Saturday, November 16, 2013

Returning to "Normal" Life and?

Two weeks ago I left the condo-turned-temporary-Vihara in Allston along with the two monks. The Anagarika role was now over and the "normal" John returned accompanied by dark clothing, dinners and high and luxurious sleeping arrangements. Ajahn Jayanto headed back to Amaravati in the United Kingdom and Tan Caganando left for the Pacific Hermitage located in Washington State. I stayed on for few days (along with Ajahn Jayanto's generous and dutiful mother) helping out returning the loaned items as well as doing lots of clean-up.

The tear-down of the Vihara
There were many friends and family in the area and, with some free time at hand, I visited and stayed with some of them. I also spent a few days with Bruce and Barbara, owners of a property in Temple, New Hampshire, the property that the the monks were interested in pursuing as a monastery.

The 4-month monastery investigation turned out much better than expected. Originally Ajahn Jayanto was just going to come to Boston just to explore the idea, to see what kind of support there was, and, perhaps, look at a few candidate properties. There was the expectation that he would have to return the following year for additional investigation.

What actually happened, though, was that there was an overwhelming amount of interest and support from the surrounding lay community, as well as an excellent property with owners who were very interested in selling it to the monastics. The "lay stewards" for the monastics were also able to collect enough funds to have the Ajahn Jayanato and 1-2 other monks return next year. It was quite extraordinary from my vantage point seeing the enthusiasm and how fast things moved.

My plans are to head off to Abhayagiri in late December, first serving on the Winter retreat followed by ordaining as an Anagarika sometime thereafter. Of course, these are "plans," and it's extremely vivid that anything can change. As I mentioned in previous blog posts, I have a health complication that may make the Anagarika'ship not possible. But there's no way of knowing other than moving on. I very much am interested in going down this road, now more than ever. That much I know. But the future feels very uncertain. Who knows where I will be one year from now?

As of this writing, I am in Roanoke, Virginia, headed off for a short visit with Ajahn Dick SÄ«laratano and his new monastery, the Forest Dhamma Monastery in Lexington, Virginia.

Ajahn Dick receiving alms during Kathina 2012
Ajahn Dick spent many decades as a monk, including spending over 15 years with Ajahn Maha Bua. He recently came back to the United States in 2011 to start a new monastery, feeling that "the time was right."

And so, the time is right for me to finish this blog post. Until later this month, I will be "off-the-grid." May I bid you wellness and happiness.