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Adapting and carrying on

We had a meeting yesterday to talk over points of the new Dhamma Hall construction contract. Here we are, all in the office. Gabriel took the picture using a fish-eye lens to get us all in the shot!

When you have to meet, maintain six feet…

We’ve heard that at Wat Pah Nanachat they’ve cancelled the daily Pindabhat and, like Tisarana, have a small group of lay volunteers cooking for the community. There’s a vinaya rule against wearing the ‘wrong’ colors (blue, white, others) and so the Nanachat monks are wearing face masks made with robe-cloth covers.

Our discussion this morning centered on how best to carry out the Patimokkha, given that the instructions require the monks to be within about 18 inches of each other. The vinaya (rules for monks) also wisely contains several allowances for extraordinary circumstances (e.g. a time of illness, a time of dangers, and the like) which give us some maneuvering room to figure out how best to respond. In this case we’re planning to do the ceremony, but maintain the 6-foot rule.

It’s all part of the life… … Read the rest

Wildlife & Tree Brackets

Technically I’m still on Winter Retreat forest practice, but it’s getting pretty hard to ignore the signs of spring. The squirrels outside my kuti have been engaging in quite loud and sometimes shocking territorial combat. After meditating in the long stillness of the snowed-in weeks, with only the distant sound of coy-wolves howling, for me this is pretty exciting. Yesterday there was some sort of rodent-brawl that involved several of them; banging the door, running up and down the porch screens and squeaking with insane intensity.

I was a little afraid to go outside. It is not often I get intimidated by squirrels, but Spring is madness for them.

Along with all that commotion, one of our younger monastics, Vipassi, told me about a plan to build a tree-platform (gasp!) for outdoor practice in a little grove on the new land, and he wanted my advice about constructing it. Well, my mind took that up like a retriever takes a tennis ball, and would NOT let it go. I’ve been designing ‘tree brackets’ in mental space now for 2 days. Maybe it will calm down soon and I’ll get a few more days of peace and quiet before the work year starts up.… Read the rest