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.
The practice of metta bhavana leads to liberation and has 11 benefits
1) One sleep well; 2) One awakens happily; 3) One does not have bad dreams; 4) One is pleasing to human beings; 5) One is pleasing to spirits; 6) One is protected by dieties; 7) One is not injured by fire, poison or weapons; 8) One's mind quickly becomes concentrated; 9) One's facial complexion is serene; 10) One dies unconfused; and 11) If one does not penetrate further, one fares on to the Brahma world. AN 11:15
The Buddha gave us seven factors of enlightenment to brighten and polish the mind. Three of these factors are dynamic - they are the spiritual skills that help us to remove obstacles, make the path smooth, and allow us to practice forgiveness and compassion. These in turn give rise to the four brightening enlightenment factors which wash out the defilements and enable us to move towards freedom.
Virtue creates a force in the heart, a field of goodness, from generosity to joy to enlightenment and back again. Once there is joy in the heart, the mind finds ease to go to its depths. Be your own doctor, self-examine, see with the inner eye to discern and resolve our inner dis-ease and free the mind. Dukkha is not the problem, it is our teacher.