Dear friends and supporters,
We are delighted to inform you that we have just completed the purchase of our first Vihara (monastic dwelling) in Oxford. After seven years’ hard work in bringing this to fruition, Venerable Canda has a place to deepen her meditation practice, train Bhikkhunis, and teach the Dhamma; and the lay community now has a place to gather and practice – a Dhamma sanctuary.
Our Spiritual Advisor Ajahn Brahm sent us this wonderful congratulatory message:
“The Buddhist Society of Western Australia started in a small house, 4 Magnolia Street in North Perth, over 40 years ago. It is now a huge Buddhist organisation with many monasteries for nuns and monks, state-of-the-art retreat centres and lay city centres. Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project has just purchased our very own Bhikkhuni Vihara in Oxford. This may seem a small achievement to some but, having personally seen all the hard work and sacrifice of those who made this event happen, it is a major milestone that we have reached. Bhikkhunis now have a home in England. Of course, this is not the finale in our quest for equity for women in Theravada Buddhism in the UK. From the comfortable house in Oxford, we intend to eventually purchase a larger property, in a quiet location, on which to build a Bhikkhuni Monastery similar to those monk-run monasteries in the UK. As Buddhists, we are patient, but your generosity and support will see our dream appear sooner. With Mega Mettā, Ajahn Brahm.”
We are pleased to share the second episode of a new podcast with Venerable Candā is available now called “Developing Resilience”. With thanks to Sol at the Buddhist Society of Western Australia for making these available.
In this episode of Sage Advice, we have Bhikkhuni Candavisuddhi, known as Venerable Canda, the pioneering nun blazing a trail for women monastics by striving to establish the Anukampa project, a monastery for fully ordained nuns in the United Kingdom. Those who previously listened to Venerable Canda’s story in a previous episode of Treasure Mountain will know that she has a lot grit to practice in challenging circumstances, and now to lead the way to establish a community of practice, and eventually a monastery in the UK. One quality that she has demonstrated in large measure is resilience, and she joins us today for this episode of Sage Advice to discuss the topic of resilience and determination.
We are delighted to share this Treasure Mountain podcast with you:
In this episode of Spirit Stories our guest is Venerable Candavisuddhi, also known as Ayya Canda, who first encountered meditation and the spiritual path when travelling through Asia as a young woman. This led to several years of going on and supporting retreats in India and Nepal. Whilst the yearning to live the Buddhist monastic life intensified, she found that opportunities for women to lead a meditative monastic life were few, until finding out about a chance to ordain with Sayadaw U Pannyajota in rural Burma. The meditative life suited Venerable Canda very well, but four years of the Burmese climate, diet and parasites took a toll on her health, and she decided to return to the West. A chance encounter led Venerable Canda to the teachings of Ajahn Brahm, and the opportunity to practice and take higher ordination at Dhammasara Monastery in Western Australia in 2014. Now she is blazing a trail for women monastics by leading a project to start a monastery for bhikkhuni sangha in the country of her birth, the United Kingdom. Venerable Canda joins us now to share her Spirit Story.
News from Venerable Canda and Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project, UK We are delighted to share the news, that after a long search, the Anukampa Trust have found a suitable mid-term property and the vendors have accepted the offer! Located in a quiet cul-de-sac about two miles away from Oxford city centre, the Bhikkhuni Vihara-to-be is close to green spaces, the River Thames and its delightful towpath, and the vibrant multicultural community of East Oxford.
This is an enormous accomplishment, as it will be the first property owned by a Bhikkhuni Sangha Trust in British history. Ajahn Brahm has been supporting the project from its conception, as Spiritual Advisor, Chair, and Inspiration Extraordinaire, and we are incredibly grateful for his continued guidance and commitment to our aims.
This is also an exciting and significant step for the Bhikkhuni Sangha worldwide. With places for fully ordained nuns very few and far between, many women are denied an opportunity, whilst good bhikkhunis struggle to survive in robes. Now, for the first time in six years, we will have stable monastic accommodation for Venerable Canda – a place where she can practice, teach and start to grow a resident community. As the housing market continues to rise, this first purchase is also an excellent investment for our supporters’ generous donations, and a springboard to a full-fledged monastery!
The property is an end of terrace three-storey town house in a fairly new development. It features a bright kitchen; a downstairs living room opening into the courtyard garden that is perfect for receiving lunch dana guests; an upstairs living room ideal for meditation; plus modest spaces for visiting monastics and guests. It has a peaceful feeling about it and we hope it will be a wonderful place of practice.
Although our offer has been accepted and we are proceeding with the purchase, nothing is certain until contracts have been signed and the sale has been completed, yet we wanted to share this exciting news with you now. We are enormously grateful for all the support we have received and hope to practice with you in Oxford in the near future.
Right now: Whilst the sale goes through, Venerable Canda is at Jhana Grove entering upon a long period of solitary retreat. She would like to take the opportunity to express immense gratitude to the whole Bhikkhu and Bhikkhuni Sangha in Perth, as well as the BSWA and Anukampa supporters worldwide, for this wonderful chance to deepen her practice. She also looks forward to welcoming Ajahn Brahm to the UK on his November teaching tour.
Ajahn Brahm’s November UK tour and regular teachings: www.anukampaproject.org/events
Article by Kelly (Anukampa Trustee) and Ven Canda
Sharing a wonderful new Bhikkhuni documentary, featuring three revered pioneer bhikkhunis: Ayya Dhammananda, Ayya Tathālokā Bhikkhunī and Ayya Santussika of Karuna Buddhist Vihara, as well as leading lay women supporters and academics, and two monks with VERY different attitudes towards bhikkhhuni ordination. Thank you Thāvirā Sāmaṇerī for posting this and also participating as part of the Dhammadharini Sangha! Well worth a watch and only 25 minutes long. Can we follow in these bhikkhuni’s footsteps here in the UK? With your support then YES!