Ayya Santacitta was born in Austria and has practiced meditation since 1988. Her first teacher was Ajahn Buddhadasa, who sparked her interest in Buddhist monastic life. She has trained as a nun in both the East and West since 1993, primarily in the lineage of Ajahn Chah. Since 2002, she also integrates Dzogchen teachings into her practice.
Ayya Santacitta is co-founder of Aloka Vihara, a training monastery for women in San Francisco, where she has lived since 2009. In 2011, she received bhikkhuni ordination with Ayya Tathaaloka Theri as preceptor. She offers teachings at the vihara, as well as in the wider Bay Area and occasionally other parts of the US, sharing her experience in community as a means for cultivating the heart and opening the mind.