Ven. Dr. Karuna Dharma (Thich An-Tu) took full ordination in 1976, becoming one of the first American women to take bhikkuni ordination in the United States. She met her teacher, Ven. Thich Thien-An, and began her studies of Buddhism in 1969. She was a founding members of the International Buddhist Meditation Center.

Ven. Karuna has been the Abbess of IBMC since Ven. Thich Thien-An died in 1980. She oversees the running of the Center, performs ceremonies, teaches, and is involved in Interfaith work and Inter-Buddhist work. She is a past president of the American Buddhist Congress and the College of Buddhist Studies. She serves as vice-president of the Buddhist Sangha Council and was a founding president of Sakyadhita, the International Association of Buddhist Women. Ven. Karuna is profiled in "Meetings with Remarkable Women: Buddhist Teachers in America," by Lenore Friedman.