Life as a Buddhist Nun(en Español)
A Vinaya Course at Sravasti Abbey, Washington State, WA
May 31 – June 17, 2013
Taught by Venerable Bhiksuni Master Wu Yin of Luminary Temple, Taiwan
As Western monastics know, receiving complete teachings on the Pratimoksa and Vinaya can be difficult because many texts have not yet been translated into English, our teachers are busy teaching other topics, and there is a dearth of transcripts on Vinaya topics. However, learning the Pratimoksa and Vinaya is essential in order to keep our precepts properly, live joyfully as monastics, inspire others, and benefit society.
We have the unique opportunity to study Vinaya with a remarkable and respected bhiksuni master, Venerable Wu Yin, from Luminary Temple in Taiwan. A Vinaya teacher at the 1996 three-week program Life as a Western Buddhist Nun , she has accepted our request to again teach Dharmaguptaka Vinaya to nuns in the West.
Sravasti Abbey, a Buddhist monastic community in eastern Washington State, USA, will host a residential Vinaya program featuring Venerable Master Wu Yin’s teachings from May 31 to June 17, 2013 (18 days). It is open to new nuns as well as seniors, be they bhikshuni/bhikkhuni, siksamana, or sramanerika/samaneri, from all Vinaya traditions. The daily schedule will include meditation, teaching, discussion, and offering service, with time for private study and getting to know each other. We will also do posadha (sojong) together.
Sravasti Abbey is delighted to have so many esteemed nuns stay with us during the program. There is no charge for accommodation or food during the program. However, we would appreciate it if you could let your supporters know of the precious opportunity to contribute financially and by offering service to this special course.
Due to health constraints, Venerable Master Wu Yin will give the teachings in Taiwan, where they will be translated into English, videoed, and put on the web. We will watch them together at the Abbey. Due to the time difference between Taiwan and the USA, live streaming is not possible. We will be able to send questions to her, and she will respond in subsequent talks.
Having taught the Pratimoksa during Life as a Western Buddhist Nun in 1996, Venerable Bhiksuni Master Wu Yin will now focus on the Khandhas/Skandhas. Teachings will be on such topics as prohibitive and prescriptive precepts, types of boundaries (sima) and how to set them, rains retreat (varsa/vassa), the ceremony to conclude it (pravarana/pavarana), kathina, sangha karma, ending disputes, rights and duties of individual monastics and of the sangha regarding requisites, administration, and culture.
Sangha in the West have an opportunity available to our ancestors only with great difficulty: we do not need to undergo treacherous travel and poor living conditions in order to receive teachings. We are able to meet easily and learn from Buddhists of other traditions, thus enriching our understanding and expanding our practice.
American monastics from diverse Buddhist traditions have met annually for seventeen years and have established a wonderful sense of community as well as deep friendship. This Vinaya course will build upon that. We believe the Buddha is delighted to see his followers appreciating and respecting each other in this way.
Brief Bio of Venerable Master Bhiksuni Wu Yin
Venerable Master Bhiksuni Wu Yin received novice vows in 1957 and full ordination in 1959. Valuing the importance of monastic education, she founded the Luminary Buddhist Institute in 1980. Over the last three decades, many outstanding spiritual practitioners have been trained there. In 1984, she organized educational programs for the laity that have spread the Dharma widely in Taiwan.
Ven. Wu Yin is keen on both the study and practice of bhikshuni precepts. She taught Vinaya at Life as a Western Buddhist Nun, a three-week program in Bodhgaya, in 1996, and has been repeatedly invited to teach Vinaya or talk on Vinaya-related topics in ordination platforms in Malaysia, Burma, India, and Germany. Currently she holds the positions of:
- President of Gaya Foundation
- Abbess of the Luminary International Society
- President of the Luminary Buddhist Institute
- Religious Affairs Consultant for Ministry of Interior Republic of China (Taiwan)
Attendance and Daily Schedule
Due to shortage of space, only people who can attend the entire program should apply. Since participants are coming here to learn and live Vinaya, we expect them to attend all events on the daily schedule. There will be morning and evening meditation, teachings by Ven. Wu Yin, talks by senior bhiksunis, discussion groups, and offering service. A light medicine meal will be served for those needing it.
If you would like to attend this Life as a Buddhist Nun program, click to automatically download the application form, fill it in completely, and email it to the Sravasti Abbey office.
Since Sravasti Abbey does not charge for any events, we have had difficulty with hopeful attendees signing up for retreats and courses and then canceling at the last moment, when it is too late for someone on the waiting list to arrange to come. Thus, after acceptance as a participant in the course, please submit a $100 dana deposit or a copy of your paid airline ticket to Spokane for the dates of the course to complete your registration. This is the most compassionate way we have found to help people have a firm commitment to attend so that opportunities for others are not lost.
Space is limited. We will review the application forms and let you know as soon as we can if you are accepted.
Please read the Sravasti Abbey website to know about our community and how we live. In the Visiting section you can find directions, what to bring and not bring, our values and principles, and much more information.
- Before coming we suggest you look into the following:
- Choosing Simplicity, by Venerable Bhiksuni Wu Yin (Snow Lion Publications)
- Sisters in Solitude, by Karma Lekshe Tsomo (SUNY) (see bibliography in this book too)
- The Buddhist Monastic Code, by Thanisarro Bhikkhu
- The section on monastic life on Ven. Thubten Chodron’s website
There is an extensive bibliography on the website of the Committee for Bhiksuni Ordination