Ayya Santussika, in residence at Karuna Buddhist Vihara (Compassion Monastery), spent five years as an anagarika (eight-precept nun), then ordained as a samaneri (ten-precept nun) in 2010 and as a bhikkhuni (311 rules) in 2012 at Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara in Los Angeles.
Ayya Santussika was born in Illinos in 1954 and grew up on a farm in Indiana. While being a single mother, she received BS and MS degrees in computer science and moved with her two children to the San Francisco Bay Area. She worked as a software designer and developer for fifteen years. Her search for deeper meaning and ways to be of service led her to train as an interfaith minister in a four-year seminary program that culminated in an Masters of Divinity degree and a brief period of practice as a minister before ordaining as a Buddhist nun. She is currently serving on the Board of Directors for Buddhist Global Relief.
Amma Ṭhanasanti is a California born spiritual teacher dedicated to serving all beings. Since she first encountered the Dharma in 1979, she has been committed to awakening. As a former Buddhist nun of 26 years, she combines the precision and rigor of the Ajahn Chah Forest Tradition, compassion, pure awareness practices and a passion for wholeness. Amma has been teaching intensive meditation retreats in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia since 1995. She invites an openness to pause and inquire into the truth of the present moment, integrating what is liberating at the core of our human condition.
I am many things: a Clinical Psychologist, a meditation teacher, a wife of 42 years, a step mother, a grandmother, a gardener, a photographer and a life-long student. I have had a thirty year private psychotherapy practice in my home town of Charlottesville, Virginia. Shortly after beginning my professional career, I discovered Vipassana meditation which I have been practicing since 1985, with a special and passionate interest in the relationships between meditation practice, psychotherapy and spiritual discovery and growth. I am a co-founder and guiding teacher of the Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville, a vibrant local practice community. Since 2009, I also have been a senior teacher of the relational meditation practice of Insight Dialogue (ID) which I teach worldwide. I have led workshops and retreats on meditation and its integration with psychotherapy, both nationally and internationally, for over 20 years. I continue to return to my Virginia home where I live with my husband and our two very spoiled cats.