Welcome to Dhammadharini

Welcome, good lady; you are not unwelcome. The wise come this way... 
-- The Buddha to Sujata Theri,  Therigatha


Welcome to this site. We hope that you enjoy it, and find many good things being here. Our goal is to support and uplift one another, as sangha. We particulary aim to do this for the pillar of the Buddhist women's monastic community - the Bhikkhuni Sangha. We believe that having this pillar strong and sound will strengthen the entire Fourfold Assembly of the Buddha.

Our Mission

Dhammadharini supports the opportunity for full monastic ordination for Buddhist women in the Theravada who wish to dedicate their lives to cultivation of the Path and its sharing. It is also committed to supporting, both morally and materially, opportunities for women's monastic practice, both temporary and long-term, at the various levels of training in the precepts, according to such women’s own free choice and capability. 

The First Decade

In response to those persons, both monastic and lay, who had for years wished for there to be a place for women's residential monastic abiding in the Northern California area, and as a stepping stone on the path to finding and establishing such a place, Dhammadharini's first step, taken in August of 2005, was the opening of an interim Bhikkhuni Vihara. A "vihara" is monastic residence, a center of practice and a refuge providing both the basic requisites of lodging, alms food, medicine and robes for female monastics, as well as a place of refuge for Buddhist women when called by their heart to give time to deepening their practice in monastic retreat. 

Amongst the 30 or so monasteries, temples and meditation centers in the Northern California in which the monastic Sangha of South and Southeast Asian Theravadan traditions dwell, Dhammadharini Vihara was the first women's monastery. Since its opening at the beginning of the Summer Vassa-period in the year 2005, the Vihara offered the requisites of shelter, almsfood, robes and medicines to bhikkhunis from both Eastern and Western backgrounds, hailing from America, Germany, Burma, Sri Lanka and Thailand. In addition it supported samaneris (female novices), given food and shelter to anagarikas (8 and 10 precept nuns and postulants), and provided temporary monastic retreat opportunities to numerous laywomen. 

The Vihara provided ongoing, local opportunities for Bay Area Buddhists to express the spirit of generosity and develop good conditions through sharing with and supporting the Monastic Sangha in America. It also especially provides for the blessings and benefits of the presence of dedicated female monastics within our local community, what neighbors have called "a presence of peace." 

With the offering of land for a women's monastic hermitage on the Sonoma Coast in the year 2008 and the offering of a wing at the Bodhi House from 2009 until 2012, what began with the Dhammadharini Vihara in old town Niles district of Fremont continues to change and grow.  Our rustic off-grid hermitage was complemented with the 2013 opening of a rented space for the Dhammadharini Vihara in Santa Rosa.  Together on a daily basis they provide the opportunity for contact between the women's monastic community and those in the lay community who feel supported, inspired and uplifted by their practice and presence.  

After ten years in rented or donated spaces, the Dhammadharini Support Foundation offered a permanent, owned monastery in 2016, for our women's monastic community to put down roots.  It is located at the northern edge of the San Francisco Bay area, at the western foot of Sonoma Mountain, accessible for Dhamma teaching & alms round. It is a space of refuge, sanctuary & practice for those inspired to fully live the monastic path; where aspirants can explore monastic life, learn, train & ordain; where lay friends of the Sangha can visit or stay for periods of immersion, sanctuary & service.

To learn more about our bhikkhunis way of life and path, see our "Bhikkhuni Life" and "Bhikkhuni Path" pages.