A New Monk On The Block

Posted on Fri, 03 Aug 2012

On Tuesday at 0:15AM Luang Por Munindo, Ajahn Abhinando and Anagarika Markus arrived back from their journey south with a new bhikkhu in the back of the car: Gambhīro Samanera had been turned into Gambhīro Bhikkhu. Together with his ‘sibling in the Dhamma’, Narindo Bhikkhu from the Netherlands, he was accepted into the Sangha at a ceremony involving more than 20 bhikkhus from our communities in the UK at Amaravati Monastery near London.

Later in the day, at 3:30PM, also Tan Nyanavisuddhi and Tan Ariyo arrived back from attending the same event. So our community was complete again, with now seven bhikkhus and two anagārikas, just in time for Asālha Puja, the full moon, which celebrates the first discourse of the Buddha on the Four Noble Truth, falling on the 2nd of August this year. On the next morning our community will enter the vassa - our annual rains retreat. The name ‘rains retreat’ comes from it being observed during the rainy (or monsoon-) season in South East Asia. It is a period of three months during which monastics of the Theravada lineage commit to not travelling for more than 6 days and only for particular circumscribed reasons. This period is traditionally intended to be a period of intensified formal study and practice. For us at Harnham the summer months are naturally a time of heightened activity with many visitors; which is why we observe our more quiet and formal retreat period in the winter. But we still follow the tradition of ‘staying put’ together and using this period to focus on our practice as a community here on Harnham Hill.

And our next chance for a period of quiet and formal meditation is already presenting itself in this coming week when Ajahn Abhinando is leading a 6 day residential retreat both for lay people, and our monastic community here at Harnham. This retreat is fully booked, so unfortunately there is no chance for you to get onto it, if you are reading this for the first time. But if you are interested to participate in a meditation retreat at Harnham this year – there are still places for the retreat led by Ajahn Punnyo in September.

And as always there are many other practice opportunities at Harnham this summer. This next Saturday 4th August, being the first Saturday of the month, means Luang Por Munindo will offer a Dhamma talk around the verse on this month’s calendar page. The next two study and practice days led by Ajahn Abhinando will take place on the 19th of August and the 23rd of September, on the themes of Grounding the Spirit and Not-Self respectively. They start at 9:30 in the morning and finish after discussion and tea around 18:00. There will also be more volunteer work days at our Lake property, the next one at Saturday the 18th of August, from 8:30 to 17:00. At all of these events we will have a brake for the meal around 11:00. You are welcome to bring offerings for the shared meal. After the evening puja on Saturdays there will usually be a Dhamma Talk and on the first Saturday of the month we have the Beginner’s Meditation Class, on the second Saturday the Lay Discussion Group and on all other Saturdays Questions & Answers with one of the bhikkhus all at 17:30.