WAiB Pages

Female Teachers in Buddhism


Ven. Tenzin Palmo Ven. Tenzin Palmo is an English-born nun - and the first Western woman to do a traditional 12-year retreat in the Himalayas (see Vicki Mackenzie's book Cave in the Snow: A Western Woman's Quest for Enlightenment).  She is fundraising for a new nunnery, Dongyu Gatsal Ling, where she is working to re-establish the extinct lineage of togdenmas (yoginis) within the Drukpa Kagyu tradition.  For more details, see the Tenzin Palmo website - or read Tenzin Palmo is watering the nuns, a superb interview with Tenzin Palmo in the online edition of Ascent Magazine. Ven. Tenzin Palmo
Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery
Tashi Jong Po Taragarh
District Kangra
H.P. 176081

Adzom Rinpoche

A'dzom Rinpoche, teacher at Tsogyelgar, is a profound practitioner of Vajrayana whose life of compassion and service touches the hearts of all who meet her.  Rinpoche (born in 1961 in Connecticut) is recognized as an incarnation of Losal Drölma, the great yogini and sister of Do Khyentsé Yeshé Dorjé.  She concentrates her teaching efforts with those who have demonstrated a consistent and authentic dedication to both their personal spiritual development and the Nyingma lineage.   (See both the Tsogyelgar and Aro gTér biographies of Rinpoche for more information.) Flaming Jewel Dharma Center/Tsogyelgar
211 E. Ann Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
tel (734) 665-2456
Ven. Robina Courtin The Venerable Robina Courtin has been a nun for over 20 years in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. She spent 10 years editing for Wisdom Publications and has taught and coordinated courses worldwide for over a decade. She is the main editor of Mandala, an international Buddhist newsmagazine, and is director of the Liberation Prison Project. Ven. Robina's prison work was recently profiled in an award-winning documentary, Chasing Buddha (see the Sundance Film Festival summary for details, and Radio National Arts Today for a review and audience response). Liberation Prison Project
Director Ven. Robina Courtin

PO Box 33
Taos, NM 87571, USA
tel (505) 758-7894


To learn more about the
Chasing Buddha documentary,
contact LiberationPP@compuserve.com

Jétsunma Khandro Ten'dzin Drölkar Jétsunma Khandro Ten'dzin Drölkar is a Dzogchen practitioner and accomplished Tibetan ngak'ma whose (brief) biography is provided on The Sangha of Ngakpas and Ngakmos website, as related to Ngak'ma Shardröl Wangmo in Yang-lé-shöd in 1995.  The Aro gTér website also provides further information about Jétsunma Khandro Ten'dzin Drölkar and her life, along with several photographs. Not available
no photo available Chögé Susan Hutchison (Karma Khandro) is the resident teacher of the Marpa Gompa Meditation Society of Calgary, Alberta (see their schedule page for further details).  The centre's spiritual head is the Sakya and Karma-Kagyu lama Karma Thinley Rinpoche, who is resident in Toronto and also has a network of centres (the Dechen Community) in the UK.  Marpa Gompa Meditation Society
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
tel (403) 240-9836
tel (403) 283-0195

Ngakma Nor’dzin Rang-jung Pamo Ngakma Nor’dzin Rang-jung Pamo was the first Western Ngakma to wear the robes of the white sangha (dGe dun dKar po) in the West.  She and her husband Ngak'pa ’ö-Dzin are a "teaching couple" within the Aro gTér tradition of the Nyingma School. They have a wealth of experience in helping people with every-day problems, in which of the stresses and strains of ordinary life become the subject matter of Tantric practice.  They also offer a parents' perspective on integrating child-rearing with practice. Sang-ngak-chö-dzong
P O Box 65
Penarth, South Glamorgan CF64 1XY
United Kingdom

See also UK teaching schedule
no photo available Lama Karma Sönam Lhadön is a teacher, a fully ordained nun (gelongma), and a student of H.H. Tai Situ Rinpoche.  She did her three-year retreat in Scotland at Samye Ling Monastery under the guidance of Retreat Master Lama Yeshe. She also resided for three years prior to that at Sherabling Monastery attending classes with the rest of Situ Rinpoche's monks at his monastic seat in India.  Lama Lhadön has her own website, Rain of Blessing, where you can read her online teachings as well as those of other lamas. Rain of Blessing

Tsultrim Allione

Ven. Tsultrim Allione was among the first Western women ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist nun, and has made great efforts to create teaching methods to facilitate Western understanding of Buddhism. Tsultrim wrote the classic Women of Wisdom, and is empowered by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche to teach the practice of Chöd.  She is also founder and director of Tara Mandala Retreat Center in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Tara Mandala
PO Box 3040
Pagosa Springs, CO 81147
tel (970) 264-6177
fax (970) 264-6169
Ven. Khandro Dechen Western-born Khandro Déchen Tsédrup Yeshé is lineage-holder, with husband Ngak'chang Rinpoche, of the Aro gTér, a non-monastic Nyingma lineage emanating from a succession of enlightened women which specializes in Dzogchen and emphasizes the importance of everyday life as practice.  A former hospice home care nurse, Khandro Déchen is known for the warmth, gentleness and humour she brings to her Dharma teaching.   She is a gifted thangka painter and teacher whose thangkas and line drawings can be seen on the Aro gTér site; she also teaches and gives transmission through gar 'chams (Tantric dance). United Kingdom:
P.O. Box 65, Penarth,

South Glamorgan CF64 1XY, UK
tel (01654) 710914 - West Wales
tel (01753) 852542 - SE England
USA:  Aro Gar
P.O. Box 247 Chelsea Station
New York, NY 10113-0247, USA
tel (212) 439-4780

See sangha page for other addresses

Ven. Bhiksuni Ann McNeil

Ven. Bhiksuni (Anila) Ann McNeil is a 66-year-old Canadian who has been a Tibetan Buddhist nun for 25 years.  She was one of the first westerners to be ordained and spent years with her first teacher, the late Lama Yeshe.  Anila Ann now serves as the Buddhist chaplain for federal prisons in lower mainland B.C.  She recently founded the Khachö Zung Juk Ling Nunnery (an FPMT centre) in White Rock, and also teaches part-time in Vancouver at Zuru Ling Centre (spiritual director Ven. Zasep Tulku Rinpoche). Ven. Bhiksuni (Anila) Ann McNeil
ö Zung Juk Ling Nunnery
1008-15280 North Bluff Road
White Rock, BC  V4B 3E8
tel/fax (604) 541-8797
Ven. Thubten Chodron Ven. Bhiksuni Thubten Chödron (Cherry Greene) is an American nun in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and was ordained in 1977.  She is currently the resident teacher at the Dharma Friendship Foundation in Seattle.  Her books include Open Heart, Clear Mind and What Color is Your Mind?. Her online teachings include Questions on Buddhism and the Praises and Requests to the Twenty-One Taras (a practice centered upon a female meditational deity).   Chödron also wrote the report on Life as a Buddhist Nun.  See her current schedule of teachings. Dharma Friendship Foundation
PO Box 30011
Seattle, WA 98103, USA
tel (206) 286-9729
Lama Yeshe Wangmo Lama Yeshe Wangmo is Hawaii's resident lama for the Vajrayana Foundation and is based at Orgyen Dechen Cho Dzong (the retreat centre of Dzogchen master Lama Tharchin Rinpoche), on Hawaii's Big Island.  She teaches regularly in Hawaii and on the mainland -- consult her teaching schedule for details.  Lama Yeshe is active in working with convicts on Death Row -- see the interview with her on Death Row transformations for more information.  She has prepaed a publication on the life-story of Yeshe Tsogyal as a way of experiencing the Vajrayana path in the context of Western individualism. Lama Yeshe Wangmo, Direcvtor
Vajrayana Foundation Hawai'i
P.O. Box 6780
Ocean View, Hawaii  96737-6780
tel (808) 939-9889

fax (808) 939-8490
Chagdud Khandro (Jane Tromge) Chagdud Khadro (Jane Tromge) is the wife of H.E. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche.   Recognizing her special ability to help others generate signs of p'howa accomplishment, Rinpoche authorized her to teach, which she has done in the United States, Europe and Brazil.  She is developing p'howa support groups of practitioners who make a commitment to give each other spiritual assistance at the time of dying.  Her book, P'howa Commentary, has recently been published by Padma Books.  Chagdud Khadro currently resides in Brazil. Chagdud Gonpa Khadro Ling
CX Postal 12195.660.000 -
Tres Coroăs, R.S., Brasil
tel (011-55-51) 501-1411
Doljin Kandro Suren The practice of Buddhism was forbidden in Communist Mongolia until very recently, and people who continued to practise -- and teach -- risked their lives to do so.  The story of such a heroine, the late Chöd yogini Doljin Kandro Suren, is told in the Mystic Fire video We Will Meet Again in the Land of the Dakini. See audiovisual page
for ordering information
Lama Tsering Everest Lama Tsering Everest is the teacher at Chagdud Gonpa Odsal Ling, a centre of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism located in Săo Paolo, Brazil.  The centre is a member of the Chagdud Gonpa Foundation, an international non-profit organization founded by H.E. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche, with member centres in the U.S.A., Canada and Brazil. c/o Chagdud Gonpa Odsal Ling
AL. dos Araes 117 Planalto Paulista
Săo Paolo, S.P.
CCEP 04066-000 Brasil
tel (011-55-11) 276-1716
Lene Handberg Dr. Lene Handberg, psychologist and psychotherapist U.D., has been studying Tibetan philosophy, psychology, meditation and psychotherapy with Tarab Tulku for 15 years, and has also studied with several other well-known Tibetan scholars.  She has helped Tarab Tulku in establishing the Tarab Institutes in Europe, leads courses throughout Europe and the United States, and is the President of the T.I.-Denmark. c/o Tarab Institutes
Dagmola Ven. Jamyang Sakya (known to her students as Dagmola) is a Tibetan Buddhist teacher of the Sakya order based at Seattle's Sakya Monastery.  She is the wife of Jidgal Dagchen Sakya Rinpoche and cousin to H.H. Sakya Trizin and Jetsunma Kusho Chimey Luding (see below).   She specialises in the practices of the female Buddha Tara and has been called one of the finest teachers in the West.  Dagmola is featured in The Book of Tibetan Elders. Sakya Monastery
108 NW 83rd Street
Seattle, WA 98109, USA
tel (206) 789-2573
fax (206) 789-3994

Contact person Ken Hockett (Ngawang Rabten) may be reached at (360) 793-2198 or via e-mail at khockett@ix.netcom.com
Jetsun Ahkon Lhamo Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo is an American tulku (reincarnate lama) of Jewish-Italian background who belongs to the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.  She is the resident teacher of Kunzang Palyul Chöling in Poolesville, Maryland, USA. Transcriptions of her Dharma talks are available on-line.   The center also offers a recording of chanted prayer by Jetsunma called Invocation. Kunzang Palyul Chöling
18400 River Road
Poolesville, MD 20837

tel (301) 428-8116

Kelsang Chowang Ven. Kelsang Chowang is an English Buddhist nun and resident teacher at Heruka Centre, the London centre of the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT), a Mahayana Buddhist organisation founded by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Heruka Buddhist Centre
13 Woodstock Road
Golders Green
London  NW11 8ES, UK
tel 0181 455 7563
fax 0181 9055280
Ani Kelsang Rigma Ani Kelsang Rigma has been a teacher of meditation and Buddhism for over 10 years. Ordained 6 years ago, she teaches at Khedrupje Buddhist Centre in Hull, UK.   Her teachings are very clear, accessable and easy to apply to daily life.   Khedrupje is a centre of the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT), the Dharma organisation founded by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Khedrupje Buddhist Centre
185 Coltman Street
Hull  HU3 2SQ, UK
tel 01482 324940
Ven. Khandro Rinpoche Ven. Khandro Rinpoche is a Tibetan tulku (incarnate lama), also ordained as a nun, within the Kagyu tradition who travels and teaches throughout Europe and North America (predominantly at the Shambhala centres).  See her website for her schedule of teachings in the West.   Rinpoche's residence is the Samten Tse Retreat Centre for Nuns, Mussoorie, North India -- a women's retreat centre for individual retreats and for resident nuns. Khandro Rinpoche
Samten Tse Retreat Centre for Nuns

Fairlawn Estate Palace
Post Office Jharipani
Mussoorie (U.P.)

Virginia Smith (Rinpoche's secretary):
Anne Carolyn Klein, Ph.D. Ven. Anne Carolyn Klein, Ph.D is a well-known author, professor, translator and meditation teacher and a founding director of Dawn Mountain.  She has been a student of Khetsun Sangpo Rinpoche since 1973 and received teaching authorization from him in 1995. She has also studied extensively with a number of prominent Geluk and Dzogchen teachers in India, Nepal and the U.S., and teaches within those traditions.  See her events page for upcoming teachings. Dawn Mountain
(mailing address:)
4615 Post Oak Place, Suite 204
Houston, TX 77027

tel (713) 222-2331
Ven. Cecilie Kwiat Ven. Cecilie Kwiat has studied and practised within Theravada and Vajrayana since 1965, and was appointed by H.H. the 16th Karmapa to be the first resident teacher at the Karma Kagyu Centre of Toronto (North America's largest Kagyu centre at the time).  She now lives, teaches and leads retreats in Calgary, Canada.   Cecilie is also my beloved first teacher, so I can personally recommend her very highly!  See her take on the subject of women in western Buddhism (in a 1991 interview).

Cecilie Kwiat
Didsbury, Alberta
E-mail ckwiat@telusplanet.net

Jetsun Kushok Chime Luding Jetsunma Kusho Chimey Luding is the resident lama of Sakya Tsechen Thubten Ling (the Vancouver Sakya Centre) in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada.  She is one of the seniormost lamas of the Sakya lineage and is sister of the head of the lineage, H.H. Sakya Trizin.  Jetsunma is also regarded as an incarnation of the Highest Yoga Tantra female deity Vajrayogini. Vancouver Sakya Centre
(Sakya Tsechen Thubten Ling)
9471 Beckwith Road
Richmond, BC  V6X 1V8
tel (604) 244-9550

fax (604) 275-8933

no photo available

Donna McLaughlin has been studying Buddhism for over 25 years. She journeyed to India in 1970 and met her root lama, the Venerable Kalu Rinpoche. Coming back to the West, she helped establish Rinpoche's first center in North America in the early 1970's. Over the past seven years, Donna has done a tremendous job of compiling teachings from the Mahamudra teachings of the Kagyu lineage. She has been facilitating Mahamudra study groups, under the guidance of Thrangu Rinpoche and Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamsto during these years. Donna also has an extensive practice background in Chigung and is a healer and transformational body worker. Sukhasiddhi Foundation
P.O.Box 151327
San Rafael, CA 94915-1327
Lama Palden Drolma Lama Palden Drolma (Caroline Alioto) completed the traditional Tibetan Buddhist 3-year retreat under Kalu Rinpoche's guidance in British Columbia in 1985. In 1986 she became one of the first Western women to be authorized as a lama in the Vajrayana tradition. Since that time she has been teaching Buddhist philosophy and meditation. During the past 14 years Lama Palden has worked to culturally translate Vajrayana principles and practices in order to make them more accessible to Westerners. Lama Palden also has a deep interest in the psycho-spiritual development of the individual and the integration of spiritual awareness into daily and personal life. Sukhasiddhi Foundation
P.O.Box 151327
San Rafael, CA 94915-1327
E-mail palden@sukhasiddhi.org
Pema Chodron Ven. Bhiksuni Pema Chödrön, one of the foremost students of the late Ven. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, is the resident teacher/director (abbess) of Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, a Karma Kagyu centre affiliated with Vajradhatu.  Shambala Publications has an entire website devoted to Pema:   it includes book excerpts, a short bio, her teaching schedule and an online forum! Gampo Abbey
Pleasant Bay
Nova Scotia B0E 2P0
tel (902) 224-2752
fax (902) 224-1521
Lama Inge Sandvoss Lama Inge Sandvoss is the teacher at Padma Ling, a centre of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism.   The centre is a member of the Chagdud Gonpa Foundation, an international non-profit organization founded by H.E. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche, with member centres in the U.S.A., Canada and Brazil. Padma Ling
West 1014 Seventh Avenue
Spokane, WA 99204
tel (509) 747-1559
Sangye Khandro Ven. Sangye Khandro (Kathleen McDonald) is the resident teacher of the FPMT's Amitabha Buddhist Centre in Singapore and has been a nun since 1974.  Her book How to Meditate (see bibliography) is an excellent introduction to Buddhist practice.   Several short teachings and articles by Sangye Khandro are online at Amitabha Buddhist Centre, including "The Practice of Tara". Amitabha Buddhist Centre
494-D, Geylang Road
tel (65) 745 8547
fax (65) 741 0438

Ven. Thubten Dekyong (Tsenla) Ven. Thubten Dekyong ("Tsenla") was born in Lhasa, Tibet.  In 1965, like many other Tibetans, she had to move to Kathmandu, Nepal due to the Chinese invasion of Tibet. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1979 by Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Kopan Monastery, Kathmandu.  Tsenla has taught Buddhist meditation courses there and around the world, as well as acting as translator for various Tibetan Buddhist teachers.   She also established the Khachoe Ghakyil Nunnery in Kathmandu, Nepal. Thubten Shedrup Ling Center
P.O. Box 10566
Colorado Springs, CO 80932-1566
tel (719) 635-7804

Ven. Bhiksuni Tenzin Kacho Ven. Bhiksuni Tenzin Kacho is a resident teacher at Thubten Shadrub Ling in Colorado Springs, An American nun, Tenzin has practiced Buddhism since 1971 and was ordained by H.H. the Dalai Lama in 1985. She studies under the direction of Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen, spiritual director of Thubten Shadrub Ling (Colorado Springs) and Thubten Dhargye Ling (L.A.). Some of her teachings are online as RealAudio recordings.  Occasionally Tenzin lives at Geden Choeling Nunnery (Dharamsala, India) to study Dharma and Tibetan, and to teach English to resident nuns. Thubten Shedrup Ling Center
P.O. Box 10566
Colorado Springs, CO 80932-1566
Tel. (719) 635-7804

See the calendar of events
for locations of teachings

Yusen_sensei.gif (5364 bytes)

Ven. Yűsen Senseď was ordained a Shingon monk in 1975 along with her husband and teaching partner Ven. Yűkaď Senseď (Dr. Billaud).   Since 1989 they have been teaching Shingon, the Japanese school of Vajrayana, at the Kômyô-In Temple in the Burgundy town of Villeneuve Les Genets, 150km from Paris.  Ven. Yűsen Senseď is also a teacher of ikebana. Yukaď and Yűsen Senseď
Temple du Kômyô-In
"La Montagne"
89350 Villeneuve Les Genets

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This page was last amended on 6 December 2003.
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