Warm greetings dear Venerables and Dhamma friends -
With the full moon of August, our Dhammadharini Bhikkhunīs’ community has entered into the 2023 Vassa – a time for the monastic community and “those who draw near” to undertake our yearly commitment of three full months' time of dedicated practice and training together.
See below for more on how you can join us in practice
Following this past full moon’s Dhamma Day (in Sinhala, the Esala Poya; in Thai and Khmer, the Āsāḷha Pūjā; in Pali, the Āsādhā Puṇṇamī) (see recording of the event here), our Dhammadharini bhikkhunī sangha entered the 2023 CE / 2567 BE Vassa at our two locations — Dhammadharini Monastery and Aranya Bodhi Hermitage — on August 2nd.
We especially wish to recognize and appreciate our Chathuri Senanayake & Dilshan Amarathunga Family as leading supporters of our 2567 BE/2023 CE Vassa, and upon completion, the Kathina Robe Offering.
And we are always grateful for the faithful support of the Dhammadharini Support Foundation, as the Dhammadharini community enters our 18th Vassa. Noting – mark your calendars! - the year after next will be our 20th Vassa.
Sharing here a picture from Dharma Creek and the western-most point of our hermitage land with our bhikkhunī sangha as we enter into the 2567 (2023) Vassa, as we take a tour of our Vassa-time Sīmā (boundary) at Aranya Bodhi, from top to bottom.
Here you see us at our last stop of the tour at the very bottom, at the confluence, where the three creeks flow together out to the ocean, August 2nd 2023, at Aranya Bodhi forest hermitage on the Sonoma Coast.
"Our creek," Dharma Creek, is in the foreground. We are standing together on the westernmost tip of our hermitage mountain amidst ancient Jurassic horsetail ferns. In this photo (left to right): Ven. Saddha Bhikkhunī, Ven. Jutindhara Bhikkuni, Ven. Dhammānusārī Bhikkhunī, Ven. Mettajivi Bhikkhuni, Ven. Kaccāyana Bhikkhunī, Ven. Tathālokā Bhikkhunī
With us at Aranya Bodhi this Vassa are the first four Khmer-Cambodian-heritage Theravada Bhikkhunis in modern times: Ven. Mettajivi Bhikkhuni, Ven. Saddha Bhikkhunī, Ven. Dhammānusārī Bhikkhunī, and Ven. Jutindhara Bhikkhunī. One focus this Vassa is to offer special foundational Bhikkhuni Vinaya Studies for this international founding Cambodian Bhikkhuni Sangha, studying alongside our other Vassa resident monastics.
Aranya Bodhi Awakening Forest Hermitage is a project of Dhammadharini, and exists thanks to Dhammadharini supporters, and the extraordinarily generous gift of use of our hermitage land offered by the benevolent steward of this private coastal redwood rainforest preserve. Enormous appreciation beyond words.
Our full Dhammadharini Sangha gathered again at Dhammadharini Monastery in the San Francisco North Bay, upon completion of the first week of the Vassa, for the half-moon Uposatha on August 7th, to chant the Buddha's teaching of the Anattalakkhana Sutta "Discourse on Non-Self" and celebrate the genesis of the Arahat Sangha in our World. August 7th-8th was the Anattalakkhana Atthāmī (half moon) lunar anniversary of these great events per ancient Theravāda Buddhist traditions.
In the morning, friend Erika undertook Anagarika precepts (as Anagārikā Mittakhantī), friend Romona undertook Nekkhamma precepts, we welcomed Ayyā Mārajinā Bhikkhuni back into the robes, and it was entering-the-robes anniversary for Ven. Kaccāyana.
New Anagārikā Mittakhantī and Nekkhamma Romona undertake precepts on the morning of the anniversary of the Buddha's teaching of the Anattalakkhana Sutta
"Anagārikā" refers to she who has "left home life" and gone to a monastery or hermitage or on pilgrimage, as a pilgrim and seeker dedicated to the great quest.
"Nekkhammā" means "she who has come out" or who has "set forth," with the deep meaning to abandon and come out of the causes of suffering.
Nekkhammā renunciates with Dhammadharini may keep their hair simple and wear white, or white and black, or white and dark brown, simple renunciate attire.
Anagārikā renunciates with Dhammadharini take the additional step to shave off their hair and wear a simple long white lower robe and upper robe. For those exploring monastic life, Dhammadharini offers an opportunity to do so for a minimum commitment of one month. To apply for Sāmanerī Ordination with Dhammadharini, one must have already lived as an anagārikā for at least one year.
Anagārikā or Nekkhammā renunciate precepts with Dhammadharini are *not a lifelong commitment* unless one wishes them to be.
Anagārikā Mittakhantī will try out life in the robes for one month initially, aiming for the whole three months of the Vassa. Nekkhammā Romona has committed to the first month of the Vassa. We wish them the most excellent well-being in the Buddha's Way.
"May you have every good blessing! May all the devas protect you! By the power of all the Buddhas, the power of all the Dhamma, and the power of all the Sangha ~ may you ever be well!"
There are two (2) spaces open for the opportunity of Nekkhammā or Anagārikā for the final (third) month of the 2023 Vassa (in October). Apply here.
With apologies, the first and second month (August and September) are with waiting list only.
In the evening, we recited the Anattalakkhana Sutta, the Buddha's salient Teaching on Non-Self and meditated together, sharing blessings with our teachers and preceptors, parents and ancestors, all beings of all realms near and far, and for our own growth in the Buddha's Dispensation (Sāsana).
The Sangha gathered for meditation in the Dhammadharini Monastery Sālā pavilion for the Anattalakkhana Atthāmī half-moon, photo by Upāsika Dr. Marlai Ouch
The Dhammadharini community for the 2023 Vassa, pictured together in these photos* are:
1. Ven. Tathālokā Mahātherī
2. Ven. Sobhanā Therī
3. Ven. Mettajivi Bhikkhuni
4. Ven. Kaccāyana Bhikkhunī
5. Ven. Saddha Bhikkhunī
6. Ven. Dhammānusārī Bhikkhunī
7. Ven. Dhammavarā Bhikkhunī
8. Ven. Jutindhara Bhikkhunī
9. Sāmanerī Satimā
10. Sāmanerī Thāvirā
11. Anagārikā Mittakhantī
12. Nekkhammā Romona (Romona is just for the first month of Vassa, others are joining later in the Vassa)
*13. Ven. Mārajinā Bhikkhunī (visiting us but not joining for the Vassa)
*With us for the beginning or all of Vassa, but not pictured here: Daniel, Nikolai
Save the Date
Special program to remember and honor Ayya Khema
on the occasion of her 100th Birth Anniversary
Sunday evening August 27th
More information coming soon
Join us in practice during the Vassa
“The Mirror of Dhamma: Self-knowledge Effectively Engaging the Path” A day for observing precepts, hearing the Dhamma, and meditating, led by Ven. Sobhanā Therī, in-person and online.
Two more of these programs will be offered during the 2023 Vassa:
The first of these retreats was offered on August 12th, you may watch the recordings here.
The 2023 Vassa will draw to a close for the Dhammadharini community on the full moon, Saturday October 28th, with the Bhikkhunī sangha’s Pāvaranā. The following day, Pāvaranā with the Bhikkhu Sangha on Sunday October 29th will open the Kathina Robe Season.
Save the Date for Kathina
Chathuri Senanayake & Dilshan Amarathunga Family invite all to join them in offering the Kathina Civara Dāna, “Offering the Robe of Merit,” on Saturday November 4th.
Namo Buddhāya! Namo Dhammāya! Namo Sanghāya!
Wishing all beings peace and happiness, with growth in mindfulness, insight, wisdom, and training in the noble way of all Buddhas.
With much metta,
the Dhammadharini Community
To support our Bhikkhunī Sangha during this 2023 Vassa (and beyond!) please go to dhammadharini.net/support for information from Dhammadharini Support Foundation*. Anumodana & Thank you for all your support! If you would like to offer Meal Dana or Grocery Dana to the Bhikkhunī Sangha during this Vassa, from near or far, there are many ways you can do that! See here for more information.
*The Dhammadharini Support Foundation is the registered religious non-profit steward of the Dhammadharini Bhikkhunī Sangha, with US Federal, CA State and local 501(c)(3) non-profit status.