Abbey founder and leader, Ven. Thubten Chodron, conducts the Green Tara puja in the Abbey shrine room.
Nearly a year to the day that construction began, Sravasti Abbey received county permission to occupy its new monastic residence, Gotami House. Nuns and lay women happily moved into the new building–nuns upstairs, lay women downstairs. Male residents have new quarters in the Abbey’s main building, Ananda Hall.
The Dedication and Grand Opening of Gotami House took place on September 26.
Residents and friends of the Abbey prepared for the big day by fixing up the inside of Gotami House to welcome nearly thirty residential guests, putting in some comfy bunk beds together with new mattresses. Others worked on landscaping around Gotami House. With enthusiasm, they rototilled the packed dirt, added compost, and planted grass, flowers, and trees. The Abbey is very grateful to all the volunteers who helped.
The procession to Gotami House, led by Sravasti Abbey monastics.
The weather on the Opening Day was beautiful and clear, not too warm or too cool. Seventy people attended, including Abbey friends who are Catholic sisters and a priest, friends from Seattle and Missoula, and local friends. The day began with setting motivation and remembering the long term purpose of the Abbey, as well as the immediate benefit it brings sentient beings. This was followed by a Tara puja.
After the puja, the Abbey presented gifts to the people who helped the most with this project: Tim Wilson, the lead architect from Momentum Architecture; Thomas Orjala, the contractor from Northida Homes; John and Betty Perry, from American Bay Construction who excavated and moved tons of dirt; the Abbey’s dear neighbors, Pat and Jo Simpson, who got the project going and were wonderful resources and helpers during the construction process.
On behalf of FOSAS (Friends of Sravasti Abbey Singapore), Moi accepted an engraved plaque which was placed in the library of Gotami House, the room that FOSAS offered. The Abbey also honored Ven. Tarpa, the construction manager; Ven. Jampel, who worked on the building; and Ven. Chonyi, who was in charge of Inviting Generosity. The program included a PowerPoint presentation on the construction of Gotami House and a video made by FOSAS in which they sent their greetings for the day.
A small stupa offered by Advisory Board member Ven. Jendy arrived the day before the celebration, and in it was placed a relic of the Buddha that Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche had given to Ven. Thubten Chodron. The morning concluded with everyone being blessed by the Buddha relic. All those who attended were offered a Sravasti Abbey hat, which they thoroughly enjoyed.
After 70 people were served a delicious lunch out of the Abbey’s small kitchen, participants circumambulated Gotami House in procession. Then, settling in front of it, they did the consecration and blessing, dedicating the merit of all those who helped build this home for the sangha in order to spread the Dharma.
Ven. Tarpa cuts the ribbon to officially open the nuns’ new home.
For more information and photos, please visit: www.sravastiabbey.org.
Contributor: Ven. Thubten Chodron.
Photos: Courtesy of Sravasti Abbey.