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.
———————-
Image sources – Sangha: Munks [sic] and Nuns in the Buddhist Community by Friedrich Reg and the Buddha-Haus.
Advertisements

Hurrah!

Last night I went for my first Dharma Study, though it was a bit of a drive – I had to haul my cookies all the way to Gulf Breeze (just outside of Pensacola) to visit Palyul Changchub Choling. They’re “… a sangha or group who study and practice Tibetan Buddhism in the Nyingma tradition according to the Palyul nam-cho practices.[Links are mine]”

I doubt I can go every week right now (2 hrs in a car with $3 gas), but they’re such a great group, and I can do preliminary practices (Ngondro) with them and take refuge the next time the lama comes. I’ve thought about it, and I think Tibetan Buddhism is the best place for me to start right now, although I have a great deal of respect for the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. Going to the study group last night felt so right – I was comfortable with the meditation session and the dharma discussion – I felt at home in the material and even felt like I had something to contribute to the discussion. (For what it’s worth, they were discussing What Makes You Not a Buddhist by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse. I don’t have it, but it seems like an interesting read, if slim. Maybe once I’ve caught up on my other Dharma reading….Apparently, this is a much lighter/easier work than their last selection, which was a book on Dzogchen.)

Perhaps soon I can go back, and maybe I’ll even remember to bring my camera. ^_^

Ven Tenzin Palmo & Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nuns (India)

Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery was founded by Venerable Tenzin Palmo in 2000 following a commitment she made to His Eminence 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche, head lama of the Khampagar Monastery, in order to provide an environment where young women from Tibet and the Himalayan border regions could come together to study and practise in accordance with the Drukpa Kargyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

The joy of the nuns in these images, as they realize the opening of their nunnery is so wonderful, and contagious, too. Best wishes for them on their journey…!

To learn more, please visit Tenzin Palmo and Dongyu Gatsal Nunnery’s site at gatsal.org/.