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News for May 2013


Songkran New Year Celebration



We are expecting many visiting monks over the next few weeks. Already we have had a Thai monk from Los Angeles, here for the Songkran new year celebration, a German monk called Ajahn Sudhammo based in Berlin, and Ajahn Amaro, abbot of Amaravati monastery, was in Rome for the "First International Mindfulness Conference" held at La Sapienza university as well as spending a few days at the monastery.

Ajahn Kampong, a senior Ajahn Chah disciple, has just arrived and will be staying for Sunday's Vesak celebrations. Next week a young Serbian monk, Tan Nyanamoli, will arrive from Chithurst for a ten day visit, and will be followed by Ajahn Dhammasiha, a German monk responsible for a small monastery near Brisbane, Australia. A few days later an Australian monk, Ajahn Nyanadhammo, is due to arrive from Thailand. He is the abbot of Wat Ratanawan monastery where Luang Por Sumedho now resides. Shortly afterwards Ajahn Jundee, a Thai monk and abbot of Wat Ampawan near Chonburi, who has been here several times before will pay us another visit. Many will remember Ajahn Prateep from his long stay with us about two years ago, he is due to be arriving around the end of May for a stay of several weeks. There are yet more expected, but I shall save some for the next newsletter!

Around this time a young German monk called Tan Visuddho is setting off by foot with the plan of walking all the way to Santacittarama from Germany. He should be in Domodossola by June and aims to follow the Via Francigena. If anybody would like to support him in some way, please see the note below.

We recently heard from Tan Kovido, who is currently spending a year in Thailand. He is doing very well and has spent three months in the jungle area on the Thai-Burmese border in Kanchanaburi province, living and meditating on a bamboo platform under an umbrella and mosquito net.

Soon we will have three anagarikas. Michele from Avellino has been an anagarika since early January. Diego, a young Italian from Reggio Emilia, has been here for a while and is preparing to don the white cloth and formally take the Eight Precepts. A few weeks later Anagarika Alberto will change from white to brown as he undertakes the novice training. This is a public event and will take place on 16th June. All are welcome but please note that our lodgings are already full for that weekend.

Finally some sad news. After twelve years residence at Santacittarama, our much-loved dog Dicky expired naturally at the veterinarian's clinic at Rieti over a week ago. He has already been buried, at the other end of the walking meditation path from the stone Buddha, and an olive tree and flowers planted above.

Several people have already offered to bring us another dog, but we are unanimously agreed not to accept any other animals. As a mendicant community it is too much of a responsibility and an unwanted complication. There are many wild animals in this property that are more likely to thrive if there are less cats and dogs around. We have porcupines, foxes, badgers, beech martens, weasels, dormice, squirrels and many bird species. As it is now prohibited to shoot animals in the monastery we would like to see it develop as a wildlife sanctuary.



Tan Visuddho is planning to walk all the way to Santacittarama, accompanied by a layman, following the El Camino and then the via Francigena. If anybody living on or near that route would like to help out in some way, such as offering a meal, a place to wash or spend a night, please contact us at Santacittarama. Here is a message from Tan Visuddho:

"Ajahn Chandapalo asked me to write a little about myself. Some facts: I ordained as a Bhikkhu at Wat Na Luang, Udon Thani, Thailand in January 2007. I stayed there for five Vassa (rainy season retreats). The last Vassa I spent in Muttodaya, Germany, followed by one month in Dhammapala, Switzerland, and finally four months at Cittaviveka, England.

Since I have been on Dhutanga in Thailand for three months of every year (which was always a worthwhile challenge!), the idea arose to go on Dhutanga from my home town in Germany to Santacittarma.

I will follow the El Camino and then the Via Francigena, accompanied by Matthew, a layman from the UK, whom I met during my stay at Cittaviveka. Some have questioned whether I will get enough almsfood in Europe to make such a journey. However, since I have faith in Dhamma and the goodness of people's hearts, which knows no nationality, I will try it. On the 17th of May we will begin our journey, hopefully reaching Dhammapala in Switzerland at the end of this month and reach Domodossola, Italy, in June. From there we will find our way on the Via Francigena to Rome, perhaps visiting Assisi along the way. I look forward to perhaps meeting some of you in the coming weeks.

In Dhamma,

Visuddho Bhikkhu"

For the route of the Via Francigena see here: www.viefrancigene.org



Click here to see a short film about one minute long - taken recently at Wat Pah Nanachat, the International Monastery in Thailand, with a brief appearance of Luang Por Sumedho




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