In this edition I sit down with Ven. Thubten Semkye, a Buddhist nun at the Sravasti Abbey in Northwest Washington State. Ven. Semkye was the Abbey’s first lay resident. She met Venerable Chodron, founder of the abbey at the Dharma Friendship Foundation in Seattle in 1996 and took refuge with her in 1999.

A founder of Friends of Sravasti Abbey, she accepted the position of chairperson to provide the four requisites for the monastic community, which we discuss in our conversation. She moved to the Abbey in spring of 2004.

Although she didn’t originally see ordination in her future, after the 2006 Chenrezig retreat when she spent half of her meditation time reflecting on death and impermanence, Ven. Semkye realized that ordaining would be the wisest, most compassionate use of her life. She became the Abbey’s third nun in 2007.

 In 2010 she received bhikshuni ordination at Miao Fa Chan Temple in Taiwan.

Ven. Semkye draws on her extensive experience in landscaping and horticulture to manage the Abbey’s forests and gardens. We talked in Carbondale where she was leading a retreat for the Way of Compassion Dharma Center.

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