is currently Deer Park Director. An American by birth, at the age of 23, Khema left Brazil and came back to the United States.
After 6 years of serving in the US Navy and Army National Guard, Khema went back to college and earned a teaching certificate in Health and Physical Education and a Master’s in Exercise Science. For 12 years Khema taught in the public schools, which included those in juvenile detention, and coached sports. During a 7-month sabbatical driving and camping cross country, Khema visited various monasteries in different traditions and earned a yoga certification during this time. For the next 4 years Khema continued teaching as an adjunct faculty at a community college.
The first years as a Buddhist were spent mostly in the Tibetan tradition; but overtime her practice shifted into the Theravada tradition. In 2016, after participating in the Exploring Monastic Life retreat at Sravasti Abbey, in Washington, Khema decided to become a monastic. In 2018, she became an Anagarika (white robes) at Aloka Vihara Monastery in California. In April 2020, Khema ordained as a novice, at Mahapajapati Monastery, having Ayya Gunasari as preceptor.
On September 24, 2023, disrobed from the monastic role. She will continue as the Director of Web of Connection at Deer Park until further notice.
Through a variety of programs, we aim to provide opportunities for many people to discover connections that will bring joy and purpose to their lives. We value what each member brings to the community. Our intention is to learn from each other as we collectively support the unfolding of wholeness in our lives.