Still waiting for some decisions here, but there seems to be some need to let the broader community of people who wonder what I'm up to know what I'm up to, so...
As mentioned, there are some issues with the property we've chosen; some fairly significant repairs/upgrades have to take place if we're going to stay here. Good news is the projected size of the property is now 40 acres, instead of 15.
There are other issues, though, including mortgage approval, financing, and running a meditation centre outside of the city. The mortgage issues are what we are waiting on now, but even if the mortage is approved, we still have to be sure we can run the place. The main issue there, from my point of view, is lack of a registered charity, which means inability to accept donations for the centre. This, along with a paucity of dedicated supporters of the project (understandable given the timeframe) has made it quite a burden on the few hardcore supporters we do have.
All of this has made me suggest that we might be better off moving back to Winnipeg for the time being; when we were there, we saw much more consistent support and enthusiasm, which, again, is to be expected. Though 50 km is hardly remote by Canadian standards, providing food and maintanence has been challenging. For a fledgeling organization, we may have bit off more than we can chew. That's what we're discussing now.
Another issue (or maybe I'm just imagining it) is the perceived difference between a monastery and meditation centre. I'm not sure there is so much interest among our broad group of (Sri Lankan) supporters for an actual meditation centre; one of the issues being discussed is that people bringing me food on a daily basis (almost entirely Sri Lankans) are sometimes disinclined to bring food for meditators as well. Some are disappointed that female meditators are even staying at the monastery, using the same bathroom as a monk, etc. Perfectly understandable, but at this point maybe not the best place to look for support for an international meditation centre.
It's this last issue that has me wondering whether it might even be a better choice to return to Ontario. When I came to Canada in February, I was really pretty desperate for a place, any place to stay. Now that it's been some months, I've renewed some connections and made new ones as well, and am wondering whether there might be more support for and interest in a meditation centre in the area around Toronto than on the prairies. Of course, Ontario would probably mean staying in Stoney Creek again - the abbot actually offered to give me the monastery to run - though I imagine he could have been joking. Anyway, we're good friends and he is very open minded and forward thinking. Probably one of my best friends, come to think of it. But, well, it's hardly a proper meditation centre, and would only serve as a temporary place to stay the symbolic rains. And it's not that Manitoba isn't nice; people want me to stay and there is interest in what we are doing. The question is, will it be enough to support a Buddhist monastery and meditation centre? Discussions are underway (and comments are open for registered blog followers).
here, there, everywhere
wandering on, straying far
always coming home