From a London Anglo-Irish family in London, started Buddhist practice in the Burmese school in 1975. She was inspired to ordain after meeting Ajahn Chah and spent 12 years as a Buddhist nun where she was a founding member of Chithurst Monastery and Amaravati Buddhist Monastery. She was also co-initiator of events for children and families at Amaravati. Thanissara has facilitated meditation retreats since 1989 and has an MA in Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy Practice from Middlesex University & the Karuna Institute in the UK. She is author of several books - 'Garden of the Midnight Rosary', 'The Heart of the Bitter Almond Hedge Sutra', co-author of 'Listening to the Heart', and and her latest is 'Time to Stand Up: An Engaged Buddhist Manifesto for Our Earth'. She is a core teacher at Insight Meditation Society, MA, guiding teacher of Chattanooga Insight, TN and affiliated teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, CA.
Kittisaro and Thanissara have been married since 1992. They spent 7 years as guiding teachers of the Buddhist Retreat Centre KwaZulu S.Africa and then went onto found Dharmagiri Hermitage on the border of Lesotho. They and co-founded several HIV/Aids Outreach Programs and currently support Kuluingile Project, a home for children left vulnerable due to HIV/Aids run by Sister Abegail Ntleko, award winner of the Dalai Lama Unsung Hero Award. They lead retreats in Europe, the US and Israel and regularly host one to three month retreats at Dharmagiri Hermitage. They currently work between South Africa and the USA.