Ayya Santussika, in residence at Karuna Buddhist Vihara (Compassion Monastery), spent five years as an anagarika (eight-precept nun), then ordained as a samaneri (ten-precept nun) in 2010 and as a bhikkhuni (311 rules) in 2012 at Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara in Los Angeles.
Ayya Santussika was born in Illinos in 1954 and grew up on a farm in Indiana. While being a single mother, she received BS and MS degrees in computer science and moved with her two children to the San Francisco Bay Area. She worked as a software designer and developer for fifteen years. Her search for deeper meaning and ways to be of service led her to train as an interfaith minister in a four-year seminary program that culminated in an Masters of Divinity degree and a brief period of practice as a minister before ordaining as a Buddhist nun. She is currently serving on the Board of Directors for Buddhist Global Relief.
Ayya Santussika presents the first talk in a speaker series on The Engaged Buddhist. Here she speaks on the role that each of the four Brahmaviharas play to help and guide us in our engaged actions, whatever they be, to promote wholesome and beneficial outcomes. She discusses lovingkindness, joy in the good fortune of others, compassion and equanimity as well as the near and far enemies of these qualities.
Meditation instructions are sometimes misinterpreted to imply that one should disengage from activity and suspend all judgment. Buddhist advice on “letting go” can be misunderstood to suggest that problems in the world can or should be ignored. Yet the Pali canon shows that the Buddha taught practical social and economic remedies, and urged monks to travel so they could benefit the largest number of people.
Thích Nhất Hạnh coined the term “engaged Buddhism” to describe efforts to respond to the suffering in his country during the Vietnam war, work he saw as part of meditation and mindfulness practice rather than something apart from it. In this series, some local “engaged Buddhists” will share how they personally apply Buddhist wisdom to engage with the suffering around us, in areas such as social action, prison ministry, and environmentalism.
In this fourth talk in a lecture series on the Great Disciples, the speaker, Ayya Santussika, tells the life story of two enlightened, fully ordained nuns. In fact, there were quite a few of enlightened, fully ordained nuns at the Buddha's time. The speaker also discusses how we can find the key to our own happiness in these nuns' stories, such as letting go, calming the mind, and realizing complete freedom from suffering. Finally, Ayya Santussika describes the Buddha's tremendous compassion for women. In his teachings, the Buddha acknowledged sufferings that were specific to women that are still relevant today.
The early Buddhist sangha included some accomplished and intriguing disciples--lay and monastic, male and female. By searching the literature of the Pali Canon, contemporary scholars have been able to compile biographical information, infer personality traits, and gain a vivid sense of the human relationships and life-stories that formed the earliest Buddhist community. This speaker series will explore the lives, practice, and teachings of several of the great disciples of the Buddha. The series will illuminate both the ordinary and extraordinary contributions of some of the most interesting personalities whose questions, challenges, and life situations shaped the teachings that we cherish today.
Ayya Santussika gave the fifth talk in a six-week series titled "Ethics,
Action and the Five Precepts." She takes an in-depth look at the first precept: refraining from killing. She explores harming, how to live a life of non-harming, and facing difficult situations non-violently.
This series will explore virtue as the indispensable foundation of Buddhist practice. The series will emphasize the five training precepts, and explore action, ethics, kamma, and cause-effect dynamics. The precepts are not rules to be obediently followed; they serve as guidelines for the intentional development of compassion, mindfulness, and wisdom. These five precepts offer us a joyful method to cultivate the heart, nurture harmony in relationships, and free the mind from inner forces of greed and anger that if unrestrained may cause suffering to ourselves and others.
This talk explores an ancient Tibetan method to confront your fear and turn it into an ally. She reviews the method from Lama Tsultrim book "Feeding your demons" in the context of the first three of the four noble truths.
search words: four noble truths, feeding your demons, fear, anxiety, gratitude, change your brain