New Year, New Team!
January has seen the start of the team changes at Tiratanaloka, with Vidyalila leaving to move to Sheffield and Ratnadharini gradually moving her things to her new home not so far away. The eight of us (below) have lived and worked together for over two and a half years.
Vidyalila and Vajrasakhi drove a van up to Sheffield and back the same day a couple of weeks ago and the next day we waved Vidyalila off in her new car as she left Tiratanaloka after 10 years, first living in a nearby village and working here as a part of the support team and then moving to Tiratanaloka five years ago to lead and support retreats when the team became one. She is planning on spending a year dedicated to painting and living a relatively quiet life.She has taken most of her paintings which hung in the retreat centre, which are missed by everyone, but we are fund-raising to buy one. So far we've been able to buy half of it from retreat dana, which the team are often given at the end of the retreats. We're now hoping to raise another £500. If you'd like to donate towards this please do so. The painting is hanging in the dining room for everyone to appreciate and enjoy, so you'll see where your money has gone when you are here. She'll be missed by both the community and those of you who come on retreat here, but we wish her well and look forward to seeing what direction her art takes her.
Ratnadharini is leaving next week after 14 years leading and teaching on retreats here. She is also planning on a quiet life for a while, following through on areas of interest she wishes to study, continuing with her public precepting work and her dancing. She has just finished her last two week retreat here, although is coming to teach on the Young Women's weekend later this year. We also wish her well in this new phase of her life.
We're having a few days of community time next week as the six of us come together as a new team for a couple of months until Vajratara joins us in April. We're going to be looking at Subhuti's paper 'Revering and Relying upon the Dharma', which is something we recommend people read. It's online at www.sangharakshita.org.
On Wednesday we have the local Women's Institute group coming for an evening for a talk on Buddhism and discussion. We're really looking forward to this as it's a chance to meet some local women and explain what we do here. We thought we'd better do some baking beforehand too! They asked us to talk about meditation, stupas, offerings, the place of men and women in Buddhism, what we do here and a general introduction too. I imagine it'll be a stimulating and enjoyable evening.