I returned to Colorado Springs about two weeks ago after important retreat time and teaching to much change. It was clear during my winter retreat that changes were needed; I needed to reorganize priorities for myself as well as find better ways to support the community while I was away teaching or on retreat.
Not long before I returned there seemed to be a collective decision amongst the board members living in Colorado Springs that ‘it isn’t working here’. In addition Anagarika Gwyn decided to accept the invitation to visit Aranya Bodhi Forest Hermitage in California in part because of the isolation from other monastics and the lack of a well-formed community wasn’t sufficiently supportive here. She is currently in Texas.
Awakening Truth will be going into a minimal mode. Rather than focusing on building a training monastery for nuns right now, the organization will continue with the same vision; however, the emphasis will be on bringing the conditions necessary for building a monastery. I will be leaving initially for Aranya Bodhi Forest Hermitage in California to live with other Sisters and continue to travel and teach and speak about the vision until either there is a team of elders in conjunction with a group of lay people to both hold and enact the vision or the vision changes. Ideally, I would like to divide the year between time in community with other Sisters, time of retreat and teaching. What would be most ideal is to be nun in residence for different vipassana communities for 2-6 weeks in one place – holding discussion, study groups, offering interviews, non-residential and residential retreats.
I will be vacating Tava Vihara and leaving on the 11 April. How and when I return to use Shakti Vihara remains unsure. Tava Sangha will be disbanding unless there are people who wish to continue meeting together and sharing silence as well as are willing to have peer led group discussions about meditation practice and living a spiritual life.
Making many friends, being able to care for my elderly father, having moonlight meditation vigils, Dhamma discussions and forays to the Rocks in the Garden of the Gods and spend time with family as well as having the basic needs provided for the time that I have been able to live here has left many positive impressions. I feel deeply grateful.
So there is great sadness to be uprooting as well as a sense of rightness in the way things are unfolding. As unsettling as it is, it feels like a blessing in a very strange package.
We will be having a community meeting at the TavaVihara, 511 Columbia Road, 26 March 6:30 PM to talk more about these things, answer questions, share some silence and have some tea together. All are welcome.
Some help may be needed with packing and shifting things. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
In the spirit of friendship and metta,
Ajahn Thanasanti Bhikkhuni