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Ayya Yeshe

Venerable Yeshe Chodron ordained as a nun in 2001.

She discovered Buddhism whilst travelling in Nepal and India at the age of 17 on a search for the meaning of life. Coming back to Australia after a year of study and practice in monasteries, she helped run a Buddhist Centre in Sydney and trained with her teacher Khenpo Ngawang Dhamchoe for five years while working as well.

Upon ordaining as a nun at the age of 23, Venerable Yeshe found that there was very little care or support for Western monastics, people preferring to access Tibetan Lamas who are already trained. She had nowhere to live and had to beg on traditional alms round to get food; she stayed with various friends and in garden sheds. She engaged in teaching Dharma in HIV hospices, schools, drug and alchohol rehab centres; she also trained as a yoga teacher.

When she came to India in 2004, Venerable Yeshe studied for two years in a monastery, but felt a need to make Buddhism accessible and socially engaged while still trying to maintain her contemplative way of life. She met Indian Buddhists in 2005 and has been working with them ever since. Her teachers are Sakya Trizen, the second highest Lama in Tibetan Buddhism; and Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, the nobel peace prize poet and peace activist. Ayya Yeshe Bodhicitta is the author of ‘Everyday Enlightenment’ published by Harper Collins and is featured in the documentaries ‘life beyong the begging bowl’ and ‘Through the Eastern Gate’.

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