With the blessing of His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche, a decision has been made to relocate Vajra Dakini Nunnery to the Portland, Maine area.
This was a significant decision that was only finalized after Khenmo traveled to India in February to look at the issues with the lineage. Although we are sad that our original vision in Vermont did not succeed, we are heartened by the knowledge that change and growth are healthy in our circumstances. Such a major move will always entail feelings of loss and sadness, yet it is necessary if the nunnery is to thrive and reach the goals hoped for at its creation: Peace, Practice and Service. A Buddhist nunnery is a very new kind of endeavor in the western world and needs to be nurtured carefully.
A thorough review of over a decade in Lincoln, Vermont shows us much has been accomplished. There have been teachings from H.H. Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche, retreats with Venerable Dhyani Ywahoo, and teachings from Khenmo Drolma and other esteemed teachers. It was hoped that VDN, in Lincoln, would become a vibrant practice center and attract monastics who would make it their home. This did not happen.
Khenmo determined, after retreat and conferring with other abbots from Buddhist and Christian monasteries, that the isolation of being in a remote area of Vermont needed to be addressed. Since Portland is a major city with a very active Dharma community welcoming teachers of all lineages, and where Khenmo is well known as a former college professor, it was a logical choice. She has given many Dharma talks there and has been very involved in hospice programs in southern Maine. There are also two small Drikung groups close to Portland which will be served by our programs. The proximity of Portland to Boston and easy public transit isalso very helpful since there is a large Drikung Buddhist community there, as well as a large Tibetan community where Ani Yeshe, who interned with us in 2014 and is returning, can feel at home. These factors will encourage the development of extensive Dharma activity and service to the community.
We are the first Drikung Nunnery in the West and our endeavors are worthy of continued effort. The Dharma is not considered to be fully present in a country until there are communities of lay men and women and fully ordained men and women. The glaring deficiency at this time is fully ordained women. In supporting Vajra Dakini you play an important role in establishing the space for nuns.
We are committed to our mission to create a monastic community whose activities function as compassion college and, in particular, to support women’s leadership in Tibetan Buddhism. Learning from our decade of steady efforts, we envision a period looking anew at how this vision should be structured. We will invite mature monastics to help envision a hospitable environment to support their many beneficial activities.
Women teachers remain rare in Tibetan Buddhism, both those of western and Tibetan ethnicity. We look forward to continuing our affiliation with Samtenling Nunnery founded by H.H. Drikung Chetsang Rinpoche. Ani Yeshe is in the first graduating class of nuns receiving the Acharya title, a graduate level teaching degree, will join Khenmo once we have relocated. We expect other nuns to join us in the future and we will assist them in taking their seats as accomplished teachers.
Click for News from our sister nunnery in India
We look forward to discussions with Portland Dharma groups to explore how our activities will enrich and expand the vitality already present. We anticipate increased participation in our Dharma programs and developing compassion resources for the fields of education and hospice work.
We are most grateful to you for your generosity and to all our supporters who offer funds, volunteer assistance and friendship. Supporting a monastery brings continuous blessings. All the day’s activities are dedicated and the merit of the many years of prayers and service flow to you, the donors. This does not change with our change of location.
Through development of our monastic community, supporting women monastics in leadership roles, and the continuation and expansion of online programs, we look forward to bringing great benefit to many in the coming years. We hope you will join us in a long, continued relationship as we fulfill these goals.