Safely Back at the Abbey – August 25

The community is back at the Abbey, which was not damaged in the fire.

We are happy to be able to welcome guests in-person to Sharing the Dharma Day on Sunday August 27. When driving to the Abbey, use the highways (Idaho 41 and US 2) since some backroads are still closed due to the fire.

We continue to have hearts filled with gratitude for everyone who has hosted for us, offered support, and prayed for us from afar. And we are especially grateful to all of the firefighters and other emergency workers—over 1000—who have spent over a week protecting people and their homes.

August 18: A portion of the community has evacuated due to the Oregon Road Fire a few miles away. Everyone (including cats) is safe, with many of us staying with friends in Spokane and Idaho. We greatly appreciate the continued help from the sheriff’s office in keeping an eye on the Abbey!

Please refrain from calling or emailing the office. We will post updates as needed on this developing situation.

Practicing in these Situations

Living in this fire prone area provides so many opportunities to practice. We reflected on impermanence, the disadvantages of cyclic existence, and our precious human lives as we watched the smoke rise in the sky.

Thankfully, we had a detailed and thorough evacuation plan in place, honed over the years by Ven. Tsultrim and others. Guests were evacuated first, followed shortly by cats, humans, and some precious holy objects.

Most of the newer buildings at the Abbey are constructed from Faswall, which is highly fire resistant. This includes the Buddha Hall, still under construction. Every place has risk of some sort of natural disaster; we are mitigating fire risk through wise construction choices, forest stewardship, and appropriate landscaping.

Right now, we rejoice in the kindness of others: our hosts, those fighting the fires, and everyone keeping the Abbey in their thoughts and prayers. We will continue to monitor the situation until it is safe to return. We will pray for all of those impacted by the fires around Spokane and natural disasters throughout the world.

Advice from Venerable Chodron

Venerable Chodron recommends that we read this Jewel Sutta. This precious teaching gives us an idea of how the Buddha dealt with a catastrophe by talking about the qualities of the Three Jewels.

You can listen to a commentary on this Sutta given by Bhikku Bodhi. While this Sutta and explanation are from the perspective of the Pali tradition, all of this also applies in the Mahayana tradition.

It is auspicious to recite this in times of distress and danger and be inspired by the qualities of the Three Jewels. Not only does this describe the qualities of the Three Jewels that we rely on to attain awakening, but also the Three Jewels we will become as we gain realizations.

Let your mind be inspired and dedicate the merit for the welfare of all beings and for the health and happiness of the Abbey community for the facilities and the lives of all the beings that we share the land and facilities with.

Prayers from Around the World

We are grateful for our friends making prayers for us from around the world: Taiwan, Singapore, India, Nepal, Ukraine, Germany, and many places in the US.

Here is a video of a special puja that Druk Amitabha Nunnery in Kathmandu performed to clear obstacles for Sravasti Abbey.

Ven. Sangye Chodron from Druk Amitabha wrote, “The puja we did for your sangha was the puja of Five Sisters of Long Life (Tashi Tseringma), Protector Puja, and Tara Puja. We will keep doing puja for your sangha.”

We are very inspired by the nuns at Druk Amitabha and deeply appreciate their prayers. Read about how we formed a connection with them in India at the Shravasti Varsa >