VESAK MEDITATION DAY
Hair For Care Fund Raiser
by Ming Cassim
On the evening of 9th June 2017, with the full moon slowly appearing, courageous Chandrika watched with joy and equanimity as Ayya Seri began to cut off her long, beautiful locks of hair .
Being the Full-moon Poson Poya Day, (the day which commemorates the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka by Arahat Maha Mahinda, son of King Asoka of India, in the third century BC), the Head Shaving Ceremony had more significance.
When Ayya Seri cut off the first lock of hair, she gave it back to Chandrika and she asked her to contemplate and reflect on why she was doing it.
With her supportive husband Mohan behind her Head Shaving, Chandrika’s delightful eyes were filled with tears of joy as her head was shaven clean.
Her “Hair For Care” intention to raise funds for Ajahn Vayama’s Care was so sincere and spontaneous, that she felt so much joy doing this meritorious deed.
At the end of the Head Shaving ceremony, performed so dexterously by Ayya Seri, stood a beautiful being … all in white with a countenance radiating peace and joy!
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu! Chadrika.
A letter of appreciation from a supporter
“Hair for Care”
Thank you for inviting me to support the brave and wonderful thing that Chandrika has undertaken to do for Ajahn Vayama’s ongoing care.
While it is sad to know that Ajahn Vayama now needs 24 hour care, it is with joy that we remember her guidance in all aspects of the Dhamma, which all of us were fortunate to receive and benefit from. Her wonderful voice in chanting the Loving Kindness Sutra has given us a calmness of mind many a time. May all that she has done stand her in good stead through this difficult time.
May Ajahn Vayayama be well and be happy in both mind and body.
posted by Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni
By Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni
Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage conducted The End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony on Sunday 30th October 2016. About 40 invited lay supporters participated in the Ceremony. The day was a bright and beautiful day and everyone enjoyed a lovely time together.
The ceremony included Paritta chanting, and then the Cloth was offered by Merry and Trevor Taylor to the bhikkhunis at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage.
A week before the End of Rains Ceremony, a group of volunteers came to the Hermitage to clean, dust and tidy the Sala of the Hermitage and the surrounding area in preparation for the Ceremony. Our youngest volunteer is a ten year old young lady. We had another small group of people turned up a day before the Ceremony to do the final preparations. Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu to all our volunteers!
Before The Ceremony
By Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni
Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage was very grateful to the two groups of volunteers who came to prepare for the celebration of Vesak 2016.
The first group came on Sunday afternoon, 15th May 2016. They cleaned, vacuumed and dusted the Sala and swept the compound of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. The Volunteers also put up the Vesak lanterns and lights as well as the Buddhist flags that afternoon.
The second group of volunteers came on Friday, 20th May 2016, one day before the Vesak Meditation Day. They helped with the final preparations which involved cleaning and vaccuming, arranging the furnitures and seats, and putting the final touch in decorating the shrine and arranging the flowers.
We appreciate all the help and Sadhu, Sadhu and Sadhu to all the volunteers.
by Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni
On Sunday, 20th March 2016, Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage held a Meditation Day to mark Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni’s ordination anniversary on 17th March. Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni went forth as a nun in Sri Lanka on 17th March 1985.
Twenty two invited lay supporters participated in the March Meditation Day to honour our teacher, Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni. The theme of the Meditation Day was “Sickness and Aging”.
by Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni
Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage marked the end of the Rains Retreat 2015 with an End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony on Saturday, 31st October 2015.
Two separate groups of volunteers came to the Hermitage on the afternoon of Sunday, 24th October and Friday, 30th of October to clean, polish, dust, and tidy the place to get ready for the ceremony. They also hung up some Buddhist flags around the Sala of the Hermitage. Everyone was enthusiastic, happy, energetic and worked very hard. We were like Tom Sawyer’s friends, willingly offering our time and energy to join in the work for fun, for happiness and to honour the Buddha and Sangha.
Phalinee Sawangying offered this year’s the ‘End of Rains Cloth’ to the bhikkhunis of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. We were delighted Phalinee had the opportunity to offer the End of Rains Cloth in front of her family and friends especially her first granddaughter, Matilda.
This year was Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni’s 5th Rains Retreat and the 5th End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. When Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni moved into the Hermitage on 26th of November 2010, we especially chose the name, ‘Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage’. We especially used the word Bhikkhuni Hermitage to signify the establishment of the Bhikkhuni community in Australia. We called the Hermitage ‘Patacara’ because we were inspired by the Arahat Bhikkhuni Patacara during the Buddha’s time. Arahat Bhikkhuni Patacara was an exceptional female role model. She attained the highest goal of the monastic life – liberation and freedom, Nibbana.
Life is full of endings and beginnings. Today, we marked the End of Rains Retreat 2015. The period outside the Rains Retreat begins. Patacara ended her life as a daughter, a young girl and became a wife and a mother. After the shock and unexpected sudden death of her husband, children and her parents and brother, Patacara ended a life of security and ‘certainty’ , and entered the life of the Sangha and began her journey as a Bhikkhuni. Both Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and myself resonated with her journey, especially the impermanence and the removal of a security blanket in life. We were also inspired by her. Arahat Bhikkhuni Patacara ended her journey in Samsara, Nibbana.
Arahat Bhikkhuni Patacara was a great female teacher who helped and guided a lot of people, especially women and nuns on the path of practice. It was like Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni, who had and has been a great teacher to many of us especially the female practitioners. Arahat Bhikkhuni Patacara was named by the Buddha as the foremost bhikkhuni in Vinaya. I am personally very interested in Vinaya. Arahat Bhikkhuni Patacara was indeed an excellent role model for us.
The following are the verses by Arahat Bhikkhuni Patacara from ‘The Verses of the Elder Nuns’:
PLOUGHING THE FILED WITH THEIR PLOUGHS,
SOWING SEEDS UPON THE GROUND,
MAINTAINING THEIR WIVES AND CHILDREN,
YOUNG MEN ACQUIRE WEALTH.
THEN, WHY, WHEN I AM PURE IN VIRTURE,
PRACTICING THE MASTER’S TEACHING,
HAVE I NOT ATTEND NIBBANA—–
FOR I AM NOT LAZY,NOR PUFFED UP?
HAVING WASHED MY FEET,
I REFLECTED UPON THE WATERS.
WHEN I SAW THE FOOT WATER FLOW
FROM THE HIGH GROUND DOWN THE SLOPE
MY MIND BECAME CONCENTRATED
LIKE AN EXCELLENT THOROUGHBRED STEED.
HAVING TAKEN A LAMP, I ENTERED MY CELL.
I INSPECTED THE BED AND SAT DOWN ON THE COUCH.
THEN,HAVING TAKEN A NEEDLE,
I PULLED DOWN THE WICK.
THE LIBERATION OF THE MIND
WAS LIKE THE QUENCHING OF THE LAMP. ( THIG 112-116)
In order to celebrate the 5th End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony, a special cake with the theme,’The story of Patacata’ was especially made and offered by Purnima and Dilusha and family on that day.
The Bhikkhunis at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage were very grateful for the supports, generosity and lovingkindness that you offered over the years, to allow us to continue to practise on the Eightfold Path for the attainment of Nibbana.
Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu.