Monday, February 07, 2011

Touching Base

You could say I'm early... maybe it's better to say I'm quick. I've managed to find a new place to live, quite suitable.

I set out for Mitirigala, but realized I'd neglected to bring my monk passport. I'm not sure how strict they are about such things, so I went to Kanduboda instead. There are two meditation centres there; the old one and the new one. I was dropped off at the old one. After one night, I decided to leave - they do twice as much sitting as walking, including sitting right after meals, and one meal a day wasn't really possible. I almost skipped the new place, thinking it would be even worse, but decided I was in the area already, so why not see?

The new place at Kanduboda is quite radical, one might say. No schedule, no structure. It seems like Venerable Pemasiri, the head monk, has mostly given up trying to teach people, and now prefers to let them learn on their own. Or something like that. It sounded like a really nice place to stay, so I waited around to talk to Venerable Pemasiri himself. I wasn't introduced to him, so I mistook him for a vice-abbot or something; he said they had no room, but I could go to a place in Ratnapura. That's where I came from today, to get my things.

The place in Ratnapura, a place called Ratganga, near the village of Ihala Ratgama, is quite suitable, as I said. It's a tough place to live, but much preferable to the toughness of the city. Within twenty-four hours I managed to get bitten by a snake; a bit of a bummer, since it was too dark to see what kind, and there was some paranoia about death, etc. Fortunately, there happened to be an Ayurvedic doctor in the village; unfortunately, he wanted me to wear a compress on my foot for three days. I took it off the next morning for alms round. It seems the snake wasn't so poisonous as all that.

Lots of fun with leeches; you really have to look down at your feet every so often in this country... at least after it rains. And the river. Beautiful mountain river with waterfalls cascading off the rocks, and a nice little rock outcropping making a cave by a pristine sky-blue pool. On my way down to it, ignoring the head monk's advice to watch out for slippery rocks, I managed to slip on said rocks and bang my head, giving me a nice lump. So, the hardships of forest life. We are three monks, one Czech, one Singahala, and me the Canuck. Tomorrow we are joined by another Czech, and there is yet another Czech coming for the rains. I can't say if I'll last that long, but it's a good place to rest for now.

Tired. In Sambodhi tonight, Kanduboda tomorrow to pick up the other Czech, then back to Ratnapura. With my computer, so should have basic Internet access. Otherwise, send snail mail to:

Ven. Yuttadhamma
Sumatipala Sanasun Arana
Ihala Ratgama
Sri Lanka