Ven. Dr. Pannavati, a former Christian pastor, is co-founder and co-Abbot of Embracing-Simplicity Hermitage and meditation center; Co-Director of Heartwood Refuge and President of the Treasure Human Life Foundation. A black, female Buddhist monk ordained in the Theravada, Chan, and Mahayana traditions with Vajrayana empowerments and transmission from Roshi Bernie Glassman of Zen Peacemakers, she is both contemplative and empowered for compassionate service.
An international teacher, she advocates on behalf of disempowered women and youth globally, and insists on equality and respect in Buddhist life for both female monastics and lay sangha. She was a 2008 recipient of the Outstanding Buddhist Women’s Award and currently serves as the Vice President of the US Chapter of the Global Buddhist Association. Although Ven. Pannavati travels extensively, she offers Theravada Dharma Talks and Meditation at HW on a regular basis. Please see the Weekly Activities.
Bhikkhu Pannadipa, founding Co-Abbot of Embracing Simplicity Hermitage, ordained in the Theravada and Mahayana (Chan) traditions. A former Taoist monk and an initiated yogi, he taught Tien Shen Pai Kung Fu, qigong, Tai Chi and Fitness for more than 25 years. As meditation counselor of the Hermitage, his finely honed skills add unspeakable depth to a practitioner’s experience. Powerfully present with penetrating awareness, he guides meditators towards jhanic attainment, teaching them how to use this empowerment in all circumstances of practical life. In addition, he has extensive experience assisting in the transition from this life to the next for both humans and animals. Ven. Pannadipa leads Theravada Dharma Talks and Meditation, Qigong and Tai Chi. For times and days, please see the Weekly Activities.
Venerable Kelsang Chitta Karuna currently serves as Heartwood’s Resident Director, Volunteers Coordinator and the Coordinator of the Organic Community Meditation Garden. She received her undergraduate degrees in Special Education, and Child Development, and received her Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Buddhist Philosophy and Psychology from the College of Buddhist Studies in Los Angeles.
Before ordaining, Ven. Chitta taught preschool and later started her own private school for physically and mentally challenged preschoolers. Shortly after ordaining, Ven. Chitta moved to International Buddhist Meditation Center in Los Angeles, and began holding introductory classes in Tibetan Lam Rim, guided meditation, retreat, and traditional ritual practices. Ven. Chitta has traveled throughout rural parts of Asia including mainland China, outer Mongolia (Ulaanbaatar), Korea, and Taiwan, teaching English, computer skills and beginning meditation. She lived in Sri Lanka working in an all girl orphanage after the devastating Tsunami.
In 2004 Ven. Chitta received her Bhikshuni Vows at the IBMC’s grand ordination, under the Abbess Ven. Dr. Karuna Dharma (the first American woman to be Ordained as a Bhikshuni in the West), becoming along with the other 22 Tibetan nuns, the first linage holders of the new lineage Bhikshunis called ‘The Karuna Bhikshunis’. This group of Bhikshunis are the beginning of a new line of Western Bhikshunis destined to revive the Bhikshuni ordination in the Tibetan tradition and and especially in the west. Bhikshuni Kelsang is the first Black American female to be ordained in the Tibetan tradition and the first Black American female to be ordained as a Bhikshuni in the Tibetan Gelug school.
Anichitta currently leads guided meditation in the Vajrayana Temple at Heartwood. For days and times please see the Weekly Activities.