Amaravati’s Kathina festival
Last Sunday, the 6th of November, saw around 600 people flocking to Amaravati’s gates to attend our first entirely public Kathina celebrations since the beginning of COVID-19. Although the rain began pouring heavily from dawn, and kept on going steadily as the morning progressed, it held off at around 10am, just in time for the monastics’ exiting the Temple for alms-round. This year, we used, once again, a big marquee complex and we also set up the temporary sala in the Retreat Centre with a live-stream of the ceremony, so that those not able to fit in the Temple could watch the proceedings from there. A photo album of this joyful day can be found on the photo gallery section of our website (see also this album dedicated to the event’s volunteers.)
We were delighted this year to have Luang Por Pasanno, Ajahn Vajiro, Ajahn Jutindharo and Ajahn Ahimsako also present for the occasion.
On the lay side of things, we were gratified to have in attendance Mr. Nadhavudh Dhamasiri, Minister of Office of Economic and Financial Affairs, representative of the Royal Thai Embassy of the Kingdom of Thailand to the United Kingdom, Mrs Saroja Sirisena, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to the United Kingdom, and Sir Mike Penning, Member of Parliament for Hemel Hempstead.
Finally, a big sadhu & anumodana to all of those who participated and made offerings on that auspicious day. Particular thanks go to Sharron, Valerie, and all the generous volunteers of the Kathina Organizing Team, as well as to the group “Light of Wisdom” which sponsored Amaravati’s Kathina this year. We look forward to more collaboration and harmonious work together in the years to come.
One of our Elders passes away
On the 29th of October, we learned of Ajahn Gandhasilo’s passing. His body was found inert in the common room of the sala, at Wat Thai Chareon, Buriram, in Thailand where he had been residing in recent years. Ajahn Gandhasilo was ordained by Luang Por Sumedho in 1990 and had been providing steady guidance over the decades, particularly to junior monastics, many of whom remember with fondness his particular attention to newcomers in our community. Ajahn Gandhasilo was due to arrive at Amaravati this November, his intention being to settle here potentially for the long-term, but as often, reality does not always accord with our plans. The sangha at Amaravati dedicated funeral chanting to him, and we wish him well in his journey onwards. Ceremonies were conducted at Wat Thai Charoen over the ten days following his death, with many senior monastics of our community attending, and the ceremony of his cremation was held at Wat Thai Charoen on November the 10th. Please see this recent post for a short biography of Ajahn Gandhasilo’s and more information about his passing.
Luang Por Sumedho has returned
As mentioned in an earlier blog post, Luang Por arrived a few days ago, on November the 11th, and is presently recuperating from his journey. It is still uncertain if Luang Por will give Dhamma talks in person in the Temple, or online from his kuti, but more information will be given on this website in due time.
Ajahn Amaro’s travels
As is customary for the period after Kathina and before the winter retreat – at least prior to COVID times – Ajahn Amaro will be setting off on various travels. He will be departing for India on the 24th of November, and will later make his way to Thailand, where Ajahn Kongrit recently landed.
The two Ajahns intend to attend the inauguration of Wat Pah Nanachat’s newly built ordination hall. Despite having been around for many decades, Wat Nanachat was, up to this point, not endowed with an ordination hall, and most ordination ceremonies would take place at Wat Pah Pong. This inauguration ceremony should also be attended by Luang Por Sumedho, which is why he will only stay with us, at Amaravati, for a few weeks.
Tan Ajahn Amaro is set to return with Ajahn Kongrit on the 29th of December, just in time for the beginning of Amaravati’s 2023 winter retreat. We wish them well in their journey which we hope will be as trouble-free as possible.
Nuns’ new accommodation building – time lapse video
Dhamma articles and reflections
Last spring we announced that our new Dhamma media portal was available, offering a clear listing of our Dhamma books as well as an advanced search functionality. We have recently added to it our Dhamma articles – several of which from Ajahn Amaro are almost booklet-size in length – and we are happy to announce that Abhayagiri monastery has kindly agreed to let us reuse their reflections, which they diligently update each week, and share them on our platform. We hope that you find this resource helpful in your Dhamma study and we intend to keep improving it and ultimately integrate our Dhamma audio and video content in the near future.
Finally, after a present period of quiet time with no formal pujas, the monastic routine at Amaravati will resume on the 16th of November with a steady pace of morning and evening pujas, as well as our regular weekly Saturday workshops and Dhamma talks on moon nights. There are still spaces on Ajahn Khemaka’s online retreat (Dec 9-11) so if you wish to intensify your Dhamma practice for a weekend, do feel free to sign up.
As 2022 comes closer to an end – or as 2566 begins, at least according to the Thai calendar – we wish you well and hope you will be able to find some time to visit the monastery and use it as a source of nourishment for your Dhamma practice.
May all beings be well,
The community at Amaravati