Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Take A Breath

Just taking a step back today to look at where things are going. The foundation has been set on the two new bathrooms and the walls are going up (the front part for a second time, after I realized I had them put the door in front of the shower, making the path to the toilet wet), we finally cleared away the extensive brush in front of the ruined cave kuti enough to walk around that area for the first time and found room for three good-sized kutis. The rain has started, so it may be hit and miss from here on in, but we've begun! Bhante Anoma is leaving tomorrow for Ratanapura, leaving me alone with the old monk and a bunch of construction workers who don't speak English. It goes without saying that my Sinhala is improving as a result. Our newest meditator is from Turkey, staying in the upstairs cave. Sirimangalo International has approved a grant for the Ekayana Magga Aranya based on a fairly large donation from one of my students in California, so we are in for for some substantial additions to the monastery in the near future, it is to be hoped. This is what's happening on the monastery/meditation centre front.

On the Internet front, we now have a whopping 90 contributers to ask.sirimangalo.org, many of whom are more helpful to new contributers than I am lately, thank you all for that, and blessings. my.sirimangalo.org has 45 members after less than a week of operation, which I think shows it to be a successful experiment - many good things can come of it, and many uses it can be put to better than the Q&A site. radio.sirimangalo.org is up and working and even showing the local times now. Four sessions are scheduled for and around the Asalha full moon uposatha, which will be the 26th centennial anniversary of the first discourse of the Buddha. Participants will take refuge and precepts (five or eight), listen to me give a short talk, and do group meditation. We had five or so participants for the second test run, and it sounds like many people are interested in the next. I am still uploading videos to YouTube, though the latest ones are just phone camera shots of our latest construction. I'm uploading a new Ask A Monk video now, though, so be patient :) On that front, 1.6k people watch the videos every day, and the total count is approaching one million. All in all, it seems the Internet really can be a good tool for spreading the meditation practice.

I'm sure there's other things I'm forgetting, but just this is quite amazing, considering I was ready to go live on the streets of Vancouver at the end of the last rains. This rains will be my tenth. It's funny how the fifth also felt quite significant; this one certainly does. Stepping back and looking at all the success these days does wonders to erase the toll of years of "failure". It is true that we learn from our mistakes, and I'm happy to learn more from more mistakes, until there are no more mistakes to make, but sometimes it is nice to see that one makes fewer mistakes than one used to do.

May all be well.