As the lockdown eases in the country we are considering how and when we might re-open for some of our more usual activities. From 4th July the government is allowing Places of Worship to reopen, provided that they adhere to detailed guidelines. Under the definition, part of the monastery is a place of worship, however there is also a residential community and this makes for a more complicated situation. Based on the government guidance, and our consideration of the risks to both the resident community and visitors, the following still apply:
1.Most ofthe buildings will remain closed to visitors for the time being. We are actively considering the government guidelines which would enable us to minimise risk and open the Dhamma Hall for Sunday evening meditation and Dhamma talk, and possibly also for a monthly meditation class. If and when we think that we have workable arrangements in place, we will update this part of the website with details and dates. 2. We continue to be closed to guests coming to stay. It is hard for us to envisage conditions under which it would be safe or practicable for us to have guests coming to stay for short periods. There may periodically be the opportunity for a person to come for an extended stay, and this is described below. For short visits, whilst hotels and guest houses are now allowed to open, staying as a guest here means joining in with the routines and activity of the monastery, and this inevitably means using some of the same spaces and possibly relatively close contact with members of the resident community. Although you may now choose to open your own home to a friend or family, for the monastery, guests would be the equivalent of a steady stream of different people coming to stay where you live. The physical space that we have, and the effort that would be required to do this safely, make this possibility impractical. If you are in a position where you are interested in a longer term stay, and this would mean a minimum of one month and preferably longer, we are open to this possibility as and when we have space. For more details about this please see the guest information on the Contact Us page.
3. It will continue to be possible to come to the monastery to offer dana, whether cooked food or supplies, but we ask that you do not come inside. If possible please phone us on 01404 891251 or email prior to coming. Usually one or more of the monks will be available to offer an anumodana and for a short conversation.
4. As fewer people are coming to the monastery than usual, we are having some groceries delivered and one of the lay residents goes once a fortnight to the shops. So an alternative way to offer dana or to support the monastery during this time would be to make a financial offering, which can be done online or by cheque - please see details in the Contributing section. If you would like to dedicate an offering on a particular day or for a particular reason, please let us know.
If you are looking for online resources to help support you in this difficult time we suggest that you take a look at the website of Amaravati, our main monastery: www.amaravati.org They have an extensive library of free Dhamma talks, books, guided meditations and chanting which you can download. If you would like a hard copy of a particular book, many of these are also available on request from us or from Amaravati. Amaravati are also posting videos of Dhamma talks online at: https://vimeo.com/amaravativideo
The Aruna Ratanagiri monastery is also live streaming a short evening puja of meditation and chanting at 7pm daily, go to https://ratanagiri.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=5a03d97c16671a65f517a328a&id=04a6fe800c&e=734ec636ed For those of you who may be have been wondering about how we are doing at the moment, we have all been well and we are in the fortunate position of being in a beautiful location with space in the grounds and countryside around us. There are four lay people living with us for the indefinite future, who are able to prepare food and help in many other ways, and so far we have been getting along harmoniously enough for a group of very varied characters!
Thank you for your support and understanding during these testing times. May all beings be well. May all beings be at peace.