Our weather has been unusually dry over the last few months, with no snow and very little rain, bringing us many bright, sunny days, which seems to also reflect the quality of our winter retreat. It has been a precious and peaceful time with a notable sense of contentment and harmony in the community. Once again we are much appreciative of the support received: through donations, food offerings as well as help in the kitchen and elsewhere.
The resident community is once again at full strength, with the Thai monks having returned and Ajahn Chandapalo back from a visit to the UK. Vincenzo from Chieti has returned to lay life after being a resident for over a year. In the meantime we have been joined by Luca from Turin, who is getting ready to take the anagarika precepts in the near future.
We have also had the great pleasure of the company of Luang Por Sumedho with his attendant monk, Ajahn Asoko (Swiss), Luang Por Tiradhammo (Canadian) and Tan Appamado (Portughuese) during the last two weeks of the retreat. Luang Por Sumedho and Ajahn Asoko will be joining us again in a few days time and Luang Por has kindly agreed to give a public talk here on Saturday 8th April at 2 pm. As Luang Por is now in his 80's, and has already given us so much, we are reluctant to make any further demands on his time and energy, preferring to allow him to enjoy some quiet days at Santacittarama. We would very much appreciate everybody's sensitivity regarding this.
After Italy Luang Por will proceed to the UK, where at Amaravati Monastery there will be a week-long open retreat with daily teachings from him. See below for further information. This will be followed by an International Elders Gathering, which will also be attended by Ajahn Chandapalo and Ajahn Jutindharo. The IEM is a gathering of elders and abbots from the Ajahn Chah group of monasteries in the Western world, and is held roughly every three years.
Several senior Thai monks - Luang Por Liem, Luang Por Anek and Luang Por Jundee - will be coming to Santacittarama shortly after the UK meetings. They have all been here before, on several occasions, and have been very supportive over the years. We aim to have the top floor of the temple ready by the time of their arrival, so that they may preside over some kind of inauguration ceremony. This is due to take place on Sunday 4th June and more information will be available nearer the time.
The temple has recently been a hive of activity and work is proceeding well. Recent photos can be viewed from our website, via the news page. The roof is completed and the wooden structure of the connecting bridge assembled, and should soon have floor decking and railings. Underfloor heating has been installed and the screed laid, ready for the travertine floor tiles. During the next few weeks the windows and doors will be mounted and, towards the end of May, the elevator installed. There is good reason to be optimistic that, within a couple of months from now, it will be possible to start using the main hall on the top floor of the temple.
May 12 -19 – Luang Por Sumedho Open Retreat at Amaravati
The open retreat is an opportunity for everyone to hear teachings and join in a schedule of meditation with the sangha. Luang Por Sumedho will offer a Dhamma reflection every evening, with other teachers offering instruction in the morning. The retreat will be held in the Temple. Camping will be available for lay guests who can commit to staying for the whole week, with day visitors able to join for all or part of the day. See www.amaravati.org for further details.
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.
2nd APRIL: Meeting with LP SUMEDHO in PALERMO
Sunday, at 5 pm. In English with translation into Italian. At Centro Muni Gyana: centromunigyana.it
8th APRIL: Dhamma talk by Luang Por SUMEDHO
Saturday, at 2 pm. In English with translation into Italian. Please arrive on time!
16th 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.
25th APRIL – 1st MAY: Meetings and retreat in PUGLIA
With Ajahn Chandapalo, in Italian. A series of guided meditations and talks in Barletta, Conversano, Monopoli e Cisternino and a non-residential weekend retreat in Monopoli. Click here for further information (in Italian).
6th MAY: Meditation class for beginners
Saturday, 3:30 – 5:00 pm. In Italian. Please arrive on time!
7th MAY: Study and practice day
Sunday, 9:30 am – 5:00 pm, in Italian. For those who already have some meditation experience. Periods of sitting and walking meditation with readings and discussion on a chosen theme. Suggestions for themes are welcome. Please bring a contribution for lunch, which is at 11 am.
14th MAY: VESAK celebration
Sunday, 10:30 am – 3:30pm. Celebrating the Birth, Awakening and Parinibbana of the Buddha. All are warmly welcome, possibly bringing some food to share for the 11 am lunch.