Another winter has taken the stage at Tisarana. We are sorting out firewood, putting gravel and grit on our walking paths, making sure the portable generator is ready for any ice storms that might interrupt our power from the grid, and generally making sure that we are secure for the winter. Soon the Tisarana community will begin its annual 3-month retreat. From the 6th of January until the end of March we will put away our various projects and move to a more inward and solitary lifestyle. The Saturday meditations will still take place as usual and there will be at least one bhikkhu available at meal times should anyone want to visit and exchange thoughts, questions and inspirations about the Buddha-Dhamma.
I shall be travelling in Asia from the 10th of December until the 20th of January. My first stop is in Kuala Lampur to visit with friends in Malaysia. I will then be teaching my first retreat in Singapore with friends I met last year. Finally I have the good fortune to spend a few weeks in Thailand to pay respects to my elders, renew old acquaintances and participate in the annual memorial meditations and ceremonies dedicated to Ajahn Chah at Wat Nong Pah Pong in North East Thailand.
Before setting out on my annual pilgrimage to Asia, I wanted to wish the friends and supporters of Tisarana Monastery a truly good New Year. Goodness comes from without but also from within. When we practice the Buddha’s Noble Eight-Fold Path we are aligning our body, speech and mind with the forces of goodness thus protecting us and guiding us on our journey through the ups and downs of this earthly existence.
May you enjoy good health, good fortune, good friendships and peaceful abiding in this coming year of 2014 or 2557. May you be at ease with the way things are. May you realize your most profound aspiration.