Unfortunately this is another blog entry having to concern itself with the corona-crisis.
I hope you are all well. Here at Dhammapala, as we hoped, all five bhikkhus announced in the previous blog have come together for this year’s “rainy season retreat” – the pansah or vassa, which originates in the Asian monsoon season. And we are still happily together, now that about half the time of pansah is over. Contrary to our hopes though, the new corona virus too is still in the country and is indeed spreading again. Unfortunately, instead of being able to continue the gradual opening of the monastery to visitors, we therefore feel forced to maintain our precautionary measures and in part even to strengthen them again.
Regrettably, our annual kathina celebration in Hinterkappelen also falls victim to these circumstances; it has been cancelled. Instead we will have a small kathina celebration in the monastery for which only this year’s sponsors and a few helpers will be present. We would like to expressly ask you not to show up if you have not received a written invitation from the monastery. Out of consideration for the health of everyone involved, visitors will not be allowed into the monastery without such a written invitation. Please be advised that we will strictly adhere to this regulation. We hope to provide a live stream of the ceremony on the internet instead, so that you can watch the ceremony and in this way at least be able to follow it from home. If we succeed, we will publish a link you can use to access the live stream here and on the homepage.
We are sorry that we cannot offer a larger general celebration this year. We know that this will be very disappointing for many of you, but hope that you understand. We think that, however unsatisfactory, this solution is the best we can offer in the present circumstances. If you are not among the invited guests, but would still like to visit the monastery during the kathina season, we suggest that you do this on one of the weekends or even on weekdays in October before the official kathina celebration. The monks will be happy to receive you at lunchtime, accept your gifts and also be available for conversation. Weather permitting, we will continue to receive you on the terrace in front of the monastery,. Please note that in bad weather conditions we only invite small groups of up to eight people into the reception room; so we encourage you to call our office before your visit.
Over this summer we were able to successfully hold some courses for our friends and supporters, albeit with a very reduced number of participants. While I am writing this, Ajahn Khemasiri, back from one and a half years of travel, is leading our traditional September course with ten participants. We have decided to continue this concept for the time being, which means, the courses in November and December are already fully booked now, each with a long waiting list, that we will activate, should the situation allow us to admit more participants again.
The monastery will remain open for overnight guests, however we will revert to only accepting guests who can stay for at least a week, in order to limit the amount of coming and going.
Also the rules for day visits will stay in place as currently apply (see homepage). Lets hope that the situation will soon relax again and meanwhile live and practice to the best of our abilities with the inconveniences and difficulties.
We thank you all for your patience with the many restrictions and for your continued generous support, which enables us to maintain the life and practice of our community even in these difficult times.
With all good wishes,