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Ven. Sangye Khadro (Kathleen McDonald), a senior American nun, is currently in the process of completing the seven-year Masters Program at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa (ILTK) in Italy. Before entering the program, Ven. Khadro already had extensive teaching experience and had authored the book How to Meditate and appeared in the Discovering Buddhism DVD series. Mandala interviewed her over email in April 2013 about the Masters Program and the benefit of in-depth study.
Mandala: For our readers who are not familiar with your background, can you share a little about when you became Buddhist and your involvement with FPMT?
Ven. Sangye Khadro: I started studying Buddhism in 1973 at the Tibetan Library in Dharamsala, India. In early 1974, I went to Kopan Monastery in Nepal and continued to study there, and was ordained as a nun in May 1974. I stayed in Kopan for three years – living in the community of Western nuns and monks under the guidance of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche – then returned to the West. Since then I have lived, studied, taught and done retreat in various FPMT centers around the world.
Mandala: You had already established yourself as a teacher when you began the Masters Program at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa (ILTK.) What influenced your decision to enter the program?
Ven. Sangye Khadro: I had the chance to study Buddhist philosophy for about four to five years while living in England and France in the early 1980s, and I really loved it, but then I became busy teaching in centers and did not have much time to continue my studies. Several years ago – I think it was 2005 – I was doing a longish retreat at O.Sel.Ling Centro de Retiros in Spain, and some of the students of the first Masters Program who had recently completed the program were doing retreat there at the same time. I felt so happy thinking about how they had spent the last six years of their lives doing intensive study of the great Buddhist classics, and now they were doing retreat to integrate what they had learned. I found it easy to rejoice! …
From Mandala July-September 2013
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About Mandala Publications
Mandala Publications is the official publication of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an international charitable organization founded by two Tibetan Buddhist masters, Lama Thubten Yeshe (1935-1984) and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche. FPMT is a vibrant international community, with a network of 160 affiliate centers, projects and services, and members in more than 30 countries.
Mandala print magazine is published in January, April, July and October. Mandala is available via the Friends of FPMT program.