Sunday, July 31, 2011

Kitchen trailer is now fully supported ... and next priorities

Pictures from informal talk after dana - July 20, 2011

Thanks to the help of many friends, our new kitchen trailer is fully paid for. A generous pledge from Ming Cassim of Australia has put us over the top.

This trailer is comfortable and convenient, clean and safe, a great match for our rustic, off-the-grid hermitage. It was purchased last April, after storms and water damage had ruined the previous trailer.

In addition to Ming, donors of the trailer include (alphabetically) Alliance for Bhikkhunis, Awakening Truth (Colorado Springs), Eunice Cerezo, Martha Craft, Pamela Kirby, Sumana Meissner, Ruth Turner, Brenda Walsh, Wat Buddhanusorn, Gwyn Waterfield, and Brian White.

Now that we have accomplished and paid for the trailer, along with new kutis and improvements for the 2011 Vassa season, we are turning our attention to other important projects. The following are our highest priorities as funding becomes available:

1. Our land donor has given the use of this magnificent forest along with a bequest of over 250 acres. Implementing her intention will require a legal subdivision, entailing a series of expensive studies and permits. We are now estimating the cost at $60,000.

2. For the past year, we have been working to develop a micro-hydro system, for eco-friendly year-around power from our creek. Electric power is essential for phone and email connection, and to protect our yurt and trailers from mildew during the winter rainy season. This crucial utility will replace the noise, pollution and expense of our gas generator, and reduce our use of propane gas. After consulting with several installers and experts, we are estimating a total cost of $15,000, with $10,000 already donated and $5,000 remaining. Our friends in the Sacramento Buddhist community came together in loving and practical ways to initate this project, and offered the first $10,000 donations.

3. We now have 5 kutis. These are simple shelters for long term meditators. Joyfully, there are now more than 5 women who would like to be here for the coming winter. These are monastic women still in their training years, monastic life aspirants, and dedicated meditation practitioners. If there is support to do so, we would build one or two more kutis for the coming winter, including one accessible kuti for disabled or elder visitors. The cost for a heated kuti is around $8,000. An accessible kuti might be around $10,000.

4. We have already received generous support for the monastic requisites during this 2011 Vassa retreat. Sumana Meissner, Udana Ratnabharathi, Brenda Walsh, an anonymous donor and other friends have contributed for food; the Alliance for Bhikkhunis, an anonymous donor and other friends are helping with bhikkhuni medical premiums. This past June, the Dhammadharini Board of Directors estimated about $12,000 in un-funded general expenses for the following five months … including everything from gas and utilities to potential uncovered medical expenses for our 5 bhikkhunis and 2 samaneris during the Vassa.

We have heard that the financial situation in the world is very unsettled. It is an incredible blessing that our Dhammadharini Sangha and women's monastic hermitage has been able to continue and to grow. Faced with the theme of uncertainty, so affirmed in the Buddha's teaching, we aim to sustain the type of community where women can practice well, perfect their virtue, and realize the fruits of the Buddha's path. We are confident that when the time is ripe, our practical aims will also come to fruition.

With metta and appreciation,

Friends of the Hermitage
Hermitage Stewardship Committee