Morning session Part 1. [25 min] : Download mp3 file
Venerable Chodron welcomes guests to the abbey, many of whom are founding donors.
Celebration of Ven. Chodron’s 30 years as a monastic.
- On behalf of all participants, Ven. Tarpa paid respect and expressed gratitude for Ven. Chodron’s teachings and guidance, thirty years of monastic life and the founding of Sravasti Abbey.
- Ven. Tarpa led the participants in offering the mandala and White Tara practice, wishing Ven. Chodron a long and healthy life and requesting Ven. Chodron for teachings and guidance in this and all future lives until Enlightenment.
Morning session Part 2. [29 min] : Download mp3 file
Ven. Chodron on how Sravasti Abbey came into existence.
- Ven. Chodron’s ordination, the early years in India, Nepal and France, facing health and financial difficulties but valuing the opportunity to live in monastic communities and constantly receive teachings from her teachers.
- Ven. Chodron had always wanted to start a monastic community and tried doing it with various fellow monastics before circumstances deemed it necessary for her to do it on her own. ~ What Ribur Rinpoche advised.
- His Holiness the Dalai Lama chose the name ‘Sravasti Abbey’ in the late 90’s. The significance of the name.
- Reasons for wanting to have both monks and nuns at the Abbey.
- How a Buddha statue and the thangkas of Manjusri and Maitreya (the three major figures in the Merit Field) were offered to the Abbey and the Kangyur (teachings of the Buddha) and Tangyur (major Indian commentaries on the teachings) procured through fortuitous circumstances even before a home was found for the Abbey.
- Ven. Chodron relates an interesting series of events that resulted in the abbey finding its current home. ~ In mid-Oct 2003, Ven. Chodron and the kitties – Achala and Manjusri – moved in.
- With the resident community growing and the programs well attended with waiting lists, more building is required.
Morning session Part 3. [28 min] : Download mp3 file
Barbara McDaniel, Ven. Chodron’s assistant and abbey resident, explains the need for space & outlines future building projects, the first of which is the construction of the monastic residence. Excerpts:
‘When Khensur Rinpoche Geshe Wangdak came to bless this land, one of the things that has stayed vividly in my mind is that when he walked up the meadow and he was doing this beautiful ceremony calling the Buddhas and bodhisattvas to the land, he said: “This is good land. Fertile land. 10,000 monastics could be on this land!”’
‘I also want to quote Pat Simpson (the Abbey’s neighbour and active volunteer). He walked in here and he said: “You know, what Ven. Chodron is teaching can change the world. And when people get wind that this is going on up here, more will be coming! You’ve got to be ready for them!”
And so that’s really the energy that’s behind this movement to build the monastic residence (and other projects)…”
Tim Wilson, the architect from Momentum Architecture in Coeur d’Alene chosen to design the new monastic residence, answers questions and shares his enthusiasm for getting the opportunity to work for the Abbey on such an auspicious project.
- How much discount are you giving to the abbey for this project?
- I find your design very aesthetically pleasing. What are the influences behind your design?
- Are you planning to incorporate alternative sources of energy like solar?
- Does the county require all the work to be done by licensed contractors or can they be done by volunteers?
- Are you considering the use of the wet land systems (the Maitreya project is adopting this system as well) instead of the usual septic tank system for the filtering of waste?
- What’s the time frame for the project?
- Do you have any ballpark figure for the construction cost?
Thank you message from Barbara on behalf of the Abbey to all donors and helpers especially the local and Coeur d’Alene volunteers and invites all to receive gifts from Ven. Chodron.
Afternoon session [27 min] : Download mp3 file
The Aspirations of Founding Donors and Supporters: When Ven. Chodron started Sravasti Abbey, many people helped generously. The Abbey invited these founding donors and supporters to submit their aspirations and these are now enshrined in the base of the Aspiration Buddha monument in the Abbey’s garden.
Ven. Chodron talks about the Power of Aspiration. Excerpts:
"There’s something very powerful about making aspirations because an aspiration is the beginning of a motivation, isn’t it? As we all know, it’s our motivation that determines the value of what we do and it’s our motivation that makes us do what we do. Having a good motivation is so essential for spiritual practice, and so the aspirations that precede it are very, very important.
...Know that when you have full Enlightenment as your aim, it doesn’t matter how long it takes to get there because you’re going in a good direction. What else are you going to do? Revolve in samsara some more? We haven’t been in the hell realms enough? We haven’t gone through adolescence enough? If we have that long term motivation, it provides a lot of stability in our life and helps us ride the waves of this lifetime. We have a lot of confidence because we’re going in such a good direction.
And then appreciate all the external circumstances and conditions we have that enable us to go in that direction. Also appreciate our internal conditions, the part of us that has that kind of aspiration, that has faith, that has the desire to practice as the high bodhisattvas do and to become like the Buddha.
So we’re setting those aspirations today as we’re inviting the Buddha to come and stay at the Abbey and look over the Abbey and help it become – I’ve always had this expression of – a beacon of Dharma in the world, where goodness can radiate out and touch all beings everywhere."
Ven. Chodron led the group in the recitation of prayers:
Praise of the Twelve Deeds of Lord Buddha. The twelve deeds are deeds done by Wheel-Turning Buddhas who, when the Dharma no longer exists in the world, come and teach the Dharma thus setting the Wheel of Dharma in motion again.
Mandala offering to the Buddha. “We request the Buddha to come here and to manifest in many different ways so that we’ll always have perfectly qualified Mahayana and Vajrayana teachers coming to Sravasti Abbey now and in all future eons. May everybody who comes here be able to hear the teachings. May they understand them correctly and the teachings go in their hearts. May their mind be pacified and their aspirations increase. May they be able to do the six far-reaching practices and quickly attain full Enlightenment.”
Barbara read a sample of the 85 prayers of aspirations submitted by some of Sravasti Abbey’s Founding Donors and supporters. Click here for a sample of these aspirations from the Abbey website.
After the recitations, the procession to escort the Buddha statue to its new home in the garden starts down the driveway, with conches blowing.