In my life as a Buddhist monk for 24 years, I have met many wonderful and inspiring people. I was thinking the other day about how many nuns I’ve got to know, a little or a lot, and this feeling of gratitude and blessing came upon me.
I thought of Ayya Samacitta; a Taiwanese bhikkhuni who was one of the first nuns to stay with us at Santi and became a dear friend. Ayya Tathaaloka, a model of grace, intelligence, and leadership. Ayya Gunasari, who I got to know in Bodhgaya, and who was so very kind and loving. And many others—Ayya Sobhana, Ayya Sudhamma and more, all of who have been an inspiration to me.
There are some inspiring nuns out there who have been my students at some point in their path: Ayya Hasapanna, who, with her family, supported me for a year in Ipoh, and has become a steady leader of the Buddhist community. Ayya Pasada, an intelligent and perceptive nun of calmness and wisdom. Ayya Adhimutti, who helped me to understand how the patriarchy works, and gave me some of the tools I needed to cope.
There are plenty from outside the “Theravada” tradition, too. From the Tibetan tradition, I have been lucky to know Ven Tenzin Palmo, who combines the wisdom of deep experience with a wit and insight; Ven Thubten Chodren, always warm and understanding; Ven Lekshe Tsomo, a tireless worker for the Dhamma; Ven Jampa Tsedroen, a bhikkhuni of deep learning and wide compassion. And of course, how could I forget Ven Yeshe Chodren, my Dhamma sister for fifteen years, a true bodhisattva who has dedicated so much of her life to the spiritual welfare of the poorest and most deprived people in the world.
Bhikkhuni Dhammananda, who, with clarity, warmth, joy, and great strength and determination, has led the revival of the bhikkhuni order in Thailand. Ven Santini, the exemplary bhikkhuni of Indonesia, who helped us here at Santi, and whose practice is so very strong.
There is Chi Kwang Sunim, another of my long time Dhamma sisters, who has been a friend and support to me for more than ten years; Rev Miao You, with whom I have taught and who is building Australia’s first Buddhist University; and Bom Hyon Sunim, another Dhamma friend here in Sydney.
Ayya Munissara, Ayya Santacari, Ayya Anandabodhi, Ayya Santussika, Ayya Canda, Ayya Sammasamadhi, oh my goodness, too many to mention!
But I can’t forget Ayya Vimala, with whom I have worked so closely here on SuttaCentral for many years, and who has quietly made incredible contributions to the Dhamma. And our dear friend Ayya Vimalanyani, who has also been a tremendous help here on SC.
And finally I owe my current residence to the wonderful nuns here at Santi, Ayya Nirodha, Ayya Jitindriya, and Ayya Jayasara, who have made my stay here so delightful, and have taught me so much about how to create a warm and supportive community.
I can’t name them all, and I will surely be forgetting many! Please remember them in the comments for me!
All of these are amazing and powerful people, who have made incredible contributions to the Dhamma, and who have helped me personally, whether or not they realize it. To see the strength and resilience of those who have suffered so much, all of them, and have pulled through. And I know, as well as these, there are many who have disrobed, leaving the holy life, whether for personal reasons or because of the discrimination they faced. They too are special women, who in their stay in robes have enriched the Sangha and, I hope, have been enriched as well.
Thank you to all the nuns! I bow deeply to you all! May you find peace and joy, and may you realize the ultimate peace of Nibbana!