Ayyā Medhānandī Bhikkhunī, is the founder and guiding teacher of Sati Sārāņīya Hermitage, a Canadian forest monastery for women in the Theravāda tradition.
The daughter of Eastern European refugees who emigrated to Montreal after World War II, she began a spiritual quest in childhood that led her to India, Burma, England, New Zealand, Malaysia, Taiwan, and finally, back to Canada.
In 1988, at the Yangon Mahasi retreat centre in Burma, Ayyā requested ordination as a bhikkhunī from her teacher, the Venerable Sayādaw U Pandita Mahāthera. This was not yet possible for Theravāda Buddhist women. Instead, Sayādaw granted her ordination as a 10 precept nun on condition that she take her vows for life. Thus began her monastic training in the Burmese tradition.
When the borders were closed to foreigners by a military coup, in 1990 Sayādaw blessed her to join the Ajahn Chah Thai Forest Saņgha at Amaravati, UK. After ten years in their siladhāra community, Ayyā felt called to more seclusion and solitude in New Zealand and SE Asia.
In 2007, having waited nearly 20 years, she received bhikkhunī ordination at Ling Quan Chan Monastery in Keelung, Taiwan and returned to her native Canada in 2008, on invitation from the Ottawa Buddhist Society and Toronto Theravāda Buddhist Community, to establish Sati Sārāņīya Hermitage.
Seeing the honest truth of the mind's delusion can teach us to develop a healthy mind and know true happiness. It is a doorway to freedom, opened through mental cultivation including loving-kindness and compassion for ourselves and all beings.
Birth, aging, death, pain, sorrow, lamentation are all dukkha.
There is pain and there is the way out of pain. That is the cultivation of the Noble Eightfold Path. By sitting, accepting and letting go, we walk the Middle Way and follow the laws of Dhamma.
Stokes Valley Monastery Retreat, New Zealand
The poison arrow of ignorance spreads its toxins through passion, desire and ill will. By sitting still, applying mindfulness and surrendering to what is, the right view will illuminate our minds and will help us extract the arrow and heal the wound.
The Buddha frees his sister, Nanda, from personal vanity when she develops insight into the impermanence of life. Ayya Medhanandi relates this to her training as a bhikkhuni. A talk given during a 10-day retreat at Bodhinyanarama Monastery, Stokes Valley, New Zealand in 2002.
Learn how we can turn our mental capacities into the spiritual powers of faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration and wisdom. With Right View and a deepened understanding of the Four Noble Truths, we develop a readiness to love, thereby vanquishing hatred. A talk given during a 10-day retreat at Bodhinyanarama Monastery, Stokes Valley, New Zealand in 2002.
What is the best chariot according to the Dhamma? A commentary on the Buddha’s conversation with Ananda about the noble vehicle that will carry you victoriously along the spiritual path - to Nibbana, full awakening. A talk given at a 10-day retreat in Bodhinyanarama Monastery, Stokes Valley, New Zealand in 2002.
A reflection on the tale of Patacara’s meeting with the Buddha after the deaths of her sons, husband, and parents and how she attains equanimity in the face of great suffering. A talk given at Amaravati Buddhist Monastery, UK, Death & Dying Retreat.
A guided meditation on death and dying - the final steps in our life's journey. Balance, mindfulness and faith teach us to touch the joy of the present moment as a spiritual pilgrim. Given at Amaravati Buddhist Monastery, UK, Death & Dying Retreat in 1996.
Death & Dying Retreat - Every moment is an opportunity to transform ourselves by understanding things as they really are and opening to the natural law of life and death. We learn what death is and how to find true peace by following the Noble Eightfold Path and living and dying skilfully.