Remembering Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri on Her 70th Birthday – Story 17 : Pilgrimage to Sri Lanka 2012


by Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni

We went on a pilgrimage to Sri Lanka in 2012. Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri had already been diagnosed with MSA – Multi System Atrophy. She had difficulty walking. So, we took her around Sri Lanka in a wheelchair.

During the pilgrimage, we were always on time with all our designated group departures and gatherings. Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri never used her disability as an excuse to be late.

She was also very kind and considerate. She asked me to take extra time to rest and she would call me when she was ready and needed my help. Even though I had to get ready for both of us, we always turned up bright and early for our appointments.

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri also had an excellent memory and a great sense of direction. The group leader put me, Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri and a lay supporter, Merry, into a taxi to take us to visit Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri’s 90-year-old supporter, Chandra, in Kandy.

The taxi driver did not know how to get to Chandra’s address. Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri gave the taxi driver specific instructions and directions. Winding around crowded streets, no signposts. Chandra was delighted to see us when we arrived. Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri’s last visit to Sri Lanka was in 2005. Merry and I were in awe of Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri’s ability to remember the directions to get to Chandra’s place.

We had a memorable time on the pilgrimage to Sri Lanka. We visited most of Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri’s favorite places and I remember all the kind and generous people that we met.

Theruwan Saranai.


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