Friends in the Dhamma,
This is an opportunity to support a community of Western Theravada nuns in California. I know most of them personally, and have always been deeply moved by the sincerity of their aspirations and the dignity of their deportment as they endure more than their share of hardship and insecurity. They are now trying to meet the challenge of a matching grant that will allow them to establish a new monastery, having lost their previous home. You can help!
As many of you know nuns have been on an unequal footing with respect to monks for many centuries in all of the Theravada lands and in Tibet. This is due to a variety of historical and social circumstances along with unfortunate interpretations of the early monastic code, that has resulted in the loss of full monastic ordination for women (bhikkhuni ordination), in spite of the Buddha’s original intention. The bhikkhuni sangha is now being slowly revived, primarily in Sri Lanka and in the West, but is poorly understood in lands that have seen no bhikkhunis for perhaps almost a thousand years. Since monastics in America, including Western, still receive support primarily from generous Asian communities, the nuns have been at a disadvantage even here, slipping easily into misfortune.
I look forward to the day will come when Western-American Buddhists are as supportive of the monastic sangha as their Asian counterparts. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to get the ball rolling! … and at the same time support the aspirations of those most worthy of offerings. The following is a letter that was sent out recently that describes the needs of this small bhikkhuni community in the San Francisco Bay Area and provides some links to learn more about them. As I understand it, they need to raise $9,000 dollars by Sunday to meet the conditions for the matching grant I hope you will give their needs due consideration. Please email this to people you know, or repost it. Thank you.
In the Dhamma,
Bhikkhu Cintita Dinsmore
Dear friends in the dhamma,
The traditional holiday season is nearly upon us and many of us are planning to visit Aranya Bodhi Hermitage this weekend to celebrate Kathina. As we take this opportunity to enjoy coming together as a community, spending time with our noble monastics, and enjoying the beauty of nature, let us take some time to reflect on the meaning of the season.
This is the time of the year when we practice generosity, the first of the Ten Paramis otherwise known as the Ten Perfections. The practice of giving and what we give is referred to in Pali as dana. The Pali word for generosity is caga, which, incidentally, also means “letting go.” When we give dana with true intention from the heart, we are able to let go of our greed and forget our personal concerns for the moment while we consider the needs of another. In this way, we cleanse the mind. By each act of generosity, we get closer to becoming a truly generous person. The Buddha also mentioned, that the greatness of the gift relies not on the material value but on the depth of generosity from the giver. A small gift offered from the heart of one who has little is of greater value than a more costly gift given without thought from one who has much.
As you know, Dhammadharini has made a commitment to obtain shelter for those monastics who for health or other reasons are unable to live the rigorous lifestyle demanded by a forest hermitage. It is our hope to find such a place in an area that is readily accessible to lay persons so people can easily visit with their children and other family members. This commitment has been enshrined in our Monastery Fund, to which many of you have pledged. Recently, a kind and thoughtful anonymous donor has made a generous offering to the Dhammadharini monastery fund. This donation of $25,000 designated to serve as a downpayment on a monastery in a convenient location is contingent on receiving donations of funds of the same amount within the next three months.
When you are offering gifts this season, I hope you will keep the hopes and dreams of our community alive and remember this fund. If we can all offer what we are able, our vision of a warm and welcoming monastery will manifest soon.
“By giving, one unites friends.” Samyutta Nikaya 1.215
If you make a donation for the Challenge Grant, don’t forget to write “Match the Challenge Grant” (or something like that on your envelope, in the Memo line of your check, or the Note or Dedication line of your electronic donation.
Shari Gent, President
Dhammadharini Board of Directors
“Women Upholding the Dhamma”
PO Box 1671, Fremont, CA 94538
Aranya Bodhi Hermitage, Sonoma Coast
Mailing Address: PO Box 16, Jenner, CA 95450, USA
New Message Phone: 1-707-340-4281, Skype “Aranya_Bodhi”
The Bodhi House, San Francisco East Bay
now closed ~ new monastery/vihara coming