Wednesday, May 04, 2011

and the point is...

Yesterday, I was reminded why there is and why there is Sirimangalo International. It came in the form of a meditator who flew all the way from Europe just to stay in one of our caves, based on the sketchy information that exists on the website.

It seems it's just been the lack of any visible fruit of things like websites and non-profits that brought back the thoughts of closing down. It's hard to see the point of fulfilling all the technical and bureaucratic requirements of running a meditation centre when there are no meditators.

Now that there's a meditator, problems like why MySQL won't start automatically or why our treasurer won't accept invoices in Sri Lankan rupees seem less significant. It's one thing to say that what you are doing is helping people in far away lands, it is another to have them land on your doorstep with nothing but a backpack and the wish to purify their mind.

Never mind that all we have to offer is a damp cave and almsfood; women aren't even supposed to stay in caves, I'm told - when the head monk comes back, there'll probably be a big to-do. Maybe they'll even kick her out (send her to Kanduboda?). Not without a fight, I should think...

Anyway, there you have it; a reason to keep the website, and a reason to keep the non-profit. I guess the thing is, I've been there myself and know what it's like to show up at a monastery without any expectation of acceptance, looking for nothing more than a place to sleep, food to eat, and guidance on the path to enlightenment. If one expects to find such things oneself, it seems proper to provide them to others who are in need. That, and it's nice to have people around who are also meditating.


  1. That's wonderful. I'm so happy for her, she is really brave. There will be drama from the other ppl I guess. In my experience it's no good to fight though, it's a fight she can't win. Still she might be able to meditate peacefully for a day or two. And that's really good!

  2. phalanyani7:33 PM

    I'm happy to hear this. And so will probably be many other people.
    To my limited knowledge it is not allowed for Bhikkhunis to stay in caves unless they have a door to lock from the inside or a fellow within hattapassa at dawn - when it is in the wilderness, when it is in a monastery non of it is required.
    In Bodgaya under the Bodhi tree people of both genders can stay in these meditation tents over night, because they have a roof, walls and a zip to close, and so are tents considered kutis ... (I learned from my pavattini.)
    The meditator is probably not a Bhikkhuni, so those rules all do not apply ... and when the cave is not right next to a cave containing a man, then no real objection is valid - unless because of traditions and believes, of course.
    (just some arguments if you have to fight for it, which will be unnecessary I hope)
    be well.