After two years of training in the novice precepts, Abbey monastics Ven. Losang and Ven. Pende traveled to Taiwan to take their respective ordination to become fully ordained. Both trained at Lingyan Zen Temple where they took the Triple Platform ordinations, which finished in December. Ven. Losang becomes our first bhikshu (fully ordained monk), while Ven. Pende is our 11th bhikshuni (fully ordained nun).
Ven. Losang and Ven. Pende treasure their opportunity to take higher ordination and continue training at the Abbey. They also have tremendous gratitude for the kindness, generosity, and hospitality they received from Taiwanese teachers, fellow ordination trainees, and the lay volunteers they encountered.
As winter sets in the Abbey community continues to keep things running smoothly and enjoying the guests who come to spend time with us.
Ven. Chodron returned from her Asia travels to a nearly complete new abbess cottage. We also celebrated the holiday season with our yearly recitation of Shantideva’s Guide to a Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, and residents are getting ready for the upcoming Vinaya program.
For millions of people around the world, New Year’s celebrations are about parties, football, parades, and fireworks. But for the 42 attendees at the Abbey’s yearly Vajrasattva retreat, it is a time for self- reflection, purification, and deepening Dharma practice. The days were cold and sunny and the nights lit by a full moon. We imagined the millions of snowflakes to be tiny Vajrasattvas sparkling in the moonlight purifying the minds of all beings and bringing peace and harmony to the world. Happy New Year!
Varsa, the annual 3-month monastic retreat, is a time for the monastic community to focus on practice. It particularly emphasizes community harmony. The timing is based on the lunar calendar, and for 2018, the varsa ceremonies began on New Year’s Day. What a great way to welcome the new year! Dates for the Abbey’s annual winter retreat and the annual varsa overlap, but they are not the same. The winter meditation retreat begins February 14.