Remembering Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri on Her 70th Birthday – Story 12 : Pushing the garbage


by Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni

In the initial stage of my life in the monastery, once a week, we used to pack the car with bags of garbage and then drive them up to the front gate of monastery for the next day’s collection. However, one day, we had no anagarikkaas and we had forgotten to ask the lay supporters for help.

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri told the nuns that she would load the garbage onto the trailer and then push them to the front gate. Those who would like to help, please gather at 4pm.

I still remember it was a mild summer afternoon. All the nuns got together with Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri and started to load the garbage bags onto the trailer. We then pushed and pulled the trailer all the way to the front gate. The uphill gravel road to the front gate was longer than 1km.

No one stopped and questioned Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri or suggested to drive themselves. At that time the nuns had agreed not to drive on the monastery compound. We did the hauling ourselves. We also pushed the trailer back from the front gate to the nuns’ cottage. We sweat a lot and had sore muscles that afternoon, but we also had lots of fun and laughter.

When I reflected on the incident, it might seem silly to push the garbage all the way to the front gate and then walk back with the trailer. However, Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri showed her leadership in keeping the rules that we all agreed upon, and problem-solving skills.

It was also a great teaching on determination and honoring our agreements and words. Even though it was hard work, we practiced exercising the muscles of our mind and heart.


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