Living Vinaya in the West

By Ven Tenzin Drolma

Photos Courtesy of Gen Heywood Photography


It was a celebration of the nuns’ ordination in the West.  It was a meeting of traditions.  At Sravasti Abbey in the snows of Eastern Washington State fifty of us joined together to learn the Vinaya from Master Wu Yin, the Abbess of Luminary Temple and Buddhist Institute in Taiwan.  She and her illustrious faculty along with the Sravasti Abbey community created an amazing program of teachings, discussion, practices, and fun.



Some of the time we learned from lectures by the master.  Some of the time we learned from presentations by her students.  Some of the time we received teachings from Ven. Chodron, the Abbess.  And some of the time we learned from each other through discussions.  It was an amazing experience.  But that wasn’t all.  We meditated, we worked, we prayed, we ate, we walked in the snow, and we played.  There was not a moment in which the Dharma was not being honored in one way or another.



For any of you who have never been there, I highly recommend a visit.  Sravasti Abbey is a training monastery for nuns and monks.  It has several sleeping rooms, a professional kitchen, a meditation hall, large dining room, offices, gardens, and acres of forest.  The whole program was supported by 40 lay volunteers who came and went seemingly seamlessly throughout.  All the food, cooking, and much of the cleaning was donated by the kind lay people.



All in all, it was a program I’m glad I joined.  IMI supported me and a few other nuns with a donation.  We couldn’t have done it without all the causes and conditions coming together.  The Sravasti Abbey community worked so hard to organize the program and the Taiwanese community traveled around the world to present it.  Then, all of us nuns created the karma to come together for this meeting of hearts and minds to study and practice Vinaya in the West.