Special Atthami Half Moon Uposatha
“Offering our Practice” – Patipati Puja
Honoring the Parinibbana of Mahapajapati Gotami
& the Courageous Five Hundred
Special half-moon program: Sunday February 12th
7-9pm Pacific Standard Time
Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī Parinibbāṇa tile mural from the inner ceiling of the Queens Chedi, Doi Inthanon, Chiang Mai, Thailand
with three golden Dhamma wheels and thee Valley Oaks in a reflecting pool
Dear Venerable monastics & Dhamma friends,
“Paṭipāṭi pūja” is a gesture of respect for our Kalyanamittas, our spiritual benefactors - honoring them with the highest and most beneficial kind of respect: the offering of our Dhamma practice: listening to and contemplating the Dhamma and training our minds through meditation.
On the recently past Māgha full moon on February 5th, we celebrated Magha Puja Sangha Day.
As this past Magha full moon remembers the announcement of the impending Parinibbana of the Buddha, so too it also commemorates another event: Mahapajapati Gotami, the foster mother of the Buddha as well as the founding mother of the Bhikkhuni Sangha, decided her own Parinibbana (final Nirvana) and commenced seven straight days of offering her final teachings [1,2]. A large number of her awakened bhikkhuni companions who had ordained together with her thirty years before decided they would follow her in going to final nirvana too. Then, on the Atthāmī Uposatha, the lunar eighth day, which is the half moon day following the Magha full moon – the great arahanti Mahā Gotamī Therī and the Courageous Founding 500 Great Arahat Bhikkhunis entered their great final nirvana (their Parinibbāna) together. The texts remember it as a very special day for the Sangha, with the Buddha himself offering Maha Gotami’s eulogy, her cremains held in his alms bowl in his hands, before their enshrinement in a stupa in Vaishali (Vesali).
In Pali, we call this special day:
Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī saddhiṃ Mahārahantī Pañcasatabhikkuṇīparivārehi Parinibbāṇaṃ Aṭṭhamī
In English translation of the Pali:
The Eighth Day Parinibbana Day of Mahapajapati Gotami together with her 500 Bhikkhuni Arahant Companions
This year, the half moon, the eighth day, is Sunday February 12th (or it may be on Feb 13th for those on the other side of the world). Ayya Tathaloka, with her great appreciation for their early bhikkhuni arahati disciples of the Buddha, it being winter retreat time, is welcoming all Venerable Bhikkhunis and Dhamma friends who would like to join her on the half moon Atthami Uposatha in offering paṭipāṭi pūja, the gift of our practice, on the evening of Sunday February 12th. As is said in the Gotami Theri Therigatha and Theri Apadana:
Samagge sāvake passe,
Esā buddhāna vandanā.
“Energetic from the start and resolute,
Constantly making effort
And unified – see these disciples:
Now that’s homage to the Buddha!”
- Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī Therīgāthā
‘‘‘Āraddhavīriye pahitatte, niccaṃ daḷhaparakkame;
Samagge sāvake passa, etaṃ buddhānavandanaṃ.
“'See the disciples all together, putting forth energy,'
[he replied,] resolute, always with strong effort.
This is homage to the Buddhas.' (75)
- Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī Therī Apadāna,
translated by William Pruitt for the Pāli Text Society
We will offer this special session of our Winter Retreat Uposatha program as patipātī pūja – to honor a great benefactor through the gift of our dedicated practice.
The program will be Sunday evening from 7-9pm Pacific Standard Time. Please see below for more time zones or use a time zone converter for your local times. All of the events will be streamed on YouTube.com | Dhammadharini Monastery, so you can watch live or at your suitable time.
More Information on the Parinibbana Day
of Mahapajapati Gotami & the Founding 500
If you would like to learn more about the inspiring story of Mahapajapati Gotami’s Parinibbana, here are some resources:
The Story of the Parinibbāna of Mahāpajāpati Gotamī Therī: Texts, Voice, Legacy - Ven. Tathaloka Theri’s presentation from the 2022 United Theravada Bhikkhuni Sangha International (UTBSI) commemoration of this day (detailed presentation rich in information, 1 hour).
Going Forth & Going Out ~ the Parinibbana of Mahapajapati Gotami - written reflection from Ven. Tathaloka Theri (10 mins read).
We’d also like to let you know about an exciting effort underway:
The United Theravada Bhikkhuni Sangha International (UTBSI) in partnership with the Maha Bodhi Society of India (MBSI), has submitted a petition in November 2022 to the State of Bihar, in India, for state observance of Mahapajapati Parinibbana Day. The State of Bihar used to have so many Buddhist monasteries it is named after “Vihara” and contains many of the Buddhist heritage sites from the Buddha’s lifetime, including the Parinibbana Stupa of Mahapajapati Gotami. The Parinibbana Days of Sariputta and Maha Moggallana are already recognized by the State of Bihar, but there is no such recognition yet for any of the leading Bhikkhuni Theri disciples of the Buddha. So far, among all the Bhikkhunis, only the date of Mahapajapati Gotami Theri’s parinibbana is known, passed down in ancient canonical Buddhist texts.
We hope that you will be able to join us in the offering of our practice this Sunday. Note that our usual Sunday morning and afternoon programs will still be held as normal on the 12th, led by Ayya Brahmavara. These programs and/or any meditation and contemplation of the Dhamma can also be dedicated as your patipati puja practice offering for the day. If not already, you can register for Sunday morning meditation and Sunday afternoon Sutta Study here:
From among the final words of Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī Therī:
“If you have loving sympathy for me,
And if you have gratitude and appreciation;
Then strong and ardently attentive should you be in your endeavors
To the meaning of the True Dhamma.
“Women received the Going Forth
At my request to the Sambuddha;
As i have found joy and delight [in this Path],
So should you practice!”
- the Gotamī Therī Apadāna
Recordings of all of our winter retreat programs may be found on our "2023 Winter Retreat Uposatha Program" playlist.
All Dhamma programs offered by our Bhikkhuni Dhamma and Meditation teachers are freely offered as Dhamma Dana, in the way of the Buddha.
If you would like information on offering Dana of useful requisites or supplies to our Bhikkhunis’ community in honor of Mahapajapati Gotami Parinibbana Day, or on how to support our Dhammadharini teachers and their efforts, the Dhammadharini Support Foundation is the steward of our Bhikkhunis’ Sangha–welcome see their support page on dhammadharini.net.
With much metta,
the Dhammadharini Community