Ven. Karuna Dharma, D.Dh. (1940-2014) was born in Wisconsin, USA and was the abbess of IBMC in Los Angeles for many years. She earned two M.A. degrees from UCLA (Education and Comparative Religion) and a doctorate in Buddhist Studies from the University of Oriental Studies. She runs a unique temple that has monastics from Theravada, Zen, Vajrayana, and Mahayana. She has been a leader in the ordination of women as fully ordained bhikkhunis and has ordained about 50 women to date. The services at her temple include all traditions and practitioners from all traditions attend. She has been a past president of the American Buddhist Congress and vice-pres. of the College of Buddhist Studies.
In November 2012, Ven. Karuna retired after 32 years as Abbess. She moved to Northern California to live close to family and friends. On February 22, 2014 at 3:30 am, she died peacefully with her daughter Chrys at her side. She was 74.