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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
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 currently
teaches in the United States and Canada and plans for an increased
amount of time in solitary retreat under the guidance of Venerable
Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche.
Ani Pema is
interested in helping establish Tibetan Buddhist monasticism in the
West, as well as continuing her work with western Buddhists of all
traditions, sharing ideas and teachings. She has written several books:The Wisdom of No Escape, Start Where You Are, When Things Fall Apart, The Places that Scare You, No Time To Lose and Practicing Peace in Times of War. All are available from Shambhala Publications.
Dzigar Kongtrl Rinpoche is a teacher in the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan
Buddhism who is known for his skill in communicating subtle points of
Buddhism and their relevance to modern-day life. His books include Uncommon Happiness and Light Comes Through.