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Loyal Readers,

My updates trailed off in February 2013, sorry!  Some updates and reflections can be found on Facebook under “Ven. Sudhamma” (www.facebook.com/ayyasudhamma.)

Here are some highlights from the missing months:

February: Realizing that Vien Quang Monastery, a friendly and beautiful Vietnamese temple in Clover, SC, had no internet presence, I created a Facebook page for them,  www.facebook.com/CloverBuddhist. (First I had to learn how to do it.) These good monks and nuns give a heart-warming welcome to all beings. Each day they compassionately  chant & ring an enormous bell half an hour

Vien Quang

Vien Quang Monastery, Clover, SC

at daybreak and again at nightfall in hopes of briefly alleviating the pain of hell-beings, and they are even more kind towards human beings.

My friends and I went to the battered womens' shelter of Charlotte to bring a great lunch. (April 2013)

We brought lunch to battered women’s shelter (April)

March: I gave some teachings here and there, and spent some days visiting Vien Quang Monastery and another temple. At this time I created the Bodhi Calendar of insight meditation sitting groups and related Buddhist activities in Charlotte.

April: Hiked a beautiful local mountain with a great

Rev. Martha at Crowder's Mtn. (April 2013)

At Crowder’s Mtn. (April)

friend, Rev. Martha; did some teachings and some good deeds;

Water-pouring ceremony to honor the deceased loved one.

Leading a water-pouring ceremony

and attended an especially useful week-long meditation retreat at Southern Dharma Center led by Sayalay Susila (photo below).

Sayalay Susila and I after retreat at Southern Dharma Center (April 2013)

Ven. Susila led retreat (April)

May:  Vesak full moon celebrations (Buddha’s birthday). Visited nuns’ communities in northern California for more than a month:

In Aranya Bodhi Hermitage’s thick woods, near Jenner CA, we held a weeklong camping conference of bhikkhunis that we called “Bhikkhuni Camp”. (Right click any photo for a better image in a new window.)

Bhikkhuni Camp (June)

Bhikkhuni Camp (June)

Some of us once visited the nearby beach, where our leader Ayya Tathaaloka walked in the bitterly cold waves to strengthen her balance (doctor’s orders). Ayya t at beach with Ayya Munissara 6-21-2013  (This photo shows her afterwards shivering and getting covered by warm sand.)  Also I visited a couple of centers run by solitary bhikkhunis, giving a Vesak talk at one. And I got to sit a 10 day retreat with an unusually large company of Theravada bhikkhunis and novices, generously hosted without charge by Spirit Rock Meditation Center (photos from Ajahn Sucitto’s retreat with a dozen nuns).

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The woods at Aranya Bodhi.

June: Upon my return to Charlotte from California, on the way home from the airport, some friends offered me the amazing opportunity to start a new little Vihara (a suburban house/temple/monastery) in a rental house right here in my hometown. Their motivation?  To keep me here instead of moving into the Vietnamese temple in Clover, SC, where the monks and nuns had kindly offered to give me a place to

The new place

The new place: Charlotte Buddhist Vihara

me a place to live. (I was staying at my mother’s home.) The Vihara house would be within walking distance of my family home, so I’d still be able to assist Mom as needed.  I hesitated for several days, aware of the great commitment involved in organizing a community, before making the decision and happily forging ahead.

July: In mid-July, just before Vassa began, I moved into the new Charlotte Buddhist Vihara, already well-furnished by the efforts of many kind and generous donors.

August-now: It’s all about the new Vihara.

You can follow the progress of the new center and our support community on Facebook and on our website: CharlotteBuddhistVihara.org.

Vihara's open house

Vihara’s open house

My efforts to lead a new community, along with ordinary daily duties of nuns’ life, have taken nearly my entire attention these past six months since some friends made the proposal in June.Sprint phone 009

Great elder Master Hòa Thượng of Vietnam honored us with a visit

Visit of a great elder

Board Meeting

Board Meeting

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Our sutta study group

However, near the end of October ,      I did take a “vacation”, a 10 day trip to California for the Western Buddhist Monastic Conference (WBMG).

Western Buddhist Monastic Gathering -City of Dharma Realm, Sacramento (Oct 2013) The WBMG is an annual warm friendly gathering of English-speaking ordained Buddhists of all traditions which meets in harmony, focused not on sectarian differences but on what we, as dedicated followers of the Buddha, have in common. Read about the gathering here. or view photos of the gathering and our related hunger walk fundraiser for Buddhist Global Relief.

(While in California I also visited Ayya Tathaaloka’s community’s pleasant and spacious new Vihara in Santa Rosa which opened just weeks after our Vihara.)

A dear friend of many years, Ayya Suvijjana Bhikkhuni, joined me at Charlotte Buddhist Vihara for a 3-month visit August-November. I don’t think I could have managed without her.

Ayya Suvijjana, daily life at the Vihara

Ayya Suvijjana, daily life at the Vihara

In mid-November she returned to her community in California, to Dhammadharini, as she had promised them.Ayya Suvijjana and Ayya Sudhamma at Reedy Creek Park (Nov 2013) I miss her sweet companionship.

Just before she left, our end-of-Vassa (Kathina type) celebration was led by the

Bhante Kondanna, Ayya Suvijjana and Ayya Sudhamma at Charlotte Buddhist Vihara (Nov 2013)

Bhante Kondanna leads celebration, gives teachingsBhante Kondanna teaching children

founder of the Staten Island Buddhist Vihara, the delightful Bhante Kondanna, with a good turnout.

The newest thing: We are initiating meditation groups at the Vihara through Meetup.com, the website that organizes people to meet to engage in hobbies or activities. See our Meetup page: www.meetup.com/Meditate-with-Monk-Buddhism-in-Charlotte. In the week since our page was announced on Meetup an astonishing fifty-two people have signed up for future meditations at the Charlotte Buddhist Vihara.

So this brings you up to date. My apologies to those whose comments have languished awaiting a response since I last used my password here. At least I have mostly maintained updates for the Bodhi Calendar which you can find embedded on this site, Some of Kathina visitors (Nov 2013) therefore to that extent my blog has remained alive.

Some new writings are in the works so this blog will soon again be a place to find Dhamma teachings and monastic life updates.

I hope this holiday season finds you filled with peace and joy — as always!

May you be well, happy and peaceful!

May you be well, happy and peaceful!

Metta,

Ayya Sudhamma

If you know of any Buddhist activities or Insight meditation sitting groups that the organizers would like added to the calendar, please send a message to: DearAyye [~at~] gmail [~dot~] com .

For more information on a program simply click it; a box giving the details for that program should pop up. Click “more details” at the bottom left of the pop-up box to make the links active.

On arriving at my hometown I happily discovered many so new meditation sitting groups that it’s hard to keep track of them. There seems to be no organized communication among the various meditation groups or cultural Buddhist organizations in Charlotte. So I decided to put the information onto one calendar to share with everyone.