Comings & Goings
The season brings with it new monastic visitors to the Hermitage. Ajahn Cunda arrived from Abhayagiri in late October, and will remain through June 2021. He will serve as the senior monk at the Hermitage for part of the time that Ajahn Sudanto is on sabbatical. Ajahn Cunda took Bhikkhu ordination in 2008, and in addition to Abhayagiri, has practiced at monasteries in Canada, Australia, England, and Italy.
Ajahn Kovilo just arrived at the Hermitage to stay through mid-January, and Ven. Nisabho, who arrived late November, will spend the winter here. (Learn a little more about all of them here.) The community is grateful to have the opportunity to draw near to the monks, and wishes a very big welcome to all!
Ajahn Sudanto began his sabbatical on December 6th, and will spend December through February at Abhayagiri. He returns to the Hermitage in March for the balance of his sabbatical, which is open-ended but will be for a minimum of one year. With much gratitude, we wish Ajahn a deeply beneficial and fruitful retreat.
Changes with Meal Dana
It’s that time again to shift the meal dana coordinator responsibilities. Chevy, a long-time member of the community, is now managing that role – thank you Chevy! And much gratitude and appreciation to Suzy and Casey for their support while in that role.
With the arrival of winter and the continuing pandemic, the procedures for weekend meal dana visits are changing. The monks have given considerable thought to how weekend donors can comfortably and safely visit, and have developed new guidelines. They adhere to Washington’s Covid-19 safety protocols, and will be in effect December 18 – April 2. The below highlights a few changes, but if you are planning a meal offering, please review all procedures here. If you have any questions, please reach out to Chevy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- There will still be the opportunity to visit with the monks outside after the meal, however, only with one household, up to 5 people. Multiple households may still offer a meal, but they wouldn’t be able to visit with the monks afterward.
- The shrine room will be aired out and sterilized in advance so that those offering meal dana may eat there (the monks will eat elsewhere).
- As the winter retreat is an important time for seclusion and silent study and meditation for the monks, they will finish meal offering visits by 1:00 p.m.
It is the hope that these protocols will allow for safe visits that protect the well being of all. The monks are grateful for your support.
Connecting with the Sangha
“And hearing the dhamma frequently taught, these are the highest blessings” is what came to mind upon hearing the joyful news that the monks will soon begin sharing the dhamma on livestreams. During the winter, the monks at the Hermitage will be offering twice-weekly livestreamed conversations, “Hermitage Conversations.” These will fall on every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. and every Friday at 7:00 a.m. These sessions will likely last 30 to 45 minutes, and will be in a similar format as Ajahn Sudanto’s coffee time with the YouTube comment section open during the session. The first of these will commence on Tuesday, December 15, and the link for the session is here.
Deep bows of gratitude for the monks’ generosity.
An Upcoming Online Retreat with Ajahn Sona
Serenity, Friendliness & Warmth, an Online Metta Retreat with Ajahn Sona will occur from December 22 – January 1. Registration is now open, you can find out all the details here.
Note that while there are Teatime Q&A sessions offered, Ajahn Sudanto is on sabbatical and will not be participating in this retreat .
Ajahn Reflects On: Gratitude
[Excerpted from Morning Coffee Time with Ajahn Sudanto, 9.21.20 ]
Favorable conditions are not secure, and not a true refuge for us. There’s a way of being happy and delighted that just keeps us stitched in to taking refuge in worldly conditions – happiness and pain, blessings coming and going, praise and blame, the worldly winds.
One of the ways to step out of that is to cultivate the heart of gratitude for what one has. We don’t want to not appreciate pleasure and the goodness that exists in our life, the blessings that exist in our life. But we do want to learn how to appropriately receive pleasure and the blessings of life without exercising the habit of making that the focus and the refuge. Without practicing our sense of well-being being dependent upon conditions which are always ephemeral, always imbued with the characteristic of unsatisfactoriness, and ever beyond our control – not self, not me, not mine…
Gratitude helps support the habit of joy, and joy goes a long way to helping feed and nurture the heart that rests in awareness in the present moment. And the movement towards tranquility, lucidity, serenity, and clear seeing. There are many ways to walk that path, but gratitude is a wonderful launching off point to move down that path towards tranquility lucidity and serenity.