Buddha Hall’s Second Floor Comes to Life! – May23
Buddha Hall progress is steady and well-underway. This past month we’ve seen more upper floor concrete pours and framings, and lots of structural fill. Check out how the Buddha Hall continues to take shape in photos below. Watch Ven. Samten’s short video, A Landmark Day on the Buddha Hall Site.
Our Growing Sangha – May
The Abbey welcomes two new monks into our community—Venerable Thubten Gyatso and Venerable Thubten Konchog! How wonderful that the sangha of both nuns and monks is growing at the Abbey, where diversity, equality, and harmony go hand-in-hand. The Dharma continuously touches the hearts and minds of people, leading some to dedicate their lives to liberation and awakening. Here’s a look into the recent ordination, our day of celebration.
Abbey Life – May
May has given us a chance to spend quality time with friends and sangha members! We played (i.e. offered service) in the woods and rolled mantra on Offering Service Saturday, spent a day out at our friend Kuni’s and a local park, and worked around the clock to share the Dharma with sentient beings.
Peaceful Living, Peaceful Dying Retreat – May
Who knew a day and a half of meditation and teachings on death could be so meaningful! Venerable Sangye Khadro led the Peaceful Living, Peaceful Dying retreat again this year. Guests and residents benefited so much from reflecting deeply on the transient nature of our own lives and the natural world we live in.
Buddha Hall Bonanza – April
We’re still floored by the painstaking work of the Buddha Hall workers, and how the temple is shaping out more and more each day to be what we envision. This month has seen concrete pours, setting of more Faswall blocks, huge window and door framings, and beautiful views from the newly completed second floor.
A Lovely End to Retreat – April
There’s nothing quite like three beautiful months of silent retreat. April 3rd marked the opening of our doors to the wider world, and now we’re back in full throttle! We ended retreat with a traditional Dorje Khadro fire puja; a ritual for purifying any negativities we’ve created. The black sesame scorpion we burn symbolizes all the mistakes and negative actions we wish to let go of.
Spring’s First Sprouts – March
Our attention is beginning to turn outward as we enter the final days of our winter retreat. We are eager to offer service outside, reconnect with one another, and welcome guests back to the Abbey. Nature is also waking up from her winter rest, and soon the Abbey will be buzzing with life.
Upper Floor Comes to Life – March
It is so rewarding to see the Buddha Hall’s two-dimensional plans being actualized, and the physical building far outshines what lines on paper or a computer screen can depict. Building the upper floor wall system began at the end of January, but snow, cold temperatures, wind chill, and road restrictions have impacted progress. March continues to be dedicated to setting Faswall blocks and then pouring concrete into them. The views from the upper floor are beautiful and uplifting.
Varsa Ends – March
Ritual ceremonies and Buddhist holidays surrounded the end of varsa, our annual three-month monastic retreat. These included Losar (the Tibetan New Year), the Day of Miracles, and the stick ceremony in which each monastic received and returned a stick to mark their completion of the retreat. We also lovingly provided feedback to one another during the pravarana ceremony after refraining from it during varsa. Our regular winter retreat continues, however, with surprising snowfalls and Buddha Hall construction to keep us active off the meditation cushion.
Winter Retreat Life – March
As we’ve entered the second half of retreat, one half of the community that was in full retreat has transitioned to partial offering service, allowing the other half to meditate full-time. Our daily activities continue as usual, but everything seems more vibrant during retreat, from the wildlife encounters to the smell of burning wood. A deep layer of snow contributes to an all-embracing atmosphere of silence and peacefulness.
Beginning of the Upper Floor – February
Despite challenging winter conditions, building progresses on our beloved Buddha Hall due to the skill and determination of the construction crews. The recently completed framing in the lower level makes it easy to visualize the library and other rooms. It also adds to our joy and enthusiasm for what the completed building will offer us and future generations of practitioners. Take a guided virtual tour here!
2023 Winter Retreat Portraits – February
Our one-month long winter retreat on the Four Establishments of Mindfulness has ended for our guests, and it was a beautiful retreat! While we’re sad to see them go, we’re so happy to have been able to use this opportunity together. Each one of our guests contributed heaps through their energy, kind efforts, and welcome presence.
A Month of Transformation – February
A really nice group of guests joined us for the one-month winter retreat. Their humility, ease, and maturity as they reflected on the Four Establishments of Mindfulness spoke volumes to the community. We hope to see them again soon. In the final few days, we slowly moved into offering service, held a fire puja, and ended with the guests taking refuge and precepts. The resident community retreat continues until the end of March.
Abbey Life in Retreat – February
Retreat life at the Abbey continues to enrich our minds, where we can enjoy the friendship of like-minded folks who practice with us and who help to share the Buddha’s teachings. We celebrated the Lunar New Year with friends and community, rejoiced in offerings brought back from Asia and India, and continue to savor our time in retreat.
Framing the Buddha Hall – January
Carpenters are at work all over the building site, as they’ve been framing the downstairs rooms and working with the concrete folks to lay the floor for the second story. The Faswall team is also progressing steadily, cutting and placing the blocks that create the outer walls. You can see what the construction team has to contend with to build the Buddha Hall in winter. Go here to see Venerable Samtens video tour of the lower level rooms.
Travels to Bodhgaya – January
After a time in Singapore, Ven. Chodron, Ven. Damcho, and Donyo made a pilgrimage to Bodhgaya, India—site of the Buddha’s enlightenment— where His Holiness the Dalai Lama was teaching for the first time since the Covid pandemic began. A group from Friends of Sravasti Abbey-Singapore (FOSAS) joined them, along with 60,000 other devotees who thronged to the holy site for the teachings. While there, the group made light offerings in a ceremony to dedicate the merit of more than 2000 donors and well-wishers of the Buddha Hall project. See the Light Offerings video here.
Entering Retreat – January
It’s January 6th here and guests are just arriving and getting settled before we officially go into retreat. We’ve chosen to look deeply at the Four Establishments of Mindfulness for these three silent months, and we’re happy to see many new and fresh faces joining us this year!
Learn from books by Ven. Thubten Chodron.
692 Country Lane
Newport WA 99156 USA
Also see ThubtenChodron.org