Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I Know Better

"As long as we have practiced neither concentration nor mindfulness, the ego takes itself for granted and remains its usual normal size, as big as the people around one will allow." - Ayya Khema

Ayya Khema (August 25, 1923 - November 2, 1997), a Buddhist teacher, was born as Ilse Kussel in Berlin, Germany, to Jewish parents.

Khema dodged the Nazis during World War II. She eventually moved to the United States. After travelling in Asia she decided to become a Buddhist nun in Sri Lanka in 1979. She was very active in providing opportunities for women to practice Buddhism, founding several centers around the world. In 1987 she co-ordinated the first ever International Conference of Buddhist Nuns.

Khema wrote over two dozen books in English and German. Her autobiography, I Give You My Life, is an adventure story sprinkled with nuggets of spiritual wisdom.

Ayya Khema was the spiritual director of Buddha-Haus in Germany, founded with her guidance. Her ashes rest in a beautiful stupa there:

I Know Better

You invite me up
but I know me way better than
to go North at this time of year.

All I would do is
bring the wrong clothes, pack too much
and then take pratfalls
in the softly snow
falling gently down.

December 14, 2009 8:19 PM


  1. that's just fine, isn't it, falling so in the snow?


  2. Interesting to hear about Ayya - I have a list of people born on my birthday, August 25th in the sidebar on my Proper Joe's blog. I'll research her further, thanks for posting this.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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