Thursday, July 10, 2014

A different way to spend the July 4th weekend

Last Saturday we had a wonderful day (weekend for some) at the Hermitage, Aranya Bodhi, formally blessing the three new buildings. These blessings are serious, but also tend to be a lot of fun as Ayya Tathaaloka throws water at everything (and sometimes everybody) within reach. I personally think monastics like this 'throwing water' part of a blessing. Bhante Gunaratana seemed to have great fun with it during the two precepts ceremonies I've taken part in at Bhavana. Sometimes his aim was really good, other times it missed, but there was always laughter.

Out of something like 137 photos I've distilled a few that I like, and/or that have meaning for me.

Ayya Sobhana blessing the meal offering.

Offerings for the various buildings, reflecting their use. These were put together by a couple of supporters, and were really beautiful.

L-R, Ayya Tathaaloka, Ayya Suvijjana, and Ayya Sobhana, who is reading a list of donors for the new sangha hall kuti.

Blessing the new shower. You can't realize what a big deal this is unless you've experienced the previous shower, which was merely a couple of tall shower tents loosely linked together at the edge of the forest. Bracing, especially in cool, windy weather. This is really 'downtown', as one supporter said.

The half-moon, overlooking the ceremonies. The full moon of July is the traditional beginning of Vassa, or rainy season, where monastics settle in one place and don't travel much (at least, that's my understanding; I have been known to be wrong).

Ayya Tathaaloka cutting ribbon to new kitchen on wheels.

The lighting on this one really spoke to me. Pure happenstance, as the offering for the kitchen was placed before the Buddha, prior to the reading of the donor's names.

Ayya Tathaaloka blessing the premises (aka, throwing water!)

Even the camera got a little blessing! Note water fuzz on lower right.

A lovely Dhamma talk from Ayya Tathaaloka. Some people had already left by then, and I couldn't get everybody in the photo from where I sat.

Ayya Suvijjana caught in the halo of light from the top of the yurt. She was squinting at the bright light, but it's just a lovely photo of a truly lovely bhikkhuni.

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