|Forest Sangha Newsletter||April 1991|
Another Part of the World
To my surprise, people were waiting for me at Auckland airport. I only had two hours before my connecting flight to Wellington, so the thought never entered my mind that people would he waiting to offer me some food. 'But Bhante, everything is arranged. My friend will let us use one of the offices here in the airport. He is the airport manager.' Once again, the world is a kind, generous, if somewhat mysterious place.
There is something special about old friends. There is a lack of demand in their greeting that allows us to be just as we are. The sense of acceptance we feel in their presence can be a tangible experience, which can dispel anxiety and open the way for true communication. Ajahn Viradhammo and I were (somewhat mischievous) novices together in Thailand almost twenty years ago. Over the years we have watched with some amazement the developments of the Buddhist Sangha in the West. I remember at Chithurst many years ago, V. telling me, in an almost ex cathedra manner, that we had reached the crest of the wave of interest and (the eternal optimist) it would then be all downhill from then on. Little did we know that this cosmic dance we call life would unfold in such a manner.
Wearing robes is a fairly strong statement about one's commitment to a spiritual discipline which has often been supported by the tacit 'Good on ya' from the people I have met.
|The invitation to go to New Zealand for three months came as a surprise. But the thought of helping an old friend was very pleasing to me although I was concerned that I would have to take some responsibility for a major building project that was well under way. However, Ajahn V. assured me that would not be the case. I would simply have to take care of the monastery while he was away.|
|The Sala is an aesthetically pleasing building. The ambience created by the careful attention to detail invites the mind to pause and reflect and is a wonderful sign of the determination, dedication and generosity of the community in New Zealand, both lay and monastic.|
This life as a monastic is a privileged existence. The people I have had the fortuity to meet here have impressed me with their open friendliness and good humour. There seems to be something of a pioneering spirit in this country which manifests in a refreshing willingness to accept the novel. 'Good on ya!' is a Kiwi-ism which expresses encouragement for someone doing something that that person feels is important and fulfilling. Wearing robes is a fairly strong statement about one's commitment to a spiritual discipline which has often been supported by the tacit 'Good on ya' from the people I have met.
I have had an opportunity to teach at most of the Buddhist groups around the country that support the monastery. It is inspiring to encounter such interest, sincerity and gratitude towards the teachings of the Buddha. I feel confident that, with the wise and compassionate guidance of Ajahn Viradhammo, the Dhamma will continue to flourish in this exquisitely beautiful country.