Saturday, June 21, 2008

the first woman's "going forth" on the land

The Samaneri Pabbaja (going forth into the noviciate)
of Anagarika Carol Porter -- now Samaneri Suvijjana

[clipped from an announcement mailed to friends on June 04, 2008:]

A Historic Happening for Buddhism in North America

Dear friends,

Soon an important event in the unfolding history of Buddhism in Northern California and the Western United States will be taking place.

The Buddha spoke often of his longterm commitment to having an Ubhato Sangha--a monastic community of two harmonious halves--female as well as male, bhikkhunis and bhikkhus, as other Buddhas of antiquity had also had in the past. He often spoke of his commitment to well establish, before his entry into final Peace, what he called the Fourfold Assembly, and regularly praised those of all four assemblies as amongst his great disciples. The four assemblies: those of the bhikkhus, bhikkhunis, upasakas and upasikas he often compared to the pillars of his house, the wheels of the vehicle of his Sasana, each balancing and uplifting one another in harmony.

This was the Buddha's vision and dedication.

It takes at least 4 bhikkhunis or 4 bhikkhus gathered together to make a Sangha.
On the 21st of June, in the afternoon at 1:30 pm, an ordination will happen, the novice (samaneri) ordination of Anagarika Suvijjana, to which you are welcome.

This ordination marks another historic event. For the past years, in the absence of Theravadan bhikkhunis to ordain women into the Sangha, Theravadan bhikkhus and bhikkhunis of other traditions have served to fill that gap, as they are allowed and called to do so by Vinaya. Now, for the first time, with the presence of Theravadan Bhikkhuni Sangha here, we will ourselves ordain and welcome a woman into the novice training in our Sangha.

On the day of the ordination, we expect the presence of 5 bhikkhunis, 1 or 2 siladhara sisters, and one samaneri = 7 or 8 monastics:

* Ven Bhikkhuni Sudarshana Theri, Chief Incumbent of Samadhi Buddhist Meditation, Florida
* Ven Bhikkhuni Ayya Tathaaloka Theri, Abbess, Dhammadharini Vihara, Northern California
* Ven Bhikkhuni Sudinna, Bhavana Society Forest Monastery, W Virginia
* Ayya Sudhamma Bhikkhuni, Abbess, Carolina Buddhist Vihara, S Carolina
* Ayya Sobhana Bhikkhuni, Bhavana Society, W Virginia
* Siladhara Sister Ajahn Chandasiri, Amaravati, England
* Siladhara Sister Ajahn Anandabodhi, Amaravati, England

Our great appreciation to all supporting lay retreatants and supportive friends for making this event possible.


May you be well, happy and peaceful,

Ayya Tathaaloka Bhikkhuni

photos of Samaneri Suvijjana's ordination day from friend Darlene ~

Anagarika Carol Porter with younger brother David and elder sister Eileen before her "going forth"

lunch dana

foot washing before ascending the ordination platform

exhortation being given the novice candidate with the examination of the prepared robes

returning with the two bhikkhuni instructors carrying offering tray ready to request the novice precepts

requesting and avowing herself to the novice training

the new novice, Samaneri Sister Suvijjana with her son Matthew. Congratulations!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

our first retreat together on the land

The first gathering of our Theravadin Bhikkhuni Sangha in Northern California happened at the San Francisco International Airport on June 11th, 2008. On June 14th we travelled up to the Sonoma Coast for our retreat.

Photos from the first Bhikkhuni Sangha Wilderness Camp Retreat

Jill and Ayya Sudhamma walking the land

Ayya Tathaaloka's tent/campsite (on top of the knoll in the center of the saddle, other bhikkhunis campsites are just a little farther down over the knoll)

Ayya Sudhamma mindfully walking through the forest, over the cave, and down to the creek

Learning creek walking

wild white azaleas above the creek

pindapata, almsmeal and Anumodana Dhammakatha at a friend's cabin, our "village"

Peaceful afternoon abiding (if you look very carefully you can see Ayya Sudinna meditating next to the middle of the lower right tree trunk :)

Late afternoon light on the saddle


more photos are posted on flickr here: