Mahayana Nuns Invited to the 2nd International Shravasti Rains – Retreat Now in 2021

His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Tinle Lhundup, Supreme Head of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage, has established the Great Shravasti International Buddhist Temple in Shravasti, India.

In  2021, the Mahayana Bhikshuni Sangha is invited to return to Shravasti India for the first time in 2000 years. There we will form a harmonious international Mahayana Dharmaguptaka Varsa retreat exploring: Precepts, Samadhi, Wisdom. The retreat will contribute to Sangha education, diligent practice and openhearted intra-faith sharing. This retreat is fully sponsored by His Holiness Drikung Tinle Lhundup.

Shravasti is one of the four avijahitatthanam – ‘unchangeable spots’ in the lives of all Samma Sambuddhas. This is the holy place where our Supreme Buddha taught 800 Sutras and spent 25 Varsas or summer rain retreats. The remains of Jetavana are one kilometer from the Great Shravasti Buddhist Temple.  

The main purpose of this program is to bring together Mahayana Bhiksunis in the Dharmaguptaka  tradition from different countries and traditions to live harmoniously for one Varsa and learn from each other, and to vitalize the power of Dhamma in this new monastery for the good of future monastic and laity. We respectfully with folded palms invite Mahayana nuns to take up Varsa in this holy place of SAVATTHI, India.

The program will host 108 nuns (bhikshunis and novices), from countries  holding the Dharmaguptaka ordination lineage and those in the Tibetan tradition. (This includes Vietnam, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Mainland China and US/Europe/Australia)  There are suitable places for meditation, study and Sima for bhikshuni procedures. It will be a rare opportunity for bhikshunis and novices from different countries to live together and share their knowledge and experiences on the path of Dharma. 

The retreat will incorporate three components of study and practice: Precepts, Samadhi/Wisdom/Community.  Interspersed with the Vinaya teaching will be Samadhi retreats and community discussion. We are inviting senior teachers from the participating monasteries/traditions to be responsible for  successive silent retreats. They each will lead  in the style of their tradition. For example, we will invite Dharma Drum to conduct a retreat of their Silent Illumination  meditation style. From the Drikung Kagyu we will introduce the new Shravasti Curriculum that uses the Anapanasati Sutra as a base to present the three yanas including beginning mahamudra instructions.

The third portion, Community,  will be a thread throughout the retreat. We will lead reflection on 21st Century monasticism, how we engage in the public action, applying the Dharma and concluding ceremonies. Every effort will be made to document the retreat so the wisdom is shared and benefits the greater Sangha in a long-lasting manner. Ven Khenmo Trinlay, a Drikung editor, will create a book of our proceedings.

We believe this general plan will allow us to share the jewels of our practice traditions, as well as our community’s wisdom with each other. 

Planning:

Lead by Khenmo Drolma of Vajra Dakini Nunnery,  a bhikshuni planning team formed in early 2019; Ven. Thubten Chonyi of Shravasti Abbey Ven Guo Kai of Dharma Drum and Ven Chang Hwa of The Chan Meditation Center of New York, a Dharma Drum Temple, Ven Jenkir of the Luminary Institte of Taiwan;  along with  senior advisors Ven Heng Ching, Ven. Thubten Chodron and Ven. Karma Lekshe Tsomo.

In November the Vinaya teaching team in Taiwan for a full discussion of curriculum at the Luminary Buddhist Institute. There, we were privledged to have the guidence of Ven. Wu Yin.

In December the Taiwanese faculty met with His Holiness Drikung Thrinle Lhundrup, hosted by Dharma Drum. A robust discussion on many topics ensued.

We look forward to continued planning for the 2021 retreat!

Logistics

Shared double rooms are available. As many are unused to the climate, air-conditioning has been built into the facilities. Every effort will be made to insure comfort and health. The transportation from respective countries will be provided along with healthy food and pure water. 

Proposed Sample of Daily Schedule during Precepts Section

5:30 a.m.           Wake up

6:00 – 7:00        Chanting and Meditation practice

7:30                    Breakfast

8:00                    Light group cleaning of shared spaces

9:00 – 10:30     Teachings

11:00 – 11:50     Teachings or Group discussions

12:00 noon         Lunch

2:30 – 4:00        Teachings or Discussion

4:30                     Study time or personal interviews with teachers

6:00 p.m.           Medicine meal and clean up

7:00 – 8:15        Meditation practice

Note:
1. There will be Uposatha on the Full moon day and new moon days
2. There will be few special puja on some days

 

Proposed Sample of Daily Schedule during Samadhi Section

Conducted in Noble Silence

5:30 a.m.            Wake up

6:00 – 7:00        Meditation practice

7:30                     Breakfast

8:00                      Light group cleaning of shared spaces

9:00 –  11:30       Meditation practice/Teaching

12:00 noon         Lunch

12:30- 2:00        Study or rest

2:00 – 2:30       Walking Meditation

3:00- 4:30          Meditation /Teacher interviews

5:00 p.m.           Medicine meal

5:45-7:00           Study or rest

7:00 – 8:15        Meditation practice

Note:
1. There will be Uposatha on the Full moon day and new moon days
2. There will be few special puja on some days