October 13, 2003 Ven. Thubten Chodron, ordained since 1977, moves into the newly founded Sravasti Abbey to establish a monastic training community
Spring 2004 Nanc Nesbitt moves to Sravasti Abbey
May 1, 2005 Jan Howell moves to Sravasti Abbey
Nov. 15, 2005 Jan Howell takes anagarika vows
October 2, 2006 Jan Howell ordained as Ven. Thubten Tarpa
December 5, 2006 Nanc Nesbitt takes anagarika vows
May 2007 Carl Willmott moves to Sravasti abbey
June 2007 Barbara McDaniel moves to Sravasti Abbey
September 7, 2007 Nanc Nesbitt ordained as Ven. Thubten Semkye
October 27, 2007 Barbara McDaniel takes anagarika vows
February 7, 2007 Carl Willmott takes anagarika vows
May 3, 2008 Barbara McDaniel ordained as Ven. Thubten Chonyi
September 1, 2008’ Carl Willmott III ordained Ven. Thubten Jampel,
November 13, 2008 Dianne Pratt takes anagarika vows
September 16, 2011 Ken Matthews takes anagarika vows
October 25, 2011, Ven. Thubten Yeshe takes shikshamana training precepts
October 25, 2011, Daniela Mieritz takes anagarika vows
October 25, 2011, Terri Chambers takes anagarika vows
Resident ordained community in Sravasti Abbey
Venerable Thubten Chodron, Founder and Abbess
Establishing Sravasti Abbey fulfills a long-held vision for Venerable Thubten Chodron: to train Western Sangha in the Buddha's pure teachings, doing prayers and practices in English, and incorporating the best elements of Western society—including gender equality and technology—to spread the Dharma.
Venerable Chodron is particularly qualified to teach Western monastics. A native of the U.S., she trained in Asia for many years, receiving novice vows from Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in 1977, and full ordination in Taiwan in 1986. She was resident teacher at Amitabha Buddhist Centre in Singapore and Dharma Friendship Foundation in Seattle. Her teachers include His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tsenzhap Serkong Rinpoche, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, and Lama Thubten Yeshe among others.
In her thirty plus years of ordained life, Venerable Chodron has lived in several monastic communities in Asia and in the West. She brings her wisdom from these experiences to shape the growing monastic community at Sravasti Abbey. In her vision, a flourishing Western Sangha is essential to preserve the Buddha's precious teachings, bringing peace to countless beings in countless future lives.
Venerable Thubten Tarpa is an American practicing in the Tibetan tradition since 2000 when she took formal refuge. She has lived at Sravasti Abbey under the guidance of Venerable Thubten Chodron since May of 2005. She was the first person to ordain at Sravasti Abbey, taking her sramanerika and sikasamana ordinations with Venerable Chodron as her preceptor in 2006. Her other main teachers are H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya and H.E. Dagmo Kusho. She has had the good fortune to receive teachings from some of Venerable Chodron’s teachers as well.
Before moving to Sravasti Abbey, Venerable Tarpa (then Jan Howell) worked as a Physical Therapist/Athletic Trainer for 30 years in colleges, hospital clinics, and private practice settings. In this career she had the opportunity to help patients and teach students and colleagues, which was very rewarding. She has B.S. degrees from Michigan State and University of Washington and an M.S. degree from the University of Oregon. She is currently the Abbey’s liaison for the building projects and manages the audio and written transcription of teachings.
On December 20, 2008 Ven. Tarpa traveled to Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights California receiving bhikhshuni ordination. The temple is affiliated with Taiwan’s Fo Guang Shan Buddhist order
Ven. Semkye was the Abbey’s first lay resident, coming to help Venerable Chodron with the gardens and land management in the spring of 2004. She became the Abbey’s third nun in 2007.
She met Venerable Chodron at the Dharma Friendship Foundation in Seattle, when she was still known as Nanc Nesbitt, in 1996. She took refuge in 1999.
When the land was acquired for the Abbey in 2003, Nanc coordinated volunteers for the initial move-in and early remodeling. A founder of Friends of Sravasti Abbey, she accepted the position of chairperson to provide the Four Requisites for the monastic community. Realizing that was a difficult task to do from 350 miles away, she moved to the Abbey in spring of 2004.
Although she didn’t originally see ordination in her future, after the 2006 Chenresig retreat when she spent half of her meditation time reflecting on death and impermanence, Nanc realized that ordaining would be the wisest, most compassionate use of her life.
Ven. Semkye draws on her extensive experience in landscaping and horticulture to manage the Abbey’s forests and gardens. She oversees "Offering Volunteer Service Weekends" during which volunteers help with construction, gardening, and forest stewardship.
Ven. Chonyi met Venerable Chodron in the mid-1990s, taking refuge with her at Dharma Friendship Foundation in Seattle in 1996. After completing a three-month Vajrasattva retreat, she made a deep commitment to study and practice the Dharma as a lay student.
Then-named Barbara McDaniel, she moved to North Idaho in 2002. Venerable Chodron and the Abbey fortuitously became her neighbor the next year. She was one of the founders of Friends of Sravasti Abbey and a frequent Abbey visitor before realizing her extraordinarily precious circumstances. She moved to the Abbey in June 2007 and took sramanerika and sikasamana vows in May 2008.
Barbara’s formal education was in theatre, and she worked for many years in the performing and communication arts. Before moving to the Abbey, she had also been a Reiki teacher and practitioner for nineteen years.
At the Abbey, Ven. Chonyi is responsible for publicity and “inviting generosity,” and is Venerable Chodron’s assistant.
Ven. Thubten Jampel
Born in 1984, Carl Willmott III—now Thubten Jampel—came to the Abbey in May 2007. He met Venerable Chodron in 2006 while she was giving a teaching at Airway Heights Correction Center. He took refuge and the five precepts in August of 2007 after participating in Exploring Monastic Life, an annual program at Sravasti Abbey. He took the eight anagarika precepts in February of 2008 and became the Abbey’s first monk in September 2008.
Jampel is an experienced handyman and carpenter. He designed and led the remodel of the Abbey’s kitchen and is the project manager overseeing construction of the Abbey’s new retreat cabin. He also maintains the existing facilities.
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