Vesak Celebration 2016 – Vesak Meditation Day

The beautiful lights and candles at the end of Vesak Meditation Day 2016 at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage.

The beautiful lights and candles offered at the end of Vesak Meditation Day 2016 at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage.

by Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni

Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage conducted a Vesak Meditation Day on Saturday, 21st May 2016 to celebrate the birth, enlightenment and the passing away of the Buddha. It was inspiring to see all 22 participants attend the Vesak Meditation Day despite the severe weather warning on the day.

We would like to have  bright and warm weather for the Vesak Meditation Day. However, life is unsatisfactory-dukkha, changeable and unpredictable – anicca and not me, not mine and not myself – anatta. The severe weather is like “Death and Dying”, the theme for the Vesak Meditation Day this year. It came unannounced, unwanted and at the wrong time. The severe weather is the perfect teacher for all of us on Vesak Day.

It was delightful to leave our busy  world behind and practise together to honour the Buddha; to follow in the footsteps of the Buddha and to dedicate our effort for our own liberation and freedom.

Happy Vesak to all of you from Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage!

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni on Vesak Meditation Day 2016 at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. Photo by Ming

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni on Vesak Meditation Day 2016 at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. Photo by Ming

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni with the lights and candles inside the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on Vesak Meditation Day 2016. Photo by Ming.

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni with the lights and candles inside the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on Vesak Meditation Day 2016. Photo by Ming.

Offering of lights and candles at the end of Vesak Meditation Day 2016 inside the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. Photo by Ming.

Offering of lights and candles at the end of Vesak Meditation Day 2016 inside the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. Photo by Ming.

The participants reading the obituaries outside the Sala of Patacata Bhikkhuni Hermitage on Vesak Meditation Day 2016. Photo by Ming.

The participants reading the obituaries outside the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on Vesak Meditation Day 2016. Photo by Ming.

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni, Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni and the participants on Vesak Meditation Day 2016 inside the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. Photo by Ming.

The group photo at the end of Vesak Meditation Day 2016 inside the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. Photo by Karen.

The Vesak lights, lantern and flags at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage 2016.

The Vesak lights, lantern and flags at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage 2016.

The beautiful lights and lantern at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage 2016.

The beautiful lights and lantern at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage 2016.

The Vesak lights, lantern and flags at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage 2016.

The Vesak lights, lantern and flags at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage 2016

 

 

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Vesak Celebration 2016 – The Preparation

By Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni

Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage was very grateful to the two groups of volunteers who came to prepare for the celebration of Vesak 2016.

The first group came on Sunday afternoon, 15th May 2016. They cleaned, vacuumed and  dusted the Sala and swept the compound of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. The Volunteers also put up the Vesak lanterns and lights as well as the Buddhist flags that afternoon.

The second group of volunteers came on Friday, 20th May 2016, one day before the Vesak Meditation Day. They helped with the final preparations which involved cleaning and vaccuming, arranging the furnitures and seats, and  putting the final touch in decorating the shrine and arranging the flowers.

We appreciate all the help and Sadhu, Sadhu and Sadhu to all the volunteers.

Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni and the volunteers inside the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on Sunday, 15th May 2016 Photo by Manora and Havindra

Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni and the volunteers worked inside the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on Sunday, 15th May 2016 Photo by Manora and Havindra

The volunteers inside the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on Sunday, 15th May 2016. Photo by Manora nad Havindra.

The volunteers worked inside the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on Sunday, 15th May 2016. Photo by Manora nad Havindra.

The volunteers decorating the Bodhi Tree outside the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on Sunday 15th May 2016. Photo by Havindra.

The volunteers helped to decorate the Bodhi Tree outside the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on Sunday 15th May 2016. Photo by Havindra.

The Volunteer out up the Vesak lanterns, lights and Buddhist flags at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on Sunday, 15th May 2016. Photo by Manora and Havindra.

The joyful volunteers put up the Vesak lanterns, lights and Buddhist flags at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on Sunday, 15th May 2016. Photo by Manora and Havindra.

Why are they laughing? If you want to know, you need to join the V Team at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. Photo by Manora and Havindra on 15th May 2016.

Why were they so happy? If you want to know, you need to join the V Team at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. Photo by Manora and Havindra on 15th May 2016.

Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni and the V Team at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on 15th May 2016. Photo by Manora.

Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni and the V Team at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on Sunday 15th May 2016. Photo by Manora.

Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni and the Volunteers at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on Sunday 15th May 2016. Photo by Manora.

Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni and the volunteers at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on Sunday 15th May 2016. Photo by Manora.

The result: The colourfull Vesak lanterns, lights and Buddhist flags at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage at the end of 15th May 2016. Photo by Havindra.

The result: The colourful Vesak lanterns, lights and Buddhist flags at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage at the end of 15th May 2016. Photo by Havindra.

The beautiful Vesak lanterns, lights and Buddhist flags like the gratitude, delight and joy in our hearts towards the Buddha. Photo by Havindra on 15th May 2016

 

 

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March Meditation Day 2016

by Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni

Offering of incense and candles at the beginning of the Meditation Day on 19th March 2016 at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. Photo by Ming.

Offering of incense and candles at the beginning of the Meditation Day on 20th March 2016 at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. Photo by Ming.

On Sunday, 20th March 2016, Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage held a Meditation Day to mark Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni’s ordination anniversary on 17th March. Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni went forth as a nun in Sri Lanka on 17th March 1985.

Twenty two invited lay supporters participated in the March Meditation Day to honour our teacher, Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni. The theme of the Meditation Day was “Sickness and Aging”.

 

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni inside the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on Sunday, 19th March 2016. Photo by Ming.

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni inside the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on Sunday, 20th March 2016. Photo by Ming.

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni, Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni and the participants at the Meditation Day on 19th March 2016. Photo by Ming.

Group photo (1) : Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni, Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni and the participants at the Meditation Day on 20th March 2016. Photo by Ming.

Group photo [2] of Ayya Vayama bhikkhuni, Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni and the participants at the Meditation Day on 19th March 2016. Photo by Ming.

Group photo [2] of Ayya Vayama bhikkhuni, Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni and the participants at the Meditation Day on 20th March 2016. Photo by Lay Har.

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni at the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage after the Meditation Day on 19th March 2016. Photo by Ming

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni at the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage after the Meditation Day on 20th March 2016. Photo by Ming

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End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony 2015

by Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni

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Copperplate  written by Christina and framed by Jacky.It hangs on the wall of the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. Photo by Havindra.

Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage marked the end of the Rains Retreat 2015 with an End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony on Saturday, 31st October 2015.

The Volunteers at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on Sunday, 24th of October 2015. Photo by Havindra.

The happy volunteers at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on Sunday, 24th of October 2015. Photo by Havindra.

Two separate groups of volunteers came to the Hermitage on the afternoon of Sunday, 24th October and Friday, 30th of October to clean, polish, dust, and tidy the place to get ready for the ceremony. They also hung up some Buddhist flags around the Sala of the Hermitage. Everyone was enthusiastic, happy, energetic and worked very hard. We were like Tom Sawyer’s friends, willingly offering our time and energy to join in the work for fun, for happiness and to honour the Buddha and Sangha.

The End of rains Cloth Offering Ceremony at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on 31st October 2015. Photo by Havindra.

Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni paid respect to her teacher, Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni, at the beginning of the End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on 31st October 2015. Photo by Havindra.

Paritta chanting inside the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage at the End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony 2015. Photo by Zor.

Paritta chanting inside the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage at the End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony 2015. Photo by Zor.

Phalinee Sawangying offered this year’s the ‘End of Rains Cloth’ to the bhikkhunis of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. We were delighted Phalinee had the opportunity to offer the End of Rains Cloth in front of her family and friends especially her first granddaughter, Matilda.

Phalinee Sawangying and her family offered the End of Rains Cloth on 31st October 2015 at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage.

Phalinee Sawangying and her family offered the End of Rains Cloth on 31st October 2015 at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. Photo by Havindra.

Phalinee Sawangying and her family at the End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on 31st October 2015

Phalinee Sawangying and her family at the End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on 31st October 2015. Photo by Zor.

This year was Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni’s 5th Rains Retreat and the 5th End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. When Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni moved into the Hermitage on 26th of November 2010, we especially chose the name, ‘Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage’. We especially used the word Bhikkhuni Hermitage to signify the establishment of the Bhikkhuni community in Australia. We called the Hermitage ‘Patacara’ because we were inspired by the Arahat Bhikkhuni Patacara during the Buddha’s time. Arahat Bhikkhuni Patacara was an exceptional female role model. She attained the highest goal of the monastic life – liberation and freedom, Nibbana.

Life is full of endings and beginnings. Today, we marked the End of Rains Retreat 2015. The period outside the Rains Retreat begins. Patacara ended her life as a daughter, a young girl and became a wife and a mother. After the shock and unexpected sudden death of her husband, children and her parents and brother, Patacara ended a life of security and ‘certainty’ , and entered the life of the Sangha and began her journey as a Bhikkhuni. Both Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and myself resonated with her journey, especially the impermanence and the removal of a security blanket in life. We were also inspired by her. Arahat Bhikkhuni Patacara ended her journey in Samsara, Nibbana.

Arahat Bhikkhuni Patacara was a great female teacher who helped  and guided a lot of people, especially women and nuns on the path of practice. It was like Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni, who had and has been a great teacher to many of us especially the female practitioners. Arahat Bhikkhuni Patacara was named by the Buddha as the foremost bhikkhuni in Vinaya. I am personally very interested in Vinaya. Arahat Bhikkhuni Patacara was indeed an excellent role model for us.

Lighting of Incense and candles at the End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony 2015 at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage, Photo by Havindra.

Lighting of incense and candles to start the End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony 2015 at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage, Photo by Havindra.

Inside the Sala at the End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony 2015 at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. Photo by Zor.

Chanting of blessings inside the Sala at the End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony 2015 at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. Photo by Zor.

The following are the verses by Arahat Bhikkhuni Patacara from ‘The Verses of the Elder Nuns’:

PLOUGHING THE FILED WITH THEIR PLOUGHS,
SOWING SEEDS UPON THE GROUND,
MAINTAINING THEIR WIVES AND CHILDREN,
YOUNG MEN ACQUIRE WEALTH.

THEN, WHY, WHEN I AM PURE IN VIRTURE,
PRACTICING THE MASTER’S TEACHING,
HAVE I NOT ATTEND NIBBANA—–
FOR I AM NOT LAZY,NOR PUFFED UP?

HAVING WASHED MY FEET,
I REFLECTED UPON THE WATERS.
WHEN I SAW THE FOOT WATER FLOW
FROM THE HIGH GROUND DOWN THE SLOPE
MY MIND BECAME CONCENTRATED
LIKE AN EXCELLENT THOROUGHBRED STEED.

HAVING TAKEN A LAMP, I ENTERED MY CELL.
I INSPECTED THE BED AND SAT DOWN ON THE COUCH.
THEN,HAVING TAKEN A NEEDLE,
I PULLED DOWN THE WICK.
THE LIBERATION OF THE MIND
WAS LIKE THE QUENCHING OF THE LAMP. ( THIG 112-116)

In order to celebrate the 5th End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony, a special cake with the theme,’The story of Patacata’ was especially made and offered by Purnima and Dilusha and family on that day.

The Bhikkhunis at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage were very grateful for the supports, generosity and lovingkindness that you offered over the years, to allow us to continue to practise on the Eightfold Path for the attainment of Nibbana.

Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu.

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni were cutting the cake offered to mark the 5th Rains Retreat and Ceremony at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on 31st of October 2015. Photo by Zor

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni cut the cake at the End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on 31st of October 2015. Photo by Zor.

The cake offered to mark the 5th Rains Retreat at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on 31st of October 2015. Photo by Zor.

The bright and delicious cake offered to mark the 5th Rains Retreat and the 5th End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on 31st of October 2015. Photo by Zor.

 

Inside the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage at the End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony, 31st October 2015. Photo by Zor.

Inside the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage at the End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony, 31st October 2015. Photo by Zor.

The dana table at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on 31st October 2015. Photo by Havindra.

The dana table at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on 31st October 2015. Photo by Havindra.

 

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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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