Kaira Jewel Lingo from her website https://www.kairajewel.com/about:
“As soon as I saw the Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, or Thay as his students call him (Vietnamese for ‘teacher’), I knew he was my teacher. The community of nuns, monks and lay practitioners was also deeply inspiring to me, living authentically what he taught. In 1999 I was ordained as a Buddhist nun at the age of 25 and spent fifteen years as a nun, engaging in a 24-hour-a-day mindfulness practice made up of daily sitting and walking meditation, eating meals in silence to be fully present for our food, dharma study and community building, leading retreats and guiding students individually.”
Then, in my early forties, after spending nearly my whole adult life as a nun, I made another huge shift after a long discernment process, deciding to leave monastic life to start all over. So, when many friends from my youth had already started families and spent several decades in their professions, I was learning in middle age to do the things my peers had been doing since their early twenties—using a cell phone, running a household, and paying taxes. It was a major transition on many levels: personally, socially, financially, professionally, spiritually, and culturally.
Currently, I continue what I’ve learned from my teacher and my mentors by teaching and leading retreats internationally, helping to train a new and more diverse generation of Buddhist and mindfulness teachers who can translate the gifts of this beautiful tradition and offer it in a way that addresses the cries of our world. I also mentor groups and individuals and support social movements, offering a contemplative grounding and perspective to change makers whose courage to address injustice inspires me daily.
In addition to teaching in the Plum Village Tradition, I am also a teacher in the Vipassana tradition through Spirit Rock Meditation Center. “