by Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni
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.
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 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.