First of all, thank you to the various people who have been writing and asking how things are going and how to get involved or visit us as we establish the fledgling monastery this summer. Your interest has been noted and appreciated, even if our response has been delayed until now.
I’m pleased to inform you all that, after wrapping up multifarious things at the monasteries in England, on Tuesday, July 1 I was able to move in to Jessen House, on the property we hope can be purchased for a monastery in Temple, NH. I am accompanied by a young man named Zack Roberts, who will serve as a lay attendant with a view towards eventually becoming an anagarika either here or elsewhere, and so far the two of us have been moving and sorting through things stored in Boston from last year, cleaning etc.
Today Ajahn Karunadhammo from Abhayagiri, who is on a visit to his sister in Massachusetts, will arrive and plan to stay with us until after the meal on Saturday. Tomorrow, July 4, Ven. Saddhammo will arrive in order to stay here for the Vassa period, the three-month ‘Rains Retreat’ that Theravada monks and nuns observe each year. Tan Saddhammo is from Portland, Oregon, and became a monk at Wat Pah Nanachat in Thailand about five years ago. And next Saturday (July 11) we’ll be joined by Ajahn Anando, a friend of mine and one of the senior monks at Amaravati, and who has begun helping me to guide this project. Ajahn Anando will need to return to England after the Vassa, as he helps to care for his elderly parents there, yet he wishes nonetheless to maintain a connection to the budding Temple Forest Monastery with a view to joining me in a role of shared responsibility when conditions permit in the future. Ven. Caganando, whom many of you will remember from last year when he and I lived at the temporary vihara in Allston, is currently looking after the Pacific Hermitage in Washington State, where the abbot, Ajahn Sudanto, is absent as he takes a nearly year-long solitary retreat. Tan Caganando will plan to join us in Temple once Ajahn Sudanto returns to Pacific Hermitage next spring.
The Vassa this year will begin on Sunday, July 12. That’s when I expect we’ll be somewhat better set up here to begin a more usual monastic routine, with the next week or so still a bit here and there while we get oriented. Although we translate ‘Vassa’ as ‘Rains Retreat’, it’s not necessarily a retreat in the commonly-understood sense, with silence and a group meditation schedule etc.; it’s more a time when the monastic community stays put in one place. Therefore we are happy to receive day visitors and overnight guests here at the monastery (apologies if the announcements about the rental opportunities next door were confusing in this regard). Events at Temple Forest Monastery do not require booking. However, those wishing to stay overnight need to book in advance. All activities at the monastery are free of charge; that is, there is no fee for attending events or for staying overnight. The time to come during the day is around the meal-offering time (11 a.m.) or thereabouts. We should have a schedule similar to last year’s at the vihara: morning and evening pujas with a Dhamma Talk about once a week, probably on Saturday nights. Otherwise anyone is welcome to come for the meal offering any day at 11 a.m. (no booking necessary, though it would be useful to know if you’re coming, especially if you plan to offer food).
We’ll post confirmation of puja times and meal offering info, Dhamma Talks, etc. on the website over the next week or so. But I expect it will be 5 a.m. morning puja, 11 a.m. meal, and 7 p.m. evening puja, with a talk on Saturday nights. After the meal on any day I or another monk should be available for conversation. There will likely be days when we are not at the monastery, so do please check our calendar on the website or call beforehand before making the journey. In the meantime though, from now on anyone is welcome to come for the meal, to help offer or to visit etc. Please call to check that we’ll be here (contact details below).
We thought it would be nice to start things off semi-officially with a more organized communal meal offering, on the day after Vassa begins: next Sunday, July 13. So please do feel free to join us for a meal here at 28 Jessen Lane at 11 a.m. (do bring offerings or food to contribute if you’d like – which is traditional – but no need, come all the same). It might be useful to know how many are coming, so drop us an email if you can.
Some of you have been asking what we need. Indeed, moving in to two empty houses we could use many household things, and there are other items that will be useful longterm. Therefore here is an initial list with various things we either need or would find useful; it will be replicated – and added to – on this website soon.
Amazon Gift Cards (or Gift Cards from other big stores including Lowes, etc.) – In case this is the easiest or preferred method for some of you, we can use Gift Cards to acquire needed items ourselves; this can be very useful for the monastery. Amazon Gift Cards can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Fans – powerful, quiet, portable room air circulators would be much appreciated.
straw mats (for placing on a carpet in order to eat on the floor, protecting the carpet).
tea-making things (tea pots, strainers, etc.)
office-sized waste bins
small water pitchers
small kitchen strainer
various furniture and carpets, mattresses – we will try to organize this, so please contact us if you have items you want to donate.
UPDATE (forgot these larger items):
HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner
This year the monastery will consist of two adjacent rented houses. The monks will stay in one, and overnight guests in the other. Our address and phone number is:
Temple Forest Monastery
28 Jessen Lane
Temple, NH, 03084
tel.: (603) 654-2292
(In case it’s not clear: Jeta Grove [Jeta Grove Foundation] is the non-profit body created to handle the financial aspects of the monastery project. Therefore donations can be made out to Jeta Grove Foundation. Temple Forest Monastery is the name of the new monastery [not Jeta Grove].)
That’s all for today,