The Dhamma Letter will address questions inherent to being human. Throughout the cycle of life, we are all bound to face the unpleasant realities of aging, illness, and death.
It was the pondering of this very idea that led Shakyamuni Gautama Buddha (born ~500 BCE) to go forth from this life of comfort and luxury and seek the way of ultimate happiness. The Buddha not only self-enlightened but continued to spend the rest of his life teaching and helping others to find their way.
We are fortunate to live in the time of a Buddha Sāsana, where the teachings are available to us as a guide and foundation for our own practice.
My hope is that The Dhamma Letter will help all be happy and reach nibbāna in this very life!
Bhikkhunī Kosallā Vipassinī
Ayya Kosalla Vipassini was born in South Korea in 1970. She graduated with degrees in Yoga & Meditation and Montessori Childhood Education from universities in South Korea. She later earned a degree in Oriental Medicine in California in 2008. And she had an opportunity to study Meditation Psychology in South Korea for two years and to practice in Thailand as a bhikkhuni in 2018-2020.
From a very young age, Ayya Kosalla began contemplating spiritual questions and came to believe in reincarnation. Without any religious background, she often felt like a stranger in her own family. Whenever she saw people behaving wrongly, she recognized her mind was uncomfortable and was compelled to give feedback to make it right. When she was 13 years old, she followed her friend to a Catholic church without any prior knowledge of Catholicism. The tranquility of the environment made her mind calm and peaceful. After graduating high school, Ayya Kosalla was inspired to help people and volunteered at her local Catholic church.
In 1993, she began practicing yoga, qi gong, and meditation through Taoism and Buddhism, and she discovered the truth that the Self, not God, creates everything. Thereafter, her practice improved rapidly, and she began sharing her learnings with others. She moved to the United States in 1997 to continue teaching. She spent the next ten years teaching and traveling throughout America, China, South Korea, and India while working in Oriental medicine and yoga therapy. During this time, she taught both novices and other teachers seeking to deepen their skills.
But by 2008, she felt her life lacked meaning, like she was standing on a platform waiting for a train that would never arrive. At this point, her suffering helped her understand the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, which inspired her to go to a Korean Zen Buddhism temple in California to continue to serve and meditate. In 2010, she decided to travel to India. While in India, she spent time at a Goenka center, where she finally connected her practice to the true teachings of the Buddha. Back when Ayya Kosalla had begun practicing Buddhism in the early 90’s, she was introduced by a senior teacher to the Vipassana way of practice in daily life. But it wasn’t until her time in India that she came to understand that the type of observation she had been practicing for so long was Vedananupassana (observation of feeling) and Cittanupassana (observation of mind). She realized this practice was already on the path of letting go of all formations.
Ayya Kosalla first went forth into the nunnery life of Taoism in 1994. As nearly two decades of non-stop practice in search of the truth, eventually she self-ordained in Theravada in 2013 and went to Myanmar to become a Sayalay (Burmese nun). In 2014, she took 10 precepts in Pa Auk style before changing to 8 precepts under U Tejaniya Sayadaw at Shaw Woo Min, Myanmar in 2015. She became a Samaneri named Kosalla Vipassini in 2016 and became a Bhikkhuni in 2018.
Her name Kosalla comes from Kosalla Sayadaw of Shwe Oo Min, Myanmar. The name was chosen to honor and remember the Nibbana and Metta forward way of practice Kosalla Sayadaw taught while he lived and guided people.
Ayya Kosalla had many teachers who inspired and changed her life - Jesus, Asian sages, Ramana Maharsh, Korean monks (Sung-Chul, Sung-San), U Kosalla Sayadaw, U Tejaniya Sayadaw, and Luang Por Pramote. Although she practiced many methods in Myanmar, the teaching of Cittanupassana under U Tejaniya Sayadaw was her final guide to the Nibbana way.
Ayya Kosalla would like to share her experience to all people who have a desire to practice and be happy. She would like to pay back her gratitude for the Budhha, Dhamma and Sangha to the people who really want to understand and practice Dhamma. To teach and share her experience with others is her mission for the rest of her life.
Therefore, Ayya Kosalla accepted being invited as Abbess (Spiritual director) in Mahapajapati Monastery in October 2020 until 2022. However, as her teacher, Sayadaw Kosalla always said that “The time is not enough to practice in life!”, she returned to herself to finish her practice in this very life.
Ayya Kosalla resides in Mahabodhi Meditation Vihara in Arizona since 2023. The place is only for study and practice in Nibbana. Her meditation object is only Nibbana.