At 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26 we will hold a remembrance ceremony sponsored by our Thai supporters in honor of the late king of Thailand, H.M. King Bhumipol Adulyadej, who had ruled for 70 years when he passed away last year at the age of 88. King Bhumipol was a revered and unifying figure beloved by the people of Thailand, and on October 26, the day of his funeral in Bangkok, the monastery will join with other monasteries around the world in planting a tree in his memory. All are welcome to attend.
Please join us for this year’s annual offering ceremony and fall gathering, which will be held at the monastery on Sunday, October 8, 2017, from 10.15 a.m.–3 p.m., and which will be the first “Kathina” offered at here at Jetavana (the Pali name of Temple Forest Monastery). The Kathina offering has been a continuous tradition since the time of the Buddha, and is similar in nature to the “Pa Bah” offerings we have had each year. It is organized by the lay community, and is a time where robe cloth, which is offered ceremonially, and other requisites of whatever kind the monastic community needs are offered, along with donations to support the monastery. The occasion includes informal opportunities to meet the sangha and others in the wider lay community, thus serving as an annual festival-like gathering too. A Dhamma Talk will be offered after an alms-round and shared meal and the ceremony for the offering of requisites.
A group from Thailand plan to join with our local community to help make the Kathina offerings, and anyone who wishes is welcome to join them in doing so.
For this special occasion we are pleased to host several of the abbots of Ajahn Chah monastery branches in North America: Luang Por Pasanno, abbot of Abhayagiri; Ajahn Sona, abbot of Birken Forest Monastery; and Ajahn Sudanto, abbot of Pacific Hermitage. Ajahn Karunadhammo, from Abhayagiri, will also be with us.
You are welcome to come for all or any part of the day, whether bringing offerings, just wishing to hear a Dhamma Talk, or visit with the sangha and others.
Sunday, October 8, 2017, 10 a.m.–3.00 p.m.
Temple Forest Monastery
32 Derbyshire Ln,
Temple, NH, 03084
10:15 a.m. Introductory Remarks
10:30 a.m. Prepare Food Offering
10:45 a.m. Alms-round
11 a.m. Shared Meal
12:45 p.m. Kathina Offering
1:30 p.m. Dhamma Talk by Ajahn Pasanno
2:30 p.m. Close of Ceremony & Chance to Meet Sangha
3:00 p.m. End
On Saturday August 12 you are warmly invited to join us for the ordination ceremonies for two members of the Sangha here at Temple: Samanera Candapanyo will take upasampada to become a bhikkhu (monk), and Anagarika Michael will take pabbajja to become a samanera (novice).
Luang Por Viradhammo, abbot of Tisarana Monastery in Canada, will be here to act as preceptor for the two candidates.
The event will begin at 1 p.m. Many people may wish to join in the meal offering at 11 a.m. and stay through to witness the event, and make offerings afterwards to the newly minted samanas. As always, you are welcome to arrive at any time during the morning or day.
Our teacher and the founding abbot of so many of our monasteries, Luang Por (Ajahn) Sumedho will visit Temple from June 12–29, 2017. On June 25, some of our supporters wish to organize a Pa Bah (Offering Ceremony) in honor of Luang Por’s visit, and, as the central event, invite him to offer an afternoon Dhamma Talk.
Everyone is welcome to come to the talk, to join in with the offering, or for any part of the occasion: an alms-round and shared meal, the Offering Ceremony, and the Dhamma Talk offered by Ajahn Sumedho.
10:15 a.m. Introductory Remarks
10:30 a.m. Prepare Food Offering
10:45 a.m. Alms-round
11 a.m. Shared Meal
12:30 p.m. Precepts & Offering Ceremony
1 p.m. Dhamma Talk by LP Sumedho
2 p.m. Close; chance to meet Sangha
2:30 p.m. End
Luang Por Sumedho is currently visiting the monastery. He has been visiting some of our branches around the Northern Hemisphere this year, and we are honored to host him at Temple from June 12–29.
Mainly this is a time for him to rest up and take it easy, and therefore he will be offering a limited number of Dhamma Talks and public visits during his stay, which we are arranging day by day as seems convenient.
Therefore, if you wish to see him the surest day to do so would be on the day of our Pa Bah – Sunday, June 25 – when he will offer a Dhamma Talk between 12.30–2 p.m. (proceedings begin at 10.15 a.m.).
Luang Por may offer Dhamma reflections at other times, such as on the Moon Days which fall during the period of his visit ( June 17 & 23) at 7 p.m. He will also likely come out to meet with visitors before the 11 a.m. meal on some days as well. Please call the monastery to ask in the morning on any particular day, as we may not know when he will do so until that day.
Luang Por Piak to visit Temple April 28–May 1, 2017
A highly respected teacher will be visiting Temple from April 28–May 1: Ajahn Piak, an accomplished disciple of Ajahn Chah, will offer teachings on the weekend of April 29 and 30, including a public talk offered at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 30 (in place of the usual meditation workshop). We expect that he will be available for questions and Dhamma conversation also on Saturday, April 29. He will be accompanied by four other monks, including Ajahn Issara Uttamacitto, and Ajahn Siripanyo who will translate from Thai to English. Please join us for this special occasion.
Sunday, April 30, 1 p.m. :
Dhamma Talk in Thai language,
with translation in English
Saturday, April 29, 11 a.m. :
The usual daily meal offering,
followed by Dhamma discussion
For some background, the following is taken from Luang Por's bio:
Luang Por Piak is one of Thailand’s most respected teachers of Dhamma and meditation. Born in 1948, Luang Por Piak’s given name was Prasobchai but he was nicknamed ‘Piak’. As a child and young man Luang Por Piak did not have much interest in religion or meditation. It was when he was studying for his Masters in New York that Luang Por Piak began to develop an interest in cultivation of the mind. On the subway, for example, while heading to work, he would find his mind naturally observing and converging on his breath. There he found both pleasure and peace. He also noticed that he was able to wake up in the morning at whatever time he wished simply by mentally determining the time the night before. Even if he’d spent most of the night at a party, he’d still wake up exactly at the predetermined time. These experiences made him curious about how the mind worked and led on to an interest in meditation.
After returning to Thailand, Venerable Piak then received full bhikkhu ordination from Luang Por Chah of Wat Nong Pah Pong Monastery on July 3rd 1976. In 1981, when Venerable Piak had been ordained for five years, a piece of property was offered outside of Bangkok for the establishment of a branch monastery. Luang Por Chah asked Venerable Piak to live there as the abbot. It was unusual for a monk to be asked to take on so much responsibility at such a young age, but Venerable Piak had had quick progress in his Dhamma practice and was also native to that region. Initially surrounded by rice fields as far as one could see, within ten years his small monastery had been completely engulfed by Bangkok’s urban sprawl. Noise, heat and pollution notwithstanding, Luang Por Piak has remained a refuge of peace and soothing coolness within the heart of Thailand’s largest city.
His monastery is Wat Fakram (Wat Pah Cittabhavanaram) in Lum Lukkha, Pathum Thani, Thailand.
Ajahn Issara Uttamacitto is a long-time student of Luang Por Piak and monk of 35 years standing. He is the abbot of a forest monastery outside of Bangkok and has traveled internationally as assistant teacher with Lunag Por Piak on many occasions.
Everyone at the monastery sends you warm greetings from Temple.
It’s been another eventful year as we continue the gradual process of laying down roots so that Jetavana, Temple Forest Monastery may provide a place of training and spiritual sanctuary for many, long into the future. That’s the vision anyway, and the signs so far have been excellent.
I hope you’ll forgive us for not posting or sending out much news on the website or to the mailing list these past two years. We are aware of and very grateful for the interest and support so many have shown to the sangha, including those of you unable to come physically to the monastery on a regular basis and thereby catch up with what’s going on. Here is a little summary of some of the recent, current, and future goings on.
Luang Por (Ajahn) Sucitto currently visiting Temple
Luang Por Sucitto, beloved teacher and known to many here in New England where he has led many retreats and offered talks for decades, has just finished teaching a month-long retreat at the Forest Refuge in Barre, Mass. – and he is visiting us at Temple for the next two weeks. If you are interested in meeting him, the best time is, as usual, at and after the 11 a.m. meal offering every day, when he will usually be available to converse afterwards. Tomorrow (Sunday, Dec. 11) he will lead the weekly meditation workshop, and it is possible he will do so next Sunday (Dec. 18) as well. He will also give the Dhamma Talk after evening puja on the next full moon day, Wednesday, Dec. 14. Please feel free, as always, to join us for those occasions, or any day during Luang Por’s stay. He will depart for Canada in order to spend the winter retreat at Tisarana on Dec. 23.
Luang Por Sumedho to visit in June, 2017
We will be honored to host our teacher and the founding abbot of so many of our monasteries, Luang Por (Ajahn) Sumedho for a visit to Temple from June 12–29, 2017. More information about his visit, and any public talks or teaching events, etc. will be posted closer to the time, probably sometime next spring. Some of our supporters wish to offer a Pa Bah in honor of Luang Por Sumedho’s visit, and, as the central event, invite him to offer an afternoon Dhamma Talk: that will be on Sunday, June 25 – so do book that into your calendar as it should be a special day.
Luang Por Piak to visit in April/May 2017
Another highly respected teacher will be visiting Temple next spring, from April 28–May 1: Luang Por Piak, an accomplished disciple of Luang Por (Ajahn) Chah, will offer teachings on the weekend of April 29 and 30, including a public talk at 1 p.m. on the Sunday afternoon, in place of the usual meditation workshop. More details about this event will be worked out and posted on the website closer the time.
Kathina Ceremony & abbots’ gathering in October 2017
And on Sunday, October 8, 2017, Temple Forest Monastery will receive its first Kathina offering. The ceremony will be attended by most of the abbots of the Ajahn Chah affiliated monasteries in North America, because we will also hold an annual abbots’ gathering here after the kathina. Luang Por Pasanno, Luang Por Viradhammo (who will arrive the day after the kathina), Ajahn Sona, Ajahn Punnadhammo, and Ajahn Sudanto will join us for the occasion (abbots of Abhayagiri, Tisarana, Birken Forest Monastery, Arrow River Hermitage, and Pacific Hermitage, respectively).
Winter Retreat 2017
The monastic community’s annual three-month Winter Retreat will take place from the beginning of January through to the end of March. This will be a period of silent retreat for the monks, with no short term overnight guests as well as no Sunday meditation workshops between January 1 and April 1. These three months of the year have come to serve an important function in our Western branch monasteries, with the traditional three-month Rains Retreat taking place in summer and fall which in European and American climates is often the best time to be active and working. Therefore the winter months of January, February, and March have become a time for the Sangha to put many activities down and have an extended period reserved for formal meditation practice.
Winter Retreat support opportunity
During the Winter Retreat the meal offering will be the same as ever: every day at 11 a.m. anyone is welcome to come to the monastery to offer (and share in) food to the Sangha. And while we won’t be accepting overnight visitors in the usual way, it would be helpful to have three or four laypeople stay at the monastery in order to support the monastic community’s retreat. Ideally these people will have stayed at the monastery before, and be able to stay for the full three months (or at minimum for one of the months). They would join in most of the group practice periods and there will likely be much unstructured solitary time to use to further one’s practice. Therefore they should be experienced in staying in a silent retreat atmosphere, and comfortable with solitude. If you are interested in supporting the Sangha in this way by helping with meal preparation, shoveling, cleaning, etc. from January 1–April 1, do send us an email.
Sangha and lay guests at the monastery, as well as some generous volunteers, have worked on quite a few projects this year. A few of the most notable:
The “Duplex” becomes the “Triplex”
The long process of work on the lay guest accommodation building (the long red building attached to the barn) this year is coming to a close with only finishing work left before laying down tools for the winter (there will be some more to do next year). It seems that so many furry four-legged friends had been sharing the building with its human residents over the decades since it was constructed in the early 70s as an office building, that monastery guests could hear – and smell – this reality to the point it was becoming disruptive. Since we would not harm them, we attempted to convince them all to live elsewhere. This effort seems to have been successful (easy enough, during the warmth of summer). In order to prevent the rodents from returning we separated the building from the barn, and installed steel mesh around the base of the building, one foot up from the ground, one foot down into the ground, and one foot back under the ground. In addition we stripped out all the ceilings and insulation in the middle section of the building, installing a new ceiling and new insulation. This provides for three discreet sections: one for women, one for men, and one which can be for men or for women depending on need (and thus the new moniker “triplex”).
Book storage container
We have been so generously offered so many free distribution Dhamma books to store for distribution over coming years, that in order to keep them safe from mold and damage the monastery purchased a shipping container, had it insulated, and built shelving to store them all. A little heater for the winter and dehumidifier for the summer should keep our Dhamma books in good condition for years to come.
And, now that it has started snowing, we have embarked on the building of two more kutis (meditation cabins for the monks). Late last year, with a generous donation we were able to build one. Further generosity received over the last year or two from supporters in the UK provided for the construction of another kuti this year, but the contractors involved could not start until a couple of weeks ago. And as a result of the offerings received at this year’s Pa Bah (held here at Temple on Sep. 18) we are able to build a third kuti: the monks are helping a carpenter friend currently working on it with another friend, Bob Berube, who is volunteering his valuable help on most days.
The resident sangha here at Temple is currently five monks (bhikkhus) two novices (samaneras) and two postulants (anagarikas): Ajahn Jayanto, Ajahn Caganando, Ajahn Jivako, Tan Nyanassaro, Tan Sunyo, Samanera Candapanyo, Samanera Mejjho, Anagarika Barnes, and Anagarika Michael.
Next year Ajahn Anando, who was with us again this year for the Vassa, will return to Temple for another extended stay in June 2017.
Hopefully we’ll be a bit more regular with our website/mailing list news updates next year too.
In Dhamma, and with gratitude,
Please join us for the annual “Pa Bah” almsgiving ceremony which will be held at the monastery on Sunday, September 18, 2016, from 10.15 a.m.–2.30 p.m. These are traditional occasions going back to the time of the Buddha when the lay community comes together towards the end of the “Rainy Season” to offer material support to the monastic community. This year some of our local Thai-American friends have asked to offer a Pa Bah and they invite anyone interested to join with them (just come along). The occasion includes informal opportunities to meet the sangha and others in the wider lay community, thus serving as an annual festival-like gathering too. A Dhamma Talk will be offered after an alms-round and shared meal and the ceremony for the offering of requisites.
Everyone is most welcome to come for all or any part of the day, whether bringing offerings or just wishing to hear a Dhamma Talk or visit with the sangha and others.
Sunday, September 18, 2016, 10 a.m.–2.30 p.m.
Temple Forest Monastery
32 Derbyshire Ln,
Temple, NH, 03084
10.15 a.m. Introductory Remarks
10.30 a.m. Prepare Food Offering
10.45 a.m. Alms-round
11 a.m. Shared Meal
12.30 p.m. Precepts, Paritta Chanting & Offering Ceremony
1.15 p.m. Dhamma Talk by Ajahn Jayanto
2.00 p.m. Close of Ceremony & Chance to Meet Sangha
2.30 p.m. End
We are pleased to invite you to a ceremony which will include the “Going Forth” (or papajja) of our postulant, whom many of you know as Anagarika Devin, into the robes and training of a Ten Precept Novice (or samanera), on Saturday September 17, 2016, at 1 p.m.
This will also be the occassion for the Precept Ceremony of two more men who wish to enter the monastic community as postulants (anagarikas) – Barnes Peterson and Michael Keezing.
Please feel free to join us for the event, and/or, as always, to come for the 11 a.m. meal offering beforehand as well.
We will be wishing Devin, Barnes, and Michael all the best on their monastic path.
We are happy to receive a visit this weekend from Ven. Ajahn Viradhammo, abbot of Tisarana Buddhist Monastery in Canada. Luang Por will be with us from Friday, August 26 through Sunday the 28th.
Please join us for the mealtime offering at 11 a.m. on these days, or for the Dhamma Talks he will offer on Friday evening and Sunday afternoon.
Dhamma Talks will be offered at the monastery by Luang Por Viradhammo, on:
Friday, August 26 at 7 p.m. (after the usual meditation and chanting beginning at 7), and
Sunday, August 28 at 1 p.m. (as part of the usual Sunday Meditation Workshop).
Warm greetings from Temple,
Things are going well here as we move into the warmth of late spring.
It has been quite a while since we updated those of you on our mailing list, and here on the website news page. Our apologies! Therefore this is the first of several updates we will be sending out over the coming week, so as not to overwhelm you with information in one long post.
First of all, we’d like to invite you to join us for two special events in June. We will be honored with visits from two respected senior monks, Tan Ajahn Dtun from June 10–14, and Luang Por Pasanno from June 15–20. They will each offer a Dhamma Talk here at the monastery on Sunday June 12 and June 19 respectively. Please see below for more details:
Sunday, June 12: Dhamma Talk offered by Ajahn Dtun
Temple Forest Monastery is honored to receive a visit from Venerable Ajahn Dtun, a respected disciple of Ven. Ajahn Chah, under whom many monks have trained at his forest monastery in Chonburi Province, Thailand. Tan Ajahn Dtun will be accompanied by Ajahn Tejapanyo, an English monk who will translate from Thai into English as Ajahn Dtun gives his talk. The talk will begin at 1 p.m., and will replace the regular meditation workshop on that day. Meeting Ajahn Dtun is a special opportunity, and everyone is very welcome to attend. (Come earlier for the meal at 11 if you wish, or come before the talk at 1. It’s a good idea to arrive by 12.30 in case parking is farther from the sala than usual.)
11 a.m. Meal offering with reflections
1–3 p.m. Dhamma Talk (Likely outdoors: please bring an umbrella if it’s raining.)
Sunday, June 19: Ordination (Upasampada) Ceremony and Dhamma Talk offered by Ajahn Pasanno
Jetavana/Temple Forest Monastery will likewise be honored to receive a visit from Ven. Ajahn Pasanno, the abbot of Abhayagiri Monastery in California. Luang Por Pasanno will be kind enough to facilitate a monk (bhikkhu) ordination ceremony, called an upasampadā, at Temple by acting as preceptor (upajjhāya) for our novice, Samanera Sunyo. This will mark an important stepping stone not only for our new bhikkhu candidate Sunyo, but also for the monastery itself, as it will be the first bhikkhu ordination to take place here – for us, a somewhat historic event. Samanera Sunyo is from Westford, MA, and has completed his novice training over the past two years here since arriving at Temple with Ajahn Jayanto in July 2014. Throughout the ceremony Luang Por Pasanno will offer explanatory reflections, as well as a short Dhamma Talk afterwards. Everyone is very welcome to attend. (Come earlier for the meal at 10.30 if you wish, or come before the ceremony at 1. It’s a good idea to arrive 30 mins. early in order to park and walk over to the site.)
10–10.30 a.m. Arrive
10.45 a.m. Rice Pindapat (Offering rice into the monks’ bowls.)
11 a.m. Meal offering
1–3 p.m. Upasampada Ordination Ceremony & Dhamma Talk (Outdoors: please bring an umbrella if it’s raining.)
Warm greetings from Temple. It’s been an active summer at the monastery, with new community members and the assumption of responsibility for the whole property, and as we get closer to this year’s Pa Bah gathering this week it is high time for an update.
2015 Alms-giving Ceremony – Sunday, Oct. 4
First off, this year’s Pa Bah Offering Ceremony will be held this coming Sunday, October 4, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Similar to the event last year the day will serve both as an almsgiving occasion for those who wish to support the new monastery with requisites and donations, as well as a sort of festival day to simply gather and share a meal, witness or take part in a traditional offering ceremony and listen to a Dhamma Talk. The talk will be offered by Luang Por Viradhammo, the abbot of Tisarana Monastery, who will be visiting along with Ajahn Sudanto, abbot of Pacific Hermitage. It’s a good time to meet the monks and other supporters, and see the monastery. Do come along for any part of the day – everyone is very welcome.
Opening of Jetavana, Temple Forest Monastery
From June 26 until July 2 the Sangha at Temple was very fortunate to host a visit by Luang Por Liem, the abbot of Luang Por (Ajahn) Chah’s monastery in Thailand, as well as Luang Por Jundee, another respected senior Thai abbot. They were accompanied by Ajahn Sehk and Ajahn Thaniyo, a Thai and Australian monk respectively, the latter serving as a consummate translator from Thai to English of the teachings offered by the Thai ajahns during their visit. (The Dhamma Talks they offered can be heard or downloaded here >) We were also happy to have with us Ajahn Anando who returned to Temple for a month and Tan Ruciro, another English monk from Amaravati.
As the property had been purchased just a few months earlier, Luang Por Liem agreed to preside over an opening weekend which included a novice ordination on June 27 and an opening ceremony on June 28 to inaugurate and bless the new monastery. We were honored to have the Thai ambassador to the U.S., Ambassador Pisan Manawapat, and his family come for the occasion. While Luang Por led the thirteen monks present in chanting traditional Paritta blessings, the Ambassador, along with the president of the Jeta Grove board of directors and the former property owners, represented the lay donors in unveiling the ‘Jetavana Stone’ – an ancient granite boulder left by ice age glaciers in the monastery’s large field where for the occasion of its official opening a local artist had carved the name of the monastery and the Buddhist and Western calendar years alongside a Dhammacakka: a Dhamma Wheel symbol which was one of the earliest representations of the teaching of the Buddha.
In addition to the name of the monastery we most often use – Temple Forest Monastery – the monastery has a Pali name: Jetavana. Jetavana (“Jeta Grove”) was the monastery where the Buddha spent more Rains Retreats than any other during his lifetime, and gave many of the teachings recorded in the Pali Canon. It was a beautiful forested park purchased at great expense by the wealthy lay disciple Anathapindika in order to donate it to the Sangha as a place where the Buddha’s disciples could practice in a suitable setting for generations to come. Historically, when Buddhism has become established in new countries there have often been monasteries named after the original Jetavana.
Despite weather which was cool, blustery, and wet to say the least (as rain is considered auspicious in Buddhist countries we took it as a sign that someone was very happy about the event!) the day was attended by many supporters and visitors, pretty much filling up the large tent high up on the field. All in all a thoroughly joy-filled occasion. Some pictures from the opening ceremony and the weekend’s events can be viewed here >
When the three-month Vassa (Rains Retreat) began at the end of July, the Thai and English monks had departed as had Tan Pamutto, who had set off on foot having decided to further explore the life of a wandering monk during this phase of his training. (He has since written to let us know he is spending the Vassa in a garden shed somewhere in the Quabbin woods, and is being well looked after.) The Sangha here at Temple is currently five monks (bhikkhus) and a novice (samanera): Ajahn Jayanto, Ajahn Caganando, Tan Jivako, Tan Saddhammo, Tan Nyanassaro, and Samanera Sunyo. Another young man is in line to join us as a postulant (anagarika) within the next couple of weeks.
Activity & Volunteering
Having inherited a to-do list typically long for an old property of this size as well as needing to begin adapting it for monastic purposes, the Sangha and guests and volunteers have been busy making various repairs and getting to grips with caring for the grounds and buildings. We’re very grateful for all the help so many people have generously offered this summer.
If you would like to join in by contributing in one way or another by helping with grounds or maintenance work – or in some other way – you are most welcome. Please just send us an email either through the contact page or to the following email address:
Winter Retreat Support
Speaking of opportunities to help, we are beginning to look ahead to the monastic community’s annual three-month Winter Retreat which will take place from the beginning of January through the end of March. This will be a period of silent retreat for the monks, with no short term overnight guests as well as no Sunday meditation workshops between January 1 and April 1. These three months of the year have come to serve an important function in our Western branch monasteries, with the traditional three-month Rains Retreat taking place in summer and fall which in western climates is often the best time to be active and working. Therefore the winter months of January, February, and March have become a time for the Sangha to put many activities down and have an extended period reserved for formal meditation practice.
During the Winter Retreat the meal offering will be the same as ever: anyone is welcome to come to the monastery on any day to offer (and share in) food to the Sangha. And while we won’t be accepting overnight visitors in the usual way, it would be helpful to have two or three laypeople stay at the monastery in order to support the monastic community’s retreat. Ideally these people will have stayed at the monastery before, and be able to stay for the full three months (or at minimum for one of the months). They would join in most of the group practice periods and there will likely be much unstructured solitary time to use to further one’s practice. Therefore they should be experienced in staying in a silent retreat atmosphere and comfortable with solitude. If you are interested in supporting the Sangha in this way by helping with meal preparation, shoveling, cleaning, etc. from January 1–April 1, do send us an email.
Protecting the Land
A significant event that’s taken place this summer has been the unexpected decision of our next door neighbor to sell his property. This 10-plus acre property abuts the field right over the Sangha living area (Jessen and Cliff houses) and cuts along the overlooking ridge where we plan eventually to have elders and other kutis. We always knew the monastery would need to try to protect it from development if at all possible – by purchasing that 6–7 acres of the ridge ideally – but had hoped our neighbor would hold on to it for some years so the board wouldn’t have to think about it yet. However, when a FOR SALE sign popped up after initial discussions between him and monastery friends and it went suddenly onto the market, one supporter stepped forward and in order to help the monastery by preventing it going to an unknown party – purchased the property! That person needs to sell at least some of it now for financial reasons; therefore, there is currently an opportunity to protect our land by purchasing the area in question for the monastery.
Practice at the Monastery
Finally, just a reminder and encouragement to feel welcome to come to Temple Forest Monastery, the morning work and around the midday meal being the best times to engage with the community, as well especially as the Sunday Meditation Workshops from 1–3 p.m. every Sunday. The 7 p.m. evening pujas (Tues.–Sat.) are a good time to come and quietly meditate and chant with the Sangha as well, and normally there is a Dhamma Talk offered after the weekly moon-night puja.
With all good wishes in Dhamma,
Please join us on October 4, 2015 for a traditional ceremony organized by local friends who wish to offer support for Temple Forest Monastery. It will also be an opportunity to meet with friends and the monastic community including visiting monks, and to hear a Dhamma Talk.
Everyone is welcome to join us for any part of the occasion: an alms-round and shared meal, a Buddhist ‘Offering Ceremony’ (called a “Pa Bah”) and a Dhamma Talk offered by Luang Por Viradhammo, abbot of Tisarana Buddhist Monastery in Perth, Ontario. We will be honored also to have with us Ajahn Sudanto, abbot of the Pacific Hermitage in White Salmon, WA.
From right to left: LP Viradhammo, Aj. Jayanto, Aj. Sudanto, Aj. Caganando
Sunday, October 4, 2015, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Temple Forest Monastery
32 Derbyshire Ln,
Temple, NH, 03084
10.15 a.m. Introductory Remarks
10.30 a.m. Prepare Food Offering
10.45 a.m. Alms-round
11 a.m. Shared Meal
12.30 p.m. Precepts, Paritta Chanting & Offering Ceremony
1.30 p.m. Dhamma Talk by Luang Por Viradhammo
2.30 p.m. Close of Ceremony & Chance to meet Sangha
3.00 p.m. End
Please join us for a day of celebration and an opportunity to mark the opening of Temple Forest Monastery with a ceremony and a Dhamma Talk led and offered by Luang Por Liem (Tan Chao Khun Pra Rachabhavanavigrom) – the abbot of Wat Nong Pah Pong, Ajahn Chah’s main monastery in Ubon Province, Thailand. Luang Por Liem is Preceptor to many of the Ajahn Chah monks, both Western and Thai, and is a revered teacher in his own right.
10.00 a.m. – Introduction
10.30 a.m. – Alms-round (offering rice into monks’ bowls)
11.00 a.m. – Meal Offering
1 p.m. – Dhamma Talk by Luang Por Liem
2 p.m. – Blessing Ceremony for the Foundation of the Monastery
3 p.m. – End
This is a rare opportunity to meet the senior monks visiting from Thailand, and to hear a Dhamma Talk by Luang Por Liem. Luang Por Jundee will be with us as well, and Luang Por Viradhammo, abbot of Tisarana Monastery in Canada will be with us too.
The Thai Ambassador to the U.S., Ambassador Pisan Manawapat, will be honoring us with a visit on both days of this Opening Weekend, for the events on Saturday and Sunday, June 27–28.
The day will begin with an introduction and a traditional alms-round where those who wish will have an opportunity to offer rice into the monks’ bowls, and then share a meal made up of whatever food offerings are brought by the people who come (Buddhists have been eating pot-luck for 2,500 years). After the meal, at around 12.30 or 1 p.m., we will invite our special guest Luang Por Liem, the abbot of Wat Pah Pong in Thailand, to offer us a Dhamma Talk which will be translated by an English-speaking monk. After the talk the gathered monks will do some traditional chanting for the auspicious occasion, and a foundation stone will be unveiled and dedicated.
Luang Por Liem (Tan Chao Khun Pra Rachabhavanavigrom) is abbot of Wat Nong Pah Pong, Ajahn Chah’s main monastery in Ubon Province, Thailand. He is Preceptor to many of the Ajahn Chah monks, both Western and Thai, and is a revered teacher in his own right.
Luang Por Jundee is likewise highly respected and was a monk with Ajahn Chah having grown up in the same village as the monastery; he is now the abbot of Wat Pah Ampahwan in Chonburi Province, Thailand.
Please join us at the monastery on Saturday, June 27, for a meal offering at 11 a.m. with the visiting senior monks from Thailand and Tisarana: Luang Por Liem, Luang Por Viradhammo and Luang Por Jundee; and/or for a Dhamma Talk which will be offered by Luang Por Jundee at 1 p.m.; and/or for a Going Forth (pabbajja) ceremony at 2 p.m. – where Anagarika Zack will become a novice monk (samanera).
This is a special opportunity to meet the visiting monks and to witness Anagarika Zack’s Going Forth “from home to homelessness”.
Do join us on this day (and/or the next day) –everybody is welcome.
11 a.m. – Meal Offering
1 p.m. – Dhamma Talk offered by Luang Por Jundee
2 p.m. – Pappajja (Novice ‘Going Forth’ Ordination)
3 p.m. – End
The weeks seem to have flown by since the end of our snowy winter retreat, and it is hard for me to believe it’s now the first day of June. Much has happened.
The property has been purchased
It is with tremendous gratitude and a sincere anumodanā (appreciation for goodness done) that I can recount that due to the amazing generosity of many people wanting to support this happening – those here in New England and North America, and in Thailand, and particularly in the U.K. and in Malaysia – we were able to purchase the property for Temple Forest Monastery at the very end of March. (There is a mortgage: for more details see the Jeta Grove website.) We intend that this monastery will be a place for the cultivation and realization of the Dhamma for generations to come, for the benefit and welfare of all beings. May the blessings of all the many actions and gifts by everyone that have led us to this milestone be for their benefit and the benefit of all.
Visit of Luang Por Liem
From June 26–July 2 we will be fortunate to host a visit from two of the most beloved senior monks of the Ajahn Chah community from Thailand: Ven. Ajahn Liem Thitadhammo – or simply “Luang Por Liem” – and Ven. Ajahn Jundee (“Luang Por Jundee”). Ajahn Liem is the abbot of Ajahn Chah’s monastery in Thailand (Wat Pah Pong), and was the monk whom Ajahn Chah chose to succeed him 35 years ago; he is a humble, wise and greatly respected central elder of our monastic community. Ajahn Jundee is likewise highly respected and was a monk with Ajahn Chah having grown up in the same village as the monastery; he is now the abbot of Wat Pah Amperwan. The two Luang Pors have been invited to visit some of the North American monasteries in our community – of which Temple is now one – and we thought we’d take the opportunity to mark the establishment of this new monastery with a ceremony and open gathering where Luang Por Liem can lead the blessings and offer a Dhamma Talk.
Opening Day celebration: Sunday, June 28 – everyone welcome
The Opening Day will take place on Sunday June 28, from about 10 a.m. till around 3 p.m. and will be similar in format to the Pa Bah ceremony we had at the monastery back in October. The schedule is flexible as we continue to work things out but will begin with an introduction and a traditional alms-round where those who wish will have an opportunity to offer rice into the monks’ bowls, and then share a meal made up of whatever food offerings are brought by the people who come (Buddhists have been eating pot-luck for 2,500 years). After the meal, at around 12.30 or 1 p.m., we will invite Luang Por Liem to offer us a Dhamma Talk which will be translated by an English-speaking monk. At some point either before or after the talk the gathered monks will do some traditional chanting for the auspicious occasion, and we currently plan for a foundation stone to be dedicated (anyone who wishes to contribute towards the carving of such a stone, feel free to contact us).
For that weekend we will welcome quite a few visiting monks and guests. The senior monks’ party will include Luang Por Viradhammo from Tisarana Monastery near Ottawa, as well as two other monks, Ajahn Sehksan and Ajahn Thaniyo, and two laymen traveling with the party from Thailand. Our own Ajahn Anando along with Tan Ruciro, a two-vassa English monk, plan to visit from Amaravati and stay for a month, and Ajahn Khemavaro, abbot of Wat Buddha Dhamma in Australia, will pass through from the 22–26th. The Thai ambassador to the U.S., Ambassador Pisan Manawapat, and his family also plan to come to pay respects to the senior monks and to see the monastery and be part of the occasion.
The resident community
In addition to visiting monks the resident community will soon include several new faces. In April we were joined by Tan Pamutto, a monk of five years from Abhayagiri Monastery who has also spent time training at Tisarana. It’s been great to have him here, as along with myself and Anagarika Zack we are the only Sangha members resident at the moment. For about a month we were joined by Tan Varadhammo, or Jake, a visiting monk from Forest Dhamma Monastery in Virginia originally from Massachusetts, who had been considering a return to the lay life and who took that step a couple weeks ago – he was a pleasant and supportive presence at the monastery and we all wish him well in his new life. For the past month Tan Saddhammo has been helping to care for his parents in Portland, Oregon and he will be staying at the Pacific Hermitage until he returns to rejoin us at TFM on June 17.
June 17 is also the long-awaited day that Ajahn Caganando – who was with me in Boston when we first came to Temple in 2013 – will rejoin the community here; it will be wonderful to have him back with us. On June 11 we expect a monk of two vassas originally from the Midwest to arrive from Wat Pah Nanachat, and on the 25th another American monk will arrive from Buddha Bodhivana Monastery in Melbourne Australia: Tan Jivako, who is from Amesbury, Massachusetts.
Anagarika Zack, who is from Westford, Mass. and who has been with us since we moved in last July, is approaching one year in the community, and he has asked to go forth as a samanera, the next stage of novitiate training and one which involves him giving up money and donning two of the three robes of a monk. His Going Forth (“Pabbajja”) ceremony will be finalized soon, but looks set to take place on the afternoon or evening of June 27 – everyone is welcome to attend and wish him well as he moves further along the path to becoming a monk.
A mix of cultures
As has been the case in monasteries around the world and throughout Buddhist history, this fledgling monastery acts as a meeting place for people of different walks of life and different backgrounds. Many Americans are interested in learning from Buddhist teaching and practice; and many people born into Buddhist cultures, in Thailand or other Asian countries, are interested in deepening their relationship to their own religion, especially in a place where Buddhist monasteries are few and far between.
So on any given day, at the 11 a.m. meal or one of the Evening Pujas, or at the 1–3 p.m. Sunday meditation workshops, there will often be a mix of various people and traditions, the Western and the Asian, the local and the far-afield. Of course, distinctions are not necessary – everyone is a human being who experiences happiness and suffering and can experience peace in the same way, and these are the focuses of the Buddhist Path for any who wish to interact with it in whatever way. Along with the many Thai people who have been coming to the monastery since we arrived in Temple last year, there are increasing numbers of interested people – from locals in Temple, Wilton, and Milford, to those from Keene, Nashua, Manchester, Concord, and areas in Massachusetts from Boston to Northampton.
Getting to the monastery
This has meant that there are now people in various areas interested in coming to the monastery who may not have the means to do so; therefore, in the face of the lack of any public transportation, there are discussions amongst lay people for setting up ride share boards or something similar. One such effort has begun in Boston, and there is a Google Group one supporter has set up and manages at the following link (note that the monastery is not involved in this and assumes no responsibility for it): https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en#!forum/tfm-rides
Opportunities to practice and to get involved
Please do join us for any of the daily routine at the monastery, the regular practice opportunities as well as the work periods and, of course, meals. As we move into more of the property and take the reins of care, there are many things we can use a helping hand with, from mowing lawns to driving to maintenance and repairs. Contact us if you’re interested in helping out.
With gratitude and metta,
Here there is snow, pure, white powder, and it is deep and quiet.
It has been a great while since we posted an update on how things are going here at the monastery. Please accept our apologies if you have been wondering. Many of you have stayed in touch through visits and emails, yet as it happened the busyness of the summer and autumn made way to a natural dampening down of activity here, and a somewhat commensurate reduction of attention to the website and mailing list. Having entered our three-month ‘winter retreat’, with recent snowstorms dropping the blanket, it feels wonderfully still.
And it is beautiful - as was the foliage last fall, especially for those of us who have not been around for many New England Octobers in recent years. My first for many was in 2013, when I and Ven. Caganando and Bruce and Barbara Kantner and a few supporters and board members were making hopeful arrangements to embark on the journey which has carried us here, to the beginning of Temple Forest Monastery and the plan to purchase the property for its establishment in Temple, NH.
Where things have continued to go well. A pleasant Vassa last summer culminated in the Pa Bah ceremony held on October 5, when many friends from far and near came to join us for the occasion. This was also a chance for people to just come and see what’s happening – a Buddhist monastery is a rare thing, and rather unusual in New England. It was a great, sunny day, and we were joined by Luang Por Viradhammo, Ven. Cunda and Anagarika Zaw from Tisarana Monastery, Ayya Medhanandi from Satisaraniya Hermitage, and Ajahn Caganando from Pacific Hermitage. Luang Por V gave a wonderful talk, which can be listened to here. There were many photos taken on the the day, many of which can be viewed here.
In October Ajahn Anando returned to the UK, where he will stay at Amaravati Monastery until rejoining us here for two months this coming June. Yet he and I have continued to liaise quite closely over the past weeks and months, as we help the Jeta Grove board in handling the various decisions and aspects of the sale process required for this old New Hampshire property. For I’m happy to report that things in this department have been going well. In November we received permission from the town zoning authority to build a monastery as we envision it, with a Dhamma Hall and kutis, etc. And we have been blessed with several very generous donations that, in addition to the amazing Pa Bah offerings (roughly $150,000) our Thai friends organized along with others here in New England and in the UK, mean we are actually close to being able to close on the property, perhaps with financing involved. Our financial steward, Jeta Grove, should be sending out an announcement in the next day or two to let you know where things stand. From the Sangha, all we can say is a sincere anumodanā for the interest and support so far shown for a monastery project we are committed to help become a blessing for all beings.
As far as ‘life at the monastery’ currently goes, we have a community of three plus two: myself, Tan Saddhammo and Anagarika Zack make up the monastic community, and we are supported by two guests named Mat and Mick. After our retreat period ends at the end of March we’ll be joined by Tan Pamutto, a monk from Abhayagiri Monastery in California. And Ajahn Caganando, whom many of you will fondly remember from his time with me in Boston, will be returning to join us again in July. While during our retreat period we will not be receiving overnight guests, you are still welcome to join us for scheduled pujas, Dhamma Talks and sittings or to help offer the daily meal. Please check the website Calendar page for the current schedule, as the routine will change from time to time during the retreat. We will be happy to accept male and female overnight guests again from the beginning of April onwards.
While the physical space of the monastery comes into being here in Temple, we can each, wherever we are, form an inner monastery within the temple of our hearts, by keeping to the training the Buddha offered us all of cultivating the good, avoiding the harmful, and purifying our minds. Indeed, the monastery is always within.
With metta and gratitude,
P.S. With the imminent possibility of coming into ownership of this large property, we are looking for a volunteer resident caretaker, to look after supervising grounds and maintenance work on the six buildings and several fields (the ‘outer’ monastery). Here is the announcement from the front page:
Volunteer help needed
Temple Forest Monastery is looking for a longterm volunteer caretaker/maintenance person, preferably a male with some experience with tools and garden machinery. The ideal period would begin in April 2015 and last for an initial month-long trial period, with the intention of making a one-year commitment. This first year would entail working with the monastic community as we learn the ropes in caring for this large and varied property.
If you would like to live, practice and work with the monastic community for a year or more by managing the grounds and buildings maintenance at the fledgling Temple Forest Monastery, please contact Ajahn Jayanto by email or phone.
From Jeta Grove Foundation, and the organizing supporters for this event:
Please join us for a traditional gathering to support the establishment of a new branch monastery of Ajahn Chah in New England, organized by friends from the area and abroad. It will mark the end of the first Vassa (Rains Retreat) the monastic community have spent at the property – and be a great chance to gather together and see what’s happening.
Everyone is welcome to join us for any part of the occasion: an alms-round and shared meal, a Buddhist ‘Offering Ceremony’ and a Dhamma Talk offered by Luang Por Viradhammo.
We are honored also to have with us for the day Ayya Medhanandi Bhikkhuni from Sati Saraniya Hermitage, as well as Ajahn Caganando, who was with Ajahn Jayanto in Boston last year.
10 a.m. – Introductory Remarks
10.15 a.m. – Paritta Chanting
10.30 a.m. – Prepare Food Offering
10.45 a.m. – Alms-round
11 a.m. – Shared Meal
12:30 p.m. – Precepts & Offering Ceremony
1 p.m. – Dhamma Talk by LP Viradhammo
2 p.m. – Close; chance to meet Sangha members
Dhamma Talk to be offered by Ven. Ajahn Viradhammo
Luang Por Viradhammo is abbot of Tisarana Monastery in Perth, Ontario. He was one of the earliest of Ajahn Chah’s Western disciples and has been a monk for over forty years.
*If anyone would like to come up to the monastery to help on the day – or the days before or after – please don't hesitate to contact Mark Lewis at [...]
It has been two months since we moved in to ‘Jessen House’, the old name of the house at 28 Jessen Lane where Ajahn Anando and Tan Saddhammo and I have been living, and which has also served as our place for pujas and meals. We started at the height of summer, and fall is at the door. Our erstwhile lay attendant Zack Roberts has been with us for this time too, staying in ‘Cliff House’ – the old name of the second little house we are renting for use as a guest house for overnight visitors. Yesterday Zack joined the monastic community as an anagarika, an eight-precept postulant with a commitment to stay with us for at least one year, as a first step towards becoming a monk.
The inherited names of these houses and the other parts of this varied property may stick or may well be replaced as the monastery takes shape over time. This whole area is rooted in long history, hundreds of years of old New England evident in every stone wall and historic farmhouse one sees at every turn. We are conscious of this as we begin planting the seeds for the growth of a new monastic community, while being likewise aware of the long history of the Sangha – at 2557 years, along with the Jains it’s the oldest living community in the world. The challenge of facilitating this introduction and cooperation between established cultures is our task, one the Sangha has managed at different times over the centuries, and particularly over the past few decades in England and other countries outside of our own community’s traditional home of Thailand.
The fact that so many westerners have found the Buddha’s teachings relevant to their lives, and that enough of them have wished to ‘go forth from home life to the homeless life’ as Buddhist samanas (monks and nuns) so as to inspire the establishment of monasteries, speaks to the universal applicability of these teachings to the human experience, whatever the culture, whatever the time. Certainly we’ve felt uplifted by the level of interest and support showing itself already, here at the nascent Temple Forest Monastery. May these efforts bring blessings to all.
This coming month, some supporters have asked to organize a ‘Pa Bah’ (Offering Ceremony) , which has been scheduled for Sunday, October 5. Some of you will remember the Pa Bah last year at the end of our stay in Boston; this should be a similar affair. A more detailed schedule for the day will be set out in a further announcement, but here are the basic details:
Pa Bah Offering Ceremony – Sunday, October 5
Where: 28 Jessen Lane, Temple, NH, 03084
When: 10 a.m. – 2.30 p.m.
Luang Por Viradhammo will be coming from Canada along with two of the monks from Tisarana Monastery. Also coming from Canada, Ayya Medhanandi Bhikkhuni will join us with one of the nuns from Satisaraniya Hermitage. Ajahn Caganando, who was with us last year and plans to return to join us again next year, will also be present, having come from the Pacific Hermitage.
Anyone interested in the monastery is encouraged to come and join us on this day, as it will be the one big gathering day of the year for the whole community, monastic and lay, to come together – and as such represents the best opportunity to meet everyone and see what’s going on. Traditionally, a Pa Bah (similar to a ‘Kathina’ ceremony), is an opportunity for the lay community to make offerings, so in addition to it being a good time to come together and to meet Luang Por Viradhammo or Ayya Medhanandi etc., this year in particular the lay sponsors will be focusing on the opportunity to support the purchase of this property – so that a monastery can indeed be established.
The Saturday evening Dhamma Talk routine that we have experimented with has worked out well enough so far, with a Talk offered after the usual puja from 7–8 p.m. However, it seems that an afternoon timing would allow more people to come who would like to attend. Therefore we plan to change the routine to having a Dhamma Talk and/or discussion following a group meditation on Sunday afternoons instead of on Saturday evenings, beginning on Sunday September 21, from 1–3 p.m. With the meal at 11 a.m. as usual, you can come for that (and bring some food to share) and then stay on for the meditation and Talk – or simply arrive anytime before 1. From now on, Saturday Evening Pujas will no longer be followed by a Dhamma Talk.