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 √Ďani 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.
  • Ven. Phalanyani Bhikkhuni at the Ekayana Magga Aranya, Sri Lanka.
  • 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.
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.

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