FOREST SANGHA
newsletter
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

Bodhinyanarama,New Zealand : The buddhist monks community for vassa 2007

Bodhinyanarama, N.Z . : The community for vassa 2007

 

Bodhinyanarama (New Zealand)

This year at Bodhinyanarama has been one of many changes.

At the beginning of the year we were four resident ajahns, and during the summer we were pleased to have visits by four senior ajahns from further afield: Ajahn Munindo, Ajahn Guttasilo, Ajahn Vajiro and Ajahn Chandako.

However, by the end of May I was the only ajahn left to continue with our increased teaching programme! Ajahn Dhammanando returned to the UK in April, Ajahn Ariyasilo stayed the vassa in Melbourne before returning to the UK and Bhante Jinalankara began his year-long retreat at the ‘Bhavana Kuti’, a half-hour drive across the valley.

However, our small community was soon reinforced with the arrival of Ven. Gavesako in July and Ajahn Uttamo in August. The increase in the resident Sangha allowed us each to have a much-appreciated six-week period of silent retreat during the vassa.

For ten weeks of the vassa period we were fortunate to have the support of two dedicated and very supportive meditators. Not only were they exceptionally helpful in the kitchen, thus giving Samanera Nandako and Anagarika Horst time out for retreat, they were also very active in transforming our garden area and assisting in forest work. Several of us were able to benefit from their extensive knowledge of native New Zealand flora and are now able to identify at least some of the diverse plant life in our lush forest.

Fortunately, we have no urgent projects so most active meditation is involved with the continuous maintenance of the forest paths and weed control, with 1 ½ hours each morning devoted to this peaceful and vigorous work. We have reintroduced one of the memorable regular activities of the Thai forest monasteries – sweeping leaves.

The new kitchen project is slowly proceeding with architectural plans reaching a recognizable stage and a miniature model on display. A number of supporters have made very generous donations and others have started various fund-raising endeavours. Generally there has been an an outflow of keen and encouraging support.

Bodhinyanarama is extremely well laid out for use by both the monastic community and lay visitors. It thus lends itself to the holding of meditation retreats with a minimum of disturbance for the monastic Sangha. Thus I have increased the number of short-term retreats together with a monthly Meditation Afternoon. The afternoons have been very well attended and the retreats are slowly beginning to be appreciated by more people from further afield.

During the Rains Retreat I gave a series of talks on the theme of the Seven Factors of Awakening which was very well received. So well, in fact, that several supporters are helping to transcribe them for a possible book.

Due to having only one other ajahn here I have stayed close to home, except for a short teaching trip to Christchurch. However next year plans are afoot to travel to Thailand for the annual January 16th Sangha gathering at Wat Pah Pong, and to Australia for a weekend of teaching in Sydney. In April begins the long journey to Japan, Europe and North America.

And so the theme of ongoing change continues. At the end of the Rains Retreat Samanera Nandako returned to lay life to pursue his interest for more solitude. In December we will be joined by Ven. Narado from Chithurst Monastery, and then at the end of January Ven. Gavesako departs for Thailand.

Of course, all these external changes are only an ongoing display of the truth of eternal change.


With metta, Ajahn Tiradhammo

 

 


 


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