Venezuela – making Ordination possible

The sangha in Merida Venezuela has a special place in the hearts of many FutureDharma supporters. With economic crisis plunging the country into social chaos, the centre has become even more of a lifeline for the sangha there. Vajranatha was, for many years, the only Order member in the sangha. His resolve and love for his community are palpable whenever he speaks about it, as you can see in the talk he gave in 2018. Many in the sangha are experienced practitioners but had little hope of pursuing ordination due to the sheer geographical distance between them and available ordination retreats, and the massive costs involved after the Venezuelan economic crash.

Vajranatha shares his wonderful sangha in 2018

Sangha is a lifeline in difficult times

In October 2019 we were able to pay for three women TFO Mitras to go to Mexico and attend an ordination training retreat. They were able to practice s part of a Spanish speaking retreat led by Parami (UK) and Jnanadakini (Mexico) and make meaningful connections with members of the Cuernavaca sangha. One of the women was ordained on the retreat, becoming Abhayasara ‘She whose nature is fearlessness.’ 

L to R; Marielena, Paula, Pao (Mexico), Gleysa, and Chaturanga the dog

Vajranatha has long believed in the commitment and depth of practice of his sangha, saying that many are ready for ordination, but unable to join the Order simply because they can’t take part in ordination training retreats and form meaningful connections with Order members other than Vajranatha. In 2019, after 20 years as a Mitra however, Acalamati became Venezuela’s first “homegrown” Order member. His name means “He who has an unwavering mind.”

Vajranatha with Abhayasara & Acalamati – Venezuela’s first ‘home-grown’ Order members

Getting the letter – Hear about Acalamati’s ordination invite

In February 2020, just before lockdown, Parami visited the Merida sangha and led a retreat for women training for ordination. She recorded an interview with members of the Merida sangha

“In a crisis you have to find new ways to be, you can’t just carry on with the old ways…Buddhism gives you something new…a way of finding happiness, that comes from a different place.”

Listen to the full conversation between Parami and members of the Merida sangha.