Venerable Chodron headed off on her annual teaching tour in Asia on October 27, accompanied by Venerables Damcho and Konchog, Diligent Dharma Dog, Serenity Sloth, and Samadhi Sheep as her assistants. Venerable Damcho wrote this summary of the first part of their trip. See photos here.


Seattle

The trip began with a full program in Seattle. Ven. Chodron gave a morning talk on “Karma and Rebirth” alongside teachers from other Buddhist traditions. Seattle University’s Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Engagement will post recordings here soon. At the event, Ven. Chodron rejoiced in reconnecting with her old friend, Catholic nun Sister Lesley, and also with Theravada monastics Ajahn Nisabho and Ayya Niyyanika.

Later that evening, Ven. Chodron visited with Her Eminence Dagyum Kusho Sakya and paid respect at the late His Holiness Dagchen Rinpoche’s shrine. She then headed to Sakya Monastery to speak on “Making Mindfulness Meaningful” hosted by Dharma Friendship Foundation in Seattle. Watch the talk here.

Singapore

After a rich day of Dharma connections, the Abbey monastics departed for Singapore where they were warmly welcomed by the Friends of Sravasti Abbey Singapore (FOSAS). Ven. Chodron gave a full schedule of talks there over two and a half weeks.

Click on the links below to watch recordings swiftly edited by Ven. Konchog where available:

A new friend, Benevolent Bear, joined the team and made her debut alongside Samadhi Sheep at the final talk at Singapore Buddhist Mission for youths.

Aside from giving public talks, Ven. Chodron kept up connections with old Dharma friends and offered informal Q&A sessions as well. Watch one of them here.

She also visited Pu Ti Buddhist Temple and gave a short talk to the nuns attending a three-year training program, which was followed by a heartfelt sharing between abbesses on the importance of monastic training.

Another highlight was offering a private talk for caregivers for people who are differently abled, organized by Alan, Vice-President of the Handicaps Welfare Association, hosted by the Singapore Buddhist Mission. Watch the talk here.

As always, we are grateful to the FOSAS volunteers who tirelessly set up booths at almost every talk to make Ven. Chodron’s books available and share about Sravasti Abbey and the Buddha Hall.

Malaysia

On November 15, the monastics and menagerie departed for Malaysia, where the Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia organized talks in Penang and Kuala Lumpur.

Ven. Chodron hit the ground running in Penang with two talks on November 16, one on “Rejuvenate Your Life” at Bodhi Heart Sanctuary, and “Looking for the Heart” for the University Sains Malaysia Buddhist Society. Watch the talks here and here.

The Butterworth Lay Buddhist Society then hosted an evening talk on “Transforming Anxiety and Depression,” which is posted here.

This was followed by a weekend retreat on “The Power of Compassion” where Ven. Chodron taught on the two methods to cultivate bodhicitta. Watch the four retreat teachings here. Ven. Damcho offered Chinese translation for these talks and led retreat discussion groups.

Ven. Chodron delighted in reconnecting with the Dharma community in Penang, especially with the team at Butterworth Lay Buddhist Society and long-term Abbey guest Tenzin’s family, who attended all the talks.

At the next stop, Kuala Lumpur, Ven. Chodron participated in the second Pali-Sanskrit International Buddhist Community Forum on “Mindfulness: The Art of Living with Peace in Modern Life.” Co-panelist Bhante Dhammapala spoke on the Four Establishments of Mindfulness from the perspective of the Pali Tradition, which Ven. Chodron built upon to explain how this practice is a path to wisdom from the perspective of the Sanskrit tradition.

Moderator Ven. You Deng then skilfully fielded questions from the hundreds present in person and online. Ven. Chodron rejoiced in this fruitful forum with a substantive Dharma discussion between the two traditions. Watch it here.

Ven. Chodron’s time in Malaysia concluded with two similarly well-attended public talks. She spoke on “The Essence of a Meaningful Life” at Dharma Drum Mountain, which is posted here. The second talk, “Disconnect to Connect” at Buddhist Gem Fellowship, will be posted soon.

The Abbey monastics greatly appreciated being hosted by the Dharma Drum Mountain nuns’ community in Kuala Lumpur. In fact, Serenity Sloth enjoyed her time there so much that she requested to join their community and has taken a Chinese Dharma name, Kuan Ji. (寬寂 Extensive Serenity)

Compassionate Koala joined the group in Penang and together with Benevolent Bear, she looks forward to visiting the Abbey and requesting training.

Next: Indonesia!

The monastics are now in Indonesia and will file their next update at the end of the year.