The Santipada Buddhist Monastery of New Zealand is dedicated to providing opportunities for monastics and lay people to learn and practice the original teachings of the Buddha. These teachings encompass a philosophy of life and meditation practice that brings about freedom from human suffering and thereby happiness to individuals and ultimately the world. The Buddha taught that through an understanding of the mind we are better able to recognize our connection to nature and each other and therefore live in harmony with our world. Bhante Yasala is the abbess of the monastery who has been ordained for more than 34 years. She was born in 1964 in South Korea. Originally, she ordained as a Korean Nun ( Bhikkuni ) in the Zen tradition in 1984. After completion of four years study of the Buddhist Suttas, Bhante practiced Zen Meditation for a four-year intensive silent retreat in a remote mountain area. Later, Bhante went to Myanmar and India to practice Meditation and shifted to the Theravadan tradition. In 2003, she came to New Zealand to share her experiences on meditation and the wisdom of Buddhism. Buddhism addresses itself to all people irrespective of race, nationality, or gender. It teaches practical methods which enable people to realize and utilize its teachings in order to transform their experience, to be fully responsible for their lives and to develop the qualities of awareness, wisdom and compassion. Developing the practice of self-care allows us to more readily share our happiness, compassion and wisdom with others. The basic tenets of Buddhist teaching are straightforward and practical: nothing is fixed or permanent; actions have consequences; change is possible. There are many different forms of Buddhism, but all traditions are characterized by non-violence, lack of dogma, tolerance of differences, and, usually, by the practice of meditation.