I moved into the men’s community at Adhisthana on July 15th, which happened to be Saddhanandi’s birthday – an auspicious day for sure! Lizzie’s birthday was the next day. So one of my first introductions to Adhisthana was the celebration of birthdays when everyone rejoices in the person whose birthday it is. I also arrived just in time to take part in the Community days, which happen twice a year.
My first impression was of a friendly, harmonious bunch of people, and three months on I have seen nothing to contradict that impression. Adhisthana is a delightful place to live. The people here are dedicated, friendly, and playful. The grounds and surrounding countryside are beautiful and my room (freshly decorated by Yashodeva) couldn’t be better.
People often ask me what my role is here and I am still not sure how to answer that. It seems that my role is to be me! I have been learning how I can best contribute to the situation and I think the consensus here is that I am contributing. I do different things, some to do with Dharma teaching and some concerned with organisational, legal, and structural matters. I have just led my first retreat here and for the next two weeks I will be spending time every morning with the Dharma Life course, taking them through a short course on Ethics. I have been helping the Operations Team by leading a session every week on Team Based Right Livelihood – using as text a talk I gave at the LBC in 1998. And I am part of the Dharma Team here. We try to keep an overview of all the retreats and events that Adhisthana is offering and take note of what works and what can be improved. We are constantly looking at how best to enact the long-term vision of keeping Bhante’s teachings alive and relevant to new generations.
Speaking of new generations reminds me that one of the most enjoyable events here was the Young Peoples Festival Retreat at the end of August. Together with Dhammarati and Saddhanandi, I gave a talk on that event and was very impressed by the young Order Members leading the event and by the participants. There was a palpable sense of serious Dharma practice.
I am very happy here and glad to have made the move to start a new life of giving the Dharma and supporting a central place in Triratna’s present and future. I had my sixty-sixth birthday in August (and was very thoroughly rejoiced in) and that means that in the UK I am officially a pensioner. Not a time to retire but a time for open handed generosity and passing on whatever experience and insights I have gained from a very rich and fortunate life.