Ayya Sobhana has meditated and trained with Bhante Henepola Gunaratana since 1989. Her primary practice is the Eightfold Noble Path, that is, integration of meditation with ethical living and compassionate relationships for the sake of liberation. She ordained in 2003 and obtained full Bhikkhuni ordination at Dambulla, Sri Lanka, in 2006. Last year, Ayya Sobhana moved from the Bhavana Society in West Virginia to Aranya Bodhi Awakening Forest Hermitage, where she is the Prioress. Aranya Bodhi is a new community for monastic women located on the Sonoma Coast of California.
After her 6 week retreat at Dhammadharini, Ayya Sobhana shares guidelines for working with cittanupasana (contemplation of mental factors) and how to balance the mind factors that may come up in metta meditation. She also links the contemplation of the elements as tools to balancing the mind.
This is a review of how clinging to the five aggregates is a summary of suffering and, in particular, why consciousness can be a key as to whether we are hooked in the system or not. Using examples from neuroscience Ayya Sobhana explains how before knowing the Dhamma we are much more reactive to 'the slings and arrow of outrageous fortune', but through practice we can become more equanimous and calm and can receive the experience of life without being disturbed by it.
This is the third of four special Dhammadharini events celebrating the yearlong 2600th anniversary of Bhikkhuni Sangha, with a focus on the Arahant Bhikkhuni Mahapajapati Gotami, as the pathbreaker, leader, and mentor of the early women's sangha. This was a Seminar on the Leadership of Women in Buddhism.
This talk was given at Yoga Mendocino. Ayya Sobhana first leads a meditation based on the first section of the Dhatuvibhanga Sutta using the elements. Then at 35:30 she goes on to summarize the sutta and take questions. This talk was given a few weeks after the bhikkhunis had done an extensive study of the sutta in their winter retreat.