Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Please visit our new website




Go to
http://www.dhammadharini.net/ 
for up-to-date information
about Aranya Bodhi Hermitage,
as well as the Dhammadharini Vihara,
now located in Santa Rosa.






Sunday, June 16, 2013

Reply to "Welcome Back Ayya Tathaaloka & Ven. Nibbida"

Dear friends,

It is so good to be back in this peaceful forest surrounded by my Sangha sisters.  

To my surprise, i was greeted on return by a full hall of several groups of friends who came throughout the afternoon, which we all, young and older, spent enjoying meditation and joyful Dhamma reflection and discussion together.

meditating together before almsmeal dana

















making Buddha mudras with the children




















I returned to find that two new tent platforms had been built by -- us! -- while i was away :-).  Several venerables and friends had their very first mentored experiences using power tools, as well as blessing the new platforms together.  Friend Lee will be staying on one which is her new secluded spot of meditation.  The other will become our temporary kitchen, as we are about to have an outdoor camp kitchen for a week or two of this fine weather while our hermitage's kitchen trailer undergoes much needed renovations. 

teacher and student building the new meditation platform













new temporary camp kitchen is up













blessing this new place of forest meditation



























we did it ourselves!

It brought joy for us to do it ourselves, and we also always very much welcome your helpful participation.  Our 4th of July Volunteers Week at the hermitage is coming soon!  Please do join us for all or any part.

I hope to write again soon to share with you a little about my time away with the Generation X Buddhist Teacher's Conference and the International Vipassana Teacher's Conference -- both very different and very valuable and enriching gatherings. 

Also, look out for further news on the coming Volunteers Week and other preparations for our Three-Monthlong Vassa-time Retreat which begins just 5 weeks from today.  We have a full house here at the hermitage now with 7 bhikkhunis and samaneris as well as 3 aramikas (hermitage stewards) in residence -- a total of 10 of us :-)).

Sending metta to you
heart to heart,
from this peaceful patch of regrowth forest,
amidst these amazing and peaceful robed beings and friends,
in the life of the Dhamma ~

peacefully,
Ayya Tathaaloka Bhikkhuni

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Interfaith Women for Peace visit our Awakening Forest

Good things on top of good things, gladdening the heart ~

Friends and sisters of the Tri-Cities Interfaith Women for Peace drove up the coast and joined us today in the quiet Awakening Forest, bringing abundant food to share for the late morning almsmeal offering, joining us for blessings and the meal, Q & A on everything from Buddha images to God and Nibbana, and then a walking tour of our women's monastic hermitage land, meditation sites and stupa.  

The meeting of Ayya Tathaaloka and Sr. Gloria, the abbess of the Dominican Sisters' motherhouse in Mission San Jose, in Fremont two years ago sparked the advent of Interfaith Women for Peace, which has now grown into a lovely and lively contemplative gathering of women religious leaders of multiple faiths in the San Francisco East Bay Area.


 
Meeting our Interfaith Women for Peace friends here in the forest

Today's visit of Sr. Annette, a Catholic nun of the Order of Notre Dame, Muslim sister Nabeela, Japanese Buddhist Sets and Unitarian Universalist minister Rev. Barbara Meyers to our Aranya Bodhi Hermitage followed on Ayya Sobhana's presentation on Buddhism to an Interfaith Women for Peace gathering at the Peace Pagoda in Fremont last month.

Ayya Tathaaloka, when asked about the concept of God, speaking on Nibbana, "the Unconditioned"    

Ayya Sobhana comments ~
"We felt such a connection with these women, who care enough about mutual loving-kindness, compassion and peacefulness.  This is so meaningful.  It is not just a theoretical interest in interfaith relationships, but a genuine heart connection.  Its really beautiful and lovely."

Ayya Sobhana giving a walking tour of the land and speaking on the Dhamma while showing Kalyana Kuti


In the blessings of the good heart
of peace and kindness,
and the bright heart 
inclined to truth and the Way,

Yours truly,
Aranya Bodhi Sangha

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Heart, Land & Sangha Time | Vesak-week Bhikkhuni Camp at Aranya Bodhi

Heart, Land & Sangha Time
2013 Vesak-week Bhikkhuni Camp at Aranya Bodhi  






















For all dear friends of our Bhikkhuni Sangha and Venerables far and wide ~

Warm greetings from the quiet peace of the Awakening Forest, our Vesak-week Bhikkhuni Camp now complete.

For 5 days this past week under the bright Vesaka moon bhikkhunis and samaneris from around the country and around the world gathered for "Bhikkhuni Camp", the third time Bhikkhuni Camp has happened on this hermitage land, although the first time since our hermitage has come into being here.

Let us share with you something of this year's camp.  

  the camp

Bhikkhunis and samaneris stayed in little huts in this redwood forest by the ocean, or pitched tents up high on the mountain meadow called "the saddle".  Our hermitage land was in full spring bloom, with myriad forest and meadow flowers and birds singing. On the first day -- our day of gathering -- after a long and unusual spring drought, a heavy spring rain came in, moistening the land and alleviating the fire danger.  The second day monastic campers experienced the famous mountain mists, and then the sun broke through clear and bright, blessing all our remaining days together.

  participants

Ayya Tathaaloka Bhikkhuni-theri from the Pacific Northwest, USA 
(Aranya Bodhi Hermitage, Dhammadharini), 

Ayya Sudhamma Bhikkhuni-theri from North Carolina, USA 
(itinerant teacher, Bhavana Society), 

Ayya Sobhana Bhikkhuni from Iowa, USA 
(Aranya Bodhi Hermitage, Bhavana Society), 

Ayya Suvijjana Bhikkhuni from Northern California, USA 
(Aranya Bodhi Hermitage, Dhammadharini), 

Ayya Anandabodhi Bhikkhuni from Wales, UK 
(Aloka Vihara),

Ayya Dhammadhira Bhikkhuni from Southern California 
(Mahapajapati Women's Monastery),

Sr Sumedha Samaneri from Seattle, Washington, USA 
(Ekayanamagga Galena Aranya, Sri Lanka),

Sr Santacari Samaneri from Adelade, AUS 
(Aranya Bodhi Hermitage / Pa Auk Tawya May Myio & Chanmyay Myiang, Mingaladon, Myanmar (Burma))

Sr Jayati Samaneri from North London, UK 
(Aloka Vihara)

  meditation in the elements
  chanting together  
  monastic council

Early in the morning monastics gathered to chant together in our DhammaSala yurt, or to each practice sitting, walking and standing meditation independantly in the clear and elemental beauty of the forest and meadows.  Later each morning bhikkhunis and samaneris gathered for Council together, speaking on matters important to the heart of this path and the way.  Topics ranged from our individual practice and experience to the important matters of monastic communal life to working together on knotty points of monastic discipline--delving into the Pali-text Bhikkhuni Vinaya which hasn't been practiced for so long and now once again returns to life.  Each day a different bhikkhuni teacher led the council, so we all learned from and benefited from each others' unique experience and methods.

  pindapata ~ almsround

Later in the morning all of us arranged our almsbowls and upper robes and set off walking silently, in line as a flock of geese, moving through the forest, down the mountain tracks, cross the creek, and emerging in the little forest village on the other side of the canyon.  Two houses in this tiny forest village had specially welcomed us to come by for pindapata on two days of the camp, but after the second day, they invited us back for the next two days as well!




  sharing blessings & sharing in Dhamma

When we were invited in to receive almsfood and take our meal at the forest village dwelling; on receiving food we chanted ancient Pali verses of blessing and appreciation. For the first time, we also chanted the "Yata varivaha..." verses in English as well, led by Ayya Dhammadhira and Ayya Anandabodhi.  This was beautiful, everyone sharing in their thoughts of dedication for loved ones and aspirations on the Path. 


After the meal offering and drying of alms bowls in the sunshine, each day a different bhikkhuni teacher offered the Anumodana Dhamma-katha, a Dhamma reflection offered in gratitude and appreciation to those who have made the offering.  After the Dhamma reflection, all those gathered enjoyed lively Dhamma discussion. On one day the discussion went on for several hours!  It was wonderful to hear Dhamma reflections from different bhikkhunis each day and to have excellent Dhamma discussion amoungst dedicated lay and monastic practitioners and community leaders. 


  creek walk & time on the land

Jill Rayna, leader of the DharmaCreek Sangha, kindly offered a "creek walk" to gathered monastics and supportive friends.  Creek Walk is a highly mindful experience walking the pools, waterfalls and great logjams and boulders of the creek that flows down through our land from north to south, and out into the ocean.  It is excellent for getting deeply in touch with the four-fold elemental nature of the land, water and air, heat (and coolness); internally and externally, in these bodies as in all of nature.  Thank you Jill for offering this!


  evenings on the saddle with the stupa

Later in the evening, as the light began to fall, we all gathered up on the high mountain saddle around the ancient Shilla reliquary stupa that graces our Aranya.  Sitting together, we spoke as sisters quietly, and then all became silent to listen to a Dhamma talk from one of the longtime monastics, senior bhikkhuni teachers.  













On one evening, Ayya Dhammadhira chanted for us the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta--the Discourse on Turning the Wheel of the Dhamma--again, in English, in a beautiful rendition rendered during her past Winter Retreat time.  It is so good to hear the Dhamma in one's native language so beautifully and well expressed. 



  

  katannyuta ~ gratitude

Our days and nights passed together in this way.  No one was eaten by cougars or coyotes; the land was filled with peaceful metta and a great appreciation for the life of all co-dwelling living beings.  No one fell down the mountainside on the steep trails; a spirit of mindfulness and the goodness of the training held and protected and blessed us all.  And no one even met a timber rattlesnake, scorpion or tarantula, although we learned lots about them thanks to Samaneri Sumedha's excellent orientation.  

Many thanks to gifts from local friends and the supporters of the Alliance for Bhikkhunis, there were jugs for hot water to keep us warm, and propane to heat the water.  There was a new shower tent in which to bathe, and eco-friendly bio-degradable soap to bathe with.  Many thanks to Jill Rayna, there was a newly recleared trail to walk pindpata and cross the canyon to the village on the other side; and thanks to friends there, the welcome place to walk to, and a place for friends to gather.  Many thanks to local friends from near and far who offered our daily almsmeal, warming and sustaining these bodies, our vehicles for living the holy life in the way of the Buddha.















Many thanks for the friend who has so generously offered the use of this beautiful Aranya land to us, our women's monastic community, its elders and new bhikkhunis, its aspirants and friends, and those who seek solace together in the forest recluse life. And deep, deep thanks and gratitude to friends Lee, Tess, Holly, Ashley, Jill, Ann, Jeannie, Ying & Hisayo, Maryann, Lal, Jocelyn and Amanda who, together with our Dhammadharini Support Foundation, were the team of supportive friends who made it all possible.

With much love and appreciation,
sharing the abundant blessings of this time,

Ayya Tathaaloka Bhikkhuni
for all of our forest hermitage sangha

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Building our own toolshed

Over the past few months, the bhikkhunis and residents of Aranya Bodhi, along with many skillful friends, have been building a beautiful new toolshed.  Sherene, Justin, Janaka, Lal, Erika, Malachi, Lulu, Julie and Ais,  Jamyrson, Kat  Kelly and Lisa, Wink, Joan, Maheshi, Kitty, Nancy, Geri, Teresa, Dina Marie, Healah, Ven. Pasada, Sr. Santacari, Ayya Sudinna ... all of them now have left their mark on our hermitage in this helpful structure.

 It is certainly suitable for a hermitage to create such a clean and orderly space for our building supplies and tools.  In the Suttas and Vinaya, we hear stories of the first monastics building their own huts.  This is a proper kind of work, to be done mindfully and in full awareness. 
We may compare this physical project to our right effort in the Dhamma practice: There is the decisive moment when we arouse energy to begin the work.  Then we apply energy, stepping on the gas, but in a well directed way, balanced and sustained. Then, we don't give up.  Although the body may need to rest, we sustain unremitting, seamless mindfulness, not stopping, not giving up and not turning aside until the goal is finally reached.




 

We will get a skilled builder to take care of the shingles on that steep roof, but there is still time for volunteers to help finish up this project in October and November, before the winter rains set in.  Contact here if you are interested.

We have put a few items in our Kathina useful things list, coming on November 3.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

A new samaneri enters the world

A very beautiful thing ~

A new samaneri entered the world on Sunday 2 September, together at our Aranya Bodhi Forest Hermitag.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tranquil Progress


Meritorious work 
Another meritorious work 



To all friends of Aranya Bodhi Hermitage,

During the past few weeks, our Aranya Bodhi Hermitage has been blessed with the brief visits of several women who are exploring how to go deeper into the full practice of Dhamma, whether through bhikkhuni training or as upasikas, close friends of the monastic community.  We have felt inspired and uplifted by Wink, Joan, Maheshi, Kitty, Nancy, Geri, and Teresa.  Each one is glad to be here in the forest, appreciative of our Dhamma teaching, content to follow the daily rhythms of silence and courteous conversation, manual work and the internal work of meditation, accomplishment and doing nothing at all.

And at the very same time, Ayya Tathaaloka and the Dhammadharini Board of Directors, assisted by our Vassatime resident Sayalay Santacari, have been looking for Dhammadharini's next in-town monastery, envisioned as the place where we can more easily be in contact with our local lay friends, and provide a suitable dwelling for those bhikkhunis who are not physically well to spend the whole year in a primitive camp-style abode.  

The in-town monastery and the forest hermitage will then complement each other. Actually, the existence of a strong in-town monastery makes it possible for the hermitage to fulfill its role.  In town, there may be the chance to serve and assist the frail or elderly monastics. In the forest, the chance to be alone among the elements. In town, the chance to offer teaching and ministry for many people and families. In the forest, the chance to teach one or two students at a time. In town, the chance for close, loving supervision of novices and new bhikkhunis.  In the forest, the space for those who can practice on their own. In town, the chance to network with the world on high-speed internet. In the forest, the chance for a more ancient life-style.  

What a gift it is, and what an accomplishment that Dhammadharini is able to pursue this important new project  without losing the momentum of our community life.  We particularly appreciate that Ayya Tathaaloka and Sy. Santacari are subjecting themselves to many hours of computer work, driving around the Bay Area, and talking to many people, while we at Aranya Bodhi Hermitage have the pleasant chores of constructing a toolshed with our own hands, re-tapping the spring and building a natural filtration system.  

Recently the number of women coming to us as well qualified monastic life aspirants has increased from a trickle to a steady stream. Ayya Tathaaloka and our sangha have been considering, how can Dhammadharini welcome this next generation. What is best for sustainable growth of our sangha? 
  • Job one is to develop a mature monastic sangha, with numbers of well trained and well practicing bhikkhunis who see eye-to-eye on the way to practice our Dhamma and Discipline.  This work takes time, but it is well underway.  
  • Then we need the ongoing sustained relationship with our lay community. For various reasons, during the past two years while the Aranya Bodhi Hermitage was getting established, Dhammadharini has had less presence than before in Fremont and East Bay Area.  There was not the constant 24-7 availability to our lay supporters, as had been developing in the previous years. When we get into our new in-town center, this lack will be corrected.
  • And finally, there is a need for a proportionate match between our practical needs and the available support. As it is now, a few large gifts have made it possible for Dhammadharini to carry on, with its town center at Bodhi House and forest hermitage at Aranya Bodhi.  The construction of a simple infrastructure for the Hermitage and medical insurance for a growing sangha have been the major items, as our community grew from 2 to an average of 6 residents. To the extent that enough support is forthcoming, both for the purchase of the new center and for our ongoing expenses, we can open more opportunities for those women at our gate who wish to go forth as bhikkhunis.

Then, when well-practicing monastic women and lay practioners are in constant contact, the inspiration is mutual.  We all benefit.  We fulfill the Buddha's plan for his Dhamma and Discipline to thrive for a long time.

With Metta, 
Ayya Sobhana 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bhikkhuni Ordination - May 6, 2012


Dhammadharini Support Foundation 
and our Bhikkhuni Sangha, 
together with the Bhikkhu Sangha of the American Buddhist Seminary, 
are pleased to announce the upcoming 
full bhikkhuni ordination 
of our Dhamma Sisters 
Samaneri Marajina and Samaneri Nibbida, 
on this next full moon, 
Vesak, 
May 6, 2012.


This year's ordination is meant to be simple and quiet, a normal event in the cycle of Buddhist monastic life. The first part of the ordination will be a sunrise ceremony at our Aranya Bodhi Hermitage. In accord with the ancient procedure, the candidates will first be questioned, accepted and ordained within the Bhikkhuni Sangha. The ceremony at Aranya Bodhi will begin at 5:00 a.m. with pre-dawn meditation, concluding at 7:30 a.m.

We will then take the new bhikkhunis, "ordained on one side," to the Bhikkhu Sangha at the American Buddhist Seminary Temple in West Sacramento. At 11:00 a.m. we will join the ABS Temple's Vesak Dana and Celebration honoring the Buddha's birth, awakening, and parinirvana. In the early afternoon, the new bhikkhunis will present themselves for acceptance by the Bhikkhu Sangha. This ceremony completes the ordination. Our sisters Marajina and Nibbida will then be established as full and complete members of the Dual Bhikkhu and Bhikkhuni Sangha.

All are welcome to attend.

The ABS Temple's Vesak Celebration and Bhikkhuni Ordination will begin with precept ceremony and meditation at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 6, at the ABS Temple, 423 Glide Avenue, West Sacramento, CA 95691. You are welcome to bring a cooked dish for the 11:00 a.m. Dana. For information about the ABS Temple, visit http://www.middleway.net. If you will attend the ceremonies at ABS Temple, please rsvp to Eunice "Samvaree" Cerezo, ozerece@msn.com.

If you will attend the early morning ceremony at 5:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 6, at Aranya Bodhi Hermitage, please rsvp to awakeningforest@gmail.com. We will email the driving directions. Those wishing to sleep overnight in our meditation hall (yurt) may bring their own sleeping bags and arrive after 4:00 pm on Saturday, May 5. The hermitage is located within a gated community, so you must have the gate code to reach us.



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Look who's coming for Vassa

A full Bhikkhuni Sangha will again come together for Vassa 2012 at Aranya Bodhi Hermitage, practicing close to nature, living very simply, and carrying out the ancient monastic forms set forth by the Buddha. 
 ~ 
Vassa is a traditional yearly retreat period when Buddhist monastics give up wandering and practice in one place for three months. In order to synchronize the lunar calendar and the solar calendar, 2012 has been determined as a Buddhist “leap year” by Thai astrologers, which means that our Vassa will be later than usual, from August 3rd to October 30th  
~
Most of our Bhikkhuni Sangha will also be on the land before Vassa, for the long, pleasant days of May, June and July. We hope to make these months a special time to share with our lay supporters and friends. We will be welcoming visitors at the Aranya Bodhi Hermitage on the Sonoma Coast; maintaining a presence at our in-town center, the Bodhi House in Fremont; and teaching in both places.  
~
Ayya Tathaaloka Theri (left), will be dividing her time between Aranya Bodhi Hermitage and the Bodhi House in Fremont. Ayya Sobhana Bhikkhuni (right), will be on the land at our hermitage.
 Ayya Sudinna Theri, who participated in our first Bhikkhuni Sangha Camping Retreat four years ago and led at Dhammadharini Vihara while Ayya Tathaaloka was in India 5 years ago, will join the Hermitage at the beginning of May and plans to stay through Vassa. What a blessing it will be to have two theris with us!  
 ~    
Ven. Suvijjana, member of the Dhammadharini women's monastic community since 2006, will be continuing on at the Hermitage.
 Ayya Anandabodhi Bhikkhuni (right) and Ayya Santacitta Bhikkhuni (left), will be staying at the Aloka Vihara in San Francisco, and frequently visiting the hermitage on Uposatha full moon and new moon days.
 Ven. Munissara Bhikkhuni (left) and Ven. Pasada Bhikkhuni (right) recently ordained at Dhammasara Monastery in Australia under Ayya Tathaaloka's auspices. Ven. Pasada hopes to be at the hermitage this Vassa and Ven Munissara for the 2013 Vassa.
  Samaneri Marajina, trained here on the land, plans to receive full bhikkhuni ordination on May 6, and hopes to divide her time between the hermitage and outside training. She will be at the hermitage for Vassa.
 Samaneri Nibbida plans to receive full bhikkhuni ordination on May 6 returning on June 12 to Australia on June 12 to continue her training at Sanghamittarama.
Sayalay Santacari (from Australia), trained with Ven. Ariya Ñani in Myanmar, and is now with Ayya Upekkha Bhikkhuni at Sanghamitttarama, Australia. She will be joining the Hermitage in June and staying through Vassa. She aspires to going forth as a samaneri.
Our lay residents will include Upasika-to-be Margaret Darby, who served at the Dhammadharini Vihara in 2010, along with Geri Feldman and Sherene Smith.  There is still room for another lay resident, particularly during May-June and September-October.
Our friends around the world
The renascent Theravada Bhikkhuni Sangha is still young, and we are developing our communities, building traditions, and supporting younger monastic women to establish themselves and grow in the Dhamma.
We rejoice in all the new bhikkhunis and samaneris obtaining ordination this year, here at Aranya Bodhi, at the Dhammasara Monastery of Australia,  and at the Dharma Vijaya Temple in Los Angeles. Every year they are more abundant, like the luxurious crop of dandelions on our lower landing.
And we rejoice for those who trained with us over the past two years, now riding the wind like dandelion seeds to far corners of our world.
  • Amma Thanasanti Bhikkhuni at Awakening Truth, Colorado. http://awakeningtruth.org/
  • Ven. Phalanyani Bhikkhuni at the Ekayana Magga Aranya, Sri Lanka. http://phalanyani.sirimangalo.org/
  • Ven. Adhimutta Bhikkhuni, creating a new community under care of the New Zealand Bhikkhuni Trust
  • Sister (soon to be Ven.) Nibbida, returning to Sanghamittarama, in Australia, where she will join with Ayya Upekkha Bhikkhuni (of Singapore) and Bhante Jaganatha in creation of a new Dual Sangha monastery. http://bsv.net.au/
A net of friendship and sangha is gradually evolving, as the various centers are established. We are particularly close to these monastic women at other places who were ordained with Ayya Tathaaloka as preceptor.
We also share the special ties of friendship with our colleagues who have frequently joined together in the ordaining sangha.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Someone LIghts a Fire

seasoned woodfire oak,

exhales into the gray ocean air,

the two entwine in

gray, tinged with space

tinged with salt

tinged with a memory of snow that rests on breathing


here a whale is breathing

here a slug is breathing

baby ant breathing

newt, salamander, frog breathing

sisters and brothers, mothers, all beings

breathing


words crumple in a damp newspaper ball,

damp fir twigs

cardboard toilet paper roll

paper

the oak, a gift from her teacher


someone lights a fire


pīti softens the corners of the room.


Marajina Samaneri

March 26, 2012

Aranya Bodhi Hermitage



Sunday, January 29, 2012

What's Cooking

Dear Dhamma Friends,
The kitchen trailer work was completed last week and we were able to resume cooking inside a building. We had been cooking outdoors. Walls to protect from wind and cold, and a roof to protect from rain are very welcome during our winter season. Everyday when we return to our kutis, the monastics reflect on the wise use of shelter. "Wisely reflecting, we use shelter only to protect from heat and cold, merely to ward off the touch of gadflies, mosquites wind, sun and reptiles; for the enjoyment of seclusion." On the Sonoma Coast during winter, our shelters also protect from frost and forest beings seeking warm, dry places. Though buildings require maintenance, they enable us to stay here - the only Theravadin bhikkhuni hermitage in the United States and one of only two hermitages for bhikkhunis on the American continents.
The kitchen now has a dehumidifier that has been collecting up to two gallons of moisture from the air everyday. By reducing humidity and increasing air circulation, two conditions for mold growth, it helps to ensure a healthier environment for all of us. There is also a freezer to keep perishable food for longer periods of time when cold and rain prevents our family of supporters from visiting.
We are very grateful for your loving attention and generosity. Without you, there would be one less place for Buddhist women to find refuge in, one less place in the world for the benefit of all sentient beings. Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
Rejoicing in your merit
and with Metta,
the Aranya Bodhi Monastics

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Challenges of Winter

Dear Friends,

I hope the holidays brought you and your families joy and the happiness of being together. Thank you for the lovely support you've provided to our monastics during these winter months at Aranya Bodhi. It is because of your generous gifts of such things as heaters, electricity, shelter, food and clothing that they are able to live the Holy Life, a rare and priceless opportunity.

This winter has brought a few unforeseen challenges. The wonderful kitchen trailer, recently purchased has been found to have structural deterioration which allowed mold to grow inside a couple of walls and possibly the ceiling. Minor renovation must be undertaken to eliminate the mold and replace the deteriorating wood. To provide the proper conditions after the repair, a dehumidifier, which provides air circulation and moisture removal from the air is very important. In addition, we were unable to repair our hermitage chest refrigerator and it has become necessary to purchase a small freezer for food storage in our remote forest. The freezer would be very helpful when friends make the long trip and bring larger quantities of grocery dana.

These essential repairs will cost about $2500. Your generous support of this emerging bhikkhuni hermitage is essential and gratefully appreciated by all of us.

Much gratitude for your friendship and support,

Shari Gent, President
Dhammadharini Board of Directors


Friday, December 16, 2011

Silent Light


This is our first post to the Aranya Bodhi blog that is not made possible by a gasoline generator. I am writing from the Sangha Hall on the electricity provided by our newly connected solar electrical system. Though the sun has yet to shine upon the completely wired array, the batteries arrived fully charged and are providing the power right now. Eric, Mike and Rody from Pure Power Solutions made a lot of progress today. Eric (top photo) installed our inverter and charge controller in the battery room. Mike installed the rails for an additional four solar panels on top of the laundry shed. This will add 450 watts more to our hermitage solar electrical system, for a peak potential of 1920 watts of electricity. The batteries are strung together in six groups of four batteries each. The generator was filled with diesel fuel, tested and connected to the inverter. Tomorrow morning as the sun comes over the hillside, the battery bank will begin its cycle of charging on the sun's power.










Rody gave us the gift of an ac outlet directly on the inverter so we could have electricity right away. The Sangha Hall and kitchen trailer now have household ac electricity by way of extension cords until our ac electrician can install the proper wiring in January. For now, our cook can can make use of a rice cooker and the microwave oven.

Because the sun will not be able to provide all the electricity year round and we are presently experiencing the shortest days of the year, the diesel generator will be keeping the batteries charged. This means that we will be using diesel fuel instead of gasoline but rather than using the generator directly, we will be using it indirectly and far less often. Rody told us that red diesel is less expensive because it has no highway tax -the generator is strictly for off road use :) so we are asking our friends to help us look in our nearby cities of Santa Rosa and Petaluma for a red diesel provider.

Stack, our ac electrician is tentatively scheduled to help us on January 5th and 6th. With her help, we will have electrical outlets for each of our main buildings. So a lot has already happened to get us to this point from the very first thoughts of how to bring electricity to our remote forest wilderness. And still there is a little more left to do. A little more to plan on and wait on but for now we have silent light. There is no generator running. A little more on the horizon.

with Metta

Marajina Samaneri



Wednesday, December 07, 2011

On the Horizon

A few additions came into focus on our horizon today.

This is Rody. He's been great to work with us, designing our solar electrical system. He is familiar with micro hydro as well - that's how we met him - and is installing these components with our future in mind. Rody is beside the 7kw diesel generator which will be used to charge the batteries on our shorter wintry days.








Six strings of four 6 volt comercial batteries line the floor of the grass hut in the lower landing. The grass hut may now be called the battery hut. These commercial batteries are sealed, eliminating the need to open battery cells, or use sulphuric acid. They can last up to 15 years with proper care. The inverter and generator will work together to keep them charged and equanimous (aka equalized) to the specifications of the manufacturer.







This is Joel, at the top, and Mike, at the bottom, installing the sixth panel.















This beautiful 1470 watt array peers into the horizon from the lower landing.

Rody, Mike and Joel will be returning next week with the inverter, and will wire everything together then.




Sunday, December 04, 2011

A Chance to Help

Dear Friends,
Having stayed with us for seven months, our lay steward Gwyn, who had been helping us with errands, recently departed. Due to the remote nature of Aranya Bodhi we are not visited daily and nuns rely on help for certain errands. There is an ongoing and regular opportunity for help to be offered regarding driving, and filling our propane and gasoline tanks. If you can help please contact awakening forest@gmail.com

Thank you,
Nibbida, Samaneri