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 has allowed Places of Worship to reopen, provided that they adhere to detailed guidelines. 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 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 short term 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, as both residents and guests would normally share some of the same spaces and facilities, and social distancing is not workable.
3.There may periodically be the opportunity for a person to come for an extended stay - this would mean a minimum of one month and preferably longer. As and when we have a vacancy we are interested in people who can bring some skills and energy to the community. Most likely cooking will be an essential asset, with gardening, cleaning and driving other desirable attributes. We would prefer people who have already stayed with us before, or are known to us or one of our sister monasteries, but this is not a requirement. If you are interested in the possibility of an extended stay, please write to us, and if you have not been to stay before please include full information about yourself, your interest in coming, and when and for how long you would like to come. See the contact us page for getting in touch.
4. It will continue to be possible to come to the monastery to offer dana, whether cooked food or supplies, but we still 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. By prior arrangement it is usually also possible to go for a walk in the grounds.
5. 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. Soan 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.
6. If you are looking for online resources to help support you, we suggest that a good place to start is 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 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 have been four lay people living with us during lockdown 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.