by Barbara Yen
1st Theravada Buddhist Nuns’ Novitiate (Samaneri) Program at SJBA, Malaysia
7th – 16th November, 2014
Pursuing the Path to Inner Peace
Gotami Vihara Society Malaysia is very pleased and priviledged to be part of this Program. As a small gesture of appreciation and support, we contributed RM600 towards lunch dana on the last day.
It was the first time that I attended a nuns’ novitiate program in Malaysia and it was an emotional one for me as I sat in front of them watching the emotions of the women (24 of them) as their hair, which some of them had treasured so much, fell silently to the ground. Some with long hair felt joyful, knowing that they will be put to good use by a charity, ‘Little Princess’ of UK to be made into wigs for people living with cancer.
Another activity which moved me and which got some of the audience sobbing, was when the novices knelt before their parents, parent’s representatives or sponsors and expressed their gratitude to them for bringing them up and to get their blessings for their temporary going forth. A father was seen quietly wiping away a tear. It was a very touching moment for all.
The Pabbajja or Going Forth Ceremony, graced by Ven. Saranankara Thera, was a dignified and meaningful event. Robes and bowls were handed to the Samaneris, the Ten Precepts administered and Dhamma names were given to them by Ven Hasapanna, the preceptor teacher. This was witnessed by relatives, devotees and well-wishers. The ceremony went in clock-work precision, ending just in time for lunch dana. I also had the opportunity to touch base with Ven Hasapanna, whom I had not seen for quite a while.
On the last day, the long line of Sangha members – 5 monks and 30 nuns walking mindfully across the over-head bridge back to the Vihara after the pindapata, was a sight to behold. This was the finale of the Program. I felt joyful to see so many young volunteers, some of whom were college students from Indonesia, busy sorting out the loads of food donated by devotees during the pindapata.
We salute the dedication shown by the Venerables, especially the leadership of Ven Dr Dhammapala and Ven Hasapanna and their able team – Ven Sister Sumangala, Ven Sister Dhammadinna and Ven Sister Dhammavati, Exco Members of SJBA, Organising Committee, volunteers and participants who did a wonderful job and worked tirelessly and peacefully to make this a great success. Ajahn Sujato also came to do 3 Dhamma sharing sessions. They have given everyone an opportunity to participate in this meritorious act of recognizing the importance of the Four-fold Sangha in the propagation of the Dhamma.
Gotami Vihara Society Malaysia