steps forward, one step back, the snow line here in Kandersteg has
been slowly creeping down from the peaks and finally arrived at the
is late autumn; time for some news from the monastery.
As previously announced, this year’s Vassa (the traditional retreat period during the Asian monsoon, when the monks and nuns remain in one place) we were five monks at Dhammapala. Only the also announced postulant has not materialised. Our friend Peter Heini did in the end decide not to become an anagarika; he did however stay with us as a long-term guest over the summer and took on several of the traditional tasks of our anagarikas. Now we will have to manage for a while with the help of changing guests. Since Dhammapala is a fairly small, well-organized venture, in general that works reasonably well. also thanks to the generosity of friends who have been visiting us for years and therefore know the routines very well.
At the end of our Vassa, this year we had two generous gift-giving festivals: first there was a “Pah Bah” organized by Khun Vandee Meier and friends in memory of King Bhumibol of Thailand, who passed away three years ago. Nearly a hundred people turned up for the event. The donations that were collected on this occasion are intended to provide our reception room with a new floor covering (planned is a combination of carpet and parquet), with which the renovation of this space will then be almost complete.
On the following weekend we then had our Kathina celebration in Hinterkappellen to which again this year, more than 300 visitors appeared offering their very generous support to the monastery. Ajahn Dto, our guest from Thailand gave the Dhamma talk on both occasions.
Then shortly after the Kathina we were offered two beautiful Buddha statues by Ms. Pachanee Nägeli, who, after many years in Switzerland, moved back to Thailand. The Buddha-rupas – see photo – have found a very natural home in the reception room, adding with their elegant gravitas to the overall impression.
ANUMODANA for all the generosity of our friends on these and many other occasions throughout the year!
In November we had the pleasure to have our longtime friend Ajahn Anando with us for a couple of weeks. Ajahn Anando lives in New Hampshire where, together with Ajahn Jayanto, he leads the community of our sister monastery Jetavana. Here you can find a Dhamma talk which Ajahn Anando gave during his stay at Dhammapala.
Also Ajahn Khemasiri came for a short visit in November and spent a Quiet Week with us before he travelled onward to Poland. The winter he will spend at Amaravati Monastery in England. In April he intends to return to Dhammapala, though as a more independent senior monk in the background. We can nevertheless look forward to his teachings: Ajahn Khemasiri has offered to lead the September retreat and also a retreat over Pentecost next year.
Our community of five monks is living in good harmony and will stay together for a while longer. Ajahn Dto hopes to extend his visa so he can stay over the winter. He might then be available again to lead a meditation retreat for our Thai friends next Easter. Tan Bodhinando has also started to help with the teaching at Dhammapala as well as visiting groups in Switzerland and abroad. Tan Viranando continues to pour his enormous energy and skill into various renovation and improvement projects in and around the house. He will stay until the end of the winter, when he intends to continue walking all the way to Portugal! And last but not least, shortly after New Year we will also be joined by Ajahn Ariyo again, who plans to stay with us until the end of April.
The new abbot, Ajahn Abhinando, for the Winter Retreat, will be drawn to the bears, wolves and monastic friends in Canada. He accepted an invitation by Ajahn Viradhammo and his community to spend the retreat period in Tisarana Monastery near Ottawa. Ajahn Kancano has generously offered to take care of our monastery during this time.