The Passing of Dh Vihanasari

Our dear friend Dharmacharini Vihanasari (Sandra Bonin) died on August 18, 2023 at age 79 following a long struggle with Alzheimer’s.  We remember her as a long time member of the Aryaloka sangha. First as a friend, then a mitra and in July, 2008, she was ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order and given the Buddhist name Vihanasari by Dayalocana her Private Preceptor.  Vihanasari had a strong connection with 1000 armed Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of compassion. He represented her desire and willingness to solve whatever problem came her way and her compassionate nature. 

Vihanasari was my good friend, as well as a friend to all. She was kind hearted, caring, gracious and was always willing to be helpful. She will continue to be remembered for her warmth, sincerity and friendliness.  We all will miss her cheerful smile and positive energy. As someone said, her smile reflected her gentle soul.

Following her retirement from teaching she served as the Center Manager for Aryaloka where her patience, perseverance and sense of humor were put to good use for many years. Vihanasari worked for the Dharma with integrity and determination at Aryaloka. We are grateful for her dedication to our Center and community. 

Vihanasari’s love and appreciation of music and her happiness and joy when singing was reflected in her name, Vihanasari: the thrush at dawn, joyfully singing as the light of the Dharma enters the world. 

We remember Vihanasari with great appreciation and affection.

From her family: "We are the family of Sandra Bonin (Sandy). With our whole hearts saddened that she has left us to rejoice a higher purpose. She truly loved Aryaloka and missed it after her illness started to take hold. This was a place she admired and as an educator, a naturalist, and she valued what was being shared here."

Sandra Holland Bonin

Our beloved mother, Sandra Holland Bonin, passed away on August 18, 2023 after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s.  She was 79.  Her ashes will be scattered in her favorite places around the seacoast area.

Sandra was born February 20, 1944 in New Beford, Mass to the late Robert and Claire Holland. She was oldest of four children and spent her younger years living in Scituate, Mass. She is survived by her own children, Kyre and Brendan Cahoon; her grandchildren, Skye, Erin and Shaylee Cahoon; and her siblings Robert Holland Jr., Steven Holland, and Dee Summers. She was previously married to Barry Cahoon and William H Bonin, the latter of whom predeceased her by several years.  She will be remembered fondly by many loving friends and former colleagues.

Sandra was a teacher for elementary school children for many years and firmly believed in striving for a higher education.  She was also the Gifted Education Coordinator for MSAD 60 school region in Maine during the latter portion of her career.  As head of two library organizations, she was instrumental in the establishment of a new library in Rollinsford, NH, and organizing multiple programs and fund raisers as part of the Friends of Newmarket Public Library in Newmarket, NH.  She had an ardent love of music, singing in several choirs and playing multiple instruments, and often could be found sitting outside reading her favorite books and authors with her beloved dog Nikki.  Passionate about nature and the outside world, she frequently enjoyed hiking, kayaking and spending time in the garden.

As a devoted Buddhist, Sandra achieved the level Mitra after years of study and dedication to the Dharma. She was a long time member of Aryaloka Retreat Center in Newmarket NH as well as the administrator there after her retirement from the education sector.

Per her request, there are no scheduled services.  However, in lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her memory to the New Hampshire SPCA or the New Charitable Foundation.