Dhammadharini –Women Upholding the Dhamma

The Vision

A renaissance of the Bhikkhuni Sangha in Theravada Buddhism. By providing the conditions for women's awakening, we manifest the Buddha's own awakened intention for our Sangha, healing and making the community whole, including the masculine and feminine, householder and monastic.

Our women's monastic community 

... and not-for-profit religious support foundation are named Dhammadharini. 

Our symbol 

... is a bodhi leaf (Bodhi meaning Awakening and the leaf symbolizing our embodiment) 
supported and uplifted by three flowing currents in the stream of the Dhamma: 
  • our training in sīla or virtue, 
  • samādhi or meditation, 
  • pañña or wisdom.

Our monastic residences

... are led by fully-ordained female monastics, bhikkhunis. (The male form is the bhikkhu.)
  • Dhammadharini Monastery at the foot of Sonoma Mountain in Penngrove, California,
  • Aranya Bodhi, our women's monastic hermitage, on the Sonoma Coast,
Find more bhikkhuni monasteries, hermitages and temples at :

Learn more about our monastic sangha at:




Celebrating the 2600-year Anniversary of Bhikkhuni Sangha




In Pali, the language of the earliest Buddhist texts, Dhammadharini means "to uphold the Dhamma in the feminine form".

"According to the Buddha’s teaching, our best chance for enlightenment is not in a heavenly realm, 
 but here in midst of elements and aggregates, within these bodies which age and sicken, among the earth, rain, wind, fire and consciousness elements. 
 We wake up here, not in another ideal place. This is the ideal place." 
 - Ayya Tathaaloka

Our mission

Founded by Ayya Tathaloka & friends in 2005, Dhammadharini was first in the Western United States to offer a support network for bhikkhunis in Theravada Buddhism.  Our monastics have served as a vanguard & continue to deepen and refine their skill in nurturing an awakening and awakened Sangha.

Liberation. To develop the optimal container for liberation in monastic life — complete in Dhamma & Vinaya, in virtue, meditation and wisdom.

Requisite Support. To channel and provide the basic requisite needs for bhikkhunis, novices and aspirants: food, shelter, robes and medicine.

Reviving "Her-story." To reconnect to the ancient luminary bhikkhuni leaders, teachers and sanghas of the past through research, publications, teaching and education.

Full Bhikkhuni Ordination. to nurture and cultivate networks by which aspiring women can explore and enter into monastic life, and be able to fully ordain as bhikkhunis.

Recluseship/Deep Practice. To support deep practice periods of intensive secluded retreat, integrated with the cultivation of strong mindfulness in all postures, and full practice of the noble Eightfold Path in daily community life.

Dhamma Teaching and Leadership. To support the growth of bhikkhunis as Dhamma teachers and Buddhist community leaders.