Venerable Thubten Chodron
Venerable Thubten Chodron (德林 — De Lin) was born in Chicago in 1950 and grew up near Los Angeles. She graduated with a BA in history from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1971. After traveling through Europe, North Africa, and Asia for one and a half years, she received a teaching credential and went to the University of Southern California to do postgraduate work in education while working as a teacher in the Los Angeles school system.
In 1975, she attended a meditation course given by Lama Thubten Yeshe and Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche, and subsequently went to Kopan, their monastery in Nepal, to continue studying and practicing Buddha’s teachings. In 1977, she received sramaneri (novice) ordination from Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan.
She studied and practiced Buddhism in the Tibetan tradition for many years in India and Nepal under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tsenzhap Serkong Rinpoche, Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche and other Tibetan masters. She directed the spiritual program at Lama Tzong Khapa Institute in Italy for nearly two years, studied three years at Dorje Pamo Monastery in France, and was resident teacher at Amitabha Buddhist Center in Singapore. For ten years she was resident teacher at Dharma Friendship Foundation in Seattle.
Venerable Chodron took part in the conferences of Western Buddhist teachers with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1993 and 1994, and was a co-organizer of the “Life as a Western Buddhist Nun” conference in Bodhgaya in 1996. Active in interfaith events, she was present at the Jewish delegation’s visit to Dharamsala, India, in 1990, which was the basis for Rodger Kamenetz’s The Jew in the Lotus, and attended the Second Gethsemani Encounter in 2002. She has also been present at several of the Mind and Life Conferences in which His Holiness the Dalai Lama dialogues with Western scientists, and regularly attends the annual Western Buddhist Monastic Gatherings. She is active in Dharma outreach to people who are incarcerated in prisons.
Venerable Chodron travels worldwide to teach the Dharma: North America, Europe, Latin America, Israel, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and former Communist countries. Seeing the importance and necessity of a monastery for Westerners training in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, she founded Sravasti Abbey, a Buddhist monastic community north of Spokane, Washington, and is the abbess there. It is the only Tibetan Buddhist training monastery for Western monks and nuns in America.
Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of the Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She has published many books on Buddhist philosophy and meditation in multiple languages, and is currently co-authoring with His Holiness the Dalai Lama a multi-volume series of teachings on the Buddhist path, The Library of Wisdom and Compassion. Her Buddhism for Beginners and Open Heart, Clear Mind are widely recommended introductory books.
Many of her talks can be found on this site in both written and audio form, short daily talks on video, longer video talks, and live Internet teachings. You can also follow Venerable Chodron on Facebook and Twitter.
Learn more about Sravasti Abbey at sravastiabbey.org.
Venerable Thubten Chodron teaches Buddhism worldwide. Watch and read her reflections on different Buddhist traditions and communities in countries she has visited. Follow Venerable Thubten Chodron’s teaching schedule here.