Sister Kovida's lay name was Laura Bridgman. She is English, and grew up in the country, the youngest of six raucous children. In her early years she had a spontaneous interest in Christianity.
Her first contact with Buddhism was through a TV documentary about reincarnation which she saw at 14 years old. The Tibetan monks impressed her with their natural and authentic joyfulness. Somehow this image touched her deeply and inspired her to reading about Buddhism and meditating, alongside partying and being an average teenager. In Cambridge in the early eighties during her years of nursing training, she joined the Cambridge Buddhist Society through which she heard Teachings from Ajahn Sumedho and Ajahn Sucitto.
In 1989 she participated in a retreat lead by Ajahn Sundara at Amaravati. The experience of the Teachings and the quality of the contact at the monastery drew her more and more. After caring for her mother through terminal illness she decided to experiment with a year as an anagarika, and never left! The continuing challenges that the monastic lifestyle brings she feels keeps her learning and growing. She spent the first 8 years or so in Amaravati and has been resident at Cittaviveka since 2001. She recently spent a period of time in Thailand and Burma to contemplate the roots of the Forest Tradition and experience practice there.