- A conversation with Lama Tsultrim Allione, international Tibetan Buddhist teacher and author of Women of Wisdom and Feeding Your Demons. She is the founder and spiritual director of Tara Mandala. In 2009, Lama Tsultrim received the International Outstanding Woman in Buddhism Award given in Bangkok, Thailand.
Born Joan Rousmaniere Ewing in 1947 to a family of considerable accomplishment in New England, the young woman who would become Lama Tsultrim Allione began a lifelong study of Tibetan Buddhism at the age of 19 after encountering it during a long trip to India and Nepal. Among other teachers she studied with Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, and at the age of 22 was ordained a nun by His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, who became her root guru. After several years of study and training in both Asia and America with many wonderful teachers, she made the difficult decision to return her monastic vows, married, and moved with her new husband to Puget Sound. There she gave birth to two daughters, and both she and her husband continued their Buddhist studies. The family moved to Colorado to work with Chogyam Trungpa, where Tsultrim separated from her first husband and later married Italian filmmaker Costanzo Allione. They had two children, one of whom died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Her Buddhist studies which helped her come to terms with this death were the foundation of her first book Women of Wisdom.
She met her third husband David Petit in 1988. This marriage was a true partnership, and the couple collaborated in the creation of Tara Mandala near Pagosa Springs, Colorado in the early 1990s. For many years, Lama Tsultrim has focused her teachings on the lineage of Machig Labdrön, the 11th century Tibetan yogini who founded the Chöd lineage. In 2007 she was recognized and acknowledged as an emanation of Machig Labdrön, by the resident lama and lineage-holder at the monastery in Tibet where Machig Labdrön lived most of her long life. In 2008 she published the national bestseller Feeding Your Demons – Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict.
Tara Mandala Website: www.taramandala.org