Student Of The Path

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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Bhikkhu_Jayasara
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Re: Student Of The Path

Post by Bhikkhu_Jayasara » Mon Jun 22, 2015 1:53 am

I've been Anagarika now for about four months, with four months left to go till ordination most likely. I figured I'd check in and also share an interesting first I had today :). One of many things that will take some getting use to.

jayantha.tumblr.com/post/122127269148/a ... irst-today

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An interesting "first" today

I had an interesting “first” today. I spent the day in Washington DC with one of the monastics visiting the local temple and some families. The last family of the day after doing their prostrations in front of the monk, then preceded, mother, father and children, to do the same to me.

This is something I knew I would have to deal with as a monk, did not expect it so soon, not being a monastic yet. My sister,freaked out a bit when our father’s doctor slightly bowed to me while shaking my hand a few weeks back. I heard her say under her breath “ he’s still my brother”, and could only giggle. I can only imagine her reaction when she sees this haha.

We westerners have real hang ups when it comes to bowing and prostrating, we view it as a sort of degrading and groveling kind of thing, where in Asia its a matter of paying respects. I’ve gone from someone who never did it to now someone who does it a dozen times a day or more as the monks do. We also do it to pay respects to the monks as we meet them, and the monks do the same to monks who are senior to them. In short “everybody’s doing it!”

Bhante G explained it’s purpose to me as a practice of developing humility, a humble mind, and showing respects to the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, as our guides and refuge in the practice. For me this extends to Bhante G, whom I gladly pay respects to when he leaves to go away for a time, and then when he returns as a “welcome back”. I saw one of my favorite monks today and it brings a gladness to my heart and a smile on my face to show my respects to him.

When we bow to the monks we are not bowing to the individual person, it’s not a practice in inflating someone’s head that they are important, but it’s a matter of respecting the ideals of the monkhood and the virtuous life that they hopefully lead. In fact when you bow to the monks they say “ sukhi hotu” (may you be happy), and so when the family bowed to me, after quickly regaining my composure this is what I did, wishing them may they be happy, and thanking them for their hospitality.

This event brought up to me the fact that as it’s said in the old discourses, monks are “debters”, ie we live totally Dependant on others for food, shelter, clothing, and medicine. How we pay off that debt is by meditating and learning so that we can then help others, teach them dhamma, meditation etc.

Sometimes as I get closer to my ordination I feel like I’m not even worthy to be a monk, then I feel that I can really give it a good go and work my best to be a good example for others. When I do become one I must take my “debt” seriously and make sure I am doing my best to repay the generosity given to me by living a virtuous life, practicing diligently and learning studiously. The last thing I want to do is squander this amazing generosity, and the respect given to me, I don’t think I could live with myself or even call myself a monk then.
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Bhikkhu Jayasāra -http://www.youtube.com/studentofthepath and https://bhikkhujayasara.wordpress.com/

SarathW
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Re: Student Of The Path

Post by SarathW » Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:29 am

Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu
:bow:

When I prostration to a monk, I do it to a particular monk thinking:

-This monk is observing ten precepts and Vinaya.
- He has the potential to become an Arahant
- He is well conversant with Dhamma
- He protects Dhamma and he teaches it to others.
- So he is worthy of veneration
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Khalil Bodhi
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Re: Student Of The Path

Post by Khalil Bodhi » Mon Jun 22, 2015 9:04 am

What a beautiful story. Thanks for that and for your practice! :anjali:
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

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acinteyyo
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Re: Student Of The Path

Post by acinteyyo » Mon Jun 22, 2015 7:15 pm

It is inspiring to read your posts. Thank you! :anjali:
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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samseva
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Re: Student Of The Path

Post by samseva » Fri Jul 10, 2015 1:42 am

I was reading your blog and found a post about "Two items vital to living in a forest monastery mostly off the grid", with the picture below.

Most people are not aware of this, but batteries sent off to landfills (rather than being recycled at designated battery recycling centers), are very damaging to the environment. According to one of my teachers, a single battery pollutes a m³ of soil. Even worse, the chemicals leach into the ground and then into groundwater, which people drink.

A good alternative to your Duracell flashlight and arsenal of disposable batteries :tongue: would be a rechargeable LED flashlight. I've been looking around on the Internet for about an hour at different models and found one of really good quality, at a decent price.

If you purchase directly from the company, you get a 25% discount (25% of the total purchase, even if you buy for $500 worth of flashlights), plus a lifetime guarantee (which doesn't apply if you buy from other stores). It is also water-resistant.

Here is the flashlight:
https://www.fenixlighting.com/product/u ... lashlight/

Here is a video review of the Fenix UC35 (almost exactly the same thing as the UC30). Near the end (5:25), the person compares it to a Maglite. The Fenix is a lot better.

A 24-count AA Coppertop battery pack costs $14 or more. This means that the 40-count of AA batteries costs around $23. After about two packs of these, the rechargeable flashlight has almost been paid off. In the long run, it is a lot less expensive and much better for the environment.

This might be something worth talking about to Bhante Gunaratana.

:anjali:

Image

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daverupa
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Re: Student Of The Path

Post by daverupa » Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:48 am

I used a flashlight that had a crank on it when I was at Santi Forest Monastery:

Image
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Student Of The Path

Post by dhammarelax » Fri Jul 10, 2015 5:33 pm

daverupa wrote:I used a flashlight that had a crank on it when I was at Santi Forest Monastery:

Image
Ikea sells them for about 6 usd.
Even if the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, I will use all my human firmness, human persistence and human striving. There will be no relaxing my persistence until I am the first of my generation to attain full awakening in this lifetime. ed. AN 2.5

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Bhikkhu_Jayasara
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Re: Student Of The Path

Post by Bhikkhu_Jayasara » Fri Jul 10, 2015 8:45 pm

Lol, how did my ordination thread turn into a flashlight discussion!

Anyways good news, my ordination date is confirmed. 110 days until I take lower ordination on my favorite holiday... Saturday, October 31st. Halloween!
______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Bhikkhu Jayasāra -http://www.youtube.com/studentofthepath and https://bhikkhujayasara.wordpress.com/

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Thisperson
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Re: Student Of The Path

Post by Thisperson » Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:14 pm

Jayantha-NJ wrote:Lol, how did my ordination thread turn into a flashlight discussion!

Anyways good news, my ordination date is confirmed. 110 days until I take lower ordination on my favorite holiday... Saturday, October 31st. Halloween!
Jayantha's Quest for the Perfect Flashlight should be the new thread title hahaha

Congrats on the lower ordination date, may your practice bear fruit!

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Re: Student Of The Path

Post by Bhikkhu_Jayasara » Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:50 pm

Thisperson wrote:
Jayantha-NJ wrote:Lol, how did my ordination thread turn into a flashlight discussion!

Anyways good news, my ordination date is confirmed. 110 days until I take lower ordination on my favorite holiday... Saturday, October 31st. Halloween!
Jayantha's Quest for the Perfect Flashlight should be the new thread title hahaha

Congrats on the lower ordination date, may your practice bear fruit!
Hah I actually bought a nice streamlight usb rechargeable headlamp for myself which works especially well when I meditate in the woods at night. Hand held flashlights are far inferior to headlamps.

Thank you for your words of metta.
Last edited by Bhikkhu_Jayasara on Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Bhikkhu Jayasāra -http://www.youtube.com/studentofthepath and https://bhikkhujayasara.wordpress.com/

SarathW
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Re: Student Of The Path

Post by SarathW » Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:51 pm

What is lower ordination?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Student Of The Path

Post by Bhikkhu_Jayasara » Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:55 pm

SarathW wrote:What is lower ordination?

Pabbajja, means the going forth. Its novice ordination(samanera) which is performed before upasampada, which is the higher ordination of Bhikkhu.

I will be a samanera for a year before becoming a Bhikkhu.
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Bhikkhu Jayasāra -http://www.youtube.com/studentofthepath and https://bhikkhujayasara.wordpress.com/

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samseva
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Re: Student Of The Path

Post by samseva » Sat Jul 11, 2015 4:48 am

Jayantha-NJ wrote:Hah I actually bought a nice streamlight usb rechargeable headlamp for myself which works especially well when I meditate in the woods at night. Hand held flashlights are far inferior to headlamps.
Good to know. Do other monastics use as many batteries as in the picture above? Sorry if I am a little intruding, but seeing so many disposable batteries, which will all end up leaching in the ground and groundwater, makes me cringe inside. :?
Jayantha-NJ wrote:Anyways good news, my ordination date is confirmed. 110 days until I take lower ordination on my favorite holiday... Saturday, October 31st. Halloween!
Congratulations on your pabbajjā!

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Re: Student Of The Path

Post by Bhikkhu_Jayasara » Sat Sep 05, 2015 9:55 pm

Started a little series as my countdown to ordination(Halloween 2015!) begins...

http://jayantha.tumblr.com/post/1283630 ... nths-to-go" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

TOWARDS ORDINATION : PART 1 - TWO MONTHS TO GO.. AND NOW FOR SOME INFORMATIONAL POSTS.

As of yesterday(9-1) I am exactly two months out from my Pabbajja(The “Going Forth” from the life of a householder to that of homelessness) and I decided it may be good for my friends who are interested in following my journey if I would start making the occasional post explaining about what I’m getting myself into and what the ceremony is about.

Firstly I’d like to explain what this ordination means. This is only the first of two ordinations. In many ways it’s the least important and more minor of the two. I will not be a full fledged Bhikkhu(male monastic) after this ordination, but a samanera (Novice monastic). A Bhikkhu follows 227 major rules and close to 10,000 more minor ones, a samanera is not very different then myself as an Anagarika with the exception of following one more precept(that of not handling money) and wearing two of the three red robes.

Of course from the outside it looks like a big change, and I suppose it is considering I will have my head(and eyebrows) shaved and wear red. In essence as of Halloween, I will look like a monastic to any casual observer, but I will only be a monastic in training, a probationary monastic as it were. A year from now is when the big ceremony requiring 10 monastics and more occurs, after which I can truly be a Bhikkhu.

So I wanted to end with this sutta that I have memorized and will be reciting in the Pali, that is a summation of the change of life I am about to undertake. The Buddha requested that we always remember these 10 things:

XI. Discourse on the Ten Dhammas

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Sublime One was living at Sāvatthī, at Jeta’s grove in the park of Anāthapiṇḍika. There the Sublime One addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus.” “Venerable Sir,” they replied. The Sublime One said, “These are ten things, bhikkhus, which one who has gone forth into homelessness should reflect upon always. What ten?

- “I am now changed into a different mode of life [from that of a layperson],”should be reflected upon always by one who has gone forth.

- “My life depends on others,” should be reflected upon always by one who has gone forth.

- “I must now behave in a different manner,” should be reflected upon always by one who has gone forth.

- “Does my mind upbraid me regarding the state of my virtue?” should be reflected upon always by one who has gone forth.

- “Do my discerning fellow bhikkhus, having tested me, upbraid me regarding the state of my virtue?” should be reflected upon always by one who has gone forth.

- “All that is mine, dear and delightful, will change and vanish,” should be reflected upon always by one who has gone forth.

- “I am the owner of my kamma, heir to my kamma, born of my kamma, related to my kamma, abide supported by my kamma. Whatever kamma I shall do, whether good or evil, of that I shall be the heir,” should be reflected upon always by one who has gone forth.

- “How do I spend my nights and days?” should be reflected upon always by one who has gone forth.

- “Do I take delight in solitude?” should be reflected upon always by one who has gone forth.

- “Have I gained superhuman knowledge which can be specially known to noble ones, so that later when I am questioned by fellow bhikkhus I will not be embarrassed?” should be reflected upon always by one who has gone forth.

“These, bhikkhus, are ten things which one who has gone forth should reflect upon always.” Thus spoke the Sublime One. The bhikkhus were pleased with and appreciated the Sublime One’s words.
______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Bhikkhu Jayasāra -http://www.youtube.com/studentofthepath and https://bhikkhujayasara.wordpress.com/

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Re: Student Of The Path

Post by Bhikkhu_Jayasara » Sat Sep 05, 2015 10:01 pm

oh, and also a little funny anecdote :
oh and also, a funny episode from a few weeks back:

This is a recent facebook post of mine, one in a series of ongoing posts related to being out in public in sarongs and robes:

"After 6 months wearing my Anagarika clothing i finally got the comment ive been waiting for. As usual lately today im in town,this time west, deeper into WV in the town of Romney bringing garbage to the dump and water samples to the health department. I stopped at subway and while im waiting for my food i hear "whats with the dress man?" not in a mean way, but in a surprised confused tone.

I turned around with a smile and saw two big burly contractor dudes who looked right out of the hills of Scotland and told them im in training to be a Buddhist monk. He looked at me thoughtfully, nodded his head up and down, and left.

It was an interesting encounter, and it seemed to me that I gave him the last answer he expected. I really enjoy these little encounters, they give me a chance to practice conversations that i suspect will be common in my monastic life.

Mostly what I get are shocked double takes, as in they saw something abnormal quickly and had to turn back to confirm what they thought they saw. It is especially funny for me when it happens with little girls, who seem the most expressive in terms of wondering why this person is wearing a dress. I've been asked if I was a Hare Krishna, and once of twice someone guessed Buddhist right, but mostly people have no clue and some decide to satisfy their curosity with a few questions."
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Bhikkhu Jayasāra -http://www.youtube.com/studentofthepath and https://bhikkhujayasara.wordpress.com/

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Re: Student Of The Path

Post by Bhikkhu_Jayasara » Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:20 am

Latest video in the "journey into homelessness" series, marking 1 year at Bhavana, experiences as an Anagarika and preparing for novice ordination.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Bhikkhu Jayasāra -http://www.youtube.com/studentofthepath and https://bhikkhujayasara.wordpress.com/

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Re: Student Of The Path

Post by SarathW » Tue Sep 08, 2015 11:45 am

Thanks for sharing.
It is great to hear how your journey unfold.
:anjali:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Student Of The Path

Post by Bhikkhu_Jayasara » Fri Sep 11, 2015 11:52 pm

http://jayantha.tumblr.com/post/1288758 ... o-you-need


TOWARDS ORDINATION: PART 2 - “WHAT DO YOU NEED?” - THE FOUR MONASTIC REQUISITES AND A MIND NOT YET READY TO FULLY LET GO

There is a phrase I’ve heard once or twice so far as I come close to my ordination, and it’s the title of this article. It’s a phrase that fills me with slight dread, but one that I will have get used to hearing as once I ordain because soon “my life depends on others”, as the sutta in the previous article tells me to keep in mind.

Once I ordain, the four requisites of food, clothing, shelter, and medicine, are items I no longer will have the ability to provide for myself. This was a wonderful invention of the Buddha who created the fourfold assembly of male and female monastics and lay persons. This four-fold symbiosis meant that monastics could not do what was so often seen near 1500 years later in medieval Europe, where monasteries were fortresses that had their own lands, their own indentured servants, and ruled over the populace rather than depending on them and being beholden to them as Buddhist monastics are.

As a monastic living at Bhavana I will need shelter to live. Bhavana itself is that shelter, if it closed down because people did not feel it worthy to donate to and keep it going, then I would be without shelter. If there was no one anywhere to provide me shelter, I could no longer be a monastic. The same goes with food,clothing and medicine, which come either directly from people helping the monastic out or out of general funds donated to Bhavana for these purposes. Then of course there is clothing. The basic monastic clothing is a very simple three robe and a shirt affair, although it gets more complicated when it comes to winter clothing and the like.

The great thing about the Buddhist setup is that because I am beholden to the lay community, if I am a bad monk or don’t fulfill my end of the bargain, they can(and should) stop supporting me. A Buddhist monk is not supposed to be above reproach and untouchable. A Buddhist monk is not supposed to be able to hide behind a large institution that will hide what they’ve done wrong and shelter them, giving them a lifetime tenure of safety regardless of how they act. Of course there are places in the Buddhist world where this is EXACTLY what happens, because life is not perfect, but it wasn’t originally setup this way.

The Great Maha Kassapa, my favorite disciple of the Buddha, said that “he ate the countries alms food a debtor” until he became awakened. I am given these four requisites by lay persons, and this is a debt to be repaid. How does a monastic repay their debt? By striving in the practice, and teaching what they’ve learned. By being an example of the Buddha’s path for others to follow, which of course does not mean being perfect, but honestly striving with confidence, humility, and endurance. This is what I plan to do to the best of my ability.

So with that explained, back to my own experience and the reason for this post. Keep in mind that this post isn’t some kind of veiled attempt to “get” anything or claim that I am in need of anything. This is also not meant to dissuade those who want to help make sure I have everything I need. In this post I want to continue my plan of documenting experiences on the path, showing insight into the mind-states and thoughts that arise on the path of renunciation.

So what happens when I hear “what do you need?”? As stated above a slight feeling of dread arises as this is quite a complicated question and I am often unsure as to the proper answer. There are also feelings of joy in witnessing someone wanting to perform an act of good will and generosity. This is a brand new experience I often times don’t know WHAT I need, so I’ve spoken with the other monastics here about how they handle the situation.
When I hear “what do you need” a balancing act comes up in the mind between asking for what I truly need, and what I don’t REALLY need but want. Between trying to ensure I do have everything I need, but not appearing to ask for too much or be a burden on those kind and generous enough to ask. In the end I’ve given people a few choices between helping me acquire clothing for winter, and the monastics in general needing more cloth for robes and the like, as most premade robes are not made for westerners and don’t fit well. I will be making my own robe as a monastic in the near future, something I am greatly looking forward to as a connection with the Bhikkhus of old who did such.

Another aspect of the mind in the process of renunciation, is the great American concept of self-reliance, which is a great skill for anyone to have, including monastics who often have to make do with what little they have. This however can also lead to thoughts such as “oh I’m going to need shirts, oh and a winter hat, and this or that; but what if no one asks and its winter and I’m cold! I know I can spend money now so I can make a “gift to myself” and buy these things with my own money!”.

I have always been self-reliant, never needing much help from others, and unskillfully not taking it when I DID need the help. This is something however that I’ve worked on greatly for the past half-decade and that I continue to work on as I move towards becoming a monastic. Totally letting go and REALLY allowing your life to be in someone else’s hands is quite a scary concept, but one truly essential to the life of a renunciant.

Of course then once I purchased the items I feel guilty because my own fear has led to me denying someone else the benefit of practicing generosity with me. Monastics are said to be a “field of merit”. Meaning that lay persons can practice generosity and freely giving by helping out the monks, which in turn also leads to the lay person sowing the fruits of being able to “let go” more and more themselves. Fear however has led to me robbing others of that opportunity, but since this fear is rooted in one of the most basic survival instincts, it is deep and pervasive in the human psyche. For this reason I am kind, forgiving and not too hard with myself.

I’ve heard it said that the more you give up, the more you get, and I see the wisdom in that statement as I ever so slowly move towards its acceptance, it will take some time.
______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Bhikkhu Jayasāra -http://www.youtube.com/studentofthepath and https://bhikkhujayasara.wordpress.com/

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Re: Student Of The Path

Post by SarathW » Sat Sep 12, 2015 12:49 am

The fear of unknown.
I had this fear when I went to university, every time I got a new job and even when I wanted to move to a new house.
My greatest fear of being a monastic is the fear of not having a good teacher.
I think you are very lucky in that sense as you have Bhante G as your teacher.
The rest is just trivial.
:anjali:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Student Of The Path

Post by jagodage » Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:43 am

Dear Anagarika Jayantha

I wish you Metta for being on verge of Pabbjee.This is the point where you separate lay life with monastic life.You will say Bye Bye for lay activites. You will be one individual of Great Sanga descending from Great venerable Sariputta and Mogallana.A field of merits for lay persons like us.Deserving to be verination :anjali: . Deserving to offer Alms and other precious items carrying from long distance.An individual who took 1st step to Nibbana.Deserving to discuss Dhamma talks.

So be ready to qualify.When you become Samanera if you wish Suwa path Wethwa(Be free of ill will) that wish itself will be your repayment for four requsites from lay persons.

It is a state of Kalyana Mitta to read your blog.But I feel one day you will feel that itself will be hindrance for your progress on path.Till that time please keep in touch.As these candid comments will be a guide to any wisher.

Looking forth your Samanera Ordination.

With Metta
Jagodage

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