2020 Photo Gallery

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Abbey Life — August

Abbey nuns continued to bring peace into a chaotic world affected by the ongoing coronavirus. We offered online teachings, rituals, discussion groups, meditations, and prayers. We also maintained the Abbey’s infrastructure, websites, prison outreach project, and more. None of this would be possible without the support we receive from our sponsors and volunteers.

Forgiveness Retreat with Ven. Thubten Chodron — July

Nearly 200 participants joined the Abbey community for two wonderful days of meditations, discussions, and teachings by Venerable Chodron on the topic of forgiveness. The retreat provided everyone with an important opportunity for self-acceptance, letting go, and connection.

Abbey Life — July

In addition to offering tons of teachings online, Abbey residents continue with our daily offering service. We are grateful when guests occasionally show up – equipped with masks and keeping distance, of course – to mow our forest paths, help us with recycling, and offer homemade bread. We dedicate all this merit for the healing and well-being of all sentient beings around the world.

Green Tara Retreat — July

Ven. Sangye Khadro led the Abbey’s first online one-week retreat on the Green Tara practice and the chapter on emptiness in “Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life” by 8th century Buddhist master Shantideva. Seventy-two registered online retreatants, hundreds more Livesteam viewers, and 17 residents participated in five sessions of meditation, teachings, and discussion groups each day.

Abbey Life — End of June

During the summer months, our daily activities vary from offering teachings and prayer ceremonies to tending the lawn, painting, growing vegetables, and facilitating our online study program. We are so grateful for all the donations and food offerings that allow us to continue our work to benefit all sentient beings.

Nature Displays — June

Plenty of rainfall and many sunny, warm days have brought excellent conditions for nature to grow in a variety of ways. Animals have given birth to new offspring and the sky and sunsets have been magnificent.

Young Adults Week — June

This year’s shutdown has helped us explore new ways of connecting, such as offering our annual Young Adult Week via Zoom. About 28 young adults aged 18-29 from many different countries attended the course. Ven. Chodron enjoyed giving lots of advice to our young friends based on her 40+ years of Dharma experience. Abbey nuns also listened in discussion groups, led meditations, and responded to questions from the participants.

Abbey Life During a Pandemic — June

The Abbey community continues to benefit sentient beings of all kinds by offering online teachings, retreats, and prayers and dedications, while caring for the Abbey’s grounds and wildlife.

How to See Yourself As You Really Are Retreat with Ven. Chodron — June

This year, Ven. Chodron finished How to See Yourself as You Really Are by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, which she began teaching in 2012. We missed our friends joining us on Abbey grounds but were delighted to have nearly 70 participants in the livestreamed teachings, meditations, and Zoom discussions. Everyone benefited from connecting with each other as stay at home orders continued.

Abbey Life — May

For the first time, the Abbey is experiencing an extended period without guests. We are practicing joyous effort and fortitude as we tend to the buildings, environment, animals, and each other with kindness and care. Abbey friends come by occasionally to offer food or supplies, keeping good distance, of course! See for yourself:

Jay Garfield Course on Yogacara School — May

Jay Garfield, Chair of the Philosophy Department at Smith College (among many academic honors) is fascinated with the Yogacara School, an ancient Indian system of Buddhist philosophy. With tremendous enthusiasm and lots of heart, he taught the Abbey community and about 100 online viewers for nine days over Zoom. The course introduced us to three important early Buddhist texts and got our heads spinning as we examined the profound topic of emptiness from a different perspective. See the whole playlist.

Monastic Life Continues — May

Our monastic lifestyle has not changed much since the shelter in place directives. But we are missing the energy and enthusiasm visitors bring. Thankfully, online events have helped us to stay connected so we can all continue studying and practicing together.

Spring in Full Swing — May

The whole Abbey is beaming with flowers, green leaves, birds, insects, and fresh warm air. We miss sharing all this beauty directly with our friends, but hope you will enjoy some photos from the last two weeks.

Peaceful Living, Peaceful Dying Retreat — April

Undaunted by worldwide lockdowns, Ven. Sangye Khadro taught this course over Vimeo Livestream and Zoom to more than 60 registered participants and several hundred casual viewers. She inspired us to make our lives meaningful while we still have them and helped us to prepare for the moment of death.

Abbey Life — April

Life at the Abbey continues with daily meditations, Dharma classes, and taking care of the Abbey community, buildings, and grounds. These activities nourish our growth and joy despite the challenging times.

End of Retreat Rituals — April

The winter varsa—monastic retreat—overlaps with our annual winter meditation retreat. This year’s varsa ended about a week after. The Abbey sangha performed the Pravarana and Kathina ceremonies. During Pravarana, the monastics invite feedback from each other after completing varsa. Guests were sadly unable to attend the Kathina ceremony this year, but anagarika Dekyi offered the robe of merit on behalf of all our lay friends.

Abbey Life in Early Spring — April

The Abbey has been following our state’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order since March. Of course our activities to benefit sentient beings continue. However, we do miss the friends and guests who usually join us for retreats, offerings service, and so forth. Please stay in touch via all the programs we’ve moved online. See the Events pages. And wherever you are, may your practice to cultivate love, compassion, and wisdom support you and the people around you.

End of Retreat — March

Residents and guests finished up our silent winter retreat with tremendous gratitude to all our supporters who made this precious time possible.

Retreat Life 2 — March

Abbey residents are entering the last few days of retreat as spring returns. We cherish this optimal time to turn inward and apply the Dharma to gain transformation and insight, especially as the world deals with the effects of the coronavirus.

Retreat Life — March

Our retreat continues with 19 retreatants focusing on the Shakyamuni Buddha practice. Ven. Sangye Khadro has returned from teaching in Israel and Europe. Ven. Donyo, a guest monk from India, has joined us for two weeks. Ven. Jampa has returned from her pilgrimage and spring is in the air. Gathas in the captions are from the “41 Prayers to Cultivate Bodhicitta.”

Ven. Jampa on Pilgrimage — February

Ven. Jampa had the chance to join a pilgrimage with monastic and lay practitioners from Tibetan Center-Hamburg, Germany. They visited ancient meditation caves, the three main Gelug monasteries in South India, and Jangchub Choeling Nunnery. They even ran into Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo and her group at one of the caves! Afterwards, she returned to Germany to give talks and lead meditations before returning to the Abbey. She shared these images from her pilgrimage.

Community Retreat Life – February

The Abbey community has entered its quietest time of year as we continue our three-month silent retreat. We keep our bodies active and joyful by walking and visiting with furry friends, in addition to meditating, studying, and listening to teachings.

Three-Month Winter Retreat Participants — February

The one-month retreatants have departed, but 16 monastics and one anagarika are carrying on for another two months of meditation retreat at the Abbey. Some are continuing to meditate on Shakyamuni Buddha while others are doing deity practices. Ven. Losang is doing retreat elsewhere. All of us use this time to deepen our bodhicitta aspiration to benefit to all sentient beings.

End of One-Month Retreat – February

We bid farewell to the wonderful 12 guests who stayed with us during our one-month Shakyamuni Buddha winter retreat. We enjoyed our time together and hope to continue our Dharma connections far into the future!

Offering to His Holiness — January

Ven. Thubten Chodron has worked for decades to compile and edit a lifetime of teachings by his Holiness the Dalai Lama. Published as the series entitled The Library of Wisdom and Compassion, Wisdom Publications has released four volumes with more on the way. His Holiness insisted that Ven. Chodron be named as his co-author.

In December, Vens. Chodron and Damcho had a chance to offer Volumes 3 and 4—Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature and Following in the Buddha’s Footsteps—directly to His Holiness. Rejoice with us in this beautiful collaboration and offering!

Dedications for the New Year – January

At the request of our Dharma friends in Singapore and Malaysia, Sravasti Abbey made offerings and shared a Lama Chopa (Guru Puja) to celebrate the Lunar New Year, known in Singapore as Chinese New Year.

At the end of the puja, we read out the names and dedicated merit towards good health and long life, removing obstacles, and so on as people have requested. May all your spiritual aspirations be fulfilled!

Entering Our 2020 Varsa Retreat – January

This ceremony marks the Abbey community’s entrance into its seventh varsa, or monastic snows retreat – one of the four rituals required of a fully ordained sangha. The Abbey’s observance of these rituals supports the sustenance of the Dharma in the United States and in the world. Twelve bhikshunis (fully ordained nuns) and four shiksamanas (training nuns) are participating in this year’s varsa.

One-Month Shakyamuni Buddha Retreat – January

We are a total of 30 meditators for the one-month Shakyamuni Buddha retreat, with nearly 300 people joining in the Retreat from Afar! The snow supports our stillness, and we rejoice in taking this precious time to know the Buddha more deeply.

Vajrasattva New Year’s Retreat – January

About 50 participants came together to ring in 2020 with a five-day purification retreat on Vajrasattva. Ven. Tsepal started off the teachings and Ven. Chodron joined in as soon as she arrived (and rested a little) from India. A powerful beginning for the new year!

Wintertime – January

Abbey residents and guests reading Master Shantideva’s Bodhicaryāvatāra as every year on Christmas Day. We are also preparing for the upcoming New Year and Winter retreats.

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