hilltop newsletter

Hilltop Newsletter: Sunday 12th November, 2023

Today, Sunday 12th, is the New Moon day for the month of November 2023.

The next Uposatha Day will be the Full Moon, which falls on Monday, 27th November, 2023.

Current residents at the monastery are: Luang Por Munindo, Ajahn Punnyo, Ajahn Kevali, Tan Samacitto, Tan Sucinno, Samanera Nibbuto, Samanera Ariyacitto, Samanera Attannyu and Anagarika Craig. 

On the evening of Sunday, 29th of October, a Dhamma talk titled, 'Why Can't I Stop Thinking', was given by Luang Por Munindo. In it he considered how, when we fail to meet ourselves in our hearts in the moment that painful feelings arise, the energy goes up into our heads and is spent on compulsive thinking. One way to stop over-thinking is to catch our feelings sooner, feel what is there to feel, until letting go happens.

On Sunday 5th November we hosted a large gathering of sangha and lay friends to mark the occasion of Khun Jeab and his wife, Sunye, along with many other supporters, presenting the Kathina cloth. Not just because the weather was agreeable, but for many other reasons, the gathering was a joy. Witnessing and participating in harmonious spiritual community can be wonderfully nourishing.

Prior to that Kathina gathering, senior sangha members spent two days meeting to discuss community issues. These 'Elders' Council Meetings' usually take place twice each year. Although addressing the business side of community life can be taxing, issues were dealt with competently and productively because of willing cooperation. There was a nice balance of leaning into the grind-stone, and laughter.

Since then Ajahn Abhinando has been leading a retreat for the lay community. Much appreciation to him and to Alex the cook, and also to Gilla who has managed six such events here this year.

Last Thursday Tan Mahesako departed to explore other Buddhist communities and cultures. He has been at Harnham for most of the last seven years and it is time for him to take his monastic training to the next level. Theravada Buddhist monks (bhikkhus) spend the first five years as navaka monks (in training), the second five years as majjhima monks (middle years), before being considered a Thera or Elder.


- Ajahn Kevali is preparing to depart after having spent approx. eight months here on sabbatical leave. Shortly, he will return to his duties as abbot of Wat Pah Nanachat. It has been a gift to us having him here and we hope his time has been suitably rejuvenating. 

- Tan Sucinno is preparing to go to Thailand for at least one year. He departs on Thursday 16th November.

- The novice, Ariyacitto, from Santacittarama Monastery in Italy, is about to return to his mother monastery. Ajahn Chandapalo is sending the novice Thitapemo to spend the Winter Retreat with us. He is due to arrive in December. 

- We are also looking forward to having Ajahn Anando stay with us from 11th to 18th December. Ajahn Anando usually resides in Temple Monastery, New Hampshire, USA.

- The usual first 'Sunday of the month' meditation classes continue to take place at Kusala House, 5.30 to 6.30 pm. No prior arrangements required.

- The next lake work day is scheduled for Saturday the 25th November.

With good wishes.

Abbots Kathina 2023

Six abbots: (left to right) Ajahn Ahimsako (Cittaviveka, West Sussex), Ajahn Jutindharo (Hartridge, Devon), Luang Por Munindo (Aruna Ratanagiri, Northumberland), Ajahn Amaro (Amaravati, Hertfordshire), Ajahn Abhinando (Dhammapala, Switzerland)Ajahn Kevali (Wat Pah Nanachat, Thailand).

Kathina 2023