Thubten Chodron

Last updated
Thubten Chodron
Ven Chodron Portrait.jpg
Thubten Chodron
Cheryl Greene

September 18, 1950 [1]
Religion Tibetan Buddhism
School Gelug

Thubten Chodron (德林 — De Lin), born Cheryl Greene, is an American Tibetan Buddhist nun, author, teacher, and the founder and abbess of Sravasti Abbey, the only Tibetan Buddhist training monastery for Western nuns and monks in the United States. [2] Chodron is a central figure in the reinstatement of the Bhikshuni (tib. Gelongma) ordination of women. She is a student of the 14th Dalai Lama, Tsenzhab Serkong Rinpoche, Lama Thubten Yeshe, Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, and other Tibetan masters. She has published many books on Buddhist philosophy and meditation, and is the only nun who has co-authored a book with the Dalai Lama—Buddhism: One Teacher, Many Traditions. [3]

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.

Sravasti Abbey

Sravasti Abbey, the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery for Western nuns and monks in the U.S., was established in Washington State by Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron in 2003. Whilst practicing in the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition, Sravasti Abbey monastics ordain in the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya. It is situated on 300 acres (1.2 km2) of forest and meadows, 11 miles (18 km) outside of Newport, Washington, near the Idaho state line. It is open to visitors who want to learn about community life in a Tibetan Buddhist monastic setting.

14th Dalai Lama The 14th Dalai Lama

The 14th Dalai Lama is the current Dalai Lama. Dalai Lamas are important monks of the Gelug school, the newest school of Tibetan Buddhism, which was formally headed by the Ganden Tripas. From the time of the 5th Dalai Lama to 1959, the central government of Tibet, the Ganden Phodrang, invested the position of Dalai Lama with temporal duties.



Born in 1950, Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron grew up in a "non-religious Jewish" family near Los Angeles, California and earned her B.A. in history from 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 post-graduate work in education while working as a teacher in the Los Angeles City School System. In 1975, she attended a meditation course given by Lama Thubten Yeshe and Kyabje Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, and subsequently went to Kopan Monastery in Nepal to continue studying Buddhism. In 1977 she was ordained as a Buddhist nun by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamshala, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan.

Los Angeles City in California

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California; the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City; and the third-most populous city in North America, after Mexico City and New York City. With an estimated population of nearly four million people, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood, the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis.

California U.S. state in the United States

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents across a total area of about 163,696 square miles (423,970 km2), California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second-most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.

University of Southern California Private research university in Los Angeles, California, United States

The University of Southern California is a private research university in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1880, it is the oldest private research university in California. For the 2018–19 academic year, there were 20,000 students enrolled in four-year undergraduate programs. USC also has 27,500 graduate and professional students in a number of different programs, including business, law, engineering, social work, occupational therapy, pharmacy, and medicine. It is the largest private employer in the city of Los Angeles and generates $8 billion in economic impact on Los Angeles and California.

Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron has studied and practiced Buddhism in the Tibetan tradition extensively in India and Nepal under the guidance of the 14th Dalai Lama, Tsenzhab Serkong Rinpoche, Lama Thubten Yeshe, Thubten Zopa Rinpoche and other Tibetan masters and for three years at Dorje Pamo Monastery in France. She directed the spiritual program at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa in Italy [1] for nearly two years, was resident teacher at Amitabha Buddhist Centre in Singapore, [1] and for 10 years was spiritual director and resident teacher at Dharma Friendship Foundation in Seattle, US. [1]

Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa

The Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa (ILTK) in Pomaia, a village in Tuscany, in Italy is a branch of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an international network of Gelugpa dharma centers. It is named for Tsongkhapa, founder of the Gelugpa monastic order of Tibetan Buddhism. The Dalai Lama has taught there on several occasions.

Amitabha Buddhist Centre

Amitabha Buddhist Centre is a Buddhist institution in Geylang, Singapore. It is affiliated with the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an international non-profit organisation, founded by Lama Thubten Yeshe.

Seattle City in Washington, United States

Seattle is a seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the seat of King County, Washington. With an estimated 744,955 residents as of 2018, Seattle is the largest city in both the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region of North America. According to U.S. Census data released in 2018, the Seattle metropolitan area's population stands at 3.94 million, and ranks as the 15th largest in the United States. In July 2013, it was the fastest-growing major city in the United States and remained in the top 5 in May 2015 with an annual growth rate of 2.1%. In July 2016, Seattle was again the fastest-growing major U.S. city, with a 3.1% annual growth rate. Seattle is the northernmost large city in the United States.

Emphasizing the practical application of the Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives, Thubten Chodron tries to explain them in ways easily understood and practised by Westerners. She has worked on re-establishing the Bhikshuni lineage of Buddhist nuns, cultivating interfaith dialogue, and Dharma outreach in prisons. 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, WA and is the abbess there. It is the only Tibetan Buddhist training monastery for Western monks and nuns in America.

Thubten Chodron is also author or editor of more than 25 books on Buddhism, including two works co-written with the 14th Dalai Lama: Buddhism: One Teacher, Many Traditions and Approaching the Buddhist Path, the first in a multi-volume collection presenting the Dalai Lama’s comprehensive explanation of the Buddhist path. Other popular works include Buddhism for Beginners; Open Heart, Clear Mind; Working with Anger; and Don’t Believe Everything You Think. [4]

Thubten Chodron was a co-organizer of Life as a Western Buddhist Nun, [5] an international conference of Western Buddhist nuns held in 1996. She was a participant in the 1993 and 1994 Western Buddhist teachers conferences with the 14th Dalai Lama, and she was instrumental in the creation of the 2007 International Congress on Buddhist Women's Role in the Sangha. She is a member of the Committee for Bhikshuni Ordination and attends the annual Western Buddhist Monastic Gathering in the USA. Keen on interfaith dialogue, she was present during the Jewish delegation’s visit to Dharamshala in 1990, which was the basis for Rodger Kamenetz’s The Jew in the Lotus , and she attended the Second Gethsemani Encounter in 2002. [6] She has been present at several Mind and Life Institute conferences in which the 14th Dalai Lama dialogues with Western scientists.

The International Congress on Buddhist Women's Role in the Sangha: Bhikshuni Vinaya and Ordination Lineages was an historic event that took place July 18–20, 2007. It was a meeting of internationally recognized Buddhist scholars specializing in monastic discipline and history, as well as practitioners. It was expected to be the final discussion of a decades-long dialogue about re-establishing full bhikshuni ordination in Buddhist traditions. Papers and research based on Buddhist texts and contemporary practice traditions in China, Korea, Taiwan, Tibet, and South Asia were presented, between them the Abstract: The Eight Garudhammas. The fourteenth Dalai Lama attended the final day of the conference and conclusions. His letter of support is available to the public.

Dharamshala City in Himachal Pradesh, India

Dharamshala is the district headquarters of Kangra district in India. It was formerly known as Bhagsu. The Dalai Lama's residence and the headquarters of the Central Tibetan Administration are in Dharamshala. Dharamshala is 18 km (11 mi) from Kangra. Dharamshala has been selected as one of the hundred Indian cities to be developed as a smart city under PM Narendra Modi's flagship Smart Cities Mission. On 19 January 2017, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh declared Dharamshala as the second capital of Himachal Pradesh state, making Himachal Pradesh the third state of India with two capitals after Jammu and Kashmir and Maharashtra.

Rodger Kamenetz American writer

Rodger Kamenetz is an American poet and author. He is best known as the author of The Jew in the Lotus (1994), an account of the historic dialogue between rabbis and the XIV Dalai Lama.

Thubten Chodron travels worldwide to teach the Dharma: North America, Latin America, Singapore, Malaysia, India, and the former Soviet countries. Seeing the importance and necessity of a monastery for Westerners training in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, she founded Sravasti Abbey, a Buddhist monastery in Newport, Washington, USA, in 2003, and became its abbess. [2]

In 2016 she was awarded the Global Bhikkhuni Award, presented by the Chinese Buddhist Bhikkhuni Association of Taiwan. [7]

Teaching Schedule

Thubten Chodron permanently resides at Sravasti Abbey in Washington State, USA when she is not on her international teaching tours.

The Abbey has a yearly program of weekly teachings as well as various teaching and meditation retreats:

The international teaching schedule can also be accessed via the Abbey events page. [8]


Edited by Thubten Chodron:

See also

Related Research Articles

Tibetan Buddhism is the form of Buddhism practiced in Tibet where it is the dominant religion. It is also found in the regions surrounding the Himalayas, much of Chinese Central Asia, the Southern Siberian regions such as Tuva, as well as Mongolia.

Pema Chödrön American philosopher

Pema Chödrön is an American Tibetan Buddhist. She is an ordained nun, acharya and disciple of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Chödrön has written several dozen books and audiobooks, and is principal teacher at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Lamrim is a Tibetan Buddhist textual form for presenting the stages in the complete path to enlightenment as taught by Buddha. In Tibetan Buddhist history there have been many different versions of lamrim, presented by different teachers of the Nyingma, Kagyu and Gelug schools. However, all versions of the lamrim are elaborations of Atiśa's 11th-century root text A Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment (Bodhipathapradīpa).

Kalu Rinpoche Tibetan lama

Kalu Rinpoche was a Buddhist lama, meditation master, scholar and teacher. He was one of the first Tibetan masters to teach in the West.

Jamgon Kongtrul

Jamgön Kongtrül Lodrö Thayé, also known as Jamgön Kongtrül the Great, was a Tibetan Buddhist scholar, poet, artist, physician, tertön and polymath. He was one of the most prominent Tibetan Buddhists of the 19th century and he is credited as one of the founders of the Rimé movement (non-sectarian), compiling what is known as the "Five Great Treasuries". He achieved great renown as a scholar and writer, especially among the Nyingma and Kagyu lineages and composed over 90 volumes of Buddhist writing, including his magnum opus, The Treasury of Knowledge.

Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition

The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) was founded in 1975 by Lamas Thubten Yeshe and Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, who began teaching Buddhism to Western students in Nepal. The FPMT has grown to encompass over 160 Dharma centers, projects, and services in 37 countries. Since the death of Lama Yeshe in 1984, the FPMT's spiritual director has been Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

Thubten Zopa Rinpoche Buddhist lama

Thubten Zopa Rinpoche is a Nepali lama from Khumbu, the entryway to Mount Everest.

Pratimokṣa collection of rules for Buddhist nuns and monks

The Pratimokṣa is a list of rules governing the behaviour of Buddhist monastics. Prati means "towards" and mokṣa means "liberation" from cyclic existence (saṃsāra).

Tenzin Palmo Tibetan Buddhist nun

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo is a bhikṣuṇī in the Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. She is an author, teacher and founder of the Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery in Himachal Pradesh, India. She is best known for being one of the very few Western yoginis trained in the East, having spent twelve years living in a remote cave in the Himalayas, three of those years in strict meditation retreat.

Nicholas Ribush was one of the first Westerners to be ordained as a monk in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. A founder of Wisdom Publications, Ribush is today the director of the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive, a collection of thousands of teachings by Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, who pioneered the teaching of Tibetan Buddhism in the West.

Glenn H. Mullin tibetologist

Glenn H. Mullin is a Tibetologist, Buddhist writer, translator of classical Tibetan literature and teacher of Tantric Buddhist meditation.

Lama Tsultrim Allione is an author and teacher who has studied in Tibetan Buddhism's Karma Kagyu lineage. She was born in 1947 in Maine under the name Joan Rousmanière Ewing. She first travelled to India and Nepal in 1967, returned in 1969 and January 1970 she became one of the first American women to be ordained as a Tibetan nun. She was given her vows by the Karmapa, from the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, who gave her the name Karma Tsultrim Chodron. Allione gave back her monastic vows four years later and married. She has given birth to four children, one of whom died from sudden infant death syndrome. Tsultrim Allione continued her studies and Buddhist practice, which led to the 1984 publication of her book Women of Wisdom, a collection of the namtar of six Tibetan Buddhist yogini such as Machig Labdrön, Ayu Khandro Dorje Paldron (1839–1953), Nangsa Obum, Jomo Menmo (1248–1283), Machig Ongjo and Drenchen Rema. This is the work she's most well known for and it has since been translated from English into several foreign languages and expanded in a revised 2nd edition. In 1993, with her husband, David Petit, Tsultrim Allione founded Tara Mandala, a retreat center in southern Colorado, in the United States. As well as offering retreats at Tara Mandala, Allione regularly teaches in the United States and in Europe.

Lobsang Gyatso (monk) Tibetan monk

Lobsang Gyatso (1928–1997) was a Tibetan monk who founded the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics in India.

Freda Bedi British buddhist nun

Freda Bedi was a British woman who was the first Western woman to take ordination in Tibetan Buddhism, which occurred in 1972. She was born in Derby, England.

Thubten may refer to:

A bhikkhunī (Pali) or bhikṣuṇī (Sanskrit) is a fully ordained female monastic in Buddhism. Male monastics are called bhikkhus. Both bhikkhunis and bhikkhus live by the Vinaya, a set of rules. Until recently, the lineages of female monastics only remained in Mahayana Buddhism and thus are prevalent in countries such as China, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam but a few women have taken the full monastic vows in the Theravada and Vajrayana schools over the last decade. From conservative perspectives, none of the contemporary bhikkuni ordinations are valid.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Chodron, Thubten 1950–". Contemporary Authors . 2007-01-01. Archived from the original on 2012-11-04. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  2. 1 2 "Home - Sravasti Abbey - A Buddhist Monastery". Sravasti Abbey. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  3. "Buddhism: One Teacher, Many Traditions". Thubten Chodron. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  4. "Books by Venerable Thubten Chodron". Retrieved 2017-07-30.
  5. "Life as a Western Buddhist Nun". Thubten Chodron. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  6. "The second Gethsemani Encounter". Thubten Chodron. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  7. November 10, 2016 (2016-11-10). "8 North American Buddhist nuns, including Pema Chödrön and Thubten Chodron, receive "Global Bhikkhuni Award" - Lion's Roar". Retrieved 2016-12-10.
  8. 1 2 "Events - Sravasti Abbey - A Buddhist Monastery". Sravasti Abbey. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  9. "eNews: April 2017 - Sravasti Abbey - A Buddhist Monastery". 4 April 2017.