Category Archives: Dana/Generosity

Giving and Recieving between communities

Most every month I meet with the Board of Trustees of the Sellwood Methodist Church, our landlords. Over the years these kind gentlemen have listened to all sorts of ways we at Portland Friends of the Dhamma have been jostling with the noise/heat/cold issues regarding the outdated windows in the Shrine room. This pass Autumn I was sharing with them some steps our community had taken (and were considering yet taking) regarding the challenges of these old windows.

  • Received an anonymous donation from our community for a complete set of  second window inserts, custom built
  • Purchased noise, sun, loss of heat reduction blinds
  • Paul G., a community member, hand built window ledges
  • Purchased swamped cooler to address summer heat issues
  • Dave F. a community member, did extensive research on how we might address the summer heat issue
  • Jim W. a community member and air-movement specialist offered useful advice

When sharing our continued window saga I was touched the way the Church’s Board responded. They were impressed with the way our community actively holds itself responsible for our comfort and in so doing has members who voluntarily contribute to upgrading a facility they don’t even own. Then they chatted amongst themselves and cheerfully agreed to offer brand new windows for our Shrine room at no cost to us. A few weeks later they decided to put new windows in the Kitchen as well to further help cut down noise from the street. “Would this help?” my neighbor Bryan and Sellwood Methodist Church Board member asked. On behalf of our community I offered back a toothy “Oh yes indeed”.

Within a couple months the windows were installed. The noise in the Shrine room dropped dramatically, the room remained heated long after the thermostat was turned down for the night and the beauty of these new windows proved a much unexpected and appreciated bonus.

Today, when viewing the Church’s bulletin board I notice our Thank-You cards were pinned up. Thirty-eight people signed these cards. It was lovely to see our community Thank-You’s displayed for all  their community to receive.

From the Buddhist to the Christians, Thank You for this deeply appreciated act of Generosity.

To Play or Not to Play

Three year old Natalie loves to paint. She explores colors and forms as readily as surfaces, bringing her body into play as she paints. She inspires me to reclaim my studio-now-storage space so I might join her in the fun.

On the Fourth of July Natalie joined Alistair and I at a kids Alms offering for Laung Por Sumedho and Ajahn Panyasaro at our Buddhist center. Before leaving the house we searched around for wee gifts to offer the monks. Alistair picked flowers from our garden, I picked out some incense from Thailand and Natalie choose fairies (unused candles in the shape of little girl angles I had set on the childrens dinner plates last Christmas). We tucked the wee presents into envelopes she deemed pretty enough to carry the fairies in and headed off down the street.

The Alms were offered, gifts were received and Blessings rained. Its been months since I’ve had such a light hearted feeling when at the center, where too my studio is housed. Nothing like youthful aplomb to lightened the heart of a ‘responsible adult’ and bring body into play once again.

Taking Root

This past Wednesday Joan and I drove out to the Hermitage to get the tents ready for the monks. We aimed to get ourselves off the land before they showed up for their first night of Vassa and though we arrived a full two hours later than originally intending, our mission was accomplished. Still, upon arriving I was feeling a bit of pressure to hurry up and finish which made for a mindfully unpleasant few moments, heh, heh, heh. Sweat poured and ankles bent as we trecked up and down the hillside till finally the tents were in good order. Joan headed back up the hill to prepare our lunch while I shot a few photos. If you ever do anything with Joan and she offers to make you lunch? . . . you really want to take her up on it!

It was nice to share the meal offering with Ashleigh today; walking in with bags full of food and seeing the monks conversing near a shrine was like entering an honest to goodness monastery.

Yesterday Greg and Adrienne brought their children to the Hermitage and offered the monks their first Vassa meal. They also made an offering to the Sanghata Foundation; a beautiful marble Buddha rupa. You can see it below just to the right of Ajahn Sudanto (left side of photo). A beautiful expression. I feel fortunate to be part of such a community as this.

This ‘practice-run’ for a possible monastery taking root near the Portland area certainly has its challenges, as any large scale project must. Still the foundation so far laid is also bearing some tasty fruits: witnessng amazing generosity, meeting well with challenging deadlines and sharing aspirations with others; all the while strengthening old and new friendships.

Ajahn Sudanto’s mother summed up this Hermitage adventure in a charming if not ‘mortherly’ way; “it’s a dream come true isn’t it?”
Yes, it certainly is, and a good one at that!

Good Folk, Nice Welcome, Awesome Atmosphere

Ajahn Sudanto and Tan Karunadhammo arrived yesterday late afternoon. After a nights rest and a hearty meal, Scott came by and drove the monks and myself out to the Hermitage land. Alistair was there, Michael and Mimi too, getting a tent set up for viewing.

It was a very good feeling to see Tan Karunadhammo inside the kuti and on the land where he’ll spend the next three months in retreat. I was surprised at just how beautiful the setting seemed as I’ve been there so many times before. Something about seeing the monks on the land, the tent up and the walking path complete, added a lovely element of worthy purpose to my emotional atmosphere.

Tomorrow we work on finishing the second tent site, build steps in the trails and quietly celebrate the fruition of our good efforts.

As silly as this may sound, the day was filled with happy, smiling faces. Micheal and Mimi invited neighbors over for tea, introduced the monks and casually visited. Good folk, nice welcome, awesome atmosphere. This feels good . . .