Thursday, July 22, 2010

Life in a Buddhist Community

I'm living and working in Jampa Ling, my beloved Buddhist Centre this month. If I were any happier I'd burst! Here's a typical day: rise at 6:30 to wash & dress for 7:00 a.m. meditation and morning puja (prayers and chanting), then breakfast at the big round table in the kitchen with the other residents - porridge or muesli or corn flakes, fresh fruit, toast and tea. Then off to work in the walled garden all morning doing all sorts of wonderful jobs including weaving this willow tunnel (will post pic of what it looks like now when I return - if you click on the picture you'll see it more clearly), shovelling manure onto the currant bushes, watering and feeding plants in poly tunnel, weeding, planting, picking berries (raspberries, strawberries, black/white/red currants), repotting plants etc. Sometimes I work alone and other times there are other residents, part-time guests or the community garden people with me. We get a tea break with treats at 11:00 a.m. (Buddhist Worker's Union), then a fabulous vegetarian dinner at 1:00 - my favourite was the spinach paneer (spinach from garden) and lentil dahl with brown rice. In the afternoon I write - up to Chapter 20 of People of the Great Journey, seventeen more chapters to go and I am finished! There's meditation or a teaching at 4:00 p.m., supper at 6:00 p.m. (soup & cheese & crackers), then evening White Tara puja at 7:00. I usually write after supper but I may have other duties such as making the yoghurt or tidy-up as well. I love living and working in community. The best part of all, of course, was that up to a few days ago, Panchen Otrul Rinpoche, our lama, was living in the house also and taking all his meals with us and talking around the table and generally being there for company and talks. It's not every day you get to do the dishes with a Panchen lama but I did!!!! I'll post more photos when I return. Hope you are all having a wonderful summer.