Dhammadharini Vihara is a Buddhist women's monastic residence (vihara) in the Sonoma Hills of Santa Rosa, California. The name "Dhammadharini" is interpreted as a "holder" or "upholder" of the Buddhadhamma as a "flowing" or "streaming" reality, teaching and practice. A "vihara" is a monastic residence, and place of Dhamma and meditation teaching and practice.
A bhikkhunī or bhikṣuṇī is a fully ordained female monastic in Buddhism.
Male monastics are called bhikkhus. Both bhikkhunis and bhikkhus live by the Vinaya, a set of rules.
Until recently, the lineages of female monastics only remained in Mahayana Buddhism and thus are prevalent in countries such as China, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam but a few women have taken the full monastic vows in the Theravada and Vajrayana schools over the last decade. .
Buddhism entered the US during the 19th century with the arrival of the first immigrants from East Asia. The first Buddhist temple was established in San Francisco in 1853 by Chinese Americans.
The first prominent US citizen to publicly convert to Buddhism was Colonel Henry Steel Olcott in 1880 who is still honored in Sri Lanka for his Buddhist revival efforts.
An event that contributed to the strengthening of Buddhism in the US was the .
Buddhist monasticism is one of the earliest surviving forms of organized monasticism and one of the fundamental institutions of Buddhism.
Monks and nuns, called bhikkhu and bhikkhuni, are responsible for the preservation and dissemination of the Buddha's teaching and the guidance of Buddhist lay people.
Three surviving traditions of monastic discipline (Vinaya), govern modern monastic life in different regional traditions:
- the Theravada in Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka
- the Dharmaguptaka in East Asia