Mitra Lee Worley
Mitra Lee was born in Glen Cove, New York. She graduated from Mt. Holyoke College, BA in English and Drama, and later The Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City. Lee was working as an actress when she discovered Buddhism in 1973 while attending a theater conference in Boulder, Colorado hosted by members of the Buddhist community of Chogyam Trungpa. Subsequently, she was invited to teach acting at the Naropa Institute where she began meditating and attending talks by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.
In 1975 Chogyam Trungpa asked Lee to head the Theater Studies program at Naropa. She studied Mudra Space Awareness practices and shepherded the theater program through its precarious early years. She also helped launch the Ngedon School of Buddhist Studies and taught courses in that curriculum for many years. In 1996 she received an MA in Buddhist Studies, Tibetan language track, from Naropa University.
At Naropa, Lee met Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche and became his formal student. She soon became the practice coordinator in Boulder and later the national practice coordinator for Nalandabodhi. Lee says that she bascially sees herself as a practitioner and would like to be a role model and champion of meditation practice both on and off the cushion. “I look for the truth that underlies the dharma,” she explains, “and seek ways to bring it into moment to moment life beyond any dogma.” Mitra Lee lives in Boulder, Colorado where she is Professor of Theater and Contemplative Education at Naropa University.
The “Mitra” title: In 2005, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche empowered a group of his long-time students to be senior teachers of Nalandabodhi. He gave each of them the title Mitra, which is drawn from the Sanskrit term Kalyanamitra, “spiritual friend.” The Mitras guide Nalandabodhi’s three paths of Study, Meditation, and Mindful Activity and teach throughout the world.