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Anumodana for Ajahn Brahm's SF Bay Area Benefit Teachings Feb 15-24, 2015

All dear Dhamma friends,

When i was a young girl here in the U.S., we said grace and words of thanksgiving before the meal. But in the Theravada Buddhist tradition the gratitude and grace normally come afterwards - as Anumodana - a rejoicing in the goodness of what has happened and what has been done together.

With heart of such gratitude and a deep sense of gracefulness, together with much kindfulness, i write now in anumodana.

Ajahn Brahm has flown back to Western Australia, after a very full and rich ten days with us here in Northern California.  On landing he gave a profound talk on "Discrimination," which has been posted {link below} on Youtube by the BSWA (Buddhist Society of Western Australia)

  • Discrimination | by Ajahn Brahm 

    1,661 views 1 day ago
    Fresh off a flight from California, Ajahn Brahm discusses the attitudes that lead to discrimination and their impact on people. 

His time here with us

photo above with Ajahn Brahm, Ayya Tathaaloka, Ayya Sobhana, Ayya Satima and Anagarika Michelle at San Francisco Insight 
courtesy of Arthur Damm

Ajahn opened in San Francisco and then went north, sharing greetings with the bhikkhu sangha on retreat at Abhayagiri Monastery in Redwood Valley, then over to the regrowing redwood forests on the Sonoma Coast to share Dhamma on the New Moon at our Aranya Bodhi Hermitage. 

photos above and below in the Dhammasala yurt at Aranya Bodhi Hermitage 
courtesy of Ute Huesken

He then came to join us for the first ever Ubhato-Sangha-Dana and Dhamma sharing in Santa Rosa where he had a chance not only to be with our bhikkhunis and local friends, but also to meet the bhikkhus from three of the local Theravada Buddhist temples. 

(Ubhato-Sangha-Dana means "Dual-Sangha-Dana" for both the bhikkhu and the bhikkhuni sangha so highly encouraged by the Buddha in Sutta #121 of the Middle Length Discourses - Majjhima Nikaya.)

photos above and below at the (temporary) Dhammadharini Vihara in Santa Rosa
courtesy of Carudhamma Joanne Ferris
photo below is Ajahn Brahm meeting Amma Thanasanti's mom

Ajahn then went on to Sacramento where he visited the American Buddhist Seminary's temple for another Dual Sangha Dana lunch and Dhamma sharing before going on to a great gathering of friends from the Sacramento Buddhist Meditation Group, Sacramento Insight and more.  An mp3 of his talk in Sacramento on "Women (and the Monastic Third Gender)" can be heard here.

The next day Ajahn went to visit Aloka Vihara's new place in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Placerville, where the bhikkhunis' community is also in the midst of their Winter Retreat. That evening he returned to the Bay to Berkeley, where he spoke for the Wisdom panel "Mindfulness: Three Buddhist Traditions."  

photo above at the Berkeley Jodo Shin Shu Center 
courtesy of Ute Huesken

Moving southwards in the East Bay, Ajahn offered a daylong "Wisdom and Wonders" retreat at Wat Buddhanusorn in Fremont attended by a record number of people, with an amazingly long pindpata (almsmeal offering) line, and both upper and lower halls filled with happy and avid listeners.

 — at Wat Buddhanusorn.

Ajahn Brahm visited Wat Buddhanusorn today for a daylong benefit retreat for our friends at Dhammadharini.

He then moved north to Marin and Spirit Rock Meditation Center where, introduced by Jack Kornfield, he offered a daylong retreat on "The Power of Stillness."  His talks are available here thanks to Spirit Rock and DharmaSeed.

Coming down south again, he again gave time to our local monastic Sangha, visiting the Sri Lankan bhikkhus at Dharmapala Institute in Milpitas and Buddhi Vihara in Santa Clara, and Ayya Santussika at Karuna Buddhist Vihara in Redwood City.  

photo above at Buddhi Vihara courtesy of Bhante Mugunumulle Chandima

photos above at Dharmapala Institute and below at Karuna Buddhist Vihara 
courtesy of Ayya Santussika

Plunging into the heart of Silicon Valley, he received a tour of the Googleplex from Chade-Meng Tan, the Jolly Good Fellow himself, and gave talks at both Google and Facebook.

His final night was with the meditation group founded by Shaila Catherine, Insight Meditation South Bay, where the hall was overflowing with people, so many that people needed to be turned away.

Ajahn Brahm shared abundant good energy with all of us during this time together, a time of happiness and joy.  We also deeply, deeply appreciate that, on his own initiative, and enormous generosity, he dedicated all the teacher dana offered related to this teaching tour to our Dhammadharini support foundation, in support of our Bhikkhuni Sangha. This is a wonderful example.

Teaching by example

When we understand "Ajahn" (and the original Indic acariya) means "teacher by example," we hope that many others will also be inspired, encouraged and activated to follow in his shining example of support for the Bhikkhuni Sangha.

Gratitude & grace roll - Anumodana

Finally, i would like to especially thank and anumodana several special people who have already done so, and who made the whole thing possible.  Firstly Shirley Kwok, who was the primary and key organizer.  Next, Shari Gent, Dhammadharini support foundation's recently retired president.  And then Eugene Cash of San Francisco Insight, Helen Hobart and Bhante Seelawimala in Sacramento, Tiffany at the City of the Dharma Realm, all the organizers with Wisdom Publications, Loung Por Maha Prasert and Khun Luck of Wat Buddhanusorn, Sara at Spirit Rock, Bhante Santa of Dharmapala Institute, the organizers at Google and Facebook, and Shaila Catherine and Chris of Insight Meditation South Bay, together with all the hundreds of volunteers who assisted them.  Last, but definitely not at all least, my great thanks and anumodana to Ayya Sobhana and Ayya Suvijjana, to Anagarika Michelle for her enormous logistics support, to Linda, Margaret, Windy, Rae, Maryanne, Ute, Martha, Dhammika, Jill and Jeannie who offered on the ground support at our vihara and hermitage.   And to Lal Senanayake, who served as Ajahn Brahm's attendant and driver during the entire 10-day visit, as well as a partner in co-organizing, and to Darlene Fung who audio and video recorded most of the teachings.  And finally, to all the directors of the Dhammadhari support foundation and friends of Dhammadharini, especially new president Elad Levinson, treasurer Maryann Marks, vice-president Susie Srisakul Klicks, and director Mahin Gunasekara, without whom there would be no Dhammadharini support foundation, and no Dhammadharini Sangha.

Thank you, bless you, and enormous anumodana to all!

More Dhamma

For those of you dear and amazing beings who have read this far, if you are still eager for more Dhamma from Ajahn Brahm, subscribe here to see all the rest of his talks when they are posted on Youtube. 

However, Ajahn Brahm strongly and repeatedly exhorted us during his time here that he would not last forever, and that he wanted his inheritance and his transmission to go not only to the Bhikkhu Sangha, but to the Bhikkhuni Sangha, and to our bhikkhuni sangha as well.  He encouraged us to develop ourselves in this path of practice to the maximum possible, and to get out there and teach -- developing ourselves as leading teachers of the Dhamma.

Hopefully, if the benefit for our new bhikkhuni monastery/vihara is successful, our bhikkhunis community will begin to really be able to put down deep roots here in this soil, greatly deepen and stabilize our practice, and be able to contribute to offering a new generation of teachers of wisdom and peace to our society and to our world, in which such wisdom and peace is ever so needed.

In this spirit of generosity and deep kindness,

Ayya Tathaaloka Bhikkhuni
for our Dhammadharini community

Ajahn Brahmavamso Mahathero (known to most as Ajahn Brahm), born Peter Betts in London in 1951, is a Theravada Buddhist monk. Ajahn Brahm grew up in London and earned a degree in Theoretical Physics from Cambridge University. Disillusioned with the world of academe, he trained as a monk in the jungles of Thailand under Ajahn Chah. A monk for over forty years, Ajahn Brahm is a revered spiritual guide and the abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery, in Serpentine, Western Australia—one of the largest monasteries in the southern hemisphere. He is also the Spiritual Director of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia, and spiritual adviser and inspiration for Buddhist centers throughout Asia and Australia. Known for his support for the revival of women’s full ordination in Buddhism in traditions where it has been lost, the first Theravada bhikkhuni ordinations in Australia were hosted at his monastery. Ajahn Brahm’s winning combination of wit and wisdom makes his books bestsellers in many languages, and on his teaching tours he regularly draws multinational audiences of thousands. 

Tour Schedule 

Sunday, February 15th 7 - 9pm 
San Francisco Insight

First Unitarian Church, Star King Room
1187 Franklin St., San Francisco
For more information: info@sfinsight.org
Co-organized by Mission Dharma, Monday Night Dharma, and Against the Stream SF

Monday & Tuesday, February 16th & 17th 
Private Visits to Monastic Sanghas

Wednesday, February 18th 10:30 - 2pm
Dhammadharini Vihara in Santa Rosa
Sangha-dana Lunch Offering & Dhamma Sharing
* Note: this is not a public venue

Thursday, February 19th 2:30-3:30pm
Dhamma Sharing at the Bodhi Tree shrine 
American Buddhist Seminary Temple 
423 Glide Ave, West Sacramento, CA

Thursday, February 19th 7 - 9 pm 
Sacramento Buddhist Meditation Group

Social Hall of Congregation B’nail Israel
3600 Riverside Blvd, Sacramento, CA
For more information: info@sbmg.org
Co-organized by ABS Temple and Sacramento Insight Meditation

Friday, February 20th 7 - 8:30 pm
Wisdom Buddhist Teachers Panel Discussion 
"Mindfulness: Three Buddhist Perspectives" 
Berkeley Buddhist Temple / Jodo Shinshu 
2140 Durant Ave, Berkeley, CA
Free & open to the public | Registration required

Saturday, February 21st Daylong 9:30am-5pm (arrival 9am)
Wat Buddhanusorn
36054 Niles Blvd., Fremont, CA
watbuddha.org, download printable flyers below
* Meal Dana at 11am | Register here

Sunday, February 22nd Daylong 9am – 5 pm (begins 9am)
Spirit Rock Meditation Center
5000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Woodacre, CA
Registration required: spiritrock.org

Monday, February 23rd Daytime
Talk Google Campus, Silicon Valley
 – Not open to the public

Monday, February 23rd Dhamma Talk 7:30 - 8:30pm
Dharmapala Institute 
409 S Temple Drive, Milpitas, CA

Tuesday, February 24th 2:30-5pm
Talk Facebook Campus, Silicon Valley - Not open to the public

Tuesday, February 24th 7 – 9 p.m.
Insight Meditation South Bay

St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church
2094 Grant Road, Mountain View, CA
For more information: sit@imsb.org 

Founded by Ayya Tathaaloka, supportive monastics and friends, the Dhammadharini women's monastic community was the first Bhikkhuni Sangha of the Theravadin forest traditions in North America, and one of the few places in the West where women can fully ordain. Dhammadharini’s Aranya Bodhi Hermitage and temporary vihara are led by fully ordained female monastics (bhikkhunis), the type of monastic life and ordination established by the Buddha more than 2500 years ago. This benefit will help support this fledgling monastic community establish it’s long-wished-for permanent bhikkhuni monastery/vihara.

Main Organizer:  

Dhammadharini support foundation             


Wisdom Publications


- Spirit Rock Meditation Center
- Wat Buddhanusorn Thai Buddhist Temple
- Insight Meditation South Bay
- SF Mission Dharma
- SF Monday Night Dharma
- SF Against the Stream
- Sacramento Insight Meditation
- Sacramento Buddhist Meditation Group
- ABS Temple Sacramento

=> To contribute to the benefit go to Donations.

Be sure to write "Benefit: Ajahn Brahm's teaching tour" on the memo line.


Flyer of all events  here -    

=> To contribute to the benefit go to Donations.

Be sure to write "Benefit: Ajahn Brahm's teaching tour" on the memo line.


"Mindfulness: Three Buddhist Perspectives" flyer 

Flyer of Feb 21 "Wisdom & Wonders" Daylong at Wat Buddhanusorn in Thai and in English -   

=> To contribute to the benefit go to Donations.  Be sure to write "Benefit: Ajahn Brahm's teaching tour" on the memo line.