People outside may call us mad to live in the forest like this, sitting like statues. But how do they live? They laugh, they cry, they are so caught up that at times they kill themselves or one another out of greed and hatred. Who are the mad ones?
We celebrated the new moon on Monday. This marks the half-way point of the vassa. Ajahn Kusalo begins his self-retreat and the resident community generally maintains a quiet and meditative schedule. We all often reflect on the blessing of this opportunity; to be able to cultivate the Buddha's teaching with such inspiring support from the wider community. Sadhu! With not much activity there is not a lot of news - mostly projects bubbling along in the background.
>> Stupa Report
The weather has been continually interupting Simon and Gavin's work on the forecourt walls. Nevertheless progress is being made and the north wall is above ground level. Their next phase is to prepare for the moonstone and entry step. Work on these stones has begun and we have some photos of progress.
West Side Story
After much discussion and many emails we have placed an order for the parinibbana buddha rupa in Thailand. We are very fortunate to have the help of Ajahn Achalo at Anadagiri Monastery. The rupa will be in white, Burmese marble - two meters in length. Bruce has stared a plywood model which will be displayed when finished. We will try to get photos of progress as the stone is carved. The other element on the west-side is the terracotta mural. We seem close to having a source but there is a lot of work to be done finalizing the design. We will keep you posted.
The not-so-good but not surprising news is that our original budget is clearly inadequate. Estimates were made on fairly sketchy information and now we have some actual figures this is being revised from 35 to $55k. We have numbers on most of the elements involved but there has been several generous sponsorships so the final cost for WTBA is still not that clear. [-photo-]
>> The Past
A friend recently brought a couple of photos from the early years when the dhamma hall was still being built - 1990? It is always interesting to look back - "I remember when..." - and to see younger versions of people. Ajahn Kusalo - still an anagarika, Fred, Mathew, Nyanapalo and Thanasilo all gone their different ways. Ajahn Viradhammo and Karuniko looking very youthful. Khin, Hugh and his sister Joanna - all of us - nearly 30 years newer. [-photo-]
>> Chao Khun Kuti
Finally! After many months of 'wrestling with the beast' it is done. Painting, new floor coverings, new kitchen, totally remodeled bathroom and the 10,000 tiny things that nobody notices - all done. There is no-one staying there at the moment so do go and have a look - just behind the main sala. The only thing still to come is blinds for the main window. Oh yes, and the drawer unit needs fixing or replacing and the light bracket... and, is the world ever really finished :)
>> Builders' Recycle
A combination of regular tidying up and a frugal use of 'what we have here' means that we now find many of our building material stores nearly empty. If you are doing a renovation or rebuild we could use some of your (better quality :) left-overs. Timber is by far the most useful but we use all sorts of: plywood, press-board (cut/full sheets), bricks, tiles, roofing, plumbing, paint, steel (angle flat rod), windows, doors, electrics... etc. If you have something you think might be useful here please let us know. Do allow that we have to be selective and may not have space for everything.