2013-2017 Executive Committee
Branch & Chapter Coordinator
President Christie Yuling Chang (right) with Hsing-ju Lin. Eun-su Cho speaks with a nun in the background.
Founding Sakyadhita Members
If you attended the first Sakyadhita conference and were a founding member, please send us your memories and reflections!
- Ranjani de Silva
- A former president of Sakyadhita, Ranjani De Silva began Sakyadhitha in Sri Lanka, an organization dedicated to training female monastics, and was invited to host the 3rd International Sakyadhita Conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1993. This conference was a great success and made a lasting impact on local monastics. Since then she has been active in training and empowering female monastics and coordinating their Higher Ordinations with the support of senior monastics.
- Kusuma Devendra (now Bhikkhuni Kusuma)
- A fully ordained Sri Lankan Buddhist nun, Bhikkuni Kusuma is the first woman in Sri Lanka to don the robes of a Bhikkuni after a lapse the Bhikkhuni order for nearly 1,000 years. She holds a BA (1974), and a MA (1982) in Theravada Buddhism. She received her PhD (1999) from the Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka. Her doctoral dissertation on Bhikkuni Vinaya (rules of discipline for ordained Buddhist nuns) is regarded as a handbook for Buddhist nuns in Sri Lanka.
- Bhikshuni Jampa Tsedroen
- A German Buddhist nun, Bhiksuni Jampa Tsedroen is an active teacher, translator, author, and speaker. She is instrumental in campaigning for equal rights for Buddhist nuns.
- Chatsumarn Kabilsingh (now Bhikkhuni Dhammananda)
- On February 28, 2003, Kabilsingh received full bhikkhuni ordination in Sri Lanka making her the first Thai woman to receive full ordination as a Theravada nun in Dharmaguptaka ordination lineage. The Temple complex which was founded by Venerable Dhammananda's mother is called Wat Songdhammakalyani, or the “temple where women uphold the Dharma.” The temple is located in the town of Nakhon Pathom, near Bangkok, Thailand.
- Bhikshuni Karma Lekshe Tsomo
- A professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of San Diego. Bhiksuni Karma Lekshe Tsomo received novice precepts in 1977 and full ordination in 1982. She studied Buddhism in Dharamsala for 15 years and received a doctorate in Comparative Philosophy from the University of Hawai`i in 2000. She is a past president of Sakyadhita and director of Jamyang Foundation, an innovative education project for women in developing countries.
- Bhikshuni Karuna Dharma
- One of the first American Buddhist women to receive full ordination and has been a pioneer in interreligious dialogue, Bhiksuni Karuna Dharma has a Ph.D in English from the University of Michigan. A founding member of Sakyadhita: International Asssociation of Buddhist Women, she is currently director of the International Meditation Center in Los Angeles.
- Ayya Khema Bhikkhuni (1923-1997)
- A Buddhist teacher, Bhikkhuni Khema was born as Ilse Kussel in Berlin, Germany, to Jewish parents. Having escaped Nazi persecution during World War II she eventually moved to the United States.
- Bhikkhu Mahaghosananda
- A highly revered Cambodian Buddhist monk in the Theravada tradition, Bhikkhu Mahaghosananda served as the Patriarch (Sangharaja) of Cambodian Buddhism during the Khmer Rouge period and post-communist transition period of Cambodian history.
- Bhikshuni Pema Chodron
- A notable American figure in Tibetan Buddhism, Bhikshuni Pema Chödrön was a disciple of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. She is an ordained nun, author, and teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage Trungpa founded.
- Gesshin Myoko Prabhasa Dharma
- a German-born Zen teacher who founded the International Zen Institute of America and Europe. In 1981 she met her teacher, Thich Man Giac, who transmitted the Dharma to her in 1985. She trained many students in both the United States and Europe, combining elements of both Japanese and Vietnamese Zen while not being culturally beholden to either.
- Sylvia Wetzel
- A Buddhist feminist, Sylvia Wetzel has made a name for herself in the Buddhist community of Germany in the topics of meditation and spirituality among women.
Lien Bui, SI Treasurer; Bhikshuni Nho Nghiem, SI Secretary; and Bhikshuni Karma Lekshe Tsomo, Branch & Chapter Coordinator
2009-2013 Past Executive Committee
2000-2009 Past Executive Committee
President: Bhikkshuni Karma Lekshe Tsomo
Vice-president: Christie Yuling Chang
Secretary: Carol Stevens
Treasurer: Rebecca Paxton
Branch & Chapter Coordinator: Evelyn Diane Cowie
Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo (left), Christie Yuling Chang, Bhiksuni Karma Lekshe Tsomo with monastics at the 13th Sakyadhita International Conference Partipants, 2013
Were You a Founding Member?
1st Sakyadhita International Conference Partipants, 1987
Because of your dedication to gender equality in Buddhism, a movement was started that would become Sakyadhita.
Were you there for the first International Conference on Buddhist Nuns? This conference paved the path for future generations, so we would like to hear from you! Please email us with photos and stories. If you'd like to set up an interview for the Awakening Buddhist Women blog please contact the blog's coordinators at this link.
Bhikshuni Karma Lekshe Tsomo and Chatsumarn Kabilsingh (now Bhikkhuni Dhammananda), 1st Sakyadhita International Conference, 1987