We are about to begin our winter retreat, so the community should be relatively stable over the next few months. In early February Samanera Vimutto will go to spend some time at the new monastery near Lisbon, probably until late April, while Ajahn Jutindharo should be returning from Thailand towards the middle of February. Ajahn Go Suvaco is expected back around the end of March.
Next door property
At the end of December a preliminary contract was signed, and a down payment made, for the acquisition of the next-door property, consisting of four acres of land with a two-storey house. By the end of July it should belong to the Santacittarama association, and will be a very useful resource in both the immediate and the longer term.
We now have all the necessary authorisations for the temple project; the only thing that is still needed - in bureaucratic terms - is a final communication from the local comune confirming that there are no further obstacles and building can go ahead. For up-to-date details on the project follow the link from the “News” page of our website.
After fifteen years or so of planning, we can now be fully confident that the project is realisable provided that sufficient funds become available. Until this moment it did not seem appropriate to actively solicit financial support, in case building permission would not eventually be forthcoming. For those who wish to, however, we are now able to present the opportunity to contribute materially to the full realisation of this project.
A substantial part of the support of Buddhist monasteries has always come from numerous donations, small and large, but mostly quite modest, from a wide number of people. We certainly do not wish anybody to feel obliged to help, or that this project should be perceived as a burden on our supporters. On the other hand, we would like to make it clear that any freewill donation, however modest, will be much appreciated and by no means an insignificant contribution to the realisation of this much needed amenity. As the Buddha says in the Dhammapada verse, a barrel is filled drop by drop:
Do not ignore the effect of right action
saying, “This will come to nothing.”
Just as by the gradual fall of raindrops
the water jar is filled,
so in time the wise
become replete with good.
Dhammapada verse 122
Offerings may be made directly at the monastery, into the wooden donations box just inside the main door, or into the Santacittarama association's bank account (see below for details). At some point it should become possible to make online donations through the website using a credit card. An announcement will be made when this service is ready.
As usual our European monasteries go into retreat mode for most of January, February and March, this being a time when nature itself tends towards stillness and silence. Santacittarama will remain open for daytime visits for those who wish to share the silence, meditate or bring food offerings, although it will not be possible to stay overnight during this period.
The meal is at 11am as usual and for the month of January (starting on the 8th) there are periods of silent meditation in the afternoon at 2 and 4 o'clock and the evening puja and meditation at 7:30. On Mondays there will not be any programme.
Individual practice will be emphasized during the months of February and March, although the evening puja will continue as usual. Any other changes of programme will be announced on the "News" page of the website, where there will also be an updated list of things needed in the monastery, particularly food items.
We appreciate your support in this; it is an important time for the monastics to limit their outward-going activities and be more free to dedicate themselves to inner development. It would be helpful to save any non-urgent communications until the end of March. We will be answering the telephone only in the morning between 7:30 and 8:30.
Thank you for your kind understanding and cooperation!
New on the web
The latest issue of the Forest Sangha Newsletter, an annual publication in English for our international group of monasteries, is now available for downloading from: fsnewsletter.org. It includes transcriptions of a talk given by Luang Por Sumedho on his eightieth birthday and of talks given by Ajahn Sucitto and Ajahn Amaro reflecting on his life as a Buddhist monk and their experiences of him as their teacher. There are several other articles and news items from many of our monasteries around the world.
Events at Santacittarama do not require booking, unless stated otherwise, and are free of charge. However, those wishing to stay overnight need to book in advance. Unforeseen circumstances may cause changes to this programme, so it is worthwhile checking beforehand on the website, which is regularly updated.
7th JANUARY - 31st MARCH: Monastic retreat
A period for the resident community of Santacittarama to develop their practice, free of other commitments. Day visitors are still welcome if they wish to share the silence and meditate or to support the retreat by bringing food offerings. Overnight stays will not be possible during this period.
The meal is at 11am as usual and for the month of January (starting on the 8th) there are periods of silent meditation in the afternoon at 2 and 4 o'clock and the evening puja and meditation at 7:30. On Mondays there will not be any programme. During this time there will be no informal meeting over tea at 5 pm and the telephone will be answered only in the mornings between 7:30 and 8:30.
12th APRIL: SONGKRAN - Southeast Asian New Year
Sunday, 10:30 am - 2:30 pm. A joyful if not very meditative event! All are warmly welcome, possibly bringing some food to share for the 11 am lunch.
30th APRIL - 3rd MAY: Residential retreat at MORLUPO (RM)
With Ajahn Chandapalo, in Italian. Organizzed by the AMeCo. Bookings are accepted by contacting AMeCo from 25th March until all the available places are filled: www.associazioneameco.it/contatti/.
For the purpose of direct bank transfers these are the coordinates of the bank account:
Name of account: Associazione Santacittarama
Account IBAN: IT24 V 06280 73740 1000 0000 1452
BIC/SWIFT: CRRII T22
Bank: Cassa di Risparmio di Rieti, Agency: 122
Bank address: S.S. N.4 Salaria KM 53, 02030 Poggio Moiano (RI), Italy