First Mexican Noviceat the Dhamma Vihara

by Lourdes Estrada Terrés, Centro Mexicano Del Buddhismo Theravada A.C., Vol 6, Issue 2, November 2004

Mexico City, Mexico -- It was midnight at the Dhamma Vihara when I listened to voices coming from the next room. I came out and found myself, face to face, with Angélica López, the mother of the one who would be robed as a novice.

Almost asleep, I asked: what is the matter?..... These are the final preparations for the great occasion that would take place in a few hours. There were people working, talking, cooking, sawing, sticking.....

It was eight o'clock in the morning, you could feel a calm environment; at the top of the hill I watched Karuna, Komala and Jagara running to set the flags. At the kitchen, a group of women working, cooking Mexican, vegetarian food and refreshments. Far beyond, I could see a car getting close to the kitchen with a big white cake.... and Alina putting some ribbons around the Bodhi tree's rotunda....

Yes, these were the preparations needed to receive more than a hundred persons.

When I came back to the building, I listened to Jetsun talking and remembered his words:
?Since I was a child, I grew up in a Mahayana Buddhist environment because my parents practice Tibetan Buddhism; even though I had the Buddhist system as a way of life at home, it never got my attention like now.

When I heard the Dhamma, when I heard Venerable U Nandisena, at the monastery environment, I knew right away that was my path and felt the urgency of experiencing the life as a monk. So I was robed as a temporary novice and started to study the teachings of
the Buddha; afterwards I told my parents about my urgency to live as a monk, then I talked about it with Venerable U Nandisena and Venerable U Silananda so the date was set up.

At sixteen years of age, Jetsun López, a youngster born in Coatepec, Veracruz, México, decided to take the path of a renouncer; his preceptor, Venerable U Nandisena, in his thirteenth vasa (rains´ retreat), at two and thirty minutes of September twenty eight of two
thousand and four, robed the youngster Jetsun under the name of ?Dhammasena?, a name compound of two words:

From the Pali: ?Dhamma? referred to ?what the Buddha taught?, ?Sena? that means ?an army that protects?. That is to say, ?An Army that protects the Dhamma?. Approximately eighty people attended the celebration, between relatives, teachers, friends and people from
México City, Xalapa and locals. A blessing was also given to the parents and the

With no doubt, this was an auspicious day for Buddhism in Mexican soil.