It has been a lovely start to the year already. The European Chairs Assembly came for their winter meeting, and it was a great way to kick off 2024; their clear up left the place spotless and you can usually find Maitridevi and a few others playing Bananagrams after dinner (and learn some new words; atavist and quinquereme anyone?).
In community news, Caroline will be going to Akasavana this year and will be ordained by Aryajaya – we look forward to seeing who she becomes! Harry has moved into the dorm and is working as our new main cook, and Kaj is back for a few weeks helping out – it’s great to see him and hear about his adventures since he left.
We’ve also had several European volunteers; Onni from Finland, Hannes from Germany, and Joris from the Netherlands. Joris was with us for a couple of weeks and offered two workshops for the communities which everyone who attended seemed to find inspiring and stimulating.
Twenty mud-stained bodhisattvas planted over 500 trees, mostly in the vicinity of the solitary huts on our first public working retreat. They also cleared some of the brush from the new woodland that Adhisthana assumed custody of when Jasmine Cottage was purchased. Planting new trees along the boundary and spread woodchips along the path through the forest; in a few years time their work will have really changed the landscape of Adhisthana.
After a large young person’s weekend where Ksantikara handed on his responsibility for co-ordinating the Young Buddhist Project to the Steering Group, we began our At Home days on the theme of Building Amitabha’s Buddha Land. The communities installed the Amitabha thangka in it’s new home in the Padmasambhava Shrine in the Library. So much hard work has gone into this project it’s wonderful to see it come to fruition – the painting was done by Chintamani and the commissioning and then fundraising was done by Maitripa with the help of Suvajra.
There were also some fun collective work periods, study and lots of good food, company and conversation. One of the highlights were hearing life stories from Liv, Harry and Saddhaloka – what a good bunch of people to live with!