Monday, December 22, 2014

Ayya Jayati’s Bhikkhuni Ordination: A Personal Perspective

Ayya Jayati is a newly ordained bhikkhuni from Aloka Vihara. The Aloka Vihara nuns trained for many years as monastics at Amaravati and Chithurst monasteries in England before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2009, where they established Aloka Vihara. They have a long-term vision to create a rural monastery for bhikkhunis and samaneris to develop and flourish. What follows is Ayya Jayati's story of her earlier monastic life and her recent bhikkhuni ordination.

Bhikkhuni and Bhikkhu Sangha
From a personal perspective bhikkhuni ordination was something which in my earlier monastic years I had not not even considered as a possibility. The monasteries in England provided a very good training in many ways and there was a strong community of committed nuns and monks living a life of renunciation. I felt very grateful to have found a place with teachings and a style of practice that provided me with the support I needed to live in a way so contrary to the culture I had been conditioned for and felt so clearly wasn't the way to peace or happiness. At that time I have to admit being unable to really take in the disparity between the genders. It did indeed seem to me like things were "good enough!" (an oft-used phrase in Amaravati for the practice of contentment) for the purposes of cultivating the path of Dhamma.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Right Speech, Right Silence

Ayya Medhanandi

Receiving dana
What makes us pacify and fawn on those we don’t respectonly to lose respect for ourselves? Or hold our peace when someone insults us or another? Are we intimidated into a silence that breaches our core principles lest we offend, draw criticism or anger? In life’s conflicted moments, how do we judge when it’s right to speak out?

There’s nothing golden about a silence that shrugs its shoulders because we’re too scared to say what we feel. We may dodge the vitriol aimed at us or – to our unspoken relief – at someone else, but each time we do so it may be at the cost of our own integrity.