Forest SanghaNewsletter
January 1996

Don't Get Off The Train; Ajahn Thanavaro
Vision and Focus; Sister Thanasanti
Saving Forests; Nick Scott interviews Ajahn Pasanno
The Retreat of Light; Reflections from California
Sutta Class: Morals & Ethics; Ajahn Thiradhammo
The Open Road; Sister Candasiri
Signs of Change:



The Temple Update:
The new temple building at Amaravati is really beginning to take shape, with the walls in place and the oak frame soon to go up. Much of the messiest work has been completed, although the central area of the monastery compound will continue to look very much like a building site for some time to come. This had initially caused a bit of inconvenience for both residents and visitors, but everyone seems to be taking it in good heart. And despite our cramped facilities, this year's Kathina was as well attended as ever.
    Financial support has continued to be very generous, with many people responding enthusiastically now that work is finally under way. Of course, as the majority of people who support Amaravati are not well-off, many can only afford small contributions. But every little bit helps and reinforces the sense of owning and participating in something which will be for the benefit of all.
    As we discovered when the foundations were installed, putting down firm roots is a substantial investment. As of late 1995, it looks as though there will be sufficient funds to effectively complete the main hall itself by mid-1996. However, we will probably have to wait longer before seeing the whole of the cloister and some of the finishing touches inside the temple itself.

Luang Por in Asia
Ajahn Sumedho will be away from Amaravati for a period of more than four months, having gone to Thailand on November 21st
    Initially, he was in Bangkok, where the Buddha-rupa for the Amaravati temple was being cast. In late November, he and Ajahn Attapemo visited the foundry in Bangkok to chant parittas and then set in motion the process of creating the clay mould for the rupa.
It is customary in Thailand, whenever a Buddha-rupa is made for a well-known monastery, for the casting to be a big public occasion, attended by respected elders and many laypeople. Although our casting on December 10th was a somewhat smaller event, many elder monks in Thailand who have been supporters of our Sangha from its beginnings came to participate in the ceremony together with a number of other bhikkhus including the abbot of Wat Pah Nanachat, and many of our lay supporters.
    Whilst in Bangkok, Ajahn Sumedho led a short retreat and gave public talks and interviews. He then spent some quiet time in the environs of Wat Pah Nanachat and Ubon, where he attended the annual memorial ceremonies for Luang Por Chah in the middle of January. As well as this being a time to venerate a much-loved teacher, the anniversary of Luang Por's passing was also a valuable time for his remaining senior disciples to gather together.
    In early February (1st - 4th), there will be a second Sangha gathering, this time for the cremation of Luang Por Jun who passed away last year. (See the obituary by Sister Sanghamitta in the last Sangha Newsletter).
    In February, Ajahn Sumedho will teach retreats in Chiang Mai and then leave Thailand to take up an invitation to Indonesia. In March he will be in India to attend the third Conference of Western Buddhist Teachers, held in Dharamsala with H.H. the Dalai Lama.
    Upon his return to Amaravati in April, he will spend one month in self retreat for a well- deserved rest before rejoining the monastic community in its daily activities.

A model of the new Buddha rupa being cast for the Temple.
Amaravati Support Network
Thanks to the kind offers of so many of our supporters, the Amaravati Support Network is ticking over at a steady rhythm. In the office, we have a team of helpers doing a variety of tasks from accounting to posting letters. Our tape library assistant comes rain or snow in his bicycle all the way from Watford!
    We could use more assistance in the main library on a regular basis to help maintain our wonderful collection of books on all the major religions. And, come spring-time, there is much garden work to be done.
    So, if you can come in to assist, especially in the library of the garden for a day or even just for an afternoon, weekends or during the week, please drop us a note!