Transcription of Talk at Water Pouring Ceremony on Sunday 7th May 2023
By Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni
Today is a very auspicious and momentous day. A day that this property at 4 Ives Close, Samson is going to be offered to the Bhikkhuni Sangha. I am here and now, representing the Bhikkhuni Sangha in the past, present and in the future to accept the property from the lay Buddhist community of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage.
Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage is supported by Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage Incorporated. It is an independent entity and is not affiliated with any other Buddhist organisation or body.
The name Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage was given by my teacher Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri, most of you would know her as Ajahn Vayama, after the rains retreat in October or November 2010.
Patacara, is the name of an Arahat Bhikkhuni during the Buddha’s time. Venerable Arahat Patacara Bhikkhuni was an enlightened nun. She represented our aspiration to practise for liberation, freedom and Nibbana. Venerable Arahat Patacara Bhikkhuni also was a great teacher, helping many practitioners, especially women, to practise on the path, like Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri.
Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri was the founding abbot of Dhammasara Nuns Monastery, and she was instrumental in the first Bhikkhuni ordination in 2009 in Australia.
Venerable Arahat Patacara Bhikkhuni was considered by the Buddha as the foremost Bhikkhuni in upholding the Bhikkhuni Vinaya – the rules and discipline of the Bhikkhunis. I was at that time very interested in the Vinaya. I had just memorised the Bhikkhuni Patimokkha in Pali which consisted of 311 rules. I chanted the Patimokkha at the time of Binara full moon on 23rd September 2010.
Venerable Arahat Patacara Bhikkhuni met with tremendous impermanence in her life. She lost her husband, her young son and the new born child within a short period of time. When Venerable Arahat Patacara Bhikkhuni returned to her parents’ house looking for support and care, she found out that her parents and brother died of a storm a day earlier. Later, Venerable Arahat Patacara Bhikkhuni met the Buddha and ordained as a bhikkhuni and practised until she achieved her highest goal.
Both Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri and I resonated and connected with the life of Venerable Arahat Patacara Bhikkhuni. Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri at that time had failing health and had just received the diagnosis of cerebellum dystrophy. At that time, we did not have a permanent place to live and were yet to find a suitable place to accommodate Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri’s failing health.
Ayya Vayama Bhikknhuni Theri and myself moved into the property in Jane Brook upon the invitation of Jacky Lambert on 23rd November 2010.
Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri was a very kind and compassionate teacher. She wanted Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage to be an Incorporated entity, complete with committee members and a constitution.
Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri wanted to be sure that I (the full time caregiver) would be looked after by a formal association after she passed away. The other reason was that we needed to have an Association to look after the donations and funds. And, especially to take care of Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri in her deteriorating health. In the beginning, our supporters, Chethasee Tennakoon and Winnie Koh had to help by opening the bank account in their names for Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage.
We had our first meeting to incorporate Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage Incorporated in April 2011 and we had the approval of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage Incorporated on 23rd June 2011 with an independent constitution and committee. That marked the birth of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage.
This is the history to remind all of us that Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage has been in existence since November 2010. However, the Hermitage never owned a property as we did not have the funds to purchase a property. Also, the committee, supporters and myself did not have the energy and time to be involved in fund raising as well as searching for a suitable property. At that time, we were devoted to look after Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri in her deteriorating health. We were also reluctant to move Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri once she was very sick.
This is the first time Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage have its own property. It is very auspicious and momentous for the Buddhist community of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage.
After Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri passed away on 20th November 2021, I, Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni, informed the committee and the members at the AGM in January 2022 that I am committed to stay in WA and would like to continue with Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage.
At that time Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage Incorporated only had a small amount of funds in the bank. However, on 7 March 2023, Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage Incorporated made an offer for the property, 4 Ives Close, Samson and it was accepted on that day. Currently Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage Incorporated does not owe any money for the property in Samson.
The amazing conditions that allowed these all to take place was the combination of the blessings of the Triple Gem, the blessings of Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri and the generosity, kindness and hard work from all of us here. The fundraising events, such as head shaving, sewing and cooking, the work to draw awareness to Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage, and the work of the committee and the property team were all tremendous efforts. All of us joined hands to make this marvellous good kamma that led to the offering of a shelter for Bhikkhunis of the past, present and the future at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage.
So, sadhu, sadhu, sadhu to all of us.
May all beings be well and at peace.