About Ariya Vihara
TO ESTABLISH THE 1ST MALAYSIAN THERAVADA BHIKKHUNI NUNNERY AND DHAMMA TRAINING CENTRE THAT WILL ACHIEVE DISTINCTION IN DEVELOPING THE BHIKKHUNI SANGHA AND DHAMMA INSPIRED TEACHERS AND MEMBERS TO PROPAGATE THE BUDDHA DHAMMA AND THE FOURFOLD COMMUNITY
- To establish a nunnery for the Bhikkhuni Sangha, a sima for higher ordination and a place of worship for the Buddhist community.
- To promote the understanding, study and practice of the Buddha’s Teachings in accordance to the Pali Nikaya, and the Buddhist way of life, by living skillfully by the Dhamma.
- To provide training for the entering into monastic way of life as Bhikkhuni Sangha and as Dhamma teacher/ leaders
- To promote mental cultivation and educational activities.
- To promote social welfare, charitable activities and Buddhist culture.
- To promote fellowship and goodwill amongst Buddhist groups, other religious communities in Malaysia and international Fourfold Assembly for peaceful and harmonious co-existence and progress.
BRIEF HISTORY OF ARIYA VIHARA
Venerable Sumangala Bhikkhuni, supported by a group of Buddhist practitioners founded Ariya Vihara, which was officially registered on 10 August 2015. Currently, we are operating from a corner shoplot, generously offered by a kind dayika to be used by (Aloka Foundation & later Ariya Vihara) for the promotion of Dhamma teaching. Our first program was the Thursday night Metta Bahavana session and then follow by the Ariya Rainbow Kidz Program. As more programs were offered and participants increased, there is constraint in space especially for trainees and bhikkhunis during vassa period.
In order to fulfill our vision for the bhikkhuni nunnery, from Ariya’s inception the idea of building a Theravada Bhikkhuni Nunnery and Dhamma Training Centre has been put into action. Finally, on 12th November 2019, Ariya Vihara was awarded a premier piece of RIBI land measure 0.45 acre at Kwasa Damansara, Sg. Buloh, in a new township from the Selangor State Government.
Although faced with challenges and delay due to pandemic from 2020-2022, with the able leadership of Venerable Sumangala bhikkhuni, the Abbess of Ariya Vihara, the diligence from the Ariya Excos and the determined help of benefactors, donors and supporters, Ariya Vihara grew from concept to blueprint and now is awaiting the approval of the Development Order from the authority. Should all government approvals go smoothly and the building fund raise is fulfill, we anticipate to start construction on Q3 2022, and look forward to complete the iconic Ariya Vihara by Q4 2025..
ON-GOING BUILDING PROJECT: PURPOSE-BUILT VIHARA
Ariya Vihara, or Noble Abode (the 37 factors of Enlightenment), will features a contemporary architectural design blend with ancient feature. With only 0.45 acre, importance has been given to the functionality of it’s space and the use of greens, natural light and ventilation for urban and spiritual sustainability. From far or as one enters Ariya Vihara, the heart of the Vihara is the 1st Bhikkhuni Sima (stupa) which will mark the history or start off the root of bhikkhuni higher ordination in Malaysia. The Ashoka pillar with Dhammacakka at the entrance will also stands tall to welcome everyone to the Vihara. Other unique shaped is the Shrine Hall used for worship and Dhamma instruction as well as the Dana Hall which provides blessed opportunity for devotee to meet the Sangha member, to perform generosity and to listen to the Dhamma daily.
On the first floor is a large mezzanine hall which houses a thousand of “Buddha images” for recollection of Buddha and for meditation. It also caters comfortable rooms for bhikkhu monk teacher and upasaka male laity. The 2nd floor is dedicated as the educational hub with 6 class rooms, a Tipitaka library, an open space for fellowship and a conference room with mini stage and modern digital support. This provides ample space and facilities for children and youth so that they will have the opportunity to learn the Dhamma and Buddhist culture in a relevant and practical way. As for the adult conference and workshop that is essential for their growth and for the the continuation of Buddhist heritage can be held here.
On the whole third floor, it is dedicated as nunnery for the community of Bhikkhunis and the novice samaneris with facilities to support their monastic life and purpose of renunciation. On the fourth floor is a sizeable solace meditation hall dedicated for “bahavana” or mental cultivation. There are a few comfortable elder friendly rooms for upasika female laity. And on the roof top, the nature green is incorporated as roof garden which encompasses an Ariya Stupa and surrounded by cosy green environment, ideal for early morning meditation and Qi Gong. At the LG, we provides a healing hub – a clinic (western and eastern), a “rehab facility” and a couselling room for physical and mental health and a vertical planting for edible greens. The surrounding setback is design for good morning walk or walking meditation to strengthen the body. In terms of transport facility, the LG provides carpark and the Kwasa Damansara MRT is just 3-5 minutes walk.
WHO WE ARE
As a Buddhist society guided by the Theravada Buddhist tradition, Ariya teach and practise the Buddha-Dhamma as recorded in the Pali Nikaya (Canon). Our programs are steered by our vision of developing Bhikkhuni Sangha, Dhamma-inspired teachers/ leaders and members (Fourfold Assembly); and propagating the Buddha-Dhamma in the community
Our tagline “Living skillfully by the Dhamma” aptly captures our aspiration of real time practise by providing a conducive place for the monastics, for individuals, families and communities, the old and the young, male and female to congregate and grow in the Dhamma and to realize the goal of Nibbana.
WHAT WE OFFER
Externally and internally, the Vihara is more than just a structure. It provides a special atmosphere that is profoundly needed in our daily lives: a place for people to come and experience the benefits of learning (pariyatti), practising (patipatti) and realizing (pativedha) the Buddha’s teachings, a place for generosity, morality, samadhi, wisdom and awakening. And a place where the bhikkhuni Sangha can continue to grow for the prolongation of the Buddhasasana.
A Noble Abode for laity stay in and for training
When the new building is completed, Ariya Vihara will be one of the first to offer a condusive system for mental cultivation and training where individual can apply to stay in for 2 weeks to live with the monastic community and be guided for physical, mental and spiritual cultivation and the ten meritoriuos service. Intake will be on New and Full Moon Day. This is a privilege for urban devotees to save a lot of their precious time from travelling and can make good use of their time for a more fruitful retreat nearby. The Vihara’s retreat is offered every 2 weeks throughout the year, with proper facilities and guidance from the bhikkhuni Sangha and the upasaka laity practitioners.
A Noble Abode for stay in and training as Anagarika, Going Forth as Novice Samaneri & Theravada Bhikkhuni Higher Ordination
As for potential pratitioner who has intention to live a renounce life, Ariya Vihara provides Ariya Monastic & Laity Training Program for suitable female candidates to prepare and develop themselves with pure intention, Dhamma knowledge, skills and insights, so they can live as anagarika (homeless one) in the Vihara. Subsequent training will lead them to timely going forth for minimun 2 years and later if found suitable, for bhikkhuni higher ordination. In this training, it is important for candidate to seek dependency on a teacher to guide them through and to know how to live in a harmonious community of bhikkhuni Sangha – a role model for others. Our monastics will serve as the guardian of the Theravada bhikkhuni revival, with training focused on the Buddha’s teaching on virtue, samadhi and wisdom, as a guide towards full ordination and the cooling off of all defilements.
A Noble Abode for Short Term Theravada Samaneri Novitiate Program
Venerable Sumangala bhikkhuni has been instrumental in the development of short term Theravada samaneri novitiate program and has being organizing and conducting this program since 2014, 2016, 2018, and this year 27th – 8 May 2022. With the strentgth of colloboration with bigger Buddhist society, currently this program is offered once every two years. However, in future we may offer once a year when our building project is completed.
A Noble Abode for learning
Ariya Vihara is the focal point of the Society’s effort to preserve and effectively transmit the Dhamma. Many Dhamma Programs are offered e.g. Dhamma talks, sutta discussion and meditation classes for beginners, intermediate and advance practitioners. They are open to the public so that all who wish to encounter and live by the Dhamma will have the precious opportunity.
The Vihara is fortunate to have a permanent resident Venerable Sumangala bhikkhuni who teach the Dhamma and lead meditation retreats and provide daily Dhamma for Dana offerer or those who need spiritual advice or counselling. Other qualified laity teachers were also invited to share the Dhamma.
A Noble Abode for practice
At Ariya, countless occasions arise for us to develop our practice of generosity, patience, gentle speech, reverence, loving-kindness and straightening our right view. The Vihara offers boundless opportunities for the Buddhist community to develop an indepth practice whether by being a participant, volunteer or a donor in the programs/ activities. The Vihara welcomes all who wish to participate in our various programs/activities and welcome the local community to join us and offer their talents to support our noble work and help further our Dhammaduta strength.
A Noble Abode for fellowship & good health
The Vihara’s programs make ways for devotees and members of the Buddhist community to get to know one another and build bonds of fellowship. Like-minded Dhamma seekers have the chance to nurture spiritual friendships and provide mutual support to fellow kalyanamitra. With good thoughts in mind and wholesome activities, our members come together joyfully and wisely through true fellowship in projects, camps, pilgrimages and festive celebrations. We wish that all who encounter Ariya Vihara in whatever form, may experience the bliss, happiness and peace offered by the Buddha Dhamma.