Jessie Litven grew up in the Shambhala community in Halifax, Nova Scotia, though her interest in Tibetan language did not really begin until she encountered a Tibetan Pön monk living in residence at Joan Halifax’s Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2000.
After sailing to French Polynesia in 2001, renovating a Waldorf school in British Columbia in 2002, and directing a non-profit fundraising office in California in 2003, ultimately, that monk inspired her to visit India in 2004. She stayed in India ten months, both in the north and south, teaching English and learning colloquial Tibetan while living with monks from Gyudmed Monastery.
Upon her return to Halifax in 2005, she began apprenticing with the Nalanda Translation Committee, where she became immersed in classical Tibetan. She attended Sutrayana and Vajrayana seminaries with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche later that year. She now works as a written and oral translator for the committee. Her love for travel has not declined, however, and she has made regular trips to India and Nepal, interpreting and teaching Tibetan for Mingyur Rinpoche’s Tergar Institute in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
Jessie also enjoys playing piano, swimming, taking photos, and doing the lindy hop. www.beezwings.org