by Bhikkhuni Seri
Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage put on a Birthday Celebration to honour Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni’s sixtieth birthday on Sunday, 28th October 2012. This was Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni’s actual birth date. The celebration started in the afternoon at 2pm. In spite of Ayya Vayama’s ill health and the limitation of space at a private premises, we managed to squeeze in 75 people for the celebration.
It was a hot and cloudy day with no showers forecast. However, suddenly, before the start of the celebration, there was a sprinkle of rain. It was like a heavenly blessing, to celebrate Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni’s 60th Birthday.
The Birthday Celebration was an invitation-only event at a private residence with ABSOLUTELY no alcohol. The Hermitage even invited our neighbours, two off-duty policewomen to preside over the celebration to ensure order and security! However, Subha, the wandering cat, still managed to gatecrash the celebration, even though she found herself two hours late. Subha, the cat, was jealous of Billy, the poodle, who managed to get an invitation to the celebration!
The Birthday Celebration started with the chanting of the ‘Metta Sutta – The Buddha’s words on Lovingkindness’ to offer lovingkindness and good wishes to Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni for her 60th birthday. All of us present sat in silence for a few minutes and sent our good wishes, appreciation, gratitude and lovingkindness to Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni.
The highlight of the Birthday Celebration was the launch of Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni’s first Dhamma book, ‘TAKING REFUGE’. It was the first free distribution book published by Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage Incorporated. This was a beautiful gift of Dhamma by Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni who chose and edited three of the more than sixty Dhamma talks that she offered at Dhammaloka Buddhist Centre. The gift of Dhamma, ‘TAKING REFUGE’, was generously sponsored and supported by devoted lay supporters and Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage Incorporated to mark Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni 60th birthday.
After the official launch of the free distribution book, ‘TAKING REFUGE’ , the special birthday cake, beautifully decorated with the Western Australia wild flower, ‘Hibbertia – yellow buttercup’, was presented to Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni. There were also SIXTY yellow roses offered by family and supporters to celebrate the 60th birthday. Peace and Billy led the birthday cheers before Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni blew out the candles:-
‘The complete release of my mind was like the quenching of the lamp’, by Arahat Bhikkhuni Patacara.
As the flames flickered and went out, we all sincerely wished in our heart that Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni would attain her goal, Nibbana, in this very life.
After the formal Birthday Celebration, the party broke into a relaxed, harmonious and joyous gathering of people with refreshments and birthday cakes. All those who were present came up to wish Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni ‘Happy Birthday’, and personally expressed their heartfelt appreciation and gratitude. Cousin Karina and Aunty Shirley gave Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni a big hug and kisses. They said they could do it differently because they are family!
The celebration finished at around 4.00pm. The Cleaning and Tidying up Taskforce worked very hard and was superbly efficient. Much merit to all of you who gave us a helping hand. By 9.30pm, the sala, marquee and the garage were empty of bodies, voices and celebration. Everything was almost back to normal.
Once again silence fell upon the Hermitage. The moon was still glowing in the darkness of the sky. All that was left were good wishes, lovingkindness and peace.
I am signing off this last post of ‘An Auspicious Weekend In October’ here and now. May all of you be well, happy, at peace and at ease.