Ven. Ngawang Khando is an American nun in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition who lives in Raleigh, NC where she offers service at a Dharma center. As a monastic, she lives modestly as she studies, practices, and supports Buddha’s teachings
So, we were surprised and deeply moved when, on a recent visit, Ven. Khando presented a spontaneous outpouring of generosity. Learning that the Abbey is planning to build a new Buddha Hall—and having experienced the present crowded conditions firsthand—she announced this to her fellow retreatants:
“I will receive $2,500 in February,” she said. “It’s not a huge amount, but I want to contribute what I can to build the Buddha Hall. Therefore, I will match dollar for dollar every Buddha Hall offering up to $2,500. Will you join me?”
The retreatants cheered, and Abbey residents nearly cried. Why?
Ven. Khando’s spontaneous generosity, coming from a compassionate motivation, embodies the spirit that we hope everyone will have when they join in. We want everyone who contributes to the construction of the Buddha Hall to do so with a virtuous and loving motivation that creates great merit.
Challenge: “It makes me happy.”
We asked Ven. Khando what motivated her generosity.
“I don’t know how to say it enough,” she replied. “I love Sravasti Abbey. The acceptance I receive there is such an anchor for me. It gives me confidence in my decision to be a nun, and that’s the sense I take away when I leave.”
“It makes me happy to know that you all exist,” she continued. “And it makes me happy that I can support what you’re doing and be your cheerleader.”
Ven. Khando was here in February, 2018, when 50 nuns came together for teachings on the Vinaya, the Buddha’s ethical code for monastics, with Ven. Master Wu Yin, a Taiwanese abbess with over 60 years of ordination. That these teachings were given in the U.S.—and translated into English—was unprecedented.
To accommodate so many nuns and the dozens of lay friends who helped support the three-week course, we held teachings and ceremonies in the dining room; the Meditation Hall just isn’t big enough. Although everyone worked together harmoniously to make the course conditions work, the memory of that effort was in the back of Ven. Khando’s mind.
“I’m grateful,” she said, “that the Buddha Hall will be big enough for the growing sangha community to do their practices, and that no guest will be turned away from teachings because of lack of space.”
“I’m also happy,” she laughed, “that you won’t have the stress of reconfiguring the dining room five or six times a day to convert it for teachings!”
Ven. Khando’s tone became thoughtful as she imagined the future. “The Buddha Hall is being specifically designed as an environment to support Dharma practice. Seeing the quality and beauty of your previous building projects, I’m sure the Buddha Hall will be gorgeous. That will make me happy, too.”
A sacred place
“The Buddha Hall will be a sacred place that reminds people that Buddhas are everywhere to support them,” Ven. Khando said. “The Hall will be a condition for them to have confidence that the Buddha is within them and has been since beginningless time.”
“I am grateful,” she concluded, “and will do all within my capacity to support that.”
The Buddha Hall is still in the planning and design phase. Design details and building plans will unfold over the next few months.You can learn more here.
If you’d like to get in on the ground floor of offering generosity for the project—and to match Ven. Khando’s gift—go to the Donate page, select Buddha Hall Building Fund in the dropdown menu, and write “Ven. K’s challenge” in the comments box.
To discuss making a lead gift or offering your own challenge, write to Ven. Chonyi.