Dhammadharini Vihara

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Dhammadharini Vihara is a Buddhist monastic retreat (vihara) for women in Santa Rosa, California. Dhammadharini opened its doors in August 2005, with room for three resident nuns. The name, "Dhammadharini," is interpreted as, a "holder" or "upholder" of the Buddha-Dhamma as a "flowing" or "streaming" reality, teaching and practice ~ in the feminine tense." A "Vihara" is a monastic residence, refuge and center of practice."

Dhammadharini is most notable as the first Theravada monastery for women in the Western United States. Women's Buddhist monasteries are rare. When Dhammadharini was founded, it became the third in the entire United States. A focus of Dhammadharini's mission is to support bhikkhunis, fully ordained Buddhist nuns. The Vihara observes the Theravada (mostly southern Asia) Thai Forest Tradition, including annual Vassa. The Abbess and founder, Ayya Tathaaloka, has trained in several Buddhist traditions and has welcomed Vihara visitors from others. Dhammadharini has been home to several renunciates (women training for ordination) as of 2008.

Dhammadharini is located in a comfortable leased house paid for by the supporting Dhammadharini Foundation. In 2010, Dhammadharini opened the Aranya Bodhi Hermitage, located in a 120 acre redwood forest on the Sonoma Coast. Dhammadharini residents rely on the support of the lay community. The supporting community provides the rent, as well as other requisites described in the Vinaya. Dhammadharini offers Dhamma teachings, Sutta discussions and the opportunity for individually arranged lay retreat.

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