Karma Lekshe Tsomo

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Karma Lekshe Tsomo
Patricia Zenn

23 September 1944
OccupationScholar and social activist
OrganizationSakyadhita, Jamyang Foundation

Karma Lekshe Tsomo (born 23 September 1944) is a Buddhist nun, scholar and social activist. She is a professor at the University of San Diego, where she teaches Buddhism and World Religions. She is co-founder of the Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women and the founding director of the Jamyang Foundation, which supports the education of women and girls in the Himalayan region and the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. She took novice precepts as a Buddhist nun in France in 1977 and full ordination in Korea in 1982.[1]

Scholarly career[edit]

Karma Lekshe Tsomo is a professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of San Diego, where she has taught since 2000.[2] After fifteen years studying Buddhism at Dharamsala, she did her postgraduate work at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, gaining a PhD in Comparative Philosophy in 2000.[1][2] Her research has primarily concerned women in Buddhism, death and dying, and Buddhist philosophy and ethics.[2]

Social activism[edit]

In 1985 Karma Lekshe Tsomo founded the Jamyang Foundation, a non-profit organisation that works to improve the education of women and girls in the Himalayan region and currently runs several schools and study programmes in India and Bangladesh.[3] At a gathering at Bodh Gaya in 1987 she became one of the founding members of the international organisation Sakydhita (Daughters of the Buddha), which campaigns for gender equality in Buddhism.[4] She is currently working to create Lai'i Peace Center as a resource for peace education, Buddhist studies, and community service programs under the auspices of Sakyadhita Hawai'i.[5]

Major publications[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Executive Committee | Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women". sakyadhita.org. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  2. ^ a b c "Biography - Karma Lekshe Tsomo - College of Arts and Sciences". www.sandiego.edu. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  3. ^ "Jamyang | About Us". www.jamyang.org. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  4. ^ "Sakyadhita | Our History". sakyadhita.org. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  5. ^ sakyadhita.org/local/branches/hawaii.html|title=Sakyadhita Hawai'i

Sara Hylton (2019). A Day in the Dharma: Ven. Karma Lekshe Tsomo, cofounder of Sakyadhita. Tricycle The Buddhist Review.

Rebecca Redwood French (2013). Feminism, Law, and Religion. “Daughters of the Buddha: The Sakyadhita Movement, Buddhist Law and the Position of Buddhist Nuns.”. Surrey, UK: Ashgate. ISBN 978-1409444213.

Michaela Haas (2013). Dakini Power: Twelve Extraordinary Women Shaping the Transmission of Tibetan Buddhism in the West. “Karma Lekshe Tsomo (Patricia Zenn): Surfing to Realization.”. Boston: Shambhala Publications. ISBN 978-1-4384-5131-2.

Arvind Sharma (2009). Why I Am a Believer: Personal Reflections on Nine World Religions. “Being Buddhist.”. Delhi: Penguin Books India. ISBN 978-0143066873.