Triratna News

Las Venezolanas

Posted by Charlotte Lawes on Mon, 20 February, 2017 - 11:34
Charlotte Lawes's picture
Charlotte Lawes

Today we report on a group of women practising the Dharma in a really challenging environment: Venezuela.

You might have missed it, but Venezuela is in the middle of a severe political and economic crisis. According to Bloomberg, the annual inflation rate is about 1200%. With Brexit going on, here in the UK the rate is around 1.8%, and that’s considered high. Food and medicine shortages and a currency nosedive are just some of the problems Venezuelans are facing.

In the midst of this is the Buddhist Center of Mérida, where a small group of women, many of whom have asked for ordination, are practising without any Dharmacharinis to support them. Their nearest Dharmacharinis are in Mexico, a manageable flight if it weren’t for the economic crisis which makes it impossible.

Parami first visited them in March 2015. She writes “I was deeply moved to meet the six women there who have asked to enter the Triratna Buddhist Order. They practise with very little input, have only met two Dharmacharinis so far (myself and Jñanadakini) and yet have felt moved to practice within our community.”

Their inspiration and commitment to practice is clear from their personal stories, which you can find on the group’s Facebook page. 

Henriette says “Practising and studying the Dharma has changed my life, guided my actions and cultivated clarity in my consciousness. My friendship with Vajranatha has been a thread that has helped me to always return to the Triratna Community and to lose my fear of a deeper commitment. I love the Sangha and always learn by listening to them. Their stories often move me and they are a mirror that more faithfully returns my own story.”

Maria Elena writes “The wheel of the Dharma turned in our favour and Jñanadakini came to visit us, and with deep compassion has contributed to our growth and development. We have learned many things from her and she have been an example of metta and commitment.”

Parami has been on a fundraising drive to get the women who have asked for ordination to Mexico for a training retreat. 

Gleysa (21) says “I have never traveled outside of Venezuela, and my chances of doing so are completely zero… I am infinitely grateful for the possibility of attending my first retreat in Mexico in 2017. I would like to have the pleasure of meeting more women in the process of ordination training and other Dharmacharinis.”

Parami writes “We have hit the target of £2000. Alongside some other money directly donated we can probably pay for five of the nine women from Venezuela to fly up to Mexico for the GFR retreat in April. That is so so wonderful! Of course, if you have not donated and would like to please, please do as there are lots of other expenses we could put money towards.”

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Responses

parami's picture

Thanks Charlotte, it’s lovely to see this on here.

with metta, Parami

Charlotte Lawes's picture

A wonderful story to get to write up!

Liz_Bassett's picture

Lovely to read this here. Knowing how much I benefit from going on GFR retreats I’ve very happily given to support these women to go on retreat in Mexico. It’s a great opportunity for us to give and to connect in with our wider sangha.

meludena's picture

Thank you Charlotte, lovely article, and yes, that’s our reality here in Venezuela, and at this moment we are so thankful with all Triratna around the world, we are being recipients of metta and that feeling is amazing, inspires us and give us hope. 

Jai Teather's picture

Beautiful words, and such a wonderful dedication to practice happening here!

We have a beautiful gift from the Merida Sangha on our shrine, so I think of them all every morning! 

It seems so difficult for them to get to a retreat centre with the rate of inflation as it is, is there a way we can take a retreat to them?

parami's picture

Hi. Thanks Jai. We do run retreats in Merida but this fundraising is to help at least some of the women to come to Mexico and attend a gfr retreat there. That way they can meet other women who are training for ordination and also meet other members of the Order. And - very exciting- there will be some women being ordained on that retreat so they will have the chance to witness public ordinations.  Metta, Parami 

Jai Teather's picture

Ah! I see! I’m pretty sure I’ve heard about this Mexico retreat from Aryavacin! Incredibly exciting. I’ll be watching from afar (well Nottingham :-), and encouraging where I can. This is all very inspiring! 

Vajranatha's picture

Many thanks to everybody who has helped in any way with this appeal. I know it is going to make a huge difference when those women arrive back from México and bring their inspiration to our centre up here in the Andes.

meludena's picture

Many thanks to you too Vajranatha for always being there for us, and not just taking care of the Centre right now, but being our friend. Lot of metta for you!