President Mary Robinson

Venerable Pannavati Bhikkhuni

Founding Co-Abbot of the Embracing Simplicity Hermitage

“Courage to Seek, Courage to Give: Odyssey of a Buddhist Nun”

Tuesday, October 8, 2013
11:00 a.m.

Dorsey Chapel
Columbia College Campus

About Ven. Pannavati Bhikkhuni

The Venerable Pannavati Bhikkhuni is a co-founder and co-Abbot of Embracing Simplicity Hermitage in Hendersonville, N.C., and a founding director of Sisters of Compassionate Wisdom Buddhist order. Formerly a Christian pastor, she now is a Buddhist monk ordained in Theravada and Mahayana traditions, a transmission holder from Zen Master Bernie Glassman of Zen Peacemakers and a receiver of Vajrayana empowerments. She is known for her ordination of Thai and Cambodian nuns, work with homeless youth in Appalachia, and ministry to the "Untouchables" in India.

An international teacher and advocate for disempowered women and youth globally, she received the 2008 Outstanding Buddhist Women’s Award and a special commendation from the Her Royal Highness Princess of Thailand for humanitarian acts in 2009. She also established the first Thai and Cambodian ordination platforms for women in 2009 and 2011, respectively, and was the recipient of the 2011 Women in Engaged Buddhism Award, presented by the Buddhist Council of the Midwest. She is the founder of My Place, Inc., a program offering refuge, job training and social enterprise opportunities to homeless youth in Hendersonville, N.C. A guest speaker at BuddhaFest in Washington, D.C., in 2012 and 2013, she also guest teaches at New York Insight Mediation Center and Spirit Rock Mediation Center in Woodacre, Calif.

Though her many accolades are impressive, Ven. Pannavati has never lost sight of her humble concern for and connection to all sentient beings, and is revered for her compassion, contemplation and wit.

The Schiffman Lecture in Religious Studies was created to educate students, faculty, staff and the community about religion’s influence on society in the United States and globally. Read more about the Schiffman Lecture series.

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Previous lectures in Religious Studies

2012
Dr. D. Newell Williams, President and Professor of Modern and American Church History, Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University
2011
Stephen L. Carter, Acclaimed Novelist, Yale Law Professor, and Leading Intellectual in Law, Religion, and Culture
2010
Dr. James H. Austin, Neurologist, Researcher, and Zen Practitioner
2009
Robert Wright, Schwartz Senior Fellow, New America Foundation
2009
Dr. Kenneth W. Stein, director, Institute for the Study of Modern Israel of Emory University
2008
Susan Jacoby, author of The New York Times best seller, The Age of American Unreason
2007
Dr. Stephen J. Patterson, professor of New Testament at Eden Theological Seminary, St. Louis
2006
Rev. Martin Marty, pastor, author and Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago Divinity School
2005
Ellen O’Grady, artist and social activist
2004
Rev. John Yonker of First Christian Church and Rabbi Yossi Feintuch of Congregation Beth Shalom of Columbia, Mo.
2003
Dr. Shakir Hoomodi, spokesperson for the Islamic Center of Central Missouri
2002
Dr. Linda Lindsey, professor of sociology and coordinator of women’s studies, Maryville University of St. Louis.

Schiffman Lecture series

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