Venerable Thubten Chonyi


Ven. Thubten Chonyi began attending classes with Venerable Thubten Chodron at Dharma Friendship Foundation in Seattle in 1996. After completing a three-month Vajrasattva retreat in 1998, she made a strong commitment to study and practice the Dharma—as a lay person.

Ven. Chonyi has been involved since before the Abbey had a home and was a founder of Friends of Sravasti Abbey, which formed in 2003 to support Ven. Chodron’s dream to start a monastery.

Finally, Ven. Chonyi woke up to the fantastic opportunity she had to live, train, and practice the Buddha’s teachings full time and moved to Sravasti Abbey in 2007. She took śrāmaṇerikā and śikṣamāṇā precepts in May 2008. See photos of her ordination. Along with Ven. Jigme, Ven. Chonyi received bhikshuni (full) ordination at Fo Guang Shan temple in Taiwan in 2011. See the photos.

At the Abbey, Ven. Chonyi is involved with publicity and inviting generosity. She also shares Buddha’s teachings at the Abbey, online, and—occasionally—at Buddhist centers in the US and abroad. She has co-taught meditation and Buddhist ideas at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane for 12 years, and especially enjoys interfaith exchange and bringing Buddhist values into social justice issues. 

Ven. Chonyi’s formal education was in theatre at Wesleyan College in Macon, GA. She worked for many years as a performer, publicist, fundraiser, and producer in the performing arts. As a Reiki teacher and practitioner for 19 years, she co-founded two Reiki centers and led classes and workshops in Europe and North America. She also served as Communications Coordinator for the international Reiki Alliance and eight years as Managing Editor for Reiki Magazine International.