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Thubten Chodron Bio, Life and Career:
Thubten Chodron ( — De Lin), formerly known as Cheryl Greene, is a Tibetan Buddhist nun, author, and teacher who was born in the United States. She is also the founder and abbess of Sravasti Abbey, which is the only Tibetan Buddhist training monastery in the United States that is open to Western nuns and monks. Chodron is a pivotal player in the movement to reestablish the female Bhikshuni (Tib. Gelongma) ordination.
She has studied under a variety of renowned Tibetan teachers, including the 14th Dalai Lama, Tsenzhab Serkong Rinpoche, Lama Thubten Yeshe, and Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, amongst others. She is the co-author with the Dalai Lama of a multi-volume series of teachings on the Buddhist path titled The Library of Wisdom and Compassion. She is the author of a number of works on Buddhist philosophy and meditation.
Thubten Chodron was born in 1950 and raised in a “non-religious Jewish” family close to Los Angeles, California. She attended the University of California at Los Angeles and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history there in 1971. After spending one and a half years backpacking across Europe, North Africa, and Asia, she obtained a teaching license and enrolled at the University of Southern California to pursue post-graduate studies in education while working as a teacher in the Los Angeles City School System.
She first became interested in Buddhism in 1975 when she went to a meditation class taught by Lama Thubten Yeshe and Kyabje Thubten Zopa Rinpoche. After that, she traveled to Kopan Monastery in Nepal to complete her education in Buddhism. She was given the ordination to become a Buddhist nun in 1977 in Dharamshala by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche, then in 1986 she was given the ordination to become a bhikshuni, which is the full ordination.
Chodron has spent a significant amount of time studying and practicing Buddhism in the Tibetan tradition, first in India and Nepal under the tutelage of the 14th Dalai Lama, Tsenzhab Serkong Rinpoche, Lama Thubten Yeshe, Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, and other Tibetan masters, and then in France at Dorje Pamo Monastery for three years.
She served as the resident teacher at the Amitabha Buddhist Centre in Singapore for nearly two years, and she served as the spiritual director and resident teacher at the Dharma Friendship Foundation in Seattle, Washington, in the United States for ten years. Both of these positions were in Italy. She directed the spiritual program at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa in Italy.
Chodron aims to convey the Buddha’s teachings in a way that can be simply comprehended and put into practice by Westerners. She places a strong emphasis on how the teachings of the Buddha can be applied in day-to-day living. She has worked on reviving the Bhikshuni lineage of Buddhist nuns, fostering interaction across different faiths, and bringing Dharma teachings into jails.
She built Sravasti Abbey, a Buddhist monastic community located north of Spokane, Washington, and serves as the abbess there. She did this because she recognized the significance and requirement of a monastery for Westerners seeking to train in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. It is the only Tibetan Buddhist training monastery in America that is specifically geared toward Western monks and nuns.
In addition, Chodron is the author or editor of more than 25 books on Buddhism. Two of these books were written in collaboration with the 14th Dalai Lama and are titled Buddhism: One Teacher, Many Traditions, and Approaching the Buddhist Path, respectively. Approaching the Buddhist Path is the first book in a multi-volume collection that presents the Dalai Lama’s comprehensive explanation of the Buddhist path. Other well-known works include Working with Anger, Buddhism for Beginners, Open Heart, Clear Mind, and Don’t Believe Everything You Think.
Life as a Western Buddhist Nun was a worldwide conference of Western Buddhist nuns that took place in 1996, and Chodron was one of the co-organizers of the event. She took part in the Western Buddhist teachers’ conferences held in 1993 and 1994 with the 14th Dalai Lama, and she played a pivotal role in the organization of the 2007 International Congress on Buddhist Women’s Role in the Sangha.
In addition to being a participant in the yearly Western Buddhist Monastic Gathering held in the United States, she is also a member of the Committee for Bhikshuni Ordination. She was present during the Jewish delegation’s visit to Dharamshala in 1990, which served as the foundation for Rodger Kamenetz’s book The Jew in the Lotus, and she attended the Second Gethsemani Encounter in 2002.
Her interest in interfaith interaction led her to participate in both of these events. She has been present at a number of seminars hosted by the Mind and Life Institute, where the 14th Dalai Lama has engaged in conversation with Western scientists.
Chodron teaches the Dharma all over the world, including in places such as North America, Latin America, Singapore, Malaysia, India, and the countries that formerly made up the Soviet Union. She saw the relevance and requirement of a monastery for Westerners training in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and in 2003 she founded Sravasti Abbey, a Buddhist monastery in Newport, Washington, in the United States, and became its abbess. Sravasti Abbey is located in the state of Washington.
The Chinese Buddhist Bhikkhuni Association of Taiwan bestowed upon her in the year 2016 the Global Bhikkhuni Award. This honor was given to her by the association.
Thubten Chodron Profile-
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