Greetings from Mexico! 2002 has been an active year full of significant events for our organization. As the fourth anniversary of the Dhamma Vihara approaches, we are pleased to announce that Theravada Buddhism is growing in the fertile soil of Mexico and would like to share with you our news and projects. And as we repeat in every newsletter, we extend a warm invitation to our Dhamma friends in the United States and beyond to come for a visit. The Dhamma Vihara is a very suitable place to practice the Buddha's Teaching. Please come and discover this by yourself!
Ø Dhamma teachings in Puerto Vallarta. In April, Venerable U Nandisena and Santisukha visited the tourist resort of Puerto Vallarta in the Pacific coast to conduct a retreat and a novice ordination in which four Mexican children ordained temporally as novices.
Ø Bhikkhu Thitapuñño visits the Dhamma Vihara. In mid April we were honored to receive again the Mexican-born Buddhist monk Bhikkhu Thitapuñño. This time, thanks to the generosity of donors, who prefer to remain anonymous, a cabin was completely remodeled and offered to him so he can use it anytime he stays in Mexico. Bhikkhu Thitapuñño, who came together with his mother Margarita and his Canadian assistant, taught a meditation retreat and gave inspiring Dhamma talks.
Ø Meeting of the Buddhist Community in Mexico City. In April, the Buddhist Community of Mexico, a group that includes both Theravada and Mahayana Buddhists, celebrated its third annual meeting. Leaders of the different traditions, Tibetan, Zen and Theravada, gave talks to a large gathering, including Ven. U Nandisena.
Ø Buddha's Day. We celebrated the Triple Blessed Day, Buddha's Birth, Enlightenment, and Death, both in Mexico City and in the Dhamma Vihara with Dhamma talks and Pali chants. This has become a fixed celebration in the Dhamma Vihara and among the Theravada groups in Mexico.
Ø Children's Retreat. Part of the activities of the Dhamma Vihara is to offer the Buddha's Teaching to Mexican children and youths. For that purpose, a children's retreat was held at the end of July. As one of the adults who helped with the organization of the retreat later pointed out, "This retreat gave the children an access to spiritual life that otherwise they would never have".
Ø Sitagu Sayadaw visits the Dhamma Vihara. This was Sitagu Sayadaw's (U Nyanissara) first visit to Mexico. After visiting the city of Monterrey and the pyramids of Teotihuacan, he flew to Xalapa and paid a visit to the Dhamma Vihara. The children and adults who were waiting gave him a warm welcome. And we were fortunate to listen to his Dhamma talks. He has promised us a longer visit next year in the month of July.
Ø Telephone line installed! We are pleased to announce the installation of a telephone line in the Dhamma Vihara. This has been made possible thanks to a generous donation from our Vietnamese supporters and others in the United States. Now, if you wish to call us from the United States, you can dial 011-52-228-811-0080.
Ø New electric installation. One of our supporters in Canada and a Mexican devotee made a generous donation that allowed us to completely upgrade the electric system and also buy a new kitchen stove, refrigerator and an integrated washer and drying machine. This means a big change in the living conditions of the Dhamma Vihara. To give you just an example, before, during the winter, we experienced frequent power shortages because the electric system could not handle the increased demand of electricity.
Ø Abhidhamma Day at the Dhamma Vihara. Starting October 2002, we began the celebration of the Abhidhamma Day or Day of Lights. Following the tradition in Myanmar, we chanted Pali Texts and illuminated the night as happened more the 2500 years ago when the Buddha descended from the plane of Tavatimsa accompanied by Devas and Brahmas.
Ø Bhante Gunaratana next visit to Mexico. We are pleased to announce that the renowned Sri Lanka monk Bhante Gunaratana will visit the Dhamma Vihara April 9-15, 2003. More information can be obtained in our web page which is listed above in the letterhead.
Ø Venerable U Silananda. Last August I had the chance to attend the lectures: In-depth classes on Satipatthana Sutta given by Sayadaw U Silananda at the Tathagata Meditation Center. It was a great opportunity to listen again his teachings, seeing him recovering so fast and enthusiastic as ever. May he enjoy a long and healthy life! Also, it was very touching to see how well taken care he is by his devotees at TMC. Thanks for your help and hospitality. Rutty Bessoudo.
Ø The dining hall needs a floor and a ceiling. The dining hall has a rough concrete floor and no ceiling. As winter approaches, this area becomes cold and wet, and our visitors and residents that need to eat breakfast and lunch find this place inhospitable. Please help us to put a floor and a ceiling in the dining hall.
Ø More rooms for yogis. Although great part of the new building has been completed, still under way is the back part which includes twelve more rooms and four bathrooms for meditators. At this time only the foundation of this section has been completed. Once this section is finished we will be able to hold larger retreats and more regular Dhamma activities. We appeal to your generosity so we can finish this project.
Ø Monthly pledge. Some of you are already making a monthly donation to support the monastery. We would like to invite others to join the monthly pledge. This will allow us to concentrate more in our Dhamma projects.
Ø Volunteers. We are looking for volunteers who would help us with the daily chores at the Dhamma Vihara. This is a great opportunity to practice service to the Triple Gem, one of the ten meritorious deeds. If you or someone you know are interested, that has already practiced Vipassana, please contact Rutty Bessoudo at email@example.com.
May the Triple Gem shower blessings upon you!
Dr. Bertha Imaz Lira (firstname.lastname@example.org)
October, 27, 2002
(If you wish to make a donation for the Dhamma Vihara, please write your check to CMBT and send it to: Dhammananda Vihara, Attn. Mexican Monastery; 17450 South Cabrillo Hwy.; Half Moon Bay, CA 94019; USA. You may also make a direct deposit in the CMBT account in Bank of America. Account name: Centro Mexicano del Buddhismo Theravada A.C. Account number: #01817-02397)