The Forest Hermitage Bulletin

August/September 2013

Sangha News

This year’s Asalha Puja celebration in mid-July saw a good crowd taking part in the festivities. The focus, as always on these occasions, was the practice of generosity, virtue and mental cultivation; with food and requisites being offered and shared, the five precepts being taken and renewed, and Dhamma Talks being given and (hopefully!) listened to. Asalha Puja is the anniversary of the Buddha’s First Sermon, when he set forth his essential message: the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. Reminding ourselves of this teaching keeps our sights on the real purpose of Buddhist practice. Well done to everybody who helped to make it a great day.

In early August we hosted the bi-annual TBSUK meeting for the first time. Theravada monks came from monasteries across the UK, including Amaravati, Wat Mahataht and Wat Santiwongsaram. As it was a beautiful sunny day the proceedings took place in the field beneath one of our large festival marquees, with the Buddha image under the Ajahn Chah memorial tree framed in one of the marquee openings. For photos and a report of the meeting, please go to Luangpor’s blog: foresthermitage.org.uk/luangpor

In late June Ajahn Manapo embarked on another tudong walk. He was packed off on the train down to Weymouth, from where he was driven to the starting point in nearby Abbottsbury. A serendipitous meeting with a Thai lady in a hamlet just south of Bradford-on-Avon resulted in a meal at the Thai Barn restaurant in the main town. The restaurant owners – Khun Nee and Alan Pettitt – are in the process of creating a small temple in an old building near the river and invited Ajahn Manapo to stay there for two nights. A result of this encounter is that beginning in September he will be going down there every Monday for five weeks to teach an introductory course. We look forward to seeing what happens after that. You can learn more online at tonboontrust.com

Springhill Buddha Grove Celebration

On Sunday 15th September Luangpor led the 21st annual Buddha Grove celebration at Springhill Open Prison. Risking the wrath of the elements, we took refuge before the shrine in the beautiful grove of stately trees. With the wind and rain kept at bay, we heard paritta chanting from the sixteen monks who were present, and speeches from governors past and present, Lord Avebury, the Thai First Minister, and finally Luangpor, who read a piece from the irrepressible Sam Cutler (whose idea it was to build the Buddha grove) and told the story of Angulimala. After that we moved down to the canteen. Many of our closest Thai supporters had come to take over the prison kitchen that afternoon and consequently the guests and inmates were treated to a delicious Thai meal. Once darkness had fallen we moved back to the Buddha Grove – which was now under a clear sky – for the candlelit circumambulation. The evening concluded with presentations from the Thai community to deserving recipients. All in all it was a very moving and inspiring occasion. Anumodana and well done to our Thai supporters for providing your time, effort, food and smiles!

End Of Vassa Celebration, Sunday 20th October, 10 am

The Vassa ends on the 19th October and we will be celebrating it on the following day. The occasion marks the end of the three month long Rains Retreat, which is often used as a time of intensified instruction and practice in our group of monasteries as community numbers are stable during this period. The day’s events will begin at 10 am. Please bring vegetarian food to offer and share. If you are able to help us set up on the Saturday afternoon, please get in touch!

Projects

We are pleased to announce that we have a new main gate and that phase one of the conservatory refurbishment – replacing the roof – is complete. The new roof, which is thick polycarbonate with an opal finish, will help to keep the conservatory cooler and easier on the eyes in the summer, and a little warmer in the winter. We’re very happy with the result. The next phase is to replace the conservatory doors. Andy, our friendly and skilled local builder, has taken measurements and should be fitting the new ones in the next few weeks. After that we will look at the floor. Anumodana and well done to those who generously donated towards these projects. If anyone else would like to contribute we would be very grateful.

Warwick Univeristy Buddhist Society

The Warwick University Buddhist Society will begin their weekly Monday meetings again on the 30th September. Luangpor will lead the evenings from 7 pm onwards, with a guided sitting, Dhamma Talk and an opportunity to ask questions.

And Finally…

Six weeks ago Richard took up the role of live-in lay helper but he has left and so once again we are in urgent need of someone to be here, to cook and generally to help us survive.

 

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