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Jaya Karen Rudgard
To hear talks by this teacher, visit:
Jaya began meditating in 1984 when she stayed as a teenager at Chithurst Buddhist Monastery in England and heard teachings from Ajahn Sumedho and others who had trained in Thailand with Ajahn Chah. She was particularly drawn to the simplicity and integrity of the forest sangha style of practice and training in community life. In 1996 she became a nun in the UK forest sangha spending periods at Amaravati, Chithurst and Hartridge Buddhist monasteries with Ajahn Sumedho and Ajahn Sucitto as her main teachers.

In 2005 she returned to lay life but sustained a close contact with current and former members of the western Thai forest sangha, including the bhikkhunis at Aloka Vihara in California. Jaya has been mentored in her practice and teaching by Kittisaro and Thanissara, and is a longtime friend and supporter of Dharmagiri , their hermitage in South Africa. These teachers have taught her to value a strong commitment to ethical behaviour and compassionate activity in the world beyond the meditation cushion, as well as fostering her ongoing love of Pali chanting and devotional practice.

More recently Jaya graduated from the four-year Spirit Rock and IMS teacher training into which she was invited by Jack Kornfield, continuing the connection to his teacher Ajahn Chah. These four years gave her opportunities to sit and study with more teachers in the lineage of Mahasi Sayadaw, and her approach to practice has subsequently been especially influenced by the teaching of Joseph Goldstein and Carol Wilson, as well as by practising with Sayadaw U Tejaniya. Jaya is also particularly grateful for the friendships that have evolved through this training with newer teachers of her own generation, from and with whom she continues to learn.

Jaya lives in Oxford, England, where she runs a weekly sitting group and non-residential courses when she is not teaching retreats. In addition to her dharma teaching Jaya also teaches mindfulness for the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, part of Oxford University’s Department of Psychiatry, and independently. She enjoys being part of the on-going conversation between the world of modern secular mindfulness and the ancient tradition of Buddha-dharma. She feels that promoting understanding through listening to diverse perspectives and being willing to question our own assumptions is a vital part of dharma practice in our times.

Jaya’s approach to teaching attempts to integrate both her naturally serious and her more playful sides. In 2015 she trained with Chris Germer and Kristin Neff and began to teach their Mindful Self-Compassion program, and since then the ethos of self-compassion has become much more prominent in her own dharma practice and the way that she likes to encourage others. Jaya is also a qualified yoga teacher, a former amateur ballroom dancer, and a keen practitioner of qi gong. She likes to facilitate an experience of meditation as a truly embodied practice by including some form of mindful movement in her retreats whenever possible.
Cloud Mountain 2020