Luangpor returned safely from Thailand on Monday evening, having attended the annual meeting at Wat Pah Pong and to celebrate what would have been Ajahn Chah’s 100th birthday on the 17th June. Over 600 monks were present at the meeting – most of them from branch monasteries in Thailand, with a handful from the UK, Australia and elsewhere.
On the morning of the 17th, Luangpor, along with Ven. Ajahn Amaro – who had also travelled from England – and a contingent of monks from Wat Pah Nanachat visited the newly erected pillar at Ajahn Chah’s birthplace in Bahn Gor village. The pillar is in the style of the Ashokan columns of India, and is made from a giant piece of sandstone which weighed 100 tons before it was carved. Hopefully it will be around for many centuries to come…
The photo below shows a wooden carving of Ajahn Chah that Luangpor was given while he was in Thailand. It is one of a hundred that were cut from one of the giant mango trees under which Ajahn Chah first camped when he arrived in the forest that later became Wat Pah Pong but which was blown over in the wind last year. It is now hanging on the wall in the conservatory here.
Ajahn Manapo, Matt and Ross looked after things in Luangpor’s absence. On Friday Ajahn Manapo led the public sitting, which included a Dhamma talk on the meaning behind the Buddha image and the increasing need to protect how it is used. On Sunday he led the monthly Sunday school class, talking to the children about the 5 precepts and in particular their counterparts: caring for living things and being generous and truthful. On Monday he filled in for Luangpor at Warwick University, guiding the meditation sitting and giving a talk.
We had a number of male and female guests staying to help over the weekend, and they all got stuck in with helping to paint the fencing at Bhavana Dhamma and the inside of the new back porch roof at the Hermitage.