Dipa Ma

We are so fortunate to be alive at this time, so many teachers to learn with and from.

Here’s one: Dipa Ma who was born in East Bengal, lived for years in Burma, and spent her last years in Calcutta. Several American teachers were greatly inspired and influenced by her, such as Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein, and Jack Kornfield.

A book worth meditating on is by Amy Schmidt, entitled, Dipa Ma: The Life and Teachings of a Buddhist Master;  here are a couple short anecdotesI’ve adapted from her students, which I think you’ll appreciate!


“Dipa Ma and I were on an airplane
Coming to the States from India.

It was very, very turbulent,
And at one point, the plane hit an air pocket and dropped.

Drinks and other objects flew up to the ceiling
As the plane dropped downward before hitting stable air again.

I kind of screamed.
Dipa Ma was sitting across the aisle from me

And she reached out and took my hand
And she just held it.

Then she whispered,
‘The daughters of the Buddha are fearless.'”


“I met a man who had practiced in India
In the later 1960s and early ‘70s.

He was an avid meditator.
He shaved his head,

He wore white, he spent years in temples and ashrams and monasteries.
His parents hated it.

He was probably in his early thirties at the time,
And his parents thought he should be in medical school or law school.

His mother was particularly unhappy.
It was as if he had died, as if she had lost a son.

Whenever he went to see Dipa Ma,
She would ask him about his mother.

‘How is your mother? How is she doing?
When you do your sittings, are you doing metta for your mother?

Every time you sit, you should put your mother in your heart
And send her lovingkindness.’

One time she reached under the mattress in her back room
And pulled out a roll of Indian bank notes.

She took out a hundred-rupee note;
Worth about twelve dollars, which was a lot of money for her.

She put it in his hand,
closed his fingers over it, and said,

‘Go and buy a present and send it to your mother.’
That was how she taught.”

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