Remembering Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri on Her 70th Birthday – Story 10 : Did I turn the switch to the left or right ?


by Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni

This was a teaching from Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri during my first Rains retreat at the monastery in 2002.

We were sitting in the kitchen area and having 5.30pm afternoon tea. Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri was telling us some jokes. I loved the afternoon teatime with my teacher because it was relaxing. She occasionally took the opportunity to share some Dhamma.

In the middle of our teatime, the hot water in the urn started to boil. I quickly got up from my seat, rushed over to switch off the urn and returned to my seat so that I would not miss out on the jokes and the stories. Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri turned to me and asked whether I knew I turned the switch knob to the left or to the right and how many steps did I take to walk to the hot water urn. I just looked at her blankly and shook my head.

It was a great teaching for me as a trainee who just started to embrace mindfulness and present moment awareness. I rushed through my life from a child to a teenager and then to an adult. This was the time I learned to stop and to pay attention to this moment called ‘NOW’.


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