Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Spotlight On: Three Newly Emerging Theravada Bhikkhuni Projects for the 2600th Bhikkhuni Sangha Anniversary

Photo courtesy of Karuna Sevena.

This year has seen the dedication of two Bhikkhuni monastery projects in the west, while another is taking momentous steps forward. This is especially momentus as the Global Bhikkhuni Sangha celebrates its 2,600th anniversary between the full moon of September 2016 and the full moon of September 2017. To read more on the Bhikkhuni Sangha please read Ven. Ayya Tathaaloka's article from BuddhistDoor Global here.


May the Dhamma flourish!

Karuna Sevena Bhikkhuni Arama

Opening Blessings.
Photo courtesy of Karuna Sevena.

Karuna Sevena
In 2009, Ven. Bhikkhuni Visuddhi and her Dhamma-friends began to lay the foundation for a small monastic dwelling in the Czech Republic. Over the years, it became apparent that there was a growing need for a larger space that would allow for a more ideal practice space, as well better privacy and accommodations for Ven. Visuddhi, who had been sharing her private space with Dhamma-friends. Therefore, the Karuna Sevena Association decided to enlarge the arama, so people could meet in the Dhamma, and together with Ven. Visuddhi practice towards the realization of nibbana.

"Life is short and it is really up to us how we are living it, how we are treating it. How we use time, what type of people we meet up with, and what kind of Path we practice. Depending upon that, our life is either miserable, or happy. Currently, we only need to develop the right mental energy (viriya) to attain nibbana,"

-- Ven. Visuddhi.

On May 29th, amid Vesak celebrations, a completely redesigned and renovated monastery Karuna Sevena was inaugurated. Numerous people worked very hard on this magnificent project for nearly five years, overcoming many challenging obstacles.

For more information on Karuna Sevena please visit their blog or become a friend on Facebook.

Dhammadharini  Sonoma Mountain Bhikkhuni Arama

Opening Blessings.
Photo courtesy of Dhammadharini.

After 10 years of holding the intention and working towards the aim, the Dhammadharini Support Foundation purchased monastery property in Northern California north of San Francisco for the Bhikkhuni Sangha led by Ven (Ayya) Tathaloka Theri, Ven Sobhana Theri and Ven Suvijjana Bhikkhuni. The new Dhammadharini Monastery will allow for sanctuary & practice for bhikkhunis, female novices and trainees, aspirants, and lay friends, as well as for community outreach, alms rounds, and greater accessibility of teaching.

The new Dhammadharini Sonoma Mountain Bhikkhuni Monastery (ārāma in Pāli) is well located in a 1.33 acre compound at the western foot of Sonoma Mountain at the outskirts of the small city of Penngrove, just north of Petaluma and south of Santa Rosa, ideally placed between the rural area and suburbs. It features a newly repurposed light-filled accessible meditation hall, a residential wing that is currently being remodeled into private monastic cells and visitors’ lodgings, space to build a kuti for solitary retreats and for male visitors, and ample area to develop a Permaculture-inspired ecological meditation garden for sitting, standing and walking meditation, including an outdoor Bodhi tree shrine and stupa garden area. The most outstanding aspects of this space, are its affordability to the community, its excellent potential for good development as a monastery and its accessibility — equidistant by public transportation between three key places: the San Francisco Bay, Sacramento, and Dhammadharini’s Awakening Forest Hermitage on the Sonoma Coast, Aranya Bodhi. While Aranya Bodhi is located in a rustic, rugged and remote cool, misty and dark redwood forest environment located off-grid on steep, mountainous land; the new monastery provides for the needs of the community as its compliment — sunny and bright on flat land and accessible to friends and supporters, as well as monastics, who are elderly or not in strong and vigorous health.

Mara-vijaya Earth Witness Buddha
Photo courtesy of Dhammadharini.
Between July 15th to 17th, the Mara-vijaya Earth Witness Buddha image from the Shan State of Burma/Myanmar was installed and the new meditation hall inaugurated and unveiled, blessed by the chanting of the Bhikkhu and Bhikkhuni Maha Sangha. The Earth Witness image is the primary image of the Buddha in the new monastery's meditation hall. Very shortly after the unveiling of the image of the Buddha, the crematory relics (saririka dhatu) of the ancient arahant disciple of the Buddha Ven. Sivala Thero, conveyed from Sri Lanka, were offered and enshrined in the monastery meditation hall; followed by the offering and enshrining of the relics of the ancient monastic disciples Ven. Sariputta and Mahamogallana Thero together with the relics of Ven Bakula Thero from Myanmar, making for a wonderful ambiance. Additionally, the venerable Ananda Bodhi tree sapling was planted in an enclosure on the grounds of the new monastery. This Bodhi tree is a seed child of the Ananda Bodhi tree in India, planted by the Ven. Ananda Thero, the disciple of the Buddha, who remembered the Buddha’s teachings recorded in the Sutta Pitaka of the Tipitaka, as well as playing a legendary role in the establishment of the Bhikkhuni Sangha. After the bhikkhunis were formally invited to dwell in the monastery by the president of the support foundation and all supporters, a monastic sima (boundary of shared communion) and Uposatha Hall were established and inaugurated by the Bhikkhuni Sangha, and the site of the future stupa blessed.

For more information on Dhammadharini please visit their website or like them on Facebook


Anukampa Bhikkhuni Arama Project

Photo courtesy of Anukampa Project.

In October 2015 Ajahn Brahm asked Venerable Bhikkhuni Canda of Dhammasara monastery Perth, to take steps towards establishing a monastery in the UK. In response to this, Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project was born.

Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project aims to promote the teachings and practices of Early Buddhism, through establishing a Bhikkhuni presence in the UK. The long term aspiration is to develop a monastery with a harmonious and meditative atmosphere, for women who wish to train towards full ordination.

In June this year, Ven. Canda and Laura Bridgeman, a former Buddhist nun, made a walking pilgrimage from Bakewell, England in her home county of Derbyshire to the city of Manchester. The pilgrimage ended with a talk on compassion at the Manchester Centre for Buddhist Meditation. 

Throughout October, Venerable Bhikkhu Ajahn Brahm will lead a series of talks and retreats in England in support of the aims and mission of Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project. The planned monastery’s eventual location in the UK will very much depend on wherever there is the most interest and support.

Anukampa literally means trembling or resonating with compassion, and is wisdom's response to suffering. A synonym for karuna, anukampa highlights the empathic aspect of compassion, which connects us to ourselves and to each other.

For more information on the Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project, , or to see how you can help please visit their website and like them on Facebook.

1 comment:

  1. It is so inspiring to read about these new ventures taking place in our world which will provide suitable places for women to practise Buddhism, as fully ordained monastics. Blessings on you all!