Why do we need bhikkhuni monasteries?
One beautiful aspect of Buddhism is the relationship of mutual dependence between the lay and monastic communities. Through providing material support, the laity enable monastics to devote their whole lives to practicing the Noble Eightfold Path. In return, lay women and men benefit greatly from the peaceful presence of a monastery, which offers them the wonderful opportunity to cultivate generosity, further develop their own spiritual practice, and receive both guidance and inspiration.
The Buddha taught seven things that are essential to the longevity of the Dhamma, and each one rests on having an inter-related community of bhikkhunis, bhikkhus, laywomen and laymen, known as the fourfold assembly (Kimbila Sutta AN 7:59).
At present, there are many monks' monasteries worldwide, but very few for women, and even fewer for those who wish to train towards bhikkhuni ordination. We need to step up equality in terms of practice and ordination opportunities for women, for Buddhism to thrive and remain relevant in the 21st century. I had been a novice nun in Burma for four years, when Ajahn Brahm told me about bhikkhunis practising in Perth. A wave of inspired joy swept through me and I knew instantly in my heart: if I had the chance for full ordination I'd take it!
Where will the new monastery be?
Simple answer - wherever there is most interest and support! The project is in your hands as much as ours, and involves a process.
According to UK law we need to raise £5,000 through fundraising, before we can register as a charity. The next step is establishing a bhikkhuni presence, through spending increasing periods of time in England, in response to teaching invitations.
How will things evolve?
Once we've found a conducive location with a local support network we will be offering regular Dhamma talks, sutta discussion groups and meditation sessions, emphasising essential practices like loving-kindness, and "kindfulness" (kindness + mindfulness). Initially we would rent a small place and eventually look for something larger and more permanent in a rural area. Set in rolling hills or overlooking the sea, it would be tranquil and calming, yet accessible for those wishing to offer the daily meal. Devon or Brighton come to mind, but it is all uncertain as the teachings remind us...
Our main intention is to create a harmonious meditation monastery, dedicated to the goal of awakening!