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Danasamudra writes about her interview with Samata:
“In December last year I drove down to Tiratanaloka to interview Samata. She was staying there for several months before going on the three month retreat with Vijayamala and Vessantara. It was appropriate that I talked to her there because she was one of the women who brought Tiratanaloka, and all that it offers, into being.
Those of us who have joined the Movement and Order more recently have very little idea of how different things were in the early days. I certainly know that when I was in the ordination process I took it for granted that there was a comfortable, warm retreat centre where I could go on well-organised study retreats. It was only much later, once I was in the Order and began to meet more Dharmacharinis, that I heard the stories of the setting up of Taraloka and Tiratanaloka – and indeed Akashavana - and all the time, effort and love that the pioneering women had put into creating them.
It was a delight to interview Samata; she is a fount of stories and a great story-teller. In her interview she vividly captures the early days of her involvement with the movement in Norwich. She then goes on to talk about finding Tiratanaloka and the team that set it up and ran it in the early days. It’s fascinating to hear about the development of the women’s ordination process and awe-inspiring to realise how hard everyone worked. In the final section Samata talks movingly about the death of Bhante and his influence on her life.
You’ll be able to hear the interview later in the year – and we will let you know when it is available - but I am very grateful to Samata for being the first interviewee of the Triratna Women project. I look forward to interviewing many more Order members, and encouraging others to conduct interviews too, so that we can build up as full a picture as possible of what it has meant and still means to practise as a woman in the Triratna Buddhist Community.”