>> Winter Winding:
The winter retreat will start on January 6th and we are winding down – and gearing up. There will be a week of group meditation to begin, with various dhamma reflections and guidance to suppport this. Morning and evening pujas will continue but there will be times of ‘no meetings’ where people can spend more time on their own. These news updates may be somewhat sparse but we hope to keep the online events calendar up to date. You are more than welcome to visit the monastery and join with whatever is going on. We will be observing Noble Silence. The barn meditation module is now heated (see below) and we will be using this regularly. Feel free to come any time and use this space for meditation. Join us for the daily meal at 11.00
>> New Year:
After much discussion we have decreed that this should be an annual event. An approximate schedule for this year: Puja at 7pm, meditation, dhamma reflection, bonfire, marsh mellows, meditation, cremation, meditation, more march mallows… or something, not necessarily in that order. The general theme will be ‘regrets & aspirations’ – past and future. Regrets, disappointments, short falls, guilt, remorse, blame, self-condemnation, etc. can be written on a (large? small?) piece of paper and cremated on the fire. Release.! Aspirations, goals, objectives, hopes, wishes, etc. can likewise be written and saved for ‘planting’ in the meditation hall foundations (don’t know where, don’t know when) as seeds for the future.
Anagarika Alan has various family commitments that have led him to decide not to ordain at this time but to be with his family. He has been such a warm-hearted and positive, generous member of the community during all his time here so this is sad news for us here at the monastery as I am sure it is for those of you who have spent time with him. We wish him well in all his future undertakings and keep an open space for him in our house and in our hearts.
And then, when we exactly expected it… Bhante Khemmaratana arrived. He was welcomed by great piles of snow, then torrents of rain, then slushy mounds of mush, then islands of ice. Welcome to Canada Bhante. He has snow shoes – and.! a toasty fire in the Cetovimmuti Kuti. We look forward to having his company and dhamma energy for…? all is uncertain but he plans to be here for a year or more.
>> Barn Bottoms:
The small furnace in the barn meditation module is now working and a thermometer on the seat of a plastic lawn chair (inside the module) confirms that, with the heat set on medium, outdoors at -15c, the average meditator’s posterior temperature, in the module, will be a very cosy 22 degrees C. The low setting is plenty warm and the dozen or so meditators that joined us on Saturday for the Day of Mindfulness concur.
>> Tractor Ops:
The little red engine has a dead starter motor. Transplant in progress. Sadhu.! Some Antipodean newbie forgot to fill the radiator with anit-freeze. The recent thaw was most opportune. He has been sentenced to three months of hard meditation. Sadhu.!
I accept my penance. I accept that for large parts of the next three months I may be silent. I may be in solitude with little but my own mind for company. I may only have one meal a day. I may have to bow often to the way things are in the present moment. I will try to receive all this with grace and joy. AK