S A N T A C I T T A R A M A B U D D H I S T M O N A S T E R Y
The moment is approaching when I am due to leave on my 'sabbatical year'. This has been planned for some time, and is usual practice in our monasteries for the abbot to periodically spend time free of the duties and responsabilities that go with such a role. Having been in Italy for more than 12 years, it seems the right time for a pause. Reflecting back, my time here has been very rewarding and enriching, and I feel deeply grateful for all the kindness and generous support. It is a great privilege to live as a Buddhist monk and to lead a community. Just to re-assure anyone that may be wondering: I do definitely intend to return!
Friends in Slovenia have found a small weekend cottage where I can stay for the 3-month 'monsoon season retreat', and have offered to support me during that time. The cottage is actually in Croatia, just over the border from Slovenia, on the top of a forested hill at 1,000 metres a.s.l. and is very quiet and secluded.
I will return briefly to Santacittarama for the Kathina ceremony and then travel to Asia. After a meeting of western abbots at the International Monastery in Thailand I plan to spend a couple of months at Bodhinyanarama Monastery in New Zealand, before returning here some time in the spring.
Best wishes to all for a pleasant and peaceful summer!
Vesak Celebration 2005
Ajahn Ariyasilo has kindly offered to come and spend the summer here and will continue the usual programme of meditation classes and practice days. Ajahn Sawaeng is to go for six months to Aruna Ratanagiri monastery in the UK, while another young Thai monk called Tan Suvaco will be joining us.
Anagarika Simon has transferred to Cittaviveka monastery in the UK, to continue his monastic training, while Quinto has returned to lay life. We wish them both well in this new phase of their lives.
The resident community for the 'monsoon season retreat', July to October, looks as follows: Ajahn Ariyasilo, Ajahn Jutindharo, Tan Suvaco, Tan Mahapanyo, Maechee Amara, Anagarika Francesco and Anagarika Luca.
A contract has been signed for a local building company to convert the 'stable' into guest accommodation, and most of the work should take place between August and November. Unfortunately, due to stringent safety regulations, we will be able to do very little of the work ourselves and, inevitably, this implies higher costs than had been anticipated.
With the help of three architects on the monastery lay committee we are beginning to draw up plans for a large meeting hall. As those who come here regularly will know, there is need for such a facility. The idea is to have a building of two levels, of around 16 metres square. The top level would be one large room, with an entrance at ground level, behind where the tent is now. This would house the newly-arrived Buddha image and should be able to hold up to about 300 people. On the lower floor we envision having a reception room, library, office, storage rooms, bathrooms and a small apartment for visiting Sangha members. In the next few months we aim to prepare something on paper that can be shown around for further discussion and feedback.
Dhamma in Italian
A website has been set up (www.dhamma.it) to make Italian translations of the Buddha's teachings, as collected in the Pali Canon, freely available. Anyone who would like to collaborate in this worthy project – especially practising Buddhists with knowledge of pali – are invited to get in touch: [email protected].
New book of Ajahn Sumedho's teachings
'Consapevolezza Intuitiva' has recently been published and can be acquired directly from Ubaldini Astrolabio or from specialist bookshops. Please note that it is not available from Santacittarama, except on short-term loan from the library, in keeping with a policy of no commercial activity connected to the monastery.