Friends of Saranaloka

Friends of Saranaloka is a community of lay practitioners founded by Mindy Zlotnick and Emily Carpenter in 2015 to help support the development of Aloka Vihara Forest Monastery. In 2021 MaryAnn Gallo joined the team. They are an independent fundraising body focused on education, outreach and supporting fundraising events for Aloka Vihara and Aloka Earth Room.

Please contact them if you wish to get involved!

MaryAnn Gallo

MaryAnn Gallo was introduced to Dhamma practice fifteen years ago. She first met Anandabodhi Bhikkhuni and Santacitta Bhikkunhi in 2016 when she sat a monastic retreat at Spirit Rock. From that moment on, she has practiced with the Aloka Vihara monastics whenever possible and has had the joy of visiting the monastery on several occasions. In addition to her ardent support for Bhikkhuni ordination, MaryAnn is committed to anti-racist activism and believes equity and inclusion are essential to realizing the freedom offered by the Buddha’s teachings.

A lover of the Dhamma, yoga, time spent in nature, a good read and a good laugh, MaryAnn lives in Los Angeles with her partner, John, and their two teen-aged children.


Uma de Silva & Madhan M.
Uma de Silva & Madhan M.

Uma and Madhan were introduced to spirituality at a very young age. While Uma invested more time learning about Buddhism, Madhan practiced meditation through various forms of martial arts. They both work in downtown Sacramento, Madhan in IT management, and Uma in healthcare administration. Their routines outside of work include the practice of yoga, walks in nature, listening to music, and more exposure to the Dharma. Among their other hobbies are gardening, painting, and cooking. They are ardent supporters of Aloka Earth Room and Aloka Vihara, and are appreciative of the opportunity to be part of a community that includes fully ordained Bhikkhunis of the Theravada lineage.


Emily Carpenter at Aloka Vihara Almsgiving with Aloka Vihara bhikkhunies
Emily Carpenter at Almsgiving Ceremony 2015
With the Aloka Vihara bhikkhunis and the Prajna Paramita
In the Aloka Vihara shrine room







Emily first met the Aloka Vihara nuns in 2012, while working in the communications and development office at the Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts. She was deeply inspired by the nuns’ presence and their vision to create a bhikkhuni training monastery, and also very concerned about the lack of equal opportunities for women to live the monastic life in Theravada Buddhism. She came the following year to spend a summer as lay steward at Aloka Vihara, San Francisco and has been spending month-long periods at Aloka Vihara Forest Monastery in Placerville.

Mindy Zlotnick (Emeritus)