2020 Photo Gallery

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End of Year Activities – December

Our typical year-end activities include pujas, offering service, teachings, snow-shoveling, and preparing to enter the long winter retreat.

37 Practices for Troubed Times Retreat- December

While Ven. Chodron successfully recovers from hip surgery, the Abbey monastics took the lead to offer the Thirty-Seven Practices of for Troubled Times course and celebrated Lama Tsongkhapa Day.

Winter Wonderland – December

The days are getting shorter but there is no shortage of beauty around the Abbey with snow and frost covering the ground most days. Many animals have gone into hibernation but some furry and feathered friends remain, including a mysterious guest who left pawprints near Gotami House.

An Inspiring and Active December

December has been full of spiritually-nourishing activities at the Abbey, such as pujas for the well-being of all sentient beings, community in-house events, online meetings with friends and supporters, this year’s final Sharing the Dharma Day, and much more.

“Awakening the Kind Heart” Retreat with Ven. Sangye Khadro — November

Over Thanksgiving weekend, Ven. Sangye Khadro shared with us 85 online participants teachings on the four immeasurable thoughts of love, compassion, joy, and equanimity. Meditating on these qualities gradually turns the mind towards peace and liberation and tremendously benefits all of life on earth.

Autumn Lights, Colors, and Early Snow — November

Early November displays a wonderful variety of scenery: amazing sun sets, bright full moons, fluffy cloud formations in the valley, colorful leaves, and the change of rain into snow. Here we share the fresh air, peace, and tranquility with you.

Abbey Life, Fall Into Winter— November

The Abbey remains closed to visitors as the coronavirus continues its spread across the U.S. and the world. Still, monastics daily offer service to the Three Jewels in various ways: maintaining our own practice and study, plus attending online conferences, doing prayer services, offering Sharing the Dharma Days, meditation classes, and teachings and online retreats. Never doubt the effort to create peace in a chaotic world!

Geshe Yeshi Helps to Illuminate the Thought — November

Undaunted by the pandemic, Geshe Yeshi Lhundup  continued the teaching he began last year on Je Rinpoche’s Illumination of the Thought. Late at night, for six days, he Zoom-ed from his room at Drepung Loseling Monastery in India so that we could have morning teachings. The text is a commentary on Chandrakirti’s Supplement (or Entrance) to the Middle Way, itself a commentary on Nagarjuna’s Fundamental Verses on the Middle Way. Geshe-la led us to explore the wisdom of these great masters, whose works span many centuries. We were supported by follow-up reviews with Ven. Chodron and Ven. Sangye Khadro . What in incredible and rare opportunity to study these teachings in English! Watch them here.

Philosophical Teachings with Geshe Yeshe Thabkhe — October 

At 90 years old, Tibetan master scholar Geshe Yeshe Thabkhe continues to share his deep Dharma knowledge, wisdom, and compassion with students worldwide. The Abbey community has been fortunate to partake of Geshe-la’s profound teachings on Chapter 2 of Pramanavarttika, an ancient Indian text on logic and reasoning that gives a foundation for Tibetan-style debate. Watch the teachings on YouTube.

An Auspicious Day — October 

On October 7, Laresa left the householder’s life to take novice ordination and Nicole started her training at Sravasti Abbey as an anagarika to see if monastic life is a good fit for her. The Abbey community and all the buddhas and bodhisattvas rejoiced at these two very auspicious occasions!

Offering Service Day — October 

Cold weather is here and the Abbey organized its annual firewood-stocking day to fill up the Ananda Hall furnace room with logs for the winter. We usually are supported by a small army of local volunteers, but this year due to COVID had to rely on nun-power and just a few friends for support.

Scenes from Abbey Life — September

After a few extremely smoky days due to wildfires in the surrounding states, we have clean air again and can continue offering service both inside and outside.

Venerable Chodron’s Birthday Puja & Geshe Dadul’s Tenets Course — September

The Abbey community has been swept up in many virtuous activities, including a long-life puja for our precious teacher Venerable Chodron on her birthday, followed by four days of philosophical teachings by Geshe Dadul Namgyal.

Concentration Retreat — September

We hosted this year’s Labor Day weekend Concentration Retreat online. The retreat turned out to be a good lesson in impermanence when we lost power during the final teaching and a 700-acre brush fire sprang up eight miles away. Preparing to evacuate just hours after our silent retreat ended was a strong test of our concentration and also our refuge in the Three Jewels. Fortunately, the fire was contained, we didn’t have to evacuate, and line workers restored power after 9 hours. Many thanks to the kind people who take care of all the citizens with such dedication!

Abbey Life — Early September

The Abbey community bows to all our supporters, who basically keep us alive. We recently received lots of food offerings from local friends, as well as from Friends of Sravasti Abbey Singapore, which offered food for 8 weeks! We also harvested homegrown fruits and vegetables to supplement these offerings.

Late Summer — August

Summer is often the most active season at the Abbey with the harvesting and processing of many fruits and vegetables while offering retreats and teachings online. We turn whatever we are doing into Dharma practice by opening our hearts towards all sentient beings.

Exploring Monastic Life Online — August

Exploring Monastic Life (EML) is one of the Abbey’s signature programs, offered annually since 2005. EML is a chance for aspiring monastics to examine the nitty-gritty details of what monastic life is all about. Living with the community is a key part of the annual training. This year, however, we could only open our doors via online platforms. We are happily surprised by how well it worked, with 24 sincere participants joining from all over the world!

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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Sravasti Abbey

692 Country Lane
Newport WA 99156 USA
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