There are times in life when the situations one finds oneself in present challenges that do not have simple solutions. When what one has been familiar with suddenly becomes non-existent, the challenge in practice is to accept things the way they are and find an appropriate response. Often there can be an overlay of the “way it use to be” and “should be” obscuring what is. It is the meditator’s way to recognize such obstacles for what they are and return to what actually is and knowing how one can respond that leads to balance and well-being.
I came to Colorado mid July to attend to my father who had been ill, and with the aspiration to see the vision behind the Awakening Truth project become a reality. Recently my father became gravely ill and over a ten day period was hospitalized, had surgery, and lost 20 pounds. He pulled through and is now at a rehabilitation facility slowly regaining strength and determined to get home. Attending to his illness, the changes in the past months and finding my way in a very different living situation, I too have become unwell and in need of rest so that I can continue providing support for my family and developing Awakening Truth.
In the Theravadan Buddhist tradition, nuns and monks do not store or prepare food. Most often they live in a monastery where they balance daily work taking care of dwellings, providing teaching and other services for the community with time for personal study and meditation practice in accordance with the Buddha’s instructions for monastic life. The life of an alms mendicant is dependent upon a supportive community for daily needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, and medicine. This relationship between the lay and monastic communities has existed for thousands of years. For the past 20 years I have lived as an alms mendicant, living on faith and dependent upon others for all basic needs. In doing so I have come to see the goodness in others this lifestyle brings forth, and have come to know a strength and fortitude within myself that I never imagined possible. For a training monastery these are important qualities for both the lay and monastic community to cultivate. One criterion for a suitable location for a training monastery is whether or not there is a sufficient cohesive community to offer this kind of support.
Until such conditions arise, I am finding innovative ways of supporting my daily needs. A very small cottage has become available to me for the next six months where I will be able to live while attending to family and continuing cultivating Awakening Truth. While I do not plan to stop teaching entirely, I will slow down and take care of myself so that I can regain health. People in Colorado Springs who wish to provide meals may support in one of several ways: bringing a meal, picking up food from Curry Leaf downtown (a restaurant that has offered to provide meals a few days each week) and bringing it, or bring dry goods for me to prepare when meals are not offered. For people out of town: Suzanne has names, menus, or websites of few local restaurants that will deliver meals.
There will soon be an online calendar to help coordinate.
If this offering is being made in someone’s memory, or behalf of someone’s birthday kindly make sure the name of the person and the occasion is given. Anumodana!