Monday, July 25, 2011

Convicts, Bathrooms, Kutis

If you follow my YouTube channel (or Facebook page, Buzz feed, etc.), you probably know that we had a group of convicts come to carry rocks and sand for us. They were really a good group of people, and I spent some time working with them, directing them, etc. They're really no different from most of us in their vices, they just happen to be the ones who got caught. I think they really liked the chance to work here too, besides getting out in nature, they must be happy to do something good for Buddhism and the world. It is really a testimony to the culture here that the convicts are so wholesome-minded!

The two bathrooms are almost finished; I'll post some pictures when they are. I have to say, it's amazing how expensive and time-consuming they have been. Expensive, relatively speaking, anyway... I imagine it would have cost a lot more in another place, and in many places we probably couldn't have got a permit to build on the edge of the cliff as we did :) But this location certainly does have its challenges in terms of building; it's not like cutting down some trees, leveling the land and building a wood-framed structure in Canada. Wood buildings are incredibly expensive here, given that moisture and insects will destroy all but the strongest of wood in a very short time.

Finally, we're officially into kuti-building now, with final plans being drawn up, the sand and gravel in place and cement blocks on order. The plan, as per my last video log post, is to build two rooms in one building, each with a separate bathroom, in the area where the third cave kuti was. Eventually, we'll probably rebuild the third cave kuti, but given the difficulty in building cave kutis in general (since rock and cement don't bond), it's probably fairly low on our priority list.

Oh, and we will probably be replacing and widening the cement meditation area in front of the downstairs cave at the same time as we build these two rooms. And the upstairs kuti still leaks, have to do something about that. And cetera.