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.
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.