It lies in the nature of the monastic annual rhythm, that there exists an alternating interchange between times of seclusion and stillness and times of activity and physical movements. The timespan between our winter retreat and the so called rainy season (vassa) – normally between April and the full moon of July – witnesses quite a number of physical movements within the monastic community and often is also the time when monks go on contemplative wanderings (Tudong).
During the early spring period Samanera Dighadassi bid farewell to Dhammapala. That meant that the local community had to live without a novice monk for a while, which we managed quite well with the active support of our many guests and visitors. Around the same time Ajahn Khemasiri and Ajahn Abhinando looked after various teaching engagements outside of the monastery and attended an acceptance ceremony of a new bhikkhu (Upasampada) at the sister monastery Santacittarama in Italy. Also during the mountain spring we had the pleasure to host two ex-residents of Dhammapala – Bhante Sukhacitto and Tan Bodhinando – as well as a group of senior Thai monks from Chiang Mai province led by Luang Por Khun. During the month prior to the Buddhist holy day Asalha Puja we were finally joined by two new community members: the Thai monk Ajahn Thanissaro and the Austrian-American Anagarika Thomas.
So on the day following Asalha Puja the resident Sangha (four bhikkhus and one Anagarika) formally entered the „rains-retreat“, within which every community member commits himself to stay within the boundaries of the monastery for the following three months, and to reduce any travel activity and other absences to an absolute minimum. The term „retreat“ however does not have to be taken literally – at least from the perspective of the resident community – as this is the time of year, when Dhammapala receives its largest number of guests and visitors. Short noticed inquiries during the summer period to visit the monastery for a few days are therefore unfortunately not very successful.