Sakyadhita Canada is an official branch of Sakyadhita International (SI), which is an international association of Buddhist women formed in 1987. Its primary purpose is to promote world peace through the practice of the Buddha's teachings. SI is an alliance of women and men whose goal it is to empower the world's 300 million Buddhist women to work for peace and social justice and to advance their spiritual and secular lives. To find out more about Sakyadhita International, go to

Our Beginnings

In 1987, Ayya Khema (one of the founding members of Sakyadhita International) asked Shirley 'Jayanta' Johannesen to be the Canadian representative of Sakyadhita. Jayanta accepted the position and has been involved in many aspects of the Canadian branch activities, including coordinating the development and incorporation of Sakyadhita Canada.

Jayanta has volunteered her time at international conferences, given presentations, led workshops and guided meditations. In 1991, as part of SI, she formed the Calgary Women's Dharma Forum, a support group of women from all Buddhist traditions. As Buddhist values were put into action in the local communities, participants' leadership skills were developed and the network was extended to other Buddhist women in Canada and internationally.

Our Mission

Sakyadhita Canada's mission is to

  • Establish an alliance of ordained and lay Buddhist women in Canada

  • Create a network of communication for Canadian Buddhist women

  • Support the establishment of Canadian chapters of Sakyadhita Canada

  • Support the objectives of Sakyadhita International

  • Promote harmony and dialogue among all Buddhist traditions and other religions

  • Encourage research and publication on topics of interest to Buddhist women

  • Foster compassionate social action for the benefit of humanity

  • Promote world peace and harmony through the teachings of the Buddha

Our Representatives

April Crocker

Founding Member/Past President
Jayanta (Shirley Johannesen)

Wendy McAdam
(British Columbia)

Manuel Litalien


Stephanie Balkwill

Sharon Gravelle

Donna Brown (Manitoba)
Barbara MacKay (Oregon)
Christine Macken (Alberta)
Sister Tinh Quang (Ontario)
Leanne Tonkin (British Columbia)
Marybeth White (Ontario)