In-House Hermitage Retreats 2015

By Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni entered the Rains Retreat 2015 at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on the 31st of July. The Rains Retreat will finish on the 27th of October.

There will be two In-House Hermitage Retreats during the Rains Retreat 2015 for the residents of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage which includes Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni, Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni, Jacky and the resident cat, Subha. During the In-House Hermitage Retreats, Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage will be closed to visitors. We will not be checking the emails during the In-House Hermitage Retreats. If you need to contact the Hermitage urgently, please send a text message to the Hermitage’s mobile phone:         +61 459 471 047. We will be checking the phone messages twice a day.

We wish you happiness and peace during the Rains Retreat.

In-House Hermitage Retreats 2015:

1. Friday, 14th of August to Wednesday, 19th of August.

2. Friday, 2nd of October to Wednesday, 7th of October.

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30 Years As A Nun – A Celebration : Meditation Day

By Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni

The shrine and the beautiful yellow flowers in the sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage 15th of March 2015

The shrine and the beautiful yellow flowers in the sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage 15th of March 2015. Photo by Ming.

On Sunday, 15th of March,  2015, Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage held a Meditation Day to celebrate Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni’s 30 Years As A Nun. Twenty three invited lay supporters participated in the Meditation Day to honour our teacher, Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni.

During the Meditation Day,  we investigated the Dhamma based on two talks that Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni offered at Dhammaloka Buddhist Centre, that is ‘The Power of Goodness’ in May 2005 and ‘Keeping One’s Seat’ in October 2006. We focused on ‘How to keep one’s seat in the ocean of Samsara, life – Equanimity’.

We  usually associate ‘equanimity’ with qualities such as calmness, coolness, composure, serenity, tranquillity, aplomb, self assurance and balance. ‘Equanimity’ is a word that comes from Latin and means ‘even mind’.

In Pali, the ancient Indian language, there are two words that describe ‘equanimity’. The first word is ‘upekkha’ which means ‘looking on’. It is like you care enough to engage in whatever is happening in front of you but yet not jumping into the situation, not overwhelmed or grasping or hanging onto it. There are elements of calmness, coolness and composure. There is a sense of detachment. For example, when you sit down in meditation, you put your attention onto the meditation object such as breath, but thoughts still come and go. You sit there ‘looking on’ at the thoughts, like you are watching the television, but you are not inside the show. Upekkha comes in all sorts of shades. When the practice of upekkha matures, it is ‘abundant, exalted and immeasurable, without hostility and without ill-will’.

The other Pali word for ‘equanimity’ is Tatra-majjhattata. I translated it as ‘Standing in the middle of whatever situation.’ It also means balance of mind and impartiality. There is an aspect of insight and wisdom. It is like you are rowing a boat in the middle of a river or a large lake. In whatever weather conditions, you are standing on the boat, using your skills of awareness, mindfulness, a clear mind and being totally present, together with your commitment to the Noble Eightfold Path, you row the boat to the destination. You are not running away from difficulties, but staying even though it is unpleasant, with steadiness, kindness and confidence. You have the understanding that  everything in life is impermanent, changeable, suffering and that it does not belong to me, it is not mine, it is not my self.

Equanimity is one of the Ten Perfections, one of the Four Divine Abidings and one of the Seven Factors of Enlightenment. Equanimity is a quality that is essential in our life, in the samsaric ocean of waves. It enables us to keep our seat in the ups and downs of life.

I am going to share with you a story that happened last year. Ayya Vayama’s brother visited us from Sydney for a few days. He is a Christian Minister who leads prayers and conducts funerals and weddings at his church. Before he left the Hermitage to return to his family in Sydney, he asked whether he could pray over Ayya Vayama. Ayya Vayama and myself looked at each other and said, ‘Why not!’

Ayya Vayama’s brother stood up next to her and started to say his prayer, asking God to bless his beloved sister, and me! I was sitting opposite Ayya Vayama and her brother and ‘looking on’ at what was happening. A devout Christian Minister saying prayers over two bald heads, brown robed Buddhist Nuns, Bhikkhunis. But there was no hostility, no ill will, no struggle or competition. It was inspiring and magical to be there to bear witness. There was great loving kindness, ease and harmony in the room. I could feel and see the loving kindness, the confidence in our hearts, the devotion and commitment in each one of us, to allow us to be able to open to human goodness, and yet keep our own seat. It was a beautiful and amazing present. 

SUFFUSION WITH THE DIVINE ABIDINGS

I will abide pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with loving kindness…
likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth;
so above and below, around and everywhere; and to all as to myself.
I will abide pervading the all-encompassing world with a mind
imbued with loving kindness;
abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill will.

I will abide pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with compassion…
likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth;
so above and below, around and everywhere; and to all as to myself.
I will abide pervading the all-encompassing world with a mind
imbued with compassion;
abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill will.

I will abide pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with gladness…
likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth;
so above and below, around and everywhere; and to all as to myself.
I will abide pervading the all-encompassing world with a mind
imbued with gladness;
abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill will.

I will abide pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with equanimity…
likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth;
so above and below, around and everywhere; and to all as to myself.
I will abide pervading the all-encompassing world with a mind
imbued with equanimity;
abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill will.

 

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni, Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni and the participants on 15th March 2015. Photo by Ming

 

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni, Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni and the participants on Meditation Day, 15th of March 2015. Photo by Ming.

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni, Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni and the participants on Meditation Day, 15th of March 2015. Photo by Ming.

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30 Years As A Nun – A Celebration : Publication of Talks

By Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni

The publication of free distribution DvD, '30 Years As A Nun' to celebrate Ayya Vayama's special occasion on 6th December 2014.

The publication of free distribution DvD, ’30 Years As A Nun’ to celebrate Ayya Vayama’s special occasion on 6th December 2014.

On 6th of December 2014, Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage held an afternoon tea to officially publish the DVD titled, “30 Years As A Nun” which contained the Dhamma talks offered by Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni at the Buddhist Society of Western Australia. The free distribution publication was to celebrate Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni’s 30 years  since she went forth in Sri Lanka on 17th of March 1985.

About 35 invited lay supporters came to have afternoon tea with Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni and receive a copy of the DVD. We appreciate all the sponsors who contributed to the publication of the DVD for free distribution.

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni at the afternoon tea on 6th of December 2014

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni at the afternoon tea at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on 6th of December 2014.

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Vesak Meditation Day 3rd May 2015

The Buddha and the offering of lights and candles on the shrine at the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on Vesak Day, 3rd of May 2015.

Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage celebrated Vesak Day 2015 on Sunday, 3rd of May, the day that we remember the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Buddha. Ten supporters came to the Hermitage a few days earlier to clean, polish and dust the shrine and the sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. They also put up the traditional Vesak lanterns, Buddhist flags and lights to honour the Buddha and to celebrate this most important auspicious day in the Buddhist calendar.

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni at the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on Vesak 3rd of May 2015.

The traditional Vesak Lanterns and lights at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage.

The traditional Vesak lanterns and lights at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage for the Vesak celebration 2015

About 23 lay supporters came and joined in the celebration on the Vesak Meditation Day. They took the Three Refuges and the Eight or Five Precepts, meditating and contemplating the Dhamma, the teaching of the Buddha. As the Buddha said in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta in Digha Nikaya, the best way to honour and pay respect to the Buddha is to practise the Dhamma.

The lights, lantern and flags at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage for Vesak celebration 2015.

The lights, lantern and flags at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage for the Vesak celebration 2015.

DIGHA NIKAYA – SUTTA 16 – MAHAPARINIBBANA SUTTA — THE GREAT PASSING–THE BUDDHA’S LAST DAYS

5.3. And the Lord said:’ Ananda, these sal-trees have burst forth into an abundance of untimely blossoms, which fell upon the Tathagata’s body, sprinkling it and covering it in homage. Divine coral-tree flowers fell from the sky, divine sandal-wood powder fell from the sky, sprinkling and covering the Tathagata’s body in homage. Divine music and song sound from the sky in homage to the Tathagatha. Never before has the Tathagata been so honoured, revered, esteemed, worshipped and adored. And yet, Ananda, whatever monk, nun, male or female lay-follower dwells practising the Dhamma properly, and perfectly fulfils the Dhamma-way, he or she honours the Tathagata, reveres and esteems him and pays him the supreme homage. Therefore, Ananda, ” We will dwell practising the Dhamma properly and perfectly fulfil the Dhamma-way”— this must be your watchword.’

The divine lights, lanterns and flags sparkling and twinkling at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage as if they were paying homage to the Buddha during the celebration of Vesak 2015.

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni was lighting the candle to be offered to the Shrine for Vesak Day 3rd of May 2015

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni was lighting the candle to be offered to the Shrine for Vesak Day 3rd of May 2015

The Vesak Meditation Day started at 9.30am and finished at 5pm. The theme for Vesak Meditation Day was ‘Buddhanussati’ – ‘Recollection of the Buddha’. The theme was very appropriate as we paid respect and honour our Teacher, the Buddha. We offered lights and candles to the Buddha at the end of the Meditation Day. The light of wisdom of the Buddha is like the light in the dark that fills every corner of the sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. The light that enables us to see clearly.

Offering of lights at the end of Vesak Meditation Day at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage 2015.

Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni offering the lights at the end of the Vesak Meditation Day at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage 2015.

I am going to share with you an interesting story. Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and myself were driven by a non Buddhist, a student, to our appointment a few weeks ago. She was telling us about her studies and the use of the mindfulness technique in mental health. Then, suddenly, she turned around and asked us, ‘Do you guys do mindfulness?’

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and Bodhi Tree outside the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on 2nd of May.

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and the Bodhi Tree outside the sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on 2nd of May 2015.

I had been reflecting on the question of the student. Being Buddhist practitioners, ‘mindfulness practice’ is our profession. However, we do not ‘do mindfulness’. We take the Buddha as our teacher and we follow the Noble Eightfold Path, which includes morality, cultivation of mind and wisdom aspects. Mindfulness practice is one of the Noble Eightfold Path. We follow the Buddha’s teachings which lead us to peace and happiness here and now, and peace and happiness in the future. For those of us who would like to take the practise of the Noble Eightfold Path further, it can lead us to liberation and freedom, Nibbana.

As a Bhikkhuni, a Buddhist nun, I find the teaching and training instructed by the Buddha is liberating, freeing, inspiring, empowering, wise and full of compassion and loving kindness. When we are inspired to walk the Noble Eightfold Path, we are following in the footsteps of the Buddha. We are empowered in our capacity to be awaked in the way the Buddha was.

The following is one of the ‘Recollections of the Buddha’ that we used during the Vesak Meditation Day.

Recollection of the Buddha

Majjhima Nikaya- Sutta 56 Upali Sutta

He is the Wise One who has cast off delusion,
abandoned the heart’s wilderness, victor in battle;
He knows no anguish, is perfectly even-minded,
mature in virtue, of excellent wisdom;
Beyond all temptations, he is without stain:
The Blessed One is he, and I am his disciple.

Freed from perplexity, he abides contented,
spurning worldly gains, a vessel of gladness;
A human being who has done the recluse’s duty,
a man who bears his final body;
He is utterly peerless and utterly spotless;
The Blessed One is he, and I am his disciple.

He is free from doubt and skilful,
the discipliner and excellent leader.
None can surpass his resplendent qualities;
without hesitation, he is the illuminator;
Having severed conceit, he is the hero:
The Blessed One is he, and I am his disciple.

The leader of the herd, he cannot be measured,
his depths are unfathomed, he attained to the silence,
Provider of safety, possessor of knowledge,
he stands in the Dhamma, inwardly restrained;
Having overcome all bondage, he is liberated:
The Blessed One is he, and I am his disciple.

The immaculate tusker, living in remoteness,
with fetters all shattered, fully freed;
Skilled in discussion, imbued with wisdom,
his banner lowered, he no longer lusts;
Having tamed himself, he no more proliferates:
The Blessed One is he, and I am his disciple.

The best of seers, with no deceptive schemes,
gained the triple knowledge, attained to holiness;
His heart cleansed, a master of discourse,
he lives ever tranquil, the finder of knowledge;
The first of all givers, he is ever capable:
The Blessed One is he, and I am his disciple.

He is the Noble One, developed in mind,
who has gained the goal and expounds the truth;
Endowed with mindfulness and penetrative insight,
he leans neither forwards nor back,
Free from perturbation, attained to mastery:
The Blessed One is he, and I am his disciple.

He has fared rightly and abides in meditation,
inwardly undefiled, in purity perfect;
He is independent and altogether fearless,
living secluded, attained to the summit;
Having crossed over himself, he leads us across:
The Blessed One is he, and I am his disciple.

Of supreme serenity, with extensive wisdom,
a man of great wisdom, devoid of all greed;
He is the Tathagata, he is the Sublime One,
the person unrivalled, the one without equal;
He is intrepid, proficient in all:
The Blessed One is he, and I am his disciple.

He has severed craving and become the Enlightened One,
cleared of all fumes, completely untainted;
Most worthy of gifts, most mighty of spirits,
most perfect of persons, beyond estimation;
The greatest in grandeur, attained the peak of glory:
The Blessed One is he, and I am his disciple.

Happy Vesak!

by Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni, Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni and the participants in the sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on the Vesak Meditation Day 2015.

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni, Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni and the participants of the Vesak Meditation Day 2015.

 

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Ajahn Vayama : 30 Years As A Nun : Special Edition

VENERABLE AJAHN VAYAMA: her years in Sri Lanka and thereafter
by Nanda Pethiyagoda Wanasundera

Parappaduwa Nuns’ Island 1984. Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni as an anagarika, seated on the left. Ayya Khema, is seated second on the right.

                        Venerable Ajahn Vayama when in her teens developed an interest in Buddhism through wide reading. Completing her university education in Sydney in social sciences, she chose a career of social service. But the desire to know more about Buddhism grew stronger so she came to Sri Lanka as a tourist in 1977. She met Ven Nyanaponika who was resident in the Forest Hermitage in Udawattakele, Kandy. He advised her to read more and study the religion. She did that on her return under teachers in Australia. In 1984, she was back in Sir Lanka, but this time to spend an entire three months at Nuns’ Island, Parappaduwa, under the tutelage of Ayya Khema, a German nun who started this island nunnery on the southwestern coast of Sri Lanka. The young woman returned to Australia to almost immediately come back to Sri Lanka with the firm conviction her life had to be one of renunciation; in robes. She was ordained a ten preceptor in Parappuduwa in 1985 and was Ayya Khema’s assistant and helper. It was then that we met her and were immediately struck by her composure and her manner of meditating. Tall as she is, Ayya Vayama would sit ramrod straight but look completely relaxed and remain thus for one hour, two hours, with no shifting of position.

                        An anecdote is relevant here. Just before she left Sri Lanka for good, Ayya Vayama invited three of her friends/supporters (me included) to visit Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, on a three day stay. These are two of the most ancient capital cities of Ceylon when kings ruled our country (377 B C – 1017 A D; 1017 -1235 A D). Anuradhapura is particularly a place of sacred veneration since in it grows the oldest tree in recorded history – the sacred bo tree. A sapling from the bodhi tree under which Prince Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment was brought over by Sanghamitta Theri, daughter of Emperor Asoka (304-232 BC) and sister of Thera Mahinda who introduced Buddhism to the Island during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa (250-210 B C). On our second day in Anuradhapura, early that morning, we went to Ruwanveliseya – a huge dagoba built by the best known king of the land – King Dutugemunu (161 -137 B C), to sit quietly in reflection, if not meditation. We sat apart. Imagine my surprise when I heard two lots of pilgrims comment on a statue that had not been there the last time they visited. I was amused, I must admit, since the statue they were referring to was Ayya Vayama seated deep in meditation in the stillness of the early morning in that hallowed place.

                        After two years in Parappuduwa, Ayya Vayama moved with a Sinhalese ten preceptor in robes, to a place in Dickwella which soon became a centre for meditation and Dhamma discussion. After 1 ½ years they moved to Ambalangoda where they lived for five years fully engaged in Dhamma work. Ayya Khema had returned to Germany and those of us who were on the Nuns’ Island Committee persuaded the two of them to return to Parappuduwa, which they did reluctantly, feeling committed to their supporters in Ambalangoda. Nuns’ Island flourished again, but Ayya Vayama who bore the brunt of keeping the trees in check, the boat engine serviced, the water pumps working, found her time for meditation eaten into. She decided to move on and went to the London Monastery – Amaravati – at the invitation of Ven. Ajahn Sumedho. She lived happy and successful in her religious commitment for a year, when she was delegated to accompany a nun returning for a visit to Australia.

Her return to Australia

                        While back in her home city, Sydney, she received an invitation, more a summons by Ajahn Brahmavamso, on behalf of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia, to pioneer a nuns’ retreat in Perth. This was a major step to take, a huge responsibility to assume, a burdensome task to agree to, but she faced the challenge of setting up Dhammasara Nuns Monastery in 1998 because she desired to set up a place for nuns to train and practice in Australia. Just then a businessman, who wished to remain anonymous, donated to the Society 500 acres of bush about 100 km north east of Perth. It was said he had bought and gifted the land to the Buddhist Society of Western Australia as his wife had just had a baby girl. “What if she wants one day to be Buddhist nun?” had been the prompting thought in his mind.

                        Ayya Vayama took on a monstrous challenge – supervising the building of a nuns’ retreat within a huge expanse of remote bush land, living alone in it originally and then training and ordaining others desirous of leading a life of renunciation. She lived in a caravan and had a tent for a dana sala. Support there was in plenty but she lived alone on the 500 acres for about two years. “How could you?” I asked. “Weren’t you afraid and lonely?”

“How could I be?” was her reply. “I had the Dhamma with me and in me.”

A temporary kuti was built for her within which confined space she lived and had her office. Next a large building was completed, along with roads and paths. A stream which flowed through the land was dammed for collecting water. Wild life was no bother; kangaroos coming over often for tidbits of food. Poisonous snakes slithered around but the nuns and novices walked back and forth from the main building to their kutis at all times of the early morning and late evening, with apparently no fear.

                        Ayya Vayama was much into teaching and preaching and conducting meditation courses. But totally inexplicably, this devoted and saintly Buddhist nun showed signs of a debilitating illness taking hold of her. I say inexplicably because such an illness would be the last thing that one would expect to afflict such an excellent person. But as the Buddha taught, karma and vipaka work on human beings; maybe she made some mistake in a previous birth.

                        Ayya Vayama and Ayya Seri were ordained on 22nd October 2009, the first Bhikkhuni Ordination in Theravada Tradition in Australia. Their preceptor is Ayya Tathaaloka Bhikkhuni from America. They left Dhammasara Nuns Monastery in 2010 and moved to live in the house of a female lay supporter. Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage, Pilbara Crescent, Western Australia, was officially founded on 23rd June 2011. The Hermitage is not a physical dwelling. It is an incorporated body set up to support Ayyas Vayama and Seri.

Visits to Sri Lanka

                        “I am delighted to be back in Sri Lanka” said Ajahn Vayama, no sooner had I greeted her in 2005. “My thoughts were constantly with people affected by the tsunami and more especially with those who supported us in Dickwella, Ambalangoda and Dodanduwa.” These were all coastal areas struck by the tsunami on 26 December 2004. She had been particularly concerned about those she felt could have been in the way of the waves. She made enquiries of people in Sri Lanka who got information through the police. She was greatly relieved to be told that many known to her were unaffected, and those who had suffered had lost only property.

                        “I was very happy when Dr Upulmali Govinnage, a supporter of our monastery in Perth, offered to have me accompany her on her visit to Sri Lanka. It was such a great offer because I could revisit the places I had lived in and meet those who had supported me, to whom I am ever grateful. As I told my supporters in Dickwella when I met them on Tuesday, they could rejoice in seeing their ‘sil maeni’ again, continuing on the Path and progressing well.”

                        Ajahn Vayama, accompanied by Ajahn Seri and their Australian supporters, visited the Island again in 2012, but very sadly for us, Ajahn Vayama was in a wheelchair. That did not restrict her at all in inviting her devotees from the three places she lived in, and her Colombo devotees and friends to meet her at hotel they were staying in. Many devotees came, mainly from Dodanduwa. There were tears and smiles and adoration from her visitors and gratitude from Ajahn Vayama to her devotees.

                        I am one of the very fortunate admirers of this truly pious and wonderful bhikkhuni who extended her hand of friendship to me. She has stayed in my Colombo flat and continues corresponding with me. She has been not only an inspiration to me and an understanding meditation teacher, but a friend too. One thing we noticed was that there was an aura of sanctity and peaceful serenity around her. My husband who was intolerant of anything esoteric in relation to Buddhism, said he felt this calmness that she emanated.

                        We are glad to hear that in Australia the non-Christian religion with the largest number of devotees is Buddhism, which religion was first introduced to the then remote continent in the 1880s by the Chinese who arrived during the gold rush. We are proud that a person who was ordained as a Theravada Ten Precept Nun in this land of ours – Sri Lanka -contributed much to the spread of Buddhism in Australia.

In these troublous times …

                        Ajahn Vayama left a message with the many people who met her on her trips to Sri Lanka, apart from what she preached to us and inculcated in us by her example while she lived among us.

Bhavana goes hand in hand with sila. One of these cannot be accomplished, nor even attempted, without the other.” She inspires; she demonstrates that any one of us could reach a higher state if only we dedicate ourselves diligently to renunciation and keeping sila while attending to disciplining the mind. She came to Sri Lanka, interrupting her work in Australia, to again express gratitude to her supporters in this land who morally and materially supported her as she took her first steps on the path of renunciation and dedication of her life to living in the Dhamma.

Ajahn Vayama sure is happy and unshackled by the worries that often coil around us.

                                                                                                Nanda Pethiyagoda Wanasundera

Parappaduwa Nuns' Island 1984.

Parappaduwa Nuns’ Island 1984.

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Happy New Year 2015

          Happy New Year 2015 to you from Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage.

The shrine in the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on the evening of 31st December 2014.

The shrine in the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on the evening of 31st December 2014.

The lights of the floating candles signifying our wish for peace, lovingkindness and understanding to all beings.

The lights of the floating candles signifying our wish for peace, lovingkindness and understanding to all beings.

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End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony 2014

by Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni

Ming offered the robe to the bhikkhunis at the End of Rains Robe Offering Ceremony at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on 26th October 2014. Photo by Havindra.

Ming Cassim offered the cloth to the bhikkhunis at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage at the End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony on 26th October 2014. Photo by Havindra.

The End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony for Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage took place on Sunday, 26th of October 2014. About 35 lay supporters came to celebrate the auspicious occasion.

The End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony at the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on Sunday, 26th of October 2014. Photo by Havindra.

The beautiful flowers for Ayya Vayama's birthday and the cloth material at the End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony 2014. Photo by Havindra.

The beautiful flowers for Ayya Vayama’s birthday and the cloth material at the End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony 2014. Photo by Havindra.

One of our supporters of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage, Ming Cassim, who is also the treasurer of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage Incorporated, offered cloth to the bhikkhunis of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. Ming Cassim is one of the long time supporters of Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni, since the time Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni spent the Rains Retreat at Bodhinyana Monastery in 1998.

This year is a special End of Rains Cloth Offering as Ayya Vayama completed her 30th Rains since she went forth in Sri Lanka. Ayya Vayama went to Sri Lanka and entered into monastic training as an anagarikaa in 1984 at Parappuduwa Nuns’ Island with Ayya Khema as her teacher. Ayya Vayama went forth on 17th of March 1985 as a Ten Precept nun at Parappuduwa Nuns’ Island in Dodanduwa, Sri Lanka. Her preceptor was Venerable Piyaratana Nayaka Thera, the head monk at that time, of Polgasduwa Island Hermitage, and Ayya Khema was her teacher.

Ayya Vayama lived in Sri Lanka for ten years. For the first two years she lived at Parappuduwa Nuns’ Island with Ayya Khema and other nuns. After that she lived with one other Sri Lankan nun among the villages in Dodanduwa, Ambalangoda and Dickwella.  Ayya Vayama spent 6 months in India before she went to Amaravati Monastery in England for a year, living in a community of nuns and monks, under the guidance of Ajahn Sumedho. Ayya Vayama then travelled around to meet various teachers. In 1997 Ayya Vayama returned to Australia and spent the Rains at Bundanoon Monastery.

In 1998, Ayya Vayama was invited by the Buddhist Society of Western Australia to establish a Nuns’ Monastery in Gidgegannup. She spent the Rains of 1998 at Bodhinyana Monastery and then moved onto the land of the Nuns’ Monastery in Gidgegannup after the Rains. Ayya Vayama lived on the land of the Nuns’ Monastery by herself for two years in very basic and simple conditions before the first building, the Nuns’ Cottage, was completed in 2000. When Ayya Vayama was asked whether she was frightened to live by herself on a huge property of 583 acres of rugged bush with no electricity and no running water, she answered, : ‘ I am not alone, I have the Triple Gem with me.’ That is the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha.

In 2009 Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni became the first woman in Australia to be ordained as a Bhikkhuni on home soil. This Rains is Ayya Vayama’s 30th Rains since she went forth as a Ten Precept Nun, and also her 5th Rains as a Bhikkhuni.

Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu to Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni.

The blooming flowers looked beautiful at the End of Rains Cloth Offerering Ceremony at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. Photo by Havindra.

The blooming flowers looked beautiful for the End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony on the 26th of October 2014, at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. Photo by Havindra.

 The bhikkhunis at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt appreciation to all of you, for your support, whether it is dana, material support, transport or volunteering to help to organise or be involved in the preparation of the End of Rains Cloth Ceremony. We appreciate your commitment to the Eightfold path.  May all of you have good health, happiness and strength, may you have all the support that you need on the path, and may you continue to practise for the attainment of Nibbana.

The distribution of birthday cake to celebrate Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni's birthday on Tuesday, 28th of October 2014. Photo by Havindra.

The distribution of birthday cake to celebrate Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni’s birthday on Tuesday, 28th of October 2014. Photo by Havindra.

Some of the volunteers who helped to clean the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on Saturday, 25th of October 2014. Photo by Havindra.

Friends at the End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony 2014 at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. Photo by Havindra.

Dana on Sunday 26th October, the End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony 2014, at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. Photo by Havindra.

Dana table on Sunday, 26th of October, the End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony, at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. Photo by Havindra

A delicious cake with a smiley face candle to celebrate Ayya Vayama's birthday. Photo by Ming.

A delicious cake with a smiley face candle to celebrate Ayya Vayama’s birthday. Photo by Ming.

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