Friday, July 10, 2015

More magic mountains

By the time I arrived at the kitchen yesterday morning around 5am, raindrops were starting to fall! It continued all day, sometimes good and strong, sometimes a drizzle, but fairly steady. The nice kind of rain that soaks in, doesn't run off. A very welcome event for an area so parched.

The prospect did not, however, deter the monastics from the planned pindapat rounds in Sebastopol. Pindapat is the Pali term for alms rounds, which is the way the monastics survived for centuries. All monastics from a monastery would walk through the nearby town every morning, where the townspeople would wait in front of their homes with food to place in each alms bowl. This was all the food they would eat for that day. It's a tradition sometimes practiced at monasteries in this country as well from time to time, and Ayya Sobhana has been instrumental and determined to establish the tradition here, as a way to bring the monastics into the community, and the community together with the monastics. They've been doing it twice a month in the summer hours for about a year now, but this is the first time I've had the privilege of going with them. The child was so entranced that he made his dad go and buy a container of juice so he could offer it.

This woman didn't have food to offer, but did offer a little money, which they normally don't accept. I spoke up too quickly, offered to accept it for them. But, no harm done. She felt better about offering something, and for the blessing she received in return. They schedule this for every two weeks, and each time they meet both old and new supporters along the way.

Back to the coast already? Nope, just a mural, a little fun and trick photo set up.

We walked all over town, winding through the streets for about an hour. Quite a humbling and inspirational experience for me, I have to say.

This Thai restaurant always cooks up some food to offer, as their culture is wrapped around supporting monastics as much as the monastics are dependent upon the lay people for their livelihood. It's a good, symbiotic arrangement where everyone feels good.

Walking back to the park to eat, this store owner popped out with an offering -- the first time he's done so, they tell me. Fitting, though, since it's a spirituality bookstore!

This young woman is a serious supporter, has helped establish this tradition. She always brings good food for them. I understand that there are generally more supporters here at the park, but there was a conflict with a really-big-deal Thai monk who is in town for a few days, and the others understandably went to that opportunity.

At the behest of the monastics, I assume, the anagarika (novice) in the white robes collected a plate of food for me from that supporter, then shared the papaya and other things from the Thai restaurant with me, from her bowl. A woman had put a whole loaf of freshly-baked bread into one of the bowls earlier, and we all shared in that bounty!

Really a super day.

But, that wasn't the end of it. After lunch we and the woman from the park went for coffee indoors where it was warm, then the monastic groups all went to the Vihara and on to view a property that was a potential new permanent home, to be purchased rather than rented. It was a lovely place -- I'd love to live there and they liked it too, but it has serious accessibility issues and they need to consider those things both for supporters as well as themselves as they age.

And then -- some time to kill until 6pm when they did a Skype video-conference with a young man who lives elsewhere who had requested a memorial service for his recently departed uncle. I was ready to crash -- serious melt-down coming on -- so I went upstairs and lay down and got warm until it was almost over, then drove home, grumbling all the way because I've told them over and over on previous visits, pleaded and begged with them not to make me drive after late afternoon, and this had been sprung on me at the last minute. I was not a happy camper! I'd slept well the previous night, from exhaustion, and felt great, but this old body is too depleted, physically and emotionally, to recover from the stress of an 11 hour drive that quickly. I made it home with both bhikkhunis, safely, and of course I didn't really grumble all the way, only part of it. They got the message this time, however. I told them that I simply won't do it again. If they have an occasion that needs a driver that late in the day, it'll need to be somebody else. Period. I think they simply didn't realize previously how difficult it really is for me function after about 5pm. They, of course, were very kind and apologetic and are going out of their way today to continue the kind compassion. I love 'em all!

Then -- as we drove up the long driveway home, just of Hwy 1, we turned a corner and saw wispy fog drifting in, wafting all through the hills, just beautiful. My camera didn't capture the full beauty, but here's the best I could make happen.

Not a bad place to live, even temporarily!

 But by the time I climbed the hill and crawled into my sleeping bag, it was 9:45pm, and I was cold. Couldn't wind down quickly,couldn't really warm up, couldn't sleep. Finally, around 11:30 I got up and lit the fire in my stove, tended that for awhile, then managed to doze off maybe around 12:30. And up at 4am, of course. Today I'm resting again, other than cooking. Another big day here tomorrow with an unknown number of visitors coming to join in a day-long meditation retreat.

No comments:

Post a Comment