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November 15, 2016
Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project - London
Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project aims to promote the teachings and practices of Early Buddhism, through establishing a Bhikkhuni presence in the UK.

Our long term aspiration is to develop a monastery with a harmonious and meditative atmosphere, for women who wish to train towards full ordination.

In October 2015 Ajahn Brahm asked Venerable Canda of Dhammasara monastery Perth, to take steps towards establishing a monastery in the UK. In response to this, Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project was born.

We will raise enthusiasm and funds for this project by organising retreats, talks and discussion groups, that present the Buddha's teachings in an authentic, relevant and accessible way.

Anukampa literally means trembling or resonating with compassion, and is wisdom's response to suffering. A synonym for karuna, anukampa highlights the empathic aspect of compassion, which connects us to ourselves and to each other.

Anukampa lies at the very heart of the Buddhist path and is the motivating factor of a pure heart. The Buddha expressed this when he said: "What should be done for his disciples out of compassion (anukampa) by a teacher who seeks their welfare and has compassion for them, that I have done for you, bhikkhus. There are these roots of trees, these empty huts. Meditate, bhikkhus, do not delay or else you will regret it later. This is our instruction to you."-MN19, Dvedhävitakkasutta.

Why do we need bhikkhuni monasteries?
One beautiful aspect of Buddhism is the relationship of mutual dependence between the monastic and lay communities. Through providing material support, the laity enable monastics to devote their whole lives to practicing the Noble Eightfold Path, in optimal conducive conditions. 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 undertake training 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. As Bhikkhuni Canda relates; "I had been a novice nun in Burma for four years, when Ajahn Brahm told me about bhikkhunis practicing 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. We are currently taking the necessary steps to set ourselves up as a registered charity and are beginning the work of establishing a bhikkhuni presence, in England, in response to teaching invitations and offers of support.

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 Buddha's teachings remind us...

Our main intention is to create a harmonious meditation monastery dedicated to the goal of awakening!
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