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Amma Thanasanti extended bio

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Thank you for considering me as your mentor. I value the chance to tell you about myself so you have more information to decide whether what I offer and how I teach is a good fit for your aims and values.

Some significant experiences include: Meditation Master Dipa Ma showing me how transformational loving presence can be. A bear ( teaching me the power of refuge and surrender.  Being a Buddhist nun for 26 years showing me how to suffer wisely, and where to find joy, love and peace that’s innate. Chronic illness continuing to show me many things including finding the balancing between patience with things as they are and doing whatever it takes.

I am devoted to the pursuit and embodiment of truth personally, relationally, in meditation, and watching others grow. Being an MMTCP mentor allows me to do what I love.

I am passionate about cultivating connection, supporting individuals both in their Dharma practice and their growth as teachers. Regardless of the skill you have already achieved, I invite you to step into your full potential.

I thrive in contexts where everyone can show up authentically, lean into vulnerability and experience presence. This includes understanding how different characteristics of identity – levels of ability, race, sexual orientation and gender identity shape our experiences. As part of this effort, I also emphasize trauma-informed practices, and integrate them into every aspect of the curriculum, and where applicable in mentoring my students.

I invite you to be responsible – know your needs, advocate for them asking for support when appropriate and letting me know when I or another have done something to cause you to feel less safe. I will ask you to take leadership roles in both the peer and mentor groups.

You can expect me to refer to the early Suttas particularly when they differ from the teachings of Western secular Buddhism. I do this in order to empower you in your Dharma practice and in your teaching. My teaching style alternates from relaxed and conversational where I ask you questions to didactic where I share information.


I was born in 1962 and started meditating in 1979. My first Dharma teacher, Jack Engler, said, “you have to be someone before you can be nobody.” Thus, from the onset of my spiritual path, I have been interested in psychological development alongside awakening. As a gender fluid, queer, white woman of Jewish ancestry, with invisible disabilities, I understand the importance of belonging and the pain of not belonging. I speak intermediary level Spanish.

I was a Buddhist monastic for 28 years. My first monastic teachers were Ajahn Chah and His Holiness Dalai Lama. I became an Anagarika (postulant) in 1989 and received my first nun’s ordination in 1991 in England. I first started teaching Dharma to families in 1989- and ten-day intensive retreats in 1996.

I left formal affiliations with the Ajahn Chah Forest Tradition and returned to the USA as an independent monastic in 2009. The circumstances sensitized me to harmful patterns around power and privilege. Living in monastic communities in different countries for decades showed me several ways that ending of suffering required more than what was available to us from our meditation practices and ethical guidelines; particularly true when individuals were dealing with developmental trauma.

In 2010, I was part of the first dual platform Theravada Bhikkhuni ordination in North America with Ayya Tathaaloka. I co-created a 3-year training combining Dharma study and practice with leadership skills, psychological developmental and community building. I returned to civilian life in 2017.

I have had many teachers, Theravada, Tibetan Buddhist, Non-Buddhist, monastic and lay, and I feel grateful for all of them. Currently, I’m part of the Diamond Approach school – an evolving teaching that leads to the realization of the many dimensions of our human potential and our spiritual nature. My north star is the truth and so I’m more of a Dharma Cayote than a devote. Love and the power of the land teach me and support me every day.


CULTIVATING: Inquiry, ceremony, land stewardship, singing, writing, and dancing.

DISMANTLING: White privilege, misogyny, patriarchy, homophobia, and climate chaos.


Awakening Truth Blog posts

Lions Roar

Inquiry Mind

Rebelle Society

Abhayagiri Reflections

Forest Sangha Newsletter


Dipa Ma: The Life and Legacy of a Buddhist Master

Knee Deep in Grace: The Extraordinary Life and Teaching of Dipa Ma

Freeing the Heart and Mind

Awakening Presence

Dancing with Dharma

Let the Light Shine


Dharma Seed

Awakening Truth

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About the Author
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Amma Thanasanti is the founder of organizations Awakening Truth and Whole Life Path. She is a California born spiritual teacher dedicated to serving beings. She has been committed to awakening since she first encountered the Dharma in 1979. As a former Buddhist nun of 26 years, she combines the precision and rigor of the Ajahn Chah Forest Tradition and a passion for wholeness. Amma invites you to pause to see what is liberating at the core of your human condition while also considering your well-being, your ability to know and and advocate for successively complex needs and integrate these into all aspects of daily life.
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