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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.”