Monday, 30 July 2012

Cittaviveka Visit and The 2nd Annual International Bhikkhuni Day

Yesterday a group of us from the West Wight Sangha got together with the Newport Soto Zen Buddhist group for a day trip to Cittaviveka, the Buddhist Monastery at Chithurst. It was, yet again, a wonderfully peaceful and enjoyable day.

Most of the Cittaviveka Sangha were attending upasampada (full ordination) at Amaravati and thus were not at Chithurst while we were there. We were not, therefore, able to gauge for ourselves how things now are for the nuns community but this extract from the Forest Sangha newsletter by Sister Candasiri gives a good glimpse of the current situation.

"The Buddha often used similes from nature to illustrate basic truths of human existence. In that spirit we could liken the result of what has happened for our nuns' community in recent years to a plant that has undergone a severe pruning. Since 2008, over half of the nuns have left, including a substantial proportion of theris (nuns of over ten years). Some have disrobed, others have simply left the lineage to practise independently as ten-precept nuns or to pursue Bhikkhuni Ordination and training.

While such decimation could well have wiped out our Sangha altogether, the faith and determination of the remaining Sisters. together with the enormous sense of encouragement and good will - both from our monastic Brothers and from countless lay friends - seems (so far) to be enabling a sense of regeneration within our tiny community."

Coincidently, I have recently been in contact with Josephine Snell, who is a committee member for International Bhikkhuni Day and who has provided the following "flyer" for the event.

 Alliance for

The 2nd Annual International Bhikkhuni Day is on Saturday 29th September 2012,
from 9am - 5pm, and in the UK a meeting will be held at
The Buddhist Society, 58 Eccleston Square, London SW1V 1PH.
Guest Speaker: Bhikkhuni Visuddhi

The Bhikkhuni Day is a global, grassroots effort, sponsored by the Alliance for Bhikkhunis           ( On this day, supporters gather at various venues around the world, to celebrate their spiritual legacy, learn about the history of prominent Buddhist women, meditate and raise funds to support bhikkhunis, via a meditation pledge-a-thon.

UK meetings are being co-ordinated by Josephine Snell (details below), who can be contacted for further information. All those who would like to attend the London meeting are very welcome. Those who would like to attend but who live too far away, are encouraged to set up a local meeting of their own, and can contact Josephine for details on how to do this.

Bhikkhunī Visuddhi was born in the Czech Republic. She practiced as a Buddhist for many years until she left for Sri Lanka in order to ordain as a nun. In 2003 she obtained the Samaneri Ordination. In 2006 she trained for 9 months in Taiwan at the English Buddhist College of the Fo Guang Shan Temple to prepare for the higher ordination. In 2006 she ordained as a bhikkhunī in the Tzu Yun Temple in Taiwan and returned to Sri Lanka. In 2008 she practiced in Germany in the Anenja Vihara and since 2009 she has been involved in various Dhamma activities in Europe – mainly in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Every winter she returns to her home temple in Sri Lanka to her teacher and Bhikkhuní sangha. She also regularly spends time in a Buddhist monastery of Thai forest tradition in Switzerland – Dhammapala.

Josephine Snell
(AfB committee member for International Bhikkhuni Day)
Email:            Mobile: 07786 516035

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