Wish fulfilling Jewel
Warm greetings from the changing light on redwood bows, clear pure air,
fresh ocean breezes...
...from a silence that rings like golden crystal bells, while beneath it the
creek sweetly flows, and within it, the far sound of crashing surf booms
from the womb of the ocean, mother of life.
This is the Awakening Forest.
In the changes of the patterns of light, day and night, as the moon glows
in brightness by the night, soon to fade, the seeming timelessness of
these ancient patterns and rhythms of our world, of our earthly bodily
physical lives, emerge once again into the forefront and dominance of
Why is it that when we see the magnitude of nature, we feel so small,
and so awestruck by the magnificence of it's greatness? Why is it that it is
such a relief to be with what is not fabricated by human hands or human
thoughts, but to just feel our part amidst all things as we breathe in and
It is a joy to turn and know, ever more deeply, the unfabricated. It is blissful
when ego becomes less, or even disappears, leaving nothing but joy in its
And it is a joy to be here with like-minded and like-hearted women,
Dhamma sisters and Dhamma mothers, kin in Dhamma.
It is a joy to see the clear brightness in the eyes of my companions, to feel
the freshness of the land pervading bodies and minds, and to see the work
of the Path well-engaged. It is a happy gathering. A happy work.
Happy hearts looking into suffering, it's causes, it's end.
Tomorrow it begins -- our three months of retreat here on this land together
with one another.
I am aware that it is our third year to so gather, and that it is still, for at least
this year, the only place where Theravada Bhikkhunis may gather as a
Sangha to practice fully our Vinaya training together on this vast continent.
For now, this is still a very rare and precious thing.
I feel deep gratitude for all who have contributed to this being so, mind
spanning so many hearts and faces of friends over these past eight vassas
with Dhammadharini. In two more years, we might be able to mark our first
decade together. Perhaps we will open a new monastery to bless our tenth
This is an amazing thing, to think of it. I remember beginning our first vassa
at Dhammadharini Vihara -- the little rented low-income condo next to the
railroad tracks, the rhythm of our days and nights then marked by rumbling
of the trains, together with the in and out breaths of the San Francisco Bay.
(We thought it would be a miracle if there were enough support for us to
survive even the first three months.)
And our first vassa at the Bodhi House, when this forest hermitage seemed
like a fantastic and perhaps impossible dream. And we were sheltered,
clothed and fed by you, dear friends. A time of peaceful abiding.
And then our first vassa here. The coldest August on record, no heat but
hot water bottles, then tents flooded by unexpected early rains, bodies
seeking for somewhere to get warm and dry, some shelter.
Fortunately, largely all in a spirit of goodwill, in a spirit of mutual love and
compassion, in a spirit of pioneering and groundbreaking. In a joyful spirit
of renunciation, and of loving to bless living with what is given. Of loving the
lightness of living with just a little, but the great blessed bounty of the gifts
of the forest - as our home, our abiding, and place of practice. Our place
of letting it all fall away, shedding the burdens of our minds and hearts, of
awareness growing bright and strong, of awakening. Mind, body, feelings,
elements and aggregates, sense bases, Dhamma.
Now, to have a monastery, an address of our own for our community,
seems like the fantastic dream, far away. On the cusp. On the horizon.
I know that the rains will come soon enough (the past two years they came
early), and then these steep mountain slopes will all turn into waterfalls.
Like the squirrels and the bees, although it is summer, for a moment, I think
ahead to the winter storms. What will be?
But for now, the call to presence with the forest, as it is right now, the joyful
hearts of my gathered sisters, ready to begin this retreat time together,
to do the work of our lives -- this is here, this is now. And this is joyful,
The great rehabilitation calls. The great stepping out of all the fabrications
of ourselves, and into just the true, the real, the pure and the natural. The
gold in us calls for the smelting, the burning away of the dross. Becoming
Buddhanubuddham - awakening after the Awakened One
Dhammanudhammapatipatiya, Dhammapatthanatadadharidhari -practicing the Dhamma in accordance with natural truths, the Dhamma holds who
Sanghampujemi - this is my veneration of the Sangha
The Path of Sangha. The Gift. The Treasure.
I used to daily chant:
Coming upon the wish-fulfilling jewel,
I vow to realize the incomparable.
Coming upon this jewel, may we all come to fully know its treasure, it's full
value, and it's benefit. May our practice be a refuge and a blessing for all
forms of life.
To the Buddha's way, we dedicate these bodies and lives, and devotion we
will walk this way of awakening.
Ayya Tathaaloka Theri
thoughts upon sun setting and great golden full moon's rising
over the Aranya
very near to entering vassa ~ 2012