This is a new resource to keep you informed of Theravada bhikkhuni news worldwide. It provides information on recent ordinations, monastery updates, bhikkhuni events, and more. Visit to read the latest news on the growth of the emerging Theravada bhikkhuni sangha and its increasing influence in this world.
News items are always welcome. Send to email@example.com.
This edition includes both the spring and summer issues of Sakyadhita’s American Buddhist Women. An article, “State of the Bhikkhunis” at the end of the 2600th Bhikkhunī Anniversary Year” by Ayya Tathaaloka is featured.
In the midst of all the confusion and distress with the Santa Rosa fire, want to reach out and let you know that loved ones are safe, well and out of harms way. We are peaceful, content and have everything we need. Mom, I and Lacey (her dog) are in a hotel in Milpitas. Shanti is with her Aunt in Laguna Beach. Our places are still intact. We have been required to evacuate because the fires are dangerously close. In mom’s case, there is no power and the water has been contaminated in her area.
Most of our local community members connected to Awakening Truth have also been evacuated. I have heard from many individuals who are safe. The nuns in Penngrove at Dhammadharini Monastery are safe. The monks in Abhayagiri are safe and their monastery so far is out of harms way even though they are very close to the fire in Redwood valley.
Everyone I know is safe. That is the main thing. At a time like this priorities reorient. Yet the destruction is a little hard to fathom. Many have lost homes and places of work. Some animals have perished. People are packing, moving, unpacking and then leaving again to new places when the fire moves and the places of safety become unsafe. The disorientation is intense. Large parts of the city are razed to the ground. Yesterday we learned that the Angela Center is gone – a significant spiritual sanctuary for many near and far. For me it holds a special place in my heart. I’m sad.
When I was 19, I first saw this wooden sculpture The Androgynous Christ in the Angela Center. It lived in the corner right out side the meditation hall. It resonated like a deep gong. Over the years of seeing this on every retreat I attended there, it spoke to me loud and strong. It was a koan, encouraging me to understanding healthy and unhealthy sacrifice, surrender, and transformation of suffering to blessing.
The Angela Center was a place for many milestones. It was where I decided to leave to go to Asia and explore my choice of being a nun. It is where my Mom attended her first meditation retreat. It is where I first co-taught a ten day retreat with Ajahn Amaro. It is where the Julian Cell meditation group, ongoing for 20 years, held everyone in prayer and inquiry. It is where Sister Christine and Sister Diane could be found – jewels of wisdom and compassion honed by decades of spiritual practice. It is where I started getting confidence about emerging out of robes. It is where I celebrated emerging out of robes with community. For many near and far this place has held us, allowed us to gather with wise friends.
Memories float through. Hearing of others appreciation and grief helps me orient. Grief, gratitude and friendship are a rich mixture.
Yet when I look again at this image now consumed by the fires, I see a pathway forward; a pathway that helps us create life out of the ash. This pathway integrates the masculine and feminine – solar and lunar aspects of ourselves. This pathway knows the ways and places were are split. This pathway encompasses our sexuality, basic needs, power needs, and capacity for empathy. What I also see is not in the image itself, but in the space around the image – what is left now that the image is gone. In my imagination, I see that what we need now are clusters of people gathering together to support each other, coalitions replacing luminaries.
At a time like this we have the rawness of what is happening and an incredible opportunity to stay anchored to what doesn’t burn. As we take care to assure that basic needs are being met for ourselves, our loved ones and those who are near by, we keep our heart open to each other and stay present for next steps. We will find a way.
Here is a you tube update from me and Mom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7-8ypgcnd0
This year during the vassa, the arama (monastic dwelling) was opened to lay practitioners too, and some of you already made use of this opportunity and came here to practice with venerable bhikkhunī Visuddhi. We are happy that you take care of venerable and provide her with dana (gifts/offerings and food) and thus make her life in the Czech Republic in heart of Europe possible. As we already informed you in the summer on the matter, the support is scarce and the situation is getting serious and we are afraid that if this does not change soon enough, venerable would not be able to abide and practice here. And we really would not want this to happen.
Read the latest newsletter which includes Aloka Vihara’s celebration of International Bhikkhuni Day, retreats and upcoming events. Also included are beautiful photos of the Bhikkhuni Ordination of Ayya Ahimsa, Aug 26, 2017.
This month, it has been our joy & treasure to be a part of welcoming two new bhikkhunis into full membership into our North American and international Theravada Bhikkhuni Sangha and Dual Sangha of bhikkhus and bhikkhunis. We offer our warmest heart’s congratulations to these two new full members of our Theravada Bhikkhuni Sangha! We also look forward to welcoming two more new bhikkhunis into our Sangha on December 3rd at Dhammadharini Monastery.
On August 26th–coincidentally National Women’s Equality Day in USA–Ven Ahimsa Bhikkhuni (formerly Robyn Anne Church) of Aloka Vihara Forest Monastery in the Sierra foothills received dual ordination from a full Sangha of venerable bhikkhus and bhikkhunis at Buddhi Vihara in Santa Clara, with venerable bhikkhuni Ayya Gunasari Theri as her preceptor and venerable bhikkhunis’ Ayya Anandabodhi and Ayya Santacitta as her teachers. Bhikkhus and bhikkhunis came from around California and around North America for the ordination: bhikkhunis from Aloka Vihara, Mahapajapati Monastery, Sati Saraniya Hermitage, Dhammadharini, Charlotte Buddhist Vihara, Karuna Buddhist Vihara and Amata Vihara; and bhikkhus from Buddhi Vihara, American Buddhist Seminary Temple, Ventura Buddhist Temple and Sri Ratana International Buddhist Center.
Earlier in the month on the August full moon day, the lunar anniversary of the full awakening of ancient great bhikkhuni advocate Ananda Thero, Ven Sucitta Bhikkhuni (formerly known as Bo Hyun Sunim, originally CHO In Sook), reordained into the Theravada Buddhist Dual Sangha at Dhammadharini Monastery in Penngrove with the Bhikkhuni Sangha and venerable bhikkhuni Ayya Tathaloka Mahatheri as preceptor and venerable bhikkhunis Ayya Sobhana and Ayya Suvijjana as acarinis (female teachers). After her ordination with the bhikkhuni sangha, she and her preceptor and teacher received the confirmation and completion of her reordination with the bhikkhu sangha at Buddhi Vihara in Santa Clara, with venerable bhikkhu Kahanda Amarabuddhi Nayaka Thero as Ovadakacariya, venerable bhikkhu Pallewela Rahula Maha thero as senior witnessing bhikkhu from the Sri Lankan Bhikkhu Sangha, venerable bhikkhu Siddhiporn Medhankaro Maha Thero as senior witnessing bhikkhu from the Thai tradition, and the bhikkhu sangha from Sri Lankan and Thai Theravada traditions. Formally, legally changing her communion (saṃvasa), Ven Bhikkhuni Sucitta keeps her 17 years seniority as a bhikkhuni and 22 years in monastic life.
From Friends of Aloka Vihara website:
The Kathina Ceremony is a unique opportunity for us as laypeople to reflect deeply on the interdependent relationship between the monastic and lay communities and to follow that reflection into action. Just as the monastics dedicate themselves to sharing the teachings with us both in word and through their way of life, we lay practitioners have the opportunity to offer what it takes to help the Bhikkhuni Sangha thrive.
A Kathina Ceremony is a traditional Buddhist ceremony in which the lay and monastic communities gather so that the lay community can express their support and gratitude by making formal offerings of financial and material support to the monastics. We look forward to spending time on the land and with each other, celebrating the continued development of Aloka Vihara.
Coming up on September 6th, we will honor the Bhikkhuni community with International Bhikkhuni Day. With this year’s IBD, we celebrate the end of an incredibly auspicious year—the 2600th year of the Bhikkhuni Sangha. We take this time to recognize the incredible blessings that the Bhikkhunis bring to this world, remember and honor their long history, and look forward to how we can support them in the future.
Through a video link, this newsletter explores Amma Thanasanti’s experiences and insights after disrobing. She writes, “In just shy of three months a lot has happened. I have disrobed, transitioned to being a lay teacher and have a robust Fall schedule lined up.”
These Fall events are listed.
From the Tilorien Monastery website:
After a long period of waiting and practising patience—the plans for the monastery being refused by the council a few times for not fitting the regulations—finally the building permit has now been granted! Tilorien Monastery will indeed become a reality!
More on the project >>
Read this article from the Nikkei Asian Review on the growth and struggle of bhikkhkunis in Thailand.
From ABP’s Newsletter #10, July 2017
Since registration opened for Ajahn Brahm’s “Real Dhamma” tour, bookings have been following a similar pattern to last year’s sell-out event, which received a huge amount of positive feedback! Our three-day residential is being snapped up fastest, so if you are travelling to London from further afield, be sure to register soon.
Read more on this and other news from ABP >>
From Mahapajapati Monastery’s July Newsletter:
We were happy to welcome a new novice nun into the Theravada women’s monastic sangha: Samaneri Dhammadipa’s pabbajja was held at Sambuddhaloka Buddhist Vihara, with Bhante Saranasiri as her preceptor. Ayya Gunasari and Samaneri Parayana were happy to join Ayya Susila, Ayya Uttama, and Ayya Chanda, as well as many monks, in supporting Samaneri Dhammadipa in choosing this path of virtue, simplicity, and devotion to the Buddha’s teachings.
From Dakkhina Dhammatthala’s Newsletter:
This is our kuti garden now. What began as a garden with a single shrine room in early 2016 has grown with our community. Now the garden accommodates two kutis. Which provide facilities for our nuns to practice and to share with our growing community.
It is peaceful and serene in this garden. A nice place to invite the community to meditate. It is my aspiration that we see this garden continue to grow as a place of refuge, a place of goodness in the world, a place of safety and I hope to see more community members enjoy the peaceful space. It is my wish that we nuns in this garden are a kindness, an inspiration, a good influence for all who come to visit and practice.
We thank all of our generous donors who came forward so quickly to help us support the growing Sangha at Dakkhina Dhammatthala. Thanks also to John our builder who worked with us over several months.
We held a day-long retreat here last month for 10 people and two nuns.
Even with the kutis there are enough places and spaces in our garden for everyone during walking meditation practice.
Our trainee nun, Anagarika Pasanna, is using the first kuti. It’s a perfect place for her to meditate, do her sutta studies, take on-line pali classes and to work on maintaining the Buddhist Society of South Australia website.
Registration for Ajahn Brahm’s “Real Dhamma” tour is now open!
From the Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project:
Many thanks to those of you who wrote in to us with talk titles or topic suggestions. We included as many as we could without needing to arrange extra talks for Ajahn! Some people also suggested ideas for deeper Dhamma discussion, for instance, the nature of mind and materiality and the possibility of incorporating sutta studies into the retreat schedules. These suggestions have been passed on to Ajahn Brahm, so let’s simply to wait to see what unfolds – we can likely predict the unpredictable!
You can book tickets here.