Gotami Vihara Society Malaysia – Appreciation & Report on Gotami Vihara Society’s 3rd Annual International Bhikkhuni Day Celebration on 16 September 2014

by Barbara Yen, President

Dear Dhamma Sisters & Brothers,

Sukhi hotu!  Gotami Vihara wishes to thank everyone who turned up on an early morning of a public holiday, to rejoice with us and to walk with the Sangha members on their pindacara. My sincere apologies for this delayed message.

Pindacara and Dhamma Talks at Gotami Vihara
Gotami Vihara was honoured with the presence of Venerable Bhikkhu Dr Dhammapala and four nuns, Ven Badranirmala, Ven Samaneri Dhammadinna, Ven Samaneri Sumangala and Ven Samaneri Dhammavati to grace the occasion by participating in the pindacara and partaking the lunch dana.

Initially, Ven Sing Kan had agreed to join us in the pindacara but was out of town and she could only join us later in the morning for the Dhamma sharing and lunch dana. The auspicious day was blessed with a light sprinkling of early morning shower. At 8 am, they set off with their umbrella bearing kapiyas. When they arrived at the market, which was about ten minutes away, the shower stopped.

20140916_084137Most of the stall owners were informed of the event two days earlier by some of the committee members who distributed flyers to them. We requested our supporters to spread ourselves around when we offered food to enable the people at the market and eating shops to observe what we did and how we did it. At some spots where the Sangha members felt they were not obstructing human traffic, they stood silently for a while, to give opportunity to the devotees to offer food.

As the public had never experienced an alms round before, some were curious and asked questions. We then shared with them about having the opportunity to offer dana to the monastics. I happened to stand in front of a stall selling prayer items and the man said he couldn’t possibly offer his wares to them. His wife quickly went off to buy a bag of uncooked rice. A lady came running with an ‘ang pau’ (a small, red envelope with money inside). When she was informed that the monastics did not accept money, she quickly bought some cooked food instead.

In Appreciation
20140916_105830We really appreciate everyone’s generosity in offering food to the Sangha. We received cooked vegetarian foods, fried noodles, ‘nasi lemak,’ dumplings, maize, tau fu fah, biscuits, cakes and two cartons of oranges and apples.

We are very glad and thankful that many of the Buddhist community came to help, especially to sort out the donated food. At least sixty friends and family members were at the lunch dana.

Special thanks go to Bro KC Tan, sister Jenny and sister Paru of Kinrara Metta Buddhist Society, bro Jerry Khoo of Setenang Buddhist Society, bro Jeen Lim of Buddhist Business Network and some friends from the Buddhist Gem Fellowship Counselling Unit who joined us at the pindapata, helped prepare the lunch dana and provided transport to the Sangha.

20140916_110532Peaceful Fellowship
We felt rejoiced, peaceful and valued the fellowship that abounded. More friends would have attended if not for the school holidays and public holiday. This is the first time that GV organised a pindacara and we have a lot to learn from it. We apologise for any short-coming and we welcome feed-back and suggestions on the areas that we can improve for future events.

More photographs at our facebook:

Providing Facilities and Support to Female Renunciants at GV, 2014
27 Feb – 30 May    Maechee Punnisa, Malaysia
27 Feb – 7 March  Maechee Dr Chemnian and 4 Maechees, Thailand
28 Feb – 3 March  Ven Samaneri Dhammadina, Italy
11 Mar – 8 April    Ven Samaneri Clara (Vajrayana tradition), Portugal
19 May – 30 May  Ven Suddhartta (Mahayana tradition), Malaysia
9 Oct                     Maechee Punnisa, Malaysia
28Oct, 30 Nov-4 Dec   Ven Samaneri Sitananda, Japan. She is here to attend Ven Punnaji’s retreat in BMV, Brickfields, KL

Dhamma Talks at GV, 2014
2 Mar       Ven Samaneri Dhammadina: ‘My Experience in Going Forth’
14 June   Ven Samaneri Paramacari: ‘Empowering Oneself and Others – the Path to Enlightenment’
16 Sept    Ven Bhikkhu Dr Dhammapala: ‘Chanting and Blessings during Puja’
16 Sept    Ven Sing Kan: ‘The Importance of Dana’
16 Sept    Ven Samaneri Sumangala: ‘The Significance and Update on the Bhikkhuni’s Future Development in Malaysia’

Events for 2014
25 May – Arrangement was made for Ven Suddhartta and Maechee Punnisa to receive medical screening at Tzu Chi Free Clinic in KL.  They were able to apply for their visas to Myanmar to spend their vassa under Ven U Tejaniya

15 July – Ven Samaneri Sumangala, who is one of GVS spiritual advisors, received her Samaneri Ordination under Ayya Santini in Indonesia.  We rejoice with her and as a gesture of gratitude and good wishes, GVS contributed RM400 for her travel expenses.

16 Sept – Commemorate International Bhikkhuni Day
1. a pindacara by Ven Bhikkhu Dr Dhammapala, Ven Badranirmala, Ven Samaneri Dhammadinna, Ven Samaneri Sumangala, Ven Samaneri Dhammavati was held to educate the public to receive the blessings of seeing samana (renunciants) and the opportunity to make offerings and receive the field of merits.
2. To honour the lives and contributions of Eminent Asian Bhikkhunis and Buddhist Women in the Modern Era, a selections of write-ups are uploaded in the blog:

Membership Drive

We have only one category, that is, Life Membership. The fee is RM300, payable by three installments. It is free for Sangha members.

Wish List
1. One unit of LCD projector. (It will be very helpful for speakers who use slides for their talks)
2. To repair some parts of the roof which is leaking. (The kind owner has given the place for Dhammaduta work without charging any rental)

We appreciate your contributions in kind or cash. Please contact our treasurer, Sister Hooi Yoon Chun at Our Public Bank account number is 3187086916 – Gotami Vihara Society. No amount is ever too small for our mission. The Society’s registration number is PPM-046-10-09072013.

Thank you and maha sadhu to all our Dhamma friends who continue to provide and support us – support the Fourfold Sangha.  May you and your family be blessed with a peaceful, healthy and happy life and continue to grow in the Dhamma.

Barbara Yen,
Gotami Vihara Society, Malaysia

Review of Events, 2012-2013

The Support Network for Women Renunciants in Malaysia and Singapore was first formed in May 2011 with the purpose to consolidate efforts to help women who aspire to go forth, especially in the Theravada tradition. With the advice and help of our spiritual advisors, Venerable Saranankara, Venerable Anandajoti, Venerable Santini, Venerable Upekkha and the Pro-tem Committee, we established the Gotami Vihara as a place of stay for women renunciants.

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Monks & nuns reflect on rights of women

Focus on revival of bhikkhuni order at academic session of Buddhist conference [reproduced from here]

International Buddhist Sangha Conference

Speakers at an academic session during the International Buddhist Sangha Conference at Buddha Smriti Park on Sunday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh

The nationwide deliberation on the dignity of women echoed at the international Buddhist Sangha Conference in Patna on Sunday.

At the academic session, the subject of animated discussion was the revival of bhikkhuni ordination. The departure of the Dalai Lama, who had come to Patna on Friday, in the morning did not discourage the monks and scholars attending the conference. They also reflected on equal opportunities for women in every sphere of life, including religious and spiritual practices.

According to the Buddhist traditions, the Buddha at the request of his foster-mother Mahapajapati Gotami created the order of bhikkhunis or fully ordained nun.

Carola Roloff (Bhikkhuni Jampa Tsedroen), a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Hamburg in Germany, said: “The Buddha established equal opportunities for men and women in 500 BC. Religious leaders now have an important role in protecting the dignity of women, who face rampant gender discrimination. The recent gang rape of the 23-year-old paramedical student in New Delhi is disturbing. This is not acceptable.”

She also spoke on the process of ordinance of an aspiring nun. “A trainee is taught the life of brahmcharya (celibacy) by a group of 12 bhikkhunis. She takes the vow of lifetime chastity in front of two sangha members — one male; the other female. The entire process can take up to 12 years.”

Venerable Pannasami, a lecturer at Central University of Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, said: “The Buddha’s teachings are not only for men but also for women. The tradition of bhikkhuni grew after Sanghamitra, the daughter of Mauryan emperor Ashoka established a sangha in Sri Lanka. It prospered in countries like India and Sri Lanka and many others for 1,200 years but slowly disappeared in Thailand and Cambodia. It is time to revive the bhukkhuni tradition.”

The visitors to the conference were also enlivened by the enlightening discussions. Joelle, a Swiss devotee who has been attending the sessions, said: “I have come with my teacher. The large gathering of Buddhist leaders and devotees at the conference is a learning experience for me — a student of Buddhist philosophy.”

She added that Buddhist meditation techniques had attracted her to the religion.

The 13th Sakyadhita International Conference on Buddhist Women

The 13th Sakyadhita International Conference on Buddhist Women will be held in Vaishali (Bihar) India, January 5-12, 2013

Sakyadhita, Daughters of the Buddha, the world’s leading International organisation of Buddhist women, is an alliance of women (and men) committed to transforming the lives of women in Buddhist societies.

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Events during November 2012

Donation from Bro. MV Nathan’s Concert of Buddhist Songs

Brother Nathan, his family and friends have kindly donated the full collection of the concert to Gotami Vihara with no deductions of any cost incurred. It was successfully held at Matic Hall, Jalan Ampang, KL with tickets sold at RM80 each. Total collection was RM10,580. A very big sadhu to Brother Nathan for his generosity.

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Trailer for Daughters of Wisdom Film

The Daughters of Wisdom film has just been released after being years in the making. It is about the empowerment of women in a remote Tibetan Nunnery.

From their website:

…now, for the first time, the women of Nangchen are being given the choice to change the course of their lives. Built with their own hands and ever expanding, the Kala Rongo Monastery is home to nearly 300 nuns who study and practice full-time, creating new opportunities for themselves and for the community they serve.

Daughters of Wisdom is an intimate experiential portrait of these nuns, who are receiving unprecedented educational and spiritual training, and preserving their rich cultural heritage even as they slowly reshape it. Some shy, some outspoken, all committed to the often difficult life they have chosen, the nuns graciously allowed our camera a never-before-seen glimpse into their vibrant spiritual community and insight into their extraordinary lives.

Here is the theatrical tralier for the film.


It is possible to buy the DVD from their website, and it is also available via Netflix. I hope we will get a chance to see the film over here soon also.


M V Nathan’s Benefit Concert for Gotami Vihara

Gotami Vihara is pleased to announce a concert by Brother MV Nathan who will be presenting his 7th album on Buddhist songs. All proceeds of the event will be donated to Gotami Vihara.

Date: 28 October, 2012
Time: 2pm-5.30pm
Venue: Matic Hall, Jalan Ampang, KL
Ticket price: RM80 (donation, free for Sangha)

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Ten Day Stress Management Retreat Among White Clouds with Venerable Bodhicitta

After a year of stressful work, here is an opportunity to de-stress and relax among white clouds. Not only will it give you the much needed holiday, but it also gives you the tools to manage stress in a better way to lead a happier and peaceful life.

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International Bhikkhuni Day at Vivekavana

Ven Bhikkhuni Bodhicitta, who is spending the Rains Retreat at Vivekavana Solitude Grove will be giving a talk on the subject of “The Path to Heaven and Beyond” at the Vivekavana Buddhist Society on September 29th in conjunction with International Bhikkhuni Day 2012.

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International Bhikkhuni Day at Gotami Vihara

Gotami Vihara has great pleasure in inviting you to celebrate with us the International Bhikkhuni Day. As it falls on September 29 which is Moon Cake Festival, we have decided to hold it on 23 September instead.

Let us honour past and present bhikkhunis who went through great odds and sacrifice for the
right to become one. It is also to recognise the important role and contribution the bhikkhunis
play in preserving and propagating the Dhamma and upholding the Fourfold Assembly.

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