Stillness and Movement

Posted on Fri, 28 Sep 2012


Yom Yoo working by the lake

The lively weekend we announced in the previous blog seems to have been a great success. On Saturday summer decided to say goodbye with one day of belated sunshine to set the scene for an enjoyable outdoor experience. A swarm of busy volunteers promptly spread out all over our lake property and got much needed work done. Even Tan Bodhinando’s parents, on a visit from Germany, joined in, showing their gardening skills and energy. In the evening Luang Por offered some Dhamma reflections to the more then 20 guests staying at the monastery and on Sunday our visiting crowd grew even further, as it was joined by friends from the local area for the Study and Practice Day.

Some of our guests then stayed on for the week-long meditation retreat Ajahn Puñño is now leading at Kusala House, where they remained ensconced for most of Monday and Tuesday, sitting out the heavy rainfall that caused so much flooding in the North-East. Luckily Mike and Carol Pierce, our volunteer cooks for the retreat, who are staying at a local bed and breakfast, were not to be deterred. They waded through the flooded River Blyth – at our end normally just a tiny stream - which on Tuesday had overflown its banks to cut off Harnham from the A696, to still make it to the Kusala House kitchen. By now increasing numbers of retreatants can be seen walking up and down outdoors during the walking meditation sessions and Ajahn Puñño reports that the retreat is moving along very well.

Also otherwise things seem to keep moving along at the monastery. The one thing that still hasn’t started moving is the building project at the lake. Though our contractor is eager to start, the wood has still not been delivered. And the last time we spoke to him, he said that his supplier hadn’t yet received the wood either. Sounds awfully familiar and one hears some cynical voices mumbling “no wonder that the economy is not working”. Perhaps it is just an accumulation of unfortunate coincidences that so often for us a rule seems to apply that I once was given by an experienced work manager at one of our other monasteries: Work projects generally take twice as long as you think, even if you have factored into your calculation that they always take twice as long as you think. – Well, you’ll have your own experiences to affirm or contradict this theory.

Anyway – we are not complaining, as we are moving into Autumn dry and warm, protected from the weather by the solid buildings of our beautiful monastery, with ample opportunity and encouragement to practice, very generously supported by our lay community. On quite a few days of this week, including the weekend, various families in the area have offered to bring out the meal and there are already new guests booked to stay at Kusala House after the current retreat finishes, to join us for a while in our monastic endeavours. With the retreat ongoing there are no extraordinary events planned for this weekend, but Ajahn Abhinando will be happy to receive visitors again for tea at 5:30pm on Saturday, this time in the reception room of the main house and most likely he will also give the Dhamma talk after evening puja, which will start at 7pm. The weather forecast indicates that you won’t need an amphibian vehicle to visit us during the next few days.