Ayya Santussika, in residence at Karuna Buddhist Vihara (Compassion Monastery), spent five years as an anagarika (eight-precept nun), then ordained as a samaneri (ten-precept nun) in 2010 and as a bhikkhuni (311 rules) in 2012 at Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara in Los Angeles. She has trained in large and small communities of nuns, including Amaravati and Chithurst monasteries of the Ajahn Chah tradition in England. She began traveling in Asia in 1999, staying in different monasteries and learning from master teachers, particularly in Thailand. It was these experiences, along with her many visits to monasteries in the West, especially Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in Redwood Valley, California that caused her faith to develop to the point of choosing to live and practice as a Theravadan nun.
She has deep respect for and has learned greatly from the teachings of Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi, Ajahn Pasanno, and her son Ajahn Guna, during his fourteen years in monastic life. She is currently serving on the Board of Directors for Buddhist Global Relief.
Ayya Santussika was born in Illinois in 1954 and grew up on a farm in Indiana. While being a single mother, she received BS and MS degrees in computer science and moved with her two children to the San Francisco Bay Area. She worked as a software designer and developer for fifteen years. Her search for deeper meaning and ways to be of service led her to train as an interfaith minister in a four-year seminary program that culminated in an Masters of Divinity degree and a brief period of practice as a minister before ordaining as a Buddhist nun.