At the end of this year there are again some changes in the monastic community. In the beginning of November, Ajahn Khemasiri handed over the direction of the monastery to Ajahn Abhinando and is spending this winter at Santacittarama monastery in Italy. (See previous entry). According to the first news we received from him, he seems to be enjoying his new freedom and the simplicity of his current life.
Meanwhile, those ‘left behind’ have not been idle, making some adjustments here and there to the appearance of the monastery. The most obvious result of these efforts is the new look of the reception room on the ground floor (see photo). This project was already being planned by Ajahn Khemasiri and has now been completed by Ajahns Abhinando and Kancano together with our friend Erik Leu, as their first joint design project. The ideas for the exquisite design can almost exclusively be credited to Ajahn Kancano. Their realisation though they left to a team of excellent craftsmen. We are very happy with the result and hope that our friends and supporters will also appreciate and be inspired by the new look. Some further details will probably be added to the upgraded style of the room in the near future – so we are only talking about a “provisional completion”.
As part of these changes our largest plants, whose growth had already begun to collide with our limited space, have found a new home in a local hotel, where they can now grow even larger.
At the beginning of the New Year, Ajahn Abhinando and Ajahn Kancano will be travelling to Thailand to attend the events around Luang Por Chah’s death anniversary and to introduce themselves to the senior members of the order as Dhammapala’s new leadership team. Ajahn Abhinando will return for the second part of the Winter Retreat in early February, while Ajahn Kancano will stay in Thailand for the whole winter.
For the time of their joint absence, they’ll leave behind an experienced team with familiar faces: Tan Bodhinando arrived back in autumn to join our community for another year, Ajahn Nandiyo came in December to spend the Winter Retreat with us. Both have lived at Dhammapala Monastery for several years before. Also for the winter months we will be joined by Tan Ariyo, an American monk and good long-time friend of our community, currently living at Hartridge Monastery, England, as well as Samanera Niraso from the community of Amaravati, our largest European monastery near London. The most senior monk until Ajahn Abhinando’s return in February will be Ajahn Thanissaro, our friend from Thailand, who has also previously been at Dhammapala and is now with us since the beginning of last summer and staying until May 2019.
As always, for the three months of the winter retreat, Dhammapala will be closed for overnight stays (except for our supporter team). Of course, the monastery will remain open for daytime visits, even though there will be no pujas and the monks will not be available for counselling or Dhamma talks during this time.
Ajahn Thanissaro will open next year’s teaching season in April with an Easter Retreat in Thai, followed in May by an Insight Dialogue weekend with an old acquaintance of the Sangha: Bhante Sukhacitto, who now lives in Bad Nenndorf near Hanover. (See Events). We look forward to welcoming our overnight guests again, be it for the courses or outside the courses, in the spring after the Winter Retreat.