Cindy Rasicot

Photo by Anita Scharf

Cindy Rasicot is the author of This Fresh Existence: Heart Teachings from Bhikkhuni Dhammananda, who defied convention to become the first woman fully ordained in the Thai Theravada tradition. Cindy became her disciple in 2005 and writes beautifully about their relationship and Venerable Dhammananda’s gentle wisdom of how to live a more powerful and compassionate life. Cindy is also the award-winning author of Finding Venerable Mother: A Daughter’s Spiritual Quest to Thailand published in May 2020. Her memoir is a soulful story of spiritual healing through her loving connection with her teacher, Bhikkhuni Dhammananda. The book was a finalist in the International Book Awards, the Sarton Awards, Eric Hoffer Awards, and a #1 best seller in Spirituality on Amazon.

Photo by Anita Scharf

“Cindy’s article, “To Walk Proudly as Women,” was featured in Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Guide in 2021.  She has received novice temporary ordination twice from Bhikkhuni Dhammananda at her all-female monastery, Songdhammakalyani Temple, in Nakon Pathom, Thailand. She hosts the YouTube program, “Casual Buddhism,” a series of conversations with Venerable Dhammananda about spiritual issues and Buddhist practices. Guests have included Jack Kornfield, Sylvia Boorstein, Joan Halifax, and many others. “Casual Buddhism episodes may be viewed here.  An author and retired psychotherapist, she lives in Point Richmond where she enjoys beautiful views of the San Francisco Bay.

My Story

American author Cindy Rasicot’s life has been a spiritual journey, always searching for that elusive connection. At age four, she asked her brother, who was five at the time, “Where is God?”  He answered, “Everywhere.” Puzzled she searched through the bushes but never found what she was seeking. She kept her brother’s words in her heart while growing up and figured she’d find an answer some day. In the meantime, Cindy received her master’s degree in clinical psychology, married, and worked in management positions in non-profits for thirty years—all while exploring her passion for dance, art, and writing.

Her spiritual journey took on new dimensions when she moved to Bangkok, Thailand with her family for three years. She first met Bhikkhuni Dhammananda, (Venerable Mother) through a serendipitous encounter at a women’s conference in Bangkok in 2005. There was an afternoon workshop called Faith, Feminism, and the Power of Love. Venerable Dhammananda was one of nine panelists who came together from around the world to discuss issues of spirituality, religion, feminism, and love. Near the end of the panel, Venerable Dhammananda spoke up and said, “We cannot solve anything with anger. Anger doesn’t lead us anywhere. It is much harder to practice loving kindness and compassion, that is the goal of Buddhism.” Venerable Dhammananda’s words struck a deep chord with Cindy; she had never encountered anyone, particularly a Buddhist woman and a feminist, who spoke so quietly and radiated such a soft light. Venerable Dhammananda’s kindness was contagious.

After the presentation Cindy approached Venerable Dhammananda, who smiled, handed Cindy a business card and said, ” Come visit us at the temple.”

Cindy with Venerable Dhammananda at her temple in 2006.
Photo by Nancy Zarider

That was how their relationship began and during the next three years Cindy lived in Thailand she visited the temple often. The funny thing was that Cindy was not born a Buddhist; she was raised Jewish. But something about Venerable Dhammananda’s message transcended religious differences. Her words about loving kindness touched Cindy to the core. Over the years Venerable Dhammananda became Cindy’s spiritual advisor, mentor, and Buddhist teacher. Cindy received temporary ordination from her teacher in 2014, and in 2022 she received temporary ordination for the second time.

This month October 2023 marks the 18th year that Cindy has been coming to the temple, which she regards as her sanctuary and home. In the time she has known Venerable Dhammananda, thanks to her teacher, Cindy has discovered more joy and personal harmony in her life.