We asked our teachers five questions about them and their lives. Here is what Jaya responded:

Jaya Rudgard

1) If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self / what do you wish you’d known at the beginning when you started out on this path?

a)That there is no thing to attain or get right: the path is made by walking it, and walking it should be enjoyed. b) It’s really true as the Buddha said that friendship is the whole of the spiritual life. The friendships you make on this journey are your most precious resource.

2) What brings you joy? 

Spending time being active in wild places, with a few good friends.

What makes you unhappy?

Seeing the harm that human beings do to this beautiful planet, to ourselves, to one another and our fellow creatures out of ignorance.

3) If you weren’t teaching what career would you have liked to have?

If I hadn’t become a nun and continued as a lawyer I would like to have used those skills to protect the natural world. In my fantasy world, I would have been a ballerina.

4) What one phrase or teaching do you come back to the most / have you found most useful? (Buddhist or not)

My current favourite phrase  is “The universal Dharma door is already open” (spoken in Thich Nhat Hanh’s voice). This Mahayana saying echoes the Pali quote which my first teacher Ajahn Sumedho always uses at the start of his talks ” The doors to the deathless are open… let those who can hear bring forth their faith’. I love the reminder that the Dharma is continually present and inviting us here and now into freedom. And while “faith” isn’t everyone’s cup of tea or word of choice, it’s the quality that expresses what I most deeply feel.

5) Whats the most unusual place you’ve meditated or taught?

A mud hut in Lesotho and the House of Commons.