Table of Contents

In early March winter persisted and then about a third of the way through the month, it warmed and the snow started to melt, bringing with it muddy trails. March 18, there were no sprouts in the Abbey garden and the turkeys were acting normal. Then, the very next day, snowbells suddenly appeared and daffodil sprouts were also poking their heads up. And the male turkeys were displaying their feathers. Yes, spring is here!

Then on March 30 red rhubarb sprouts appeared overnight as did some gold and purple crocuses. There is still snow in the forest and the trails are muddy. See the Retreat Life photos here.

Tara’s Refuge is down the hill where almost all the snow is gone, so we’ve started working to clean up the aspen grove there. It feels wonderful to be back working outdoors.

Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron and the Sravasti Abbey Community

The Abbey Completes Winter Retreat

The Abbey community completed its thirteenth annual winter retreat. At the concluding go-around, people openly shared their experiences working with the up-and-down mind of living beings in cyclic existence.

All of us were greatly appreciative of the opportunity to do long retreat and were aware of how serious Dharma practice and meditation affects us in a positive way. More retreat photos are here: Precious Time in Retreat.

The retreat ended just in time for Alicia to receive novice ordination on the last day of the month. But talk about that will have to wait for next month’s enews. Suffice it to say that Ven. Chodron is her preceptor and Ven. Jendy came from Seattle to be her acharya (instructor). And Alicia was excited! Her new name is Ven. Thubten Nyima. The whole community joined in to support and rejoice in the ordination. Photos will be on the website soon.

back to top

Retreat from Afar

Over 200 people joined in Retreat from Afar from a record-breaking 20 countries: Australia, Belarus, Bermuda, Canada, Costa Rica, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Portugal, Russian Federation, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and USA. The number includes about 100 people practicing in U.S. prisons.

During her Retreat from Afar, Sage contemplated the question, “What am I accountable to in life?” She shares her reflections on this important question here.

Lynne, retreating from afar in Ireland, tells how the retreat brought real joy, turning her practice around in a way that has had a positive effect on her family and her life. Read her reflection here.

back to top

The Day of Miracles

We received a lovely reply from a person in South Africa to our email reminding people of the Day of Miracles. She wrote:

Thank you so much for this teaching on the Day of Miracles and how to make offerings. I have been meaning to ask about this, and here it is!  It sounds like something very enjoyable to do, and I am looking forward to offering among the other things, the beautiful blooms of my Vanda orchid that just opened recently. What a pleasure!

I have also downloaded the other two teachings on this topic. How generous and kind of you to make that available to us.

She also said that the Day of Miracles fell on her birthday this year, which gave her even more inspiration.

back to top

Our Annual Report is Out!

Check out the Abbey’s 2016 Annual Report!

In Ven. Chodron’s annual Abbess message she notes:

It seems that our slogan, creating peace in a chaotic world, becomes more urgent and meaningful with each year. It’s also clear that people’s thirst for Buddha’s teachings and their need for community support in practicing them continue to grow. The network of people around the world dedicated to enacting this slogan is growing.

The report contains highlights of the Abbey’s 2016 Dharma outreach, which included posting 492 video teachings to our YouTube Channel. The entire video collection of thousands of teachings drew 464,710 views in 2016 alone! The annual financial report is presented as well.

Ven. Chodron adds:

As all of us—monastics and lay people alike—cultivate the compassion and wisdom necessary for our own awakening, may we continue to enhance our aspiration to awaken compassion in the heart of every single being and create peace in this chaotic world.

Read or download the full report here, or check the news post summary here. Ven. Chonyi also gives highlights in a Bodhisattva Breakfast Corner video.

back to top

Human Trafficking

During retreat we normally keep silence and do not go out. But Ven. Chodron was invited by Faith Partners to be part of a panel on human trafficking that was part of the program of a conference on that topic.

The conference was excellent. Attended by nearly 70 people, it was very informative with representatives from many agencies and groups. It focused primarily on human trafficking in Spokane, which mostly revolves around sex trafficking, especially of minors.

The panel of faith leaders was composed of Catholic, Jewish, Evangelical, Lutheran, Buddhist, Muslim, and Seventh-day Adventist representatives. We each discussed what our faith could do to increase awareness of human trafficking and offer services to help victims of it.

back to top

New Book! Commentary on Precious Garland

Practical Ethics and Profound Emptiness, newly released by Wisdom Publications, arrived as we neared the end of retreat. It is a commentary on Master Nagarjuna’s Precious Garland of Advice for a King by Khensur Rinpoche Jampa Tegchog, edited by Ven. Thubten Chodron and originally translated by Ven. Steve Carlier.

Drawn from Rinpoche’s teachings at Nalanda Monastery in 1989, Practical Ethics and Profound Emptiness is the first complete English-language commentary of this important Mahayana treatise.

Khensur Rinpoche was an extraordinary teacher and scholar. Among his many credits he was the resident geshe at Nalanda Monastery in France, where Ven. Chodron studied with him for several years. He later served as abbot of Sera Je Monastery in India.

Before Khensur Rinpoche passed away in 2014, he gave Ven. Chodron permission to edit and publish his teachings. He was particularly interested in publishing the Precious Garland commentary in English. The root text by Nagarjuna is often quoted throughout Buddhist literature, providing reasonings to support the Mahayana teachings on both method and wisdom.

Throughout the process of editing the book, Ven. Chodron has given livestreamed teachings on The Precious Garland, which are archived on YouTube. She talks about how the book came to be and tells stories about Khensur Rinpoche on the Practical Ethics and Profound Emptiness book page. The new book should be in stores soon. It is available at Wisdom and Amazon, among others.

back to top

Open Heart, Clear Mind in Hebrew

Open Heart, Clear Mind, Ven. Thubten Chodron’s first Dharma book, published in 1990, has been translated into Hebrew and is now available for free download online.

Working on the translation has been a years-long labor of love for volunteer Yael Shalev, who says:

“I started translating this book when I was very new to the Buddhist path. During this time there have been long periods when everyday life pushed the translation task aside, but whenever I came back to the book it was amazing to see how the same words had a different meaning according to my understanding and the way I practiced what I learned.

“Even now, after years of practice, whenever I am confused about certain aspects of the Dharma, I find myself going back to the explanations offered in Open Heart, Clear Mind to gain clarity. I believe this is an excellent book for people who are unfamiliar with Buddhism, as well as those who have knowledge of the path and want one comprehensive, down-to-earth text that they can keep coming back to.”

Please share this information with all Hebrew-reading friends who are interested in learning more about the Dharma!

back to top

More News

A production house in Singapore kindly helped to add English subtitles to the speech by Venerable Master Jingliang on the contributions of bhikshunis at the Global Bhikshuni Awards in Taiwan last November. You can see the
Working on the translation has been a years-long labor of love for volunteer Yael Shalev, who says:

“I started translating this book when I was very new to the Buddhist path. During this time there have been long periods when everyday life pushed the translation task aside, but whenever I came back to the book it was amazing to see how the same words had a different meaning according to my understanding and the way I practiced what I learned.

“Even now, after years of practice, whenever I am confused about certain aspects of the Dharma, I find myself going back to the explanations offered in Open Heart, Clear Mind to gain clarity. I believe this is an excellent book for people who are unfamiliar with Buddhism, as well as those who have knowledge of the path and want one comprehensive, down-to-earth text that they can keep coming back to.”

Please share this information with all Hebrew-reading friends who are interested in learning more about the Dharma!

back to top

More News

A production house in Singapore kindly helped to add English subtitles to the speech by Venerable Master Jingliang on the contributions of bhikshunis at the Global Bhikshuni Awards in Taiwan last November. You can see the size of the audience at the awards ceremony in the video. Ven. Chodron says that his appreciation for bhiksunis bring tears to her eyes.

Speaking of videos, Spokane Interfaith Council has posted a wonderful video about our Sharing the Dharma Day. It’s part of their “Meet The Neighbors” program.

Sravasti Abbey Friends Education (SAFE) distance learning program starts the spring term April 24. Write the SAFE Coordinator to sign up. Read how a SAFE course enriched Sherran’s practice.

The Thubten Chodron website now has an Italian section thanks to Luca Castellari!

If you didn’t take Wisdom Academy’s course on Buddhism: One Teacher, Many Traditions, written by H. H. the Dalai Lama and Ven. Chodron, you may want to read some of the praise for the course and think about signing up for it.

Interfaith Voices aired a radio show, “Welcoming the Stranger,” that has a short excerpt from Ven. Thubten Chodron. You can also download the show as a podcast on iTunes. The description says “President Trump’s travel ban is on ice, but the questions it raises—who’s in, and who’s out—sacred texts have been looking at that forever.”

Have you ever thought about the relationship between anger and arrogance? Check out Ven. Chodron’s article on this.

Ken discusses cleaning up his act regarding his own prejudice and lack of equanimity.

Al shares some thoughts about compassion from prison in “Tears of Compassion.” In another short piece, he describes a situation that used to make him very upset that now he can joke about. Read it here.

Read about the Abbey’s newest residents, a pair of flying squirrels.