Comings and goings
The end of 2016 presented us with one of the biggest communal changes within the history of Dhammapala. Four members of our community left the monastery within a timespan of just six weeks, this actually being two thirds of the resident Sangha.
Already in mid-November Ajahn Dto moved back to his home country Thailand, after a one year stay at Dhammapala. Looking back we were very pleased with the Swiss authorities, who showed great generosity by doubling his original half year visa. Ajahn Dto’s quiet presence and dry sense of humor will be greatly missed by us all.
Polish monk Tan Kimbilo also said goodbye in November after a one year stay at our monastery, having been a very much appreciated guest monk. He first spent a few weeks at Amaravati Monastery in England with his main teacher Ajahn Amaro, before travelling on to Thailand. For him this is the first time, that he will come into close contact with the roots of our particular tradition.
Novice monk Manissaro parted from us in early December to visit his home country Holland. After his home visit he had originally planned to move on to Amaravati Monastery in England. But within the midst of his family he spontaneously decided to disrobe and return to lay life.
The last community member, who will have left us at the beginning of 2017, is the German monk Tan Bodhinando. He had been living at Dhammapala for more than four years, had become a steady community member and matured amongst us into the stage of a Majjhima-monk. The term majjhima points to the middle stage of the life of a Buddhist monk, between five and ten years of monastic life. As Tan Bodhinando has already spent six years as a bhikkhu, he was now free to choose, where to go next within his monastic education. First of all he will be spending two months in India, including visits to the Buddhist holy places, and then move on to the forest monasteries of Thailand. He has left it intentionally open, when we will meet him again in the European hemisphere.
As new community members we were welcoming two monks and a postulant (anagarika) during December 2016. After returning from Asia and spending almost a year in his home country Czech Republic, Bhikkhu Sambodhi arrived in early December. A few days earlier French Anagarika Didier joined us from his home monastery Amaravati. And finally later in December we were delighted about the return of our old friend Ajahn Thanissaro from Thailand, who had previously spent quite a number of longer stays at Dhammapala and will be staying with us until the summer of 2017.