Well, Well, Well! November 1, 2011

The number kept changing. How many people were going with us? We knew that one van would not be enough for the trip to Kurunegala, but the names on our list and the totals wouldn't stay the same from one day to the next. We booked two vehicles but worried that might not be sufficient as people called and added themselves or canceled. Amal's 4WD was going too with rice and coconuts from the plantation. No one was refused! Friends and neighbors, Dushy up from Colombo, Mike from Subodharama, and four monks– three Chinese and one Korean from Peradeniya University– for a total of 20.

Click the photo to learn more of Ven. Amilasiri and the monastery.
Click the photo to see recent photos of the elderly monks' wards.
There were plenty of villagers already at Bodhirukaramaya when we arrived. Although Ven. Amilasiri had designated October 30 as the date for our presenting the deed for the land, before he went to Dubai and the US for a Dhammaduta tour, someone else scheduled the Kathina Ceremony for that day as well. Ven. Amilasiri was concerned that we would be unhappy, but the double ceremony was no problem whatsoever. In fact, not having to cook all the curries made it seem like a holiday for Lily and her team. We took fruit juice and a delicious tapioca dessert and thoroughly enjoyed all the food served for the kathina.

Click the photo for more photos of the name flags.
While the local people were busy with their preparations, we stretched our bilingual banner, beautifully painted by Surangi, Lily's daughter, on the wall of the foundation of the Bodhi tree. Then we strung the flags with the names of all the donors around the trunk and branches of the tree.

Click the photo for more photos of the plot of land.
Ven. Amilasiri was keen to show us the new land. We descended the steps beside the elderly monks' ward onto a dirt track, leading to a small village. The newly purchased piece of land is three acres of wooded hillside between the road and rice paddies. About halfway down, we could see the all-important well, source of water for the whole monastery, which shelters and cares for many elderly monks.

Click the photo to enlarge and to see the deed.
Just before the kathina observance and dana, Ven. Amilasiri brought out the elegant brass case containing the deed on a tray, and, under the Bodhi tree, we made the formal presentation of the land. It was a simple ceremony, but very important because we were representing all the donors from eighteen countries who had contributed to secure the land and water for the monastery. Recalling King Bimbisara's gift of the Bamboo Grove in Rajagaha, we remembered to share merit with all departed friends and relatives.
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An ensemble of five traditional musicians, four drummers and a horn player, announced the offering of the Buddha puja at the Vihara, and they continued playing as the monks and novices had their feet washed and entered the dining hall. Of course, the Chinese and Korean monks were included in the dana.

Click the photo to see more photos of the temple and the day.

All morning, the sun was shining, and we were grateful for the shade provided by a roof erected in front of the Bodhi Tree. After lunch and all the kathina festivities were over, it began raining, and, very quickly, it turned into a downpour.

Click the photo to see more of Ven. Sudhamma's photos.

A few days before we went to Bodhirukaramaya, Ven. Sudhamma, a samanera from Singapore visited the monastery and made a huge donation from funds he had collected from his friends and supporters.

News Flash!

Ven. U Khe Min Da is in hospital.
Click the photo to read
an appreciation by
Ken and Visakha.

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