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About

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Hai-An (Sister Ocean) is a Bhikshuni in the Mahayana tradition based in Toronto.  She received her novice ordination from Thich Nhat Hanh 2012, Order of Interbeing ordination in 2014 and full Bhikkhuni ordination in 2016, training at Plum Village Monastery in France and Blue Cliff Monastery in New York State.  She left the monastery in 2018 and now lives independently.  She continues to hold the teachings of Plum Village as her core practice, blending them with Theravada practices, mystical Christianity, and social justice teachings.

Hai-An loves supporting people in practical and creative ways to develop mindfulness, compassion, and joy in daily life. She is a musician and a poet with a BFA in Theater and wrote the Mindful Living series at Buddhist Door Global for a number of years.  She is an active member of the ARISE Sangha, dedicated to bringing racial justice to the forefront of the Plum Village community.  She is currently studying in the Living School for Action and Contemplation.

Generosity

Monastics and the Practice of Dana:

If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of selfishness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared, if there were someone to receive their gift” -The Buddha, Iti 1.26.

The practice of dana – generosity – was often the first teaching the Buddha gave to new students and it is still at the heart of the Dharma and monastic life.  In an age of wide-spread anxiety, alienation, and over-consumption, dana is a much-needed quality of heart that can counteract the fear and sense of separation that underlies these social and personal ills. Bhikkhu Bodhi suggests that dana, “serves as a basis and preparation which underlies and quietly supports the entire endeavor to free the mind from the defilements.” As a practice, one’s state of mind is more important than the item or service offered is the state of mind with which the offering is made – ideally with a joyful heart, expecting nothing in return.

The monastic code requires monastics to dependent upon the lay community for all their needs.  Hai-An lives within this tradition of dana, living simply, sharing the Dharma freely and receiving what is offered freely.  She is no longer a member of the Plum Village Monastic community and relies solely on donations to support her basic needs and studies.  If you are moved to make an offering, the following list covers appropriate and helpful forms of support:

Transportation – A ride, transit tickets or a bus/plane ticket to cover travel expenses.

Food – If you’d like to offer Hai-An a snack or a meal, this is welcome. Please note that Mahayana monastic precepts require that monastics not only refrain from eating meat and drinking alcohol but to also avoid sitting at a table where meat or alcohol are being consumed.

Shelter – Monastics must stay in a private room in a home of someone of the same sex, therefore Hai-An must stay in a home where one or more women are present.  This gender binary does not include everyone’s gender expression and is limiting. Unfortunately the tradition has not yet been able to be fully adapted.  Please contact Hai-An if there are concerns or questions about this in arranging for housing.

Money – In the Mahayana tradition, monastics can touch money, and thus receive money. Offerings in the form of cash, gift cards or cheques can be given in an envelope.  Money will go to help pay for basic requirements and studies. A specific monetary gift can also be made, for example: new shoes, cloth for a robe, or to cover tuition to a course. Traditionally any offering is given and received in full mindfulness, with a heart full of good intentions, and when in person, with two hands. Hai-An will then offer a short chant of blessing as per tradition (whether in person or not.)

Pay-pal even makes it possible to offer dana on-line.

Thank you for learning about monastic culture. May you grow the practice of dana and may your heart-mind become free!

Welcome! This is my site to share thoughts, meditations, music, events. Thanks for stopping by.

Welcome! This is my site to share thoughts, meditations, music, events. Thanks for stopping by.