The summer of 2008 has been witness to many positive developments at Vimutti Buddhist Monastery. We feel fortunate that the development is progressing so well. During this time there have been three excellent monks coming to stay, Ajahn Yatiko, Ajahn Sudanto and Venerable Mettiko. They have given inspiring teachings to the lay community and been supportive to the monastery in many ways. Ajahn Yatiko has now left for Abhayagiri Monastery in California. Ajahn Sudanto will have to leave at the end of March due to difficulties extending his visa. During his time here he has offered a great amount of his expertise and practical experience in building and website design. Venerable Mettiko returned with me from Thailand and plans to stay for a few months before he goes to Germany to assist in establishing a forest monastery there.
For many years our good friend and supporter, Sunil, has wished to offer a kuti in memory of his late father. This summer we were able to begin the project. We began with a land blessing ceremony on a beautiful day in December. The location for the kuti is a serene spot next to our stream, nestled in a patch of thick native NZ bush. Ajahn Sudanto helped me finalize the design, and since New Year Sunil and Cliff have been coming weekly to help us complete the building. It is wonderful to see Sunil involved with the project from the very beginning stages right through to the end. May he experience deep satisfaction with his filial offering. I hope to move in before the next rains retreat (to view pictures of building process, visit the new photogallery).
The Day of Peace Meditation workshops have been very well attended this year. It is great to see our sala full with people who are interested in learning how to transform their hearts in a positive way through learning meditation.
During the summer we had more people wishing to stay at Vimutti than ever before. Usually our accommodation was fully booked, so many people were happy to stay in tents. People combined to create a harmonious and diligent little community. Dennis has just left to follow the summer north of the equator, and Beth has gone to Australia temporarily to join a long retreat. She plans to return the end of July.
Other physical developments at Vimutti included digging two new ponds. Having water features makes such a difference for creating an atmosphere of tranquility. There is now a covered bench by one of the ponds by the entrance. This is already a favorite place to relax and meditate.
The Dhamma School children came for their annual visit, and once again we all had a lot of fun with the Dhamma game show. The two teams were so evenly matched that there was quite a bit of suspense and excitement coming down to the final question. I think the parents learn just as much as the children!
At our New Years Eve celebration we kicked off our fundraising effort to purchase an adjoining piece of property. Since then we have raised over half the money! It is wonderful to see people respond with generosity and to see that people value what we do here.
With metta, Ajahn Chandako