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 Pārāyana Vihāra and Aloka Earth Room.

Please contact them at <> 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 Pārāyana Vihāra, and are appreciative of the opportunity to be part of a community that includes fully ordained Bhikkhunis of the Theravada lineage.



Heather Marie
Heather Marie









My name is Heather Marie. I am delighted to be serving as a member of Friends of Saranaloka. The community of Aloka Vihara & Aloka Earth Room have brought together a wonderful feeling of community. Through the process of witnessing the gift of the Dhamma in the Bhikkhunis & the practice of serving at the Vihara, I feel a welcome sense on this Earth and ready for ever May come. Thank you so much.



With the Aloka Vihara bhikkhunis and the Prajna Paramita
Emily at  Aloka Vihara Forest Monastery 2015









Emily Carpenter 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)