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Lions Roar : September 2019
Favorite meditation practice? Chanting the Anapanasati Sutta, the Heart Sutra, and the Guan Yin dharmas. Your favorite virtue? Truth. Your chief characteristic? I’m an innovator. Your principal poison? Impatience. Your idea of happiness? Being at home with Kittisaro, cooking, practicing, and walking together. Your idea of misery? Looking at the world and seeing Mother Nature and her myriad creatures being destroyed. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? On a conveyor-belt line in a factory. I still remember the immigrant woman opposite me—the expression on her face summed it all up. If not yourself, who would you be? I would be with my brother in his Vardo (gypsy caravan) in a field somewhere in Ireland or Wales, with a brass kettle on a tripod over an open fire, brewing some tea. Name three of your heroes. I really admire and am grateful to those who go undercover to expose the hell realms of industrial animal factories. Also, Mr. Mandela because of his story and ability to lift the consciousness of the planet for a short time. The few times I was in his presence were exceptional learning experiences. And Vandana Shiva, as her work and energy are phenomenal. The natural talent you’d most like to have? The ability to play the mandolin. Your favorite author? I am appreciating the work of Anne Baring, in particular her book Dream of the Cosmos: A Quest for the Soul. What’s for dinner? Beyond Meat Sausages and potatoes with spinach. Guilty pleasure? American jellybeans, which I have banned myself from eating. MEET A TEACHER Thanissara I GREW UP in an Irish-Anglo working-class family in West Lon- don. I started Buddhist meditation practice when I was eighteen, and left art college to go on retreat in Asia. In 1977, I met Ajahn Chah in the United Kingdom and followed him to Thailand, where I was inspired to take the robes. I lived as a nun for twelve years. Then in 1992, I left monastic life to get married to a former Buddhist monk, Kittisaro. Since then, we have taught extensively together, forging a synthesis of Theravada and Mahayana. We founded a small meditation retreat in South Africa, Dhar- magiri Sacred Mountain Retreat, in 2000 and co-initiated several community support programs in rural KwaZulu Natal. Kittisaro and I currently live in the Bay area where we estab- lished a nonprofit in the U.S., Sacred Mountain Sangha (SMS). These days, our primary focus is the development of a two-year Dharmapala training that synthesizes aspects of Theravada, Mahayana, and psycho-spiritual work, aiming to bring depth real- ization and shifts of consciousness to our planetary emergency through reclamation of the sacred. ♦ LION’S ROAR | SEPTEMBER 2019 31 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE