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"Mindfulness, the aware, balanced acceptance of present experience, is at the heart of what the Buddha taught.”
—Sylvia Boorstein

Ayya Tathaaloka Bhikkhuni

Ayya Tathaaloka Bhikkhuni is an American-born member of the Buddhist Monastic Sangha with a background in Zen and Theravadan Buddhism. Ven Tathaaloka began her journey into monastic life nearly thirty years ago, and received Higher Ordination as a bhikkhuni by a Siam Nikaya Bhikkhu Sangha led by the late Bhante Ratanasara in Southern California in 1997. In 2005 she co-founded Dhammadharini "Women Upholding the Dhamma" and the first Theravadan Buddhist women's monastic community in the Western United States in the San Francisco Bay area. In 2009, Ayya Tathaaloka became the first contemporary Western woman to be appointed a Preceptor in Theravadan Buddhism.

Inspired by the Forest traditions in Buddhism and environmental concerns, in 2010 she co-founded a simple off-grid women's monastic retreat on the Sonoma Coast named Aranya Bodhi: Awakening Forest Hermitage. She continues her work for the revival of the Bhikkhuni Sangha as an integral part of the Four-fold Sangha of the Buddha through scholarship of Buddhist women's history or "her-story," together with grass-roots activism. With the ten year anniversary of Dhammadharini in 2015, she is now working to establish a permanent bhikkhunis' community monastery in our area, that the sangha may put down roots in the community, and have a good, solid base both to train new women aspirants and to share Dhamma widely. See: dhammadharini.net.



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