Juanuary             2008                             2551                      Number     82
The Forest Sangha is a worldwide Buddhist monastic
community in the Thai forest tradition of Ajahn Chah

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Monasteries 2007

Checking-in with some of the monasteries at the end of another year


Icy trees in a Hartridge field


Hartridge (Devon)

ajahn dhiravamso









Ajahn Dhiravamso

The past twelve months at Hartridge Monastery has been a period of transition with the arrival of a new abbot. At the end of November 2006 Ajahn Suriyo, who had been abbot for three years, left to live in a hermitage. He had been very popular at Hartridge, but poor health was a steady drain, and sadly, late this year, he decided to disrobe. Ajahn Dhiravamso, originally only in Devon for a few months, extended his stay to take the helm as acting senior monk for an interim period, until in May 2007 Ajahn Jutindharo arrived from Amaravati to take up the position of abbot. These two together with Venerable Mahapanyo from Italy, were the resident bhikkhus for vassa 2007, before the latter returned to Italy and the former went to Chithurst prior to moving on to Bodhinyanarama in Australia.

Helping the continuity at the monastery – as the only person resident for all of 2007 – has been Anagarika Paramito, who first arrived in Devon in October 2006 as a layman, and then took anagarika precepts at Hartridge in April. Latterly he has been joined by Anagarika Chris, who has also lived at Wat Pa Nanachat and at Aruna Ratanagiri.

With a period of waiting before Ajahn Jutindharo arrived, and his taking time to become familiar with a new place, it is perhaps no surprise that the emphasis this year has been about maintaining continuity. Hartridge is a warm and open-hearted environment, supported by the clarity and structure of the monastic form. Support for and interest in the monastery has been steadily growing over the last few years, and there were signs that this will continue. Both Wesak and Kathina festivals were very well attended, meditation workshops are popular and there is a steady stream of guests, visitors, and invitations for teaching and dana. As well as offering teaching and support for lay groups, practitioners, and a sizeable Buddhist community in the south-west, as a small, friendly monastery, relatively quiet and with kutis, Hartridge naturally appeals to many members of the Sangha. This year has seen quite a few samanas coming for short or longer visits. Many have enjoyed going on pindapat (almsround) in Honiton, a practice maintained over the year by Ajahn Dhiravamso. From late December Venerable Subaddho from Amaravati will have arrived to take up residence, and Ajahn Anando will also be staying for the winter retreat.

Anagarika Paramito






Anagarika Paramito

As for the monastery itself, over recent years there have been significant improvements made to parts of the main building. Other parts have also been in need of attention, and so some decorating, repairing and renewing, particularly inside, has left the original cottage in quite good shape. While it is early days yet, we are beginning to look ahead to possibly redeveloping some of the outbuildings to create a larger shrine room and improve the guest facilities, and to rebuild some of the kutis. And we hope to develop plans to plant up more areas of the land owned by the monastery to extend the woodlands planted 15 years ago. Watch this space!




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