Saturday, January 21, 2012

Aranya Bodhi

While I was at Bhavana this last time someone told me about a new Hermitage (a forest monastery) for Buddhist nuns that is being established on the Sonoma Coast of California. She told me it was in Jenner, and that may be true, although I have yet to confirm that. Sonoma Coast, yes. I keep thinking Jenner is in Mendocino County, but it's been awhile since I've been there and I could be wrong. And I'm too lazy to look it up. Check out their website: Aranya Bodhi.

Anyway - the two women who founded it are long-time nuns from this country and their focus is to bring back the little-used policy of ordaining nuns in the Theravada tradition. Someone donated a big chunk of land on the Coast for their use -- redwood forests and all! -- and they've been more or less camping out for the past two years on a portion of coast that isn't always hospitable. It's beautiful, but can be cold and stormy. One of the founding nuns, and another who recently joined them, lived at Bhavana for a long time. I met the most recent one, Ayya Suddina, when I was there in August.

As long-term readers may remember, I have for years wanted to go to some such place for retirement -- out of the 'world' where I can be with like-minded people, study and meditate. I decided during my last visit that Bhavana would not work too well for me (too much of a male-dominated society), so this is very appealing to me. I would love to be a part of building such a place! They live in tents or Kuti huts, have some solar power, a kitchen trailer and a few other improvements, but they have a long way to go.  I've already arranged for my bank to send them a small donation every month -- the best I can do at the moment to help them. I've also emailed to ask about ordination or living/working as a lay person. Every monastery or hermitage needs at least one lay person, to handle money, since monastics are not allowed to handle money. I could also run errands and basically help keep the place running smoothly.  After all, it's what I do for pay.

I wouldn't be able to go for a year -- the house issue. But, Ayya Sobhana (the founding prioress, who was at Bhavana for years) is leading a Metta meditation retreat at Southern Dharma Center (in North Carolina) in March, so I may decide to go there and meet with her, if they are open to that. Time will tell.

We are under a tornado watch again today. I didn't know it until I arrived at the library and read an email, but waking up to 60 degree temps at 5am in January, with rain and thunderstorms happening, pretty much told me that we were having tornado weather.  Damn.  I'd still rather live with the threat of earthquakes than tornadoes!

Other than that -- not much happening. The usual errands, shopping. Cooking.

Be well, all.

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