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
A long hot summer is beginning to fade into autumn while life at Santacittarama is gradually returning to "business as usual" following our month-long monastic retreat. It has been a suitably quiet and uneventful time, although we have continued to be very well supported. A Sri Lankan woman from London, Rupa, was here the whole month of September, very efficiently managing the kitchen with the help of several others here for shorter periods. Our appreciation goes to them and all those who called in, mostly at weekends, sustaining us with generous food offerings. Rupa has now returned to England where she will shortly be joining the nun's community at Amaravati, so all our best wishes go with her.
July and August were particularly busy months, it being the holiday season, and our guest facilities were full most of the time. Apologies to those that had to be turned away, all we can say is to try and book earlier next time! Visitors come now, not only from all over Italy, but from abroad as well. It is very gratifying to see how much the monastery is appreciated, that there are those who are sincerely interested in the teaching of the Buddha and how to apply it in their lives, and that they benefit appreciably from it.
One who exemplifies the good results of their practice is our teacher Ajahn Sumedho, who we were fortunate to have with us for a few days in August, during which time he gave a very well-attended talk in English that was translated into Italian. The following day he gave a talk in Thai -- he lived in Thailand for 10 years, and even 30 years later is still reasonably fluent. It happened to be the day before the 8th anniversary of the decease of Khun Natcharee Thananan, the wife of a former Thai ambassador to Italy who, being the main person responsible for acquiring the new monastery, we consider as virtually the "Mother of Santacittarama". We thus took the occasion to make a dedication in her memory as a way of expressing our gratitude and, by a happy coincidence, it just happened that a relative of hers came to visit on the very day.
Now that the three-month "rainy season retreat" is drawing to a close, there will be much coming and going of sangha members in the weeks to come. I will be away in England between October the 11th and the 25th, firstly at Aruna Ratanagiri Monastery near Newcastle and then visiting my parents in York. Ratanagiri -- also known as Harnham -- will be having a Kathina ceremony as part of their celebrations of the monastery's 25th year since its foundation. I was there as a young anagarika at the beginning, and have been visiting regularly ever since. The following day a young Slovenian novice, Hiriko, will receive acceptance into the bhikkhu sangha. Many will remember him from Santacittarama, where he began his monastic life more than two years ago, as anagarika Mangalo. He is due to spend a good part of next year with us, and we look forward to having him back again.
I will return with Ajahn Sawaeng -- a Thai monk who spent a couple of years here -- he will be one of our special guests for Kathina and will stay for nearly a month. Another special guest will be Ajahn Karuniko, an Englishman usually resident at Chithurst monastery, where he is assistant abbot. Ajahn Jutindharo will also be arriving around the same time, after a six-month stay in Thailand. This means that altogether there will be nine monks present for the Kathina ceremony. A few days later Tan Gavesako, a Czech monk who as been here for the summer, will be moving on, eventually to Thailand for several months and then possibly to Napier in New Zealand, to help at a recently established monastery. We wish him well.
Now that the weather starts to get colder and wetter, we're not really able to organise many public events at Santacittarama due to the lack of a large indoor space. Nonetheless, the routine life of the monastery continues and it remains possible, by booking in advance, to join in as a guest for a few days or longer. See the "visiting" page on our web site for further information. Day visitors are also welcome, with no need to book unless they specifically wish to speak with a monk. Apart from Monday, a silent day, a monk often takes tea with the guests at 5 pm and then there is the evening meeting of chanting and meditation at 7.30 which is open to all.
We hope to see many of you at the Kathina ceremony on October 29th, the last major event in the calendar for this year. As usual it would be a great help if many were able to leave their cars in the large open area behind the "campo boario", the monthly market place, about 10 minutes walk from the monastery.
Greetings and best wishes to all,
New on the web site
Ajahn Chandapalo's "Sabbatical Story" -- previously issued in three parts -- has been put together with a collection of photographs and can be downloaded as a PDF file from the "news" page.
The photo page has been completely refurbished and many new photos have been added.
The following Dhamma talks in Italian translation have recently been added to the "insegnamenti" page:
Dhamma in English
Many transcribed Dhamma talks and books are available from the following websites: www.amaravati.org, www.abhayagiri.org, www.fsnewsletter.net. Audio talks of various monks and nuns may be downloaded from www.dhammatalks.org.uk as MP3 files.