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APRIL HAS COME; ANOTHER YEAR GONE; nature rises, birth and growth prominent. As the monastic communities in Europe emerge from their own winter retreats, movement and activity begin amongst them again, with annual meetings of the senior monks and nuns, retreats and other offerings of the Sangha which augment our day-to-day life of practice.

Much of this involves the ways in which Theravada Buddhist monasteries, being dependent on the involvement and support of a lay community, are not closed hideaways cloistered from the world, but are open to people of all stripes and sizes to come along in, stop for an hour or a day (or longer), make use of the sanctuary or get involved in some other way. This means families are welcome, and one of the familiar features of life in a monastery is the regular presence of people of all ages, old and young, who may each find something here all their own to value.

Part of the initial vision for Amaravati when the Sangha moved in in 1984, was that the spacious facilities would provide opportunities for more lay involvement than could take place at Chithurst. Thus the Retreat Centre became a part of Amaravati, and it has hosted retreats for much of every year since then. It has also allowed for more opportunities for families: a residential stay of anywhere from a weekend to nine days.

These Family Events revolve around the summer Family Camp: nine days in August where the area of the monastery around the Retreat Centre and into the wideopen field is full of children, families and fun. This issue of the newsletter is a special one dedicated to sharing a taste of this, and what it has meant to those involved.

Ajahn Kusalo and children in the 1990s
Ajahn Kusalo and children in the 1990s
Note to our subscribers in Thailand

We found out recently that last year the newsletter was not copied and distributed as usual, due to a change of address for our distributor ... our apologies for that if you missed a few issues.

As always, you can find all back issues of the FSN on our website, under Back Issues.

Samanera Amaranatho, who has been in the community nearly ten years and has responsibility for organizing and running all Family Events, and Sister Cittapala who helps him, prepared the material on the following pages.

As Ven. Amaranatho notes on p. 16, the spaces available for the Camp are limited by our resources, and by this time of year each summer’s Camp is usually full. However, more information about family opportunities as well as various resources for young people can always be found by visiting the website Ven. Amaranatho maintains for Family Events: www.family.amaravati.org.

May you be well,

Bhikkhu Jayanto

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