Ani Pema Chödrön

Ani Pema Chödrön

 AS A FULLY ORDAINED BHIKSHUNI, or Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron is one of a very small number of Western women, one of an even smaller number of women involved in the Tibetan tradition, and certainly the first American practitioner of the Vajrayana tradition to undergo the preparation and ceremony of full ordination.

Ani Pema Chodron was born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown in 1936, in New York City. She attended Miss Porter’s School in Connecticut and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. She taught as an elementary school teacher for many years in both New Mexico and California. Pema has two children and three grandchildren.

While in her mid-thirties, Ani Pema traveled to the French Alps and encountered Lama Chime Rinpoche, with whom she studied for several years. She became a novice nun in 1974 while studying with Lama Chime in London. His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa came to Scotland at that time, and Ani Pema received her ordination from him. 

Pema first met her root guru, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, in 1972. Lama Chime encouraged her to work with Rinpoche, and it was with him that she ultimately made her most profound connection, studying with him from 1974 until his death in 1987. At the request of the Sixteenth Karmapa, she received the full bikshuni ordination in the Chinese lineage of Buddhism in 1981 in Hong Kong. 

Ani Pema served as the director of Karma Dzong in Boulder, Colorado until moving in 1984 to rural Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to be the director of Gampo Abbey. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche gave her explicit instructions on establishing this monastery for western monks and nuns. 

Ani Pema teaches in the United States and Canada. She plans for a simplified travel schedule with an opportunity for an increased amount of time in solitary retreat under the guidance of Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche. She is also interested in helping establish Tibetan Buddhist monasticism in the West, as well in continuing her work with western Buddhists of all traditions, sharing ideas and teachings.

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