Buddha-Haus.
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One Response

  1. I have just came across Ayya Khema myself, and was taken by her down-to-earth style of teaching. I was also getting a different feel for the dharma by simply hearing it in German (my native tongue). It appears to be easier to grasp for me, when I hear it in my native language. Also, she pointed out our own Western wisdom lineages, and created links and connections, which helped me a great deal.

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