Category Archives: Hermitage

Mosier Hermitage Comes to its End

Tempatures dip and the rains return to carpet autumn leaves underfoot. The Mosier Summer Hermitage comes to a close. In seven days we’ll pack up the tents, fold up the blankets and send the monks on their way. It’s been a valuable experiment, I’m pleased how many folks took advantage of these venerables presence over these past three months. Maybe, with luck and a lot of good work, we’ll have a monastic presence here year round.

The Living Expression of Dhamma

Alistair and I emerged from our camping/hiking/retreating into the Wallowa Mountains like two gliding geese landing atop a frozen lake. Cloaked in confident demeanors we did our best to gracefully slide through the exciting events ahead.

Ajahn Pasanno traveled to Oregon along with attendant Tan Titabho for a six-day visit. Within this short time frame and with nary a sigh, Ajahn accepted three teaching engagements, a request to preside over a thoroughly organized ‘Hermitage Picnic’ and an invitation to accept ‘Alms on Hawthorne’. Impressively and to the benefit and appreciation of many, he met all of these duties with seemingly ease and lighthearted joy. I say “seemingly” because naturally I don’t really know what goes on for him internally. Still I was struck by his deportment. His manner of expression, whether that be with body or speech seemed consistently poised between integrity and joy.

Michael Stevens and Mimi Maduro’s generous offer to house the monks for this three month Vassa was also the location for the Hermitage Picnic. The events included a bountiful meal, children’s Dhamma program and offering, bubbles, hikes and Dhamma talk and discussion. The weather was warm, windy and all around pleasant. Ending the day with a hike lent an affirming visual to the experiences of this past week, just how lovely the view is when coming from Dhamma.

Portland Friends of the Dhamma taped Ajahn’s Dhamma talks and discussions for anyone interested. As of this writing they are not yet posted so you’ll want to check back in just a few days time. You’ll also find more photo’s of the Alms Round on Hawthorne and Hermitage Picnic.

It Feels So Real

Went to the Hermitage this past Saturday to join in the morning Puja. It really feels like a monastery, the benefits of having monastics nearby is palpable. In Thailand, the presence of good practice would be supported by the presence of devas and nagas. Taking a stroll on the land there is evidence of good spirits all around. Of course this is America so it takes a bit of imagination to see spirits;)

Thank You Mike

Mike Nowak has just finished his Stewardship responsibilities for the Summer Hermitage and heads North. Thank you Mike for getting us through this initial phase of Vassa retreat. Your hard work is evident, your gentle nature is appreciated and your friendship is valued!

Mike sat with Portland Friends of the Dhamma for several years while attending Reed College. Two years ago he opted to take a break from school and headed off to Thailand. Once there he explored life as an Anagarika, eventually landing at Birken Monastery where he remained for an entire year. His return to university resumes after a two year exploration of the Thai Forest tradition. It’s been lovely to see one of our members explore this tradition so deeply and then postpone his return to lay life so as to support the Summer Hermitage.

Please come and visit us again Mike, when ever you are in town!

Mark Gosnell now joins us for one month as the Vassa lay Steward. Welcome Mark.

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!