Friday, September 17, 2010

The Buddhist Nuns of California

Dhammadharini's 5th Anniversary
Nuns' Ordination at Awakening Forest Hermitage

The Buddha with female disciples, later accepted as renunciates. The Dispensation was not considered complete until the Sangha had both male and female monastics.

We awoke the morning after to find the forest filled with and pervaded by joy. It was a day of joy.

On August 29th, 2010 our Dhammadharini support foundation celebrated its five year anniversary with the full ordination of four women novices at our Aranya Bodhi Hermitage.

It was a beautiful day and the culmination of years of effort by so many monastic and lay friends and supporters. It was also a new beginning for both the new bhikkhunis (fully ordained nuns) and for Buddhism in North America -- as this was the first Theravada Bhikkhuni ordination ever to be held here performed entirely by the Theravada Bhikkhuni Sangha (Order of Nuns) together with the Theravada Bhikkhu Sangha (Order of Monks).

Around 200 friends came to celebrate and witness the event, including eminent Dharma teachers Ruth Denison from Dhamma Dena Desert Vipassana, Ajahn Anandabodhi and Ajahn Santacitta from the Saranaloka nuns' community, and Sylvia Boorstien representing Jack Kornfield and the entire Spirit Rock community.

It was wonderful to have so many dear friends in Dharma gathered together on in the heart of our forest hermitage. And the hall and whole area was decorated and adorned by Deva Flower's friends Sumana and Apple. Amidst the chanting of Sadhu, sadhu, sadhu ("well done, well done, well done"), flower petals were sprinkled upon the long line of processing monastics and candidates as the gong was rung and they silently walked up the road to the ordination platform between rows of friends and family.

Those Ordained
Ven. Suvijjana had her samaneri pabbaja (ordination as a novice) on the mountain saddle adjacent to the Awakening Forest just over two years before. (See earlier post below). She has been training with Ayya Tathaaloka at Dhammadharini Vihara, the Bodhi House, and at the hermitage for the past four years.

Ven. Adhimutta was ordained as a novice by Ayya Tathaaloka even before that in Australia at Santi Forest Monastery, where she trained under the tutelage of Bhante Sujato.

Ven. Phalanyani has trained as a nun in Thailand with Ajahn Suphan and Ajahn Noah at Wat Ram Peong and was ordained as a samaneri (female novice) with Ayya Tathaaloka at our hermitage.

Ven. Thanasanti had been a samaneri for the very longest time, having her pabbaja with the venerable Ajahn Sumedho in England 19 years ago.

The Garudhammas, special rules for nuns?

The Ordaining Sangha
Venerable elder bhikkhunis Ayya Gunasari and Ayya Satima traveled from the Mahapajapati Women's Monastery in the Mohave Desert and from the Minnesota Buddhist Vihara. And Ven. Madika came from the Great Determination Hermitage in Ohio to fulfill the quorum for the ordaining Bhikkhuni Sangha.

Ayya Sudhamma and Ayya Sobhana, both of whom trained at the Bhavana Society with Bhante G (and thus have excellent Pali-language pronounciation) served as the Kammavacacarinis or Chanting Acaryas for the ordination.

Ayya Tathaaloka Theri, having surpassed 12 vassas (rains retreats) since her own bhikkhuni ordination, was appointed by the Bhikkhuni Sangha as the Pavattini or Preceptor for the ordination of her students. More>>


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