Our center is blessed to have so many wonderful and experienced teachers – some who are here regularly and some who visit on occasion to share their perspective – all dedicated to passing on the Dharma.
These are some of the smiling faces that you may see leading retreats, classes and events around Aryaloka:
After attending a practice day at Aryaloka in 2001, Akashavanda was delighted to have finally found her spiritual home. Akashavanda means “orchid in luminous space” – a name given to her by Dayalocana at her 2008 ordination in Spain. She enjoys sharing her love for the Dharma in study groups and spiritual friendships.
Akashavanda has two adult children, four adorable grandchildren, and lives in Eliot, Maine with her husband. Hopefully her last job before retirement is managing the commuteSMARTseacoast program, which encourages people to use sustainable transportation.
Amala is Sanskrit and means “Pure” or “Stainless.” The word is found in the Heart Sutra. As a name it refers to ethical purity and also to the stainless open dimension of emptiness.
Amala has been studying and practicing meditation and Buddhism since the early 1970s. She has been practicing with the Triratna (formerly FWBO) Community since 1991 and was ordained in 2000. For almost a decade she has worked as Program Director at Aryaloka, where she has planned programs and events and led many retreats and classes. Currently, Amala is stepping back from her full-on Aryaloka activities to rest and to revive her interest in creative pursuits.
Amala lives near the coast in New Hampshire. She has two young adult children, her favorite people on the planet!
Anilasri’s name was given to her at her ordination in California in 2005. It means “She who has the grace of the wind.” The Dharma continues to change her life every day, for which she has abundant gratitude.
Anilasri moved to New Hampshire from Seattle in 2002 to be part of the Aryaloka sangha. She has been a practicing Buddhist in this tradition since 1995, when she found the FWBO, now the Triratna Buddhist Community, in Kathmandu, Nepal! She lives near Aryaloka with her wife, who is also a Buddhist. Her two lovely daughters and their families live in New Jersey.
Arjava lives in Dover, NH, with his wife Betsy, son Ben and dog Bodhi. He is a bank consultant, property manager, and project manager. He enjoys teaching the Dharma and can be found on Tuesday nights at Aryaloka teaching Introduction to Meditation and Buddhism. In Sanskrit his name means “Honest, direct, sincere, a good teacher who is exceptional for his directness and clarity.”
Bodhana first walked into Aryaloka in the fall of 1992 and has never left. He was ordained in September of 2007. His name is a Sanskrit word and it means “Causing to awake, bringing to blossom as a flower, awakening.”
Candradasa was ordained in 2001. He is from Scotland and has lived in New Hampshire for five years. His name means “Slave to the Moon,” explicitly referencing (amongst other things!) the lines about the Bodhicitta in Shantideva’s Bodhicaryavatara: “In devotion I offer myself as your slave…” and “It is the heart’s waxing moon, cooling the heat of passion.” He is the Director of Dharmachakra, which produces Free Buddhist Audio and the new Triratna Buddhist Community website.
Danakamala’s name means “Lotus of generosity.” He lives in Portsmouth and has been involved with Aryaloka for the last 20 years. Danakamala was ordained in July 2008 in California. Since his ordination he has been working with other Order members in creating opportunities for the study of the Dharma and the practice of meditation.
Dayalocana was given her name when she was ordained in 1995. It means “Eyes of compassion or mercy.” She wishes to develop eyes of wisdom along with compassion. Since 1989 Dayalocana has been traveling an hour from her home several times a week to study and practice with the wonderful sangha at Aryaloka.
Dharmasuri was ordained in 2006 on a six-week ordination retreat in Dunkeld, Scotland. She lives and works in Portland, Maine, with part of the winter months away in Georgia. She is the current chairperson for Nagaloka. Her love of the Dharma is noted in her name, Dharmasuri, which means “Heroine that embodies the path to Enlightenment.”
Drawing is the basic structure and underpinning for any kind of visual art. While I work in several media (Watercolor, Calligraphy, Screen printing and Pen & Ink) I find that drawing is the place where I connect with my subject matter in a very visceral level. It is a form of meditation, a learning process unlike any other, and I hope that what I experience while creating my drawings can be shared by the viewer in some intuitive way when they see my work. When I started coming to Aryaloka and became a Mitra in 2012 the experience of becoming a Buddhist began to influence my artwork. I had been practicing yoga for about 10 years and a lot of my art was already informed by that. I had been painting mandalas and similar images before, so the transition was not abrupt. After I became a Mitra I became fascinated by images such as Indra’s net, lotus blossoms, labyrinths, etc. I also began to notice the connection between the right-brain state that artists use to see things clearly and the practice of meditation. In 2013 Amala and I gave a one-day workshop on drawing and meditation that later became what is now called the Aryaloka Informal Drawing Group where we meet monthly to draw and explore the connection between art and meditation.
Gunopeta lives in Lubec, Maine, where for the past 14 plus years he has led a weekly meditation and study group. He was ordained at Aryaloka in 1997. Gunopeta’s name can be translated as “Having good (or meritorious) qualities.” Although in recent years he has been unable to spend much time at Aryaloka, it has always felt like his “sangha home” and he often finds himself, in his imagination, sitting in the shrine room under the dome or walking among the pines beside the stream.
Karunasara was ordained in 2003. Her order name, Karunasara, means essence of compassion. This is both a perception of her at this time and, even more so, a quality to develop through Dharma practice. She is retired from nursing with much experience in helping people through the dying process and is now involved in teaching and mentoring at Aryaloka Buddhist.
Kiranada means “She who radiates the light of the Bodhicitta moon.” She was introduced to Buddhism more than 25 years ago in an earlier life in Kyoto, Japan. Kiranada is an artist, lecturer, curator and author,specializing in Japanese batik – Rozome with strong interest in the connections between creativity and meditation.
For Narottama, from his first retreat at Aryaloka in 1993 to my ordination in Spain in 2007 to present day, the Dharma, coupled with ever deepening communication with friends in the Triratna Buddhist Community, has guided and provided a positive framework for personal transformation way beyond anything he might have thought possible. This has given rise to a deeper and richer trust and confidence in the Buddha, himself and his friendships as they train, study and realize. The Buddha, his teachings applied to the 21st century, and all those that follow together in his light for the benefit of all beings have allowed this farmer at heart from Maine to be grateful for each moment in which, with mindfulness, we strive on.
Rijupatha became an instant Buddhist when he first arrived at Aryaloka in 2004 and saw the magic of the Dharma. He was ordained in September of 2014 and given his name, which means “He who walks the upright path.”
Rijupatha is an artist and graphic & web designer, and works with Aryaloka, Free Buddhist Audio, The Buddhist Centre Online, and with the international Order Office team, among others. He is involved with organizing the Young Sangha movement in New England and creates the layout for the Vajra Bell. Rijupatha is also the proud Poppa of two fabulous girls – Cheyenne and Willow – with his lovely wife Gail.
Saricitta has been a part of the Aryaloka Buddhist community since 1991. She became a mitra in 1995 and was ordained in 2008. Her name means “She who has the heart/mind of a waterfall, with compassion flowing to all beings.” Saricitta has a special fondness for and devotion to Kuan Yin.
Professionally, Saricitta is a trained psychotherapist, but has spent the past eight years as a full time mother. She lives in Stratham with her husband, John, and her delightful young daughters, Samara and Annika.
Shrijnana began practicing meditation and Buddhism after her first visit to Aryaloka in 1987. Her name means “she who has radiant wisdom,” and was given to her by Dhammadinna at her ordination in Italy in 2001. After having taught middle and high school science for over a decade, Shrijnana now works as the Executive Director of Aryaloka, where she coordinates the program of classes and retreats, and occasionally teaches Mitra Study and yoga. Shrijnana lives in Newmarket with her two young children, Maia and Malkias.
Sravaniya was ordained in 2003, having first encountered meditation and the FWBO (later the Triratna Buddhist Community) in the UK in 1978. His name, inspired by an episode in the biography of Milarepa, means “Delightful to listen to” or “Worthy of being heard.” Sravaniya works as a professional orchestral conductor and violinist.
Suddhayu developed an interest in Eastern philosophy and meditation as a teenager. In 1992 he attended his first meditation retreat at Aryaloka Buddhist Retreat Center in Newmarket, NH. Soon after, he moved in to the residential community there, where he lived for the next eight years. During this time, he also lived in England for six months where he worked for a Buddhist Right Livelihood project, and attended a four month retreat in the mountains of Spain where he was ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order. In the new century, Suddhayu married Lona Kovacs and began work as the greenhouse manager for a local plant wholesaler. In 2008, he helped expand that business by cultivating the surrounding fields to grow vegetables, thus founding Touching Earth Farm, a CSA responsible for providing fresh vegetables to over seventy households. He is currently teaching meditation at Green Lotus Yoga Studio, and is on the board of the Portsmouth Buddhist Center.
Sunada was ordained in 2004 and given her name, which means “beautiful, excellent sound”. It’s a reflection not only of her love of music, but also of spreading the beautiful teachings of the dharma. Sunada lives in the Boston area, where she teaches classes in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, and coaches individual clients in living more mindful, purposeful lives (www.mindfulpurpose.com).
Surakshita ran onto Aryaloka in 1988 and found his Buddhist home. In 1998 he was ordained by Subhuti. His name means “Well protected by the Buddha.” Surakshita is married to Susan and has two sons who are married to beautiful women and four grandchildren who are the best! Susan and he are retired and thoroughly enjoying it.
Vidhuma’s name is a Pali expression that translates into “No impurities” or “No obscurations.” Historically it was an epithet sometimes used to describe the Buddha’s dedicated followers. He was ordained in 1997, after first coming into contact with Aryaloka eight years earlier. Vidhuma lives one hour west of Aryaloka.
Vihanasari has been a Buddhist since the year 2000 and was ordained in July, 2008. Her name means “The thrush that sings at dawn to announce the light of the Dharma (the Buddha’s teachings) coming into the world.”
Vihanasari is the former part-time administrator of the Aryaloka Buddhist Center and currently does some teaching at the center. She also serves on a number kulas (committees) including curriculum, teaching, generosity/engaged Buddhism, sangha care, outreach and bookstore as well as being a member of the administrative team. She loves living on the New Hampshire seacoast.
Viriyalila, who name means “Playful, Spontaneous Energy in pursuit of the Good”, has been been meditating and practicing Buddhism since 1994. She was ordained into the Western Buddhist Order in 2005 in San Francisco. Her newest adventure? Working in a team with with www.freebuddhistaudio.com, an internet resource providing free access to Dharma talks around the world.