Venerable Thubten Damcho
Singaporean by birth, Ven. Thubten Damcho met the Dharma in the U.S. through the Buddhist Students’ Group at Princeton University, from which she graduated in 2006. On her return to Singapore, she took refuge at Kong Meng San Phor Kark See (KMSPKS) Monastery where she served as a Sunday school teacher. Struck by the aspiration to ordain, she attended a novitiate retreat in the Theravada tradition in 2007. In 2008, she attended an eight-precepts retreat in Bodhgaya, India and a Nyung Ne retreat in Kathmandu, Nepal.
After meeting Ven. Chodron in Singapore in 2008, Ven. Damcho was further inspired to pursue a monastic life. She attended the one-month course at Kopan Monastery in 2009 and visited Sravasti Abbey for 2 weeks in 2010. She was shocked to discover that monastics did not live in blissful retreat, but worked extremely hard! Confused about her aspirations, she took refuge in her job in the Singapore civil service, where she served as a high school English teacher and a public policy analyst.
Offering service as Ven. Chodron’s attendant in Indonesia in 2012 was a wake-up call. After attending the Exploring Monastic Life Program, Ven. Damcho quickly moved to the Abbey to train as an anagarika in December 2012. She was ordained on October 2, 2013. See photos of her ordination.
Ven. Damcho completed her full ordination, along with Ven. Jampa, at Miao Fa Temple in Taiwan in 2016. See the photos.
Venerable Damcho’s monastic life is rich and varied. She serves as assistant to Sravasti Abbey’s founder, author and well-known Buddhist teacher Venerable Thubten Chodron. Her other responsibilities range from translating Chinese texts into English to driving a tractor to remove weeds from the Abbey’s 300-acre property.
Venerable Damcho has given Dharma talks in Idaho, India, and Singapore, and she helps to guide a weekly meditation class at the Spokane Unitarian Universalist Church. She was the Chinese-English interpreter at a full ordination program in Taiwan in 2019, and has studied Tibetan through Maitripa College since 2017.