Mahayana Nuns Invited to Return to Shravasti for the Rains Retreat in 2020

In 2018 His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche, Supreme Head of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage, established the Great Shravasti International Buddhist Cultural Assembly. Beginning in 2019, he will host annual Varsa or Rains Retreats, each year a different international assembly of an era of Buddhism. In July 2019 Venerable Bhikkus from Theravada  countries began the first retreat.

In 2020, the Mahayana Bhikshuni Sangha is invited to return to Shravasti India July 3 – August 19th for the first time in 2000 years. There we form a harmonious international Mahayana Dharmaguptaka Varsa retreat exploring: Precepts, Samadhi, Wisdom. The retreat will contribute to Sangha education, diligent practice and openhearted intrafaith sharing.

This retreat is fully sponsored by His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche.

Online Registration Form:

PDF Registration Form to download

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 spent 25 Vassas or summer rain retreats. The remains of Jetavana monastery and Purvaram Vihara and the Ananda Bodhi tree are inspiring places to worship and remember the Supreme Buddha who preached many discourses in this place. 

A  monastery has been built about 1 KM from this holy spot by His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche and inaugurated in 2018.  The main purpose of this program is to bring together Mahayana Bhiksunis in the Dharmaguptaka  tradition from different countries and traditions and live harmoniously for one Vassa 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 Venerable Bhikshunis in the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya tradition to take up Varsa in this holy place of SAVATTHI, India, where Supreme Buddha spent 25 Varsas. 

The program will host 64 Bhikshunis, from countries  holding the Dharmaguptaka ordination lineage and those who took ordination with them. (This includes Vietnam, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Mainland China and US/Europe.)  There are suitable places for meditation, study and Sima for bhikshuni procedures. It will be a rare opportunity for bhikshunis from different countries to live together and share their knowledge and experiences on the path of Dharma. Shared double rooms are available. 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. 

Planning: 

Lead by Khenmo Drolma of Vajra Dakini Nunnery, we have formed a bhikshuni planning team; Ven. Thubten Chonyi of Shravasti Abbey and Ven Chang Hwa of The Chan Meditation Center of New York, a Dharma Drum Temple. All senior nuns in their tradition, they along with a diverse advisors, are outlining the outreach process and curriculum. They are actively gathering support with monastery visits, at conferences, and with advised referrals. Public press releases will be ready shortly and an application process is being designed.

The retreat is divided into three sections: Precepts, Samadhi, Wisdom. The first portion Precepts,  is designated for Vinaya Study and will have a team of esteemed teachers from different Monasteries. The team will have different areas of Vinaya expertise and there will be both practice and discussion time.  Ven Guo Kai, of the Dharma Drum tradition in Taiwan, Ven. Thubten Chodron of Shravasti Abbey in the US and Ven. Heng Ching of the National Taiwan University have agreed to lead the Vinaya teaching team.

The second portion of the retreat will be Samadhi. 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 or Hautou 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, Wisdom,  will encourage community and 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.

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. 

Ritual Dates:

July 2/3  Arrive in Shravasti

July 4  Opening Ceremonies and Set Boundaries

July 5 Opening Ritual/Full Moon Posadha

July 6 Enter Varsa

July 20 New Moon Posadha individual retreat day

Aug 3 Full Moon Posadha individual retreat day

Aug 19 New Moon Posadha individual retreat day

Optional Pilgrimage Invitation Oct 28 – Dec 14 light of the Buddha Foundation

Proposed Sample of Daily Schedule during Precepts Section

5:00 a.m.           Wake up

5:30 – 6:30        Chanting and Meditation practice

7:00                    Breakfast

7:30                    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

4:30 a.m.            Wake up

5:00 – 6:30        Meditation practice

7:00                     Breakfast

7:45                      Light group cleaning of shared spaces

8:00 –9:30         Meditation practice/Teaching

9:45-10:45          Walking Meditation

11:00 – 11:50     Meditation practice

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