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.
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.