The construction of the new kuti is in full process after a long break around Thai new year. Most every day 2 or 3 men are working on it. Kun Wen sais it is livable at Vesakha Puja but I do doubt it. For almost one week we had almost no electricity. They do work but it is much slower when they have to sow everything by hand. Yesterday the official constructor has been ordered home, something happened there and someone came to get him. I understood ‘falling’ and ‘roof’ but I am not certain whether the roof fell or someone fell from the roof.
For as it is the work is proceeding well. The roof one day, the veranda one day. The floor half a day luckily a day with electricity otherwise it would have taken 2 days. The black water pit and bathroom walls one day. Now the wood for the walls gets its fine plane, the structure to keep the windows in place is set. So more than 50 % is done. Walls, bathroom installation, stairs and electricity is still to do.
A.D. Has gone for a month. People are really o.k. with me here now. Yesterday I chatted a bit with the workers after their work. We were all surprised that I am progressing in speaking Thai.
Puppy Hercules almost took his last breath. But he survived and is well now. Some mushrooms were growing in front of my kuti the workers said they are poisonous, not edible. Some time later, I saw Hercs around the place eating something and much less mushrooms… His face swell, his body was red and hot, the skin had rashes, he either ran around squeaking and scratching or fell asleep. Next day he was better. Now he is fully recovered. He came on alms round twice, today in pouring rain. The village dogs didn’t come out of their dry places so Shabala and Hercules followed me all the way. In the end Hercs was chased by the headman’s dog and ran straight home.
Since 2 days I am sick. I had this piercing tickling in some nerve ends and a night with light, disturbed sleep. I feel very tired and sleep all day, body heavy and head like numb but happy that it is not too bad. I have itchy, painful rashes at the neck and pain, so it seems to be shingles again. Last time when I had shingles around the same area, a tooth died. But it is not getting as bad, I think.
Since weeks or almost months I was without pain, could breath fully in the chest. Welcome back pain. As Ajahn Suphan sais, pain is like your best friend, comes often and stays long, so learn to live happily with it. Perry will protest when I write that this body is a burden, a mass of suffering. But even without pain it is – because it is subject to old age sickness and death.
Fortunately I have time to sleep and cure this body. I will not force it through a retreat although it would surely be interesting, would have done that 2, 3 years ago. Now I shall be a bit more compassionate with this conglomeration of elderly elements.
In regards to what I wrote earlier about feeling feminin. I did not follow after that. First I thought I have to find the feminine way to enlightenment but I am a Buddhist nun and trust the Buddha’s teaching. According to this mind is mind, whether it is pure or defiled is completely independent form being female or male. These two are, according to the Abhidhamma, just two points in a list of physical characteristics, so why bother with feminine or masculine.
adolescence is a difficult time in every bodies life. When I remember back, Oh dear, it was difficult for me and I was difficult for others I think. Everyone seems to go through this period without exception, girls start growing their breasts, have their menstruation for the first time, total change of body and rearrangement of objectives. Boys have too big noses and the voice is breaking. One needs to find ones profile, and does a lot of nonsense. I did a lot of nonsense, my spanish nices do, my american nephew does and the children around here do. There might be variation in how dramatic or just stupid the ‘Quatsch’ (German for nonsense, I love this word and I use to love to do it :)
Then suddenly one day one has grown up, understands what the parents or other seniors have tried to get through for years.
Yesterday I had the idea that I might be in my spiritual adolescence :D
I was such a enthusiastic spiritual child, now in my darn 7th year of being a nun, I feel like one of those half mature adolescents. Times are difficult, don’t want to be a conformist, need to find my own way (although according to the Buddha’s teaching), want rebellion against the establishment and do some Quatsch. It is funny to observe the mind in this state. Would be funnier if it were not my own mind. But sometimes I feel detached from it enough so that I can have a good laugh.
For the time being I should not teach but grow up.
Here in Kun Pang is no one to teach and no one to rebel against. So it seems it is the most suitable place for now. A.D. Is still a good companion. We go Pindabat on different routes and don’t share mealtime any more, only meet at dogs feeding times which is not much time to socialise or chat, the rest is free for mental proliferation.
I stopped doing tummo, or trying to do, I shall say. It was good to keep me busy and meditating in times when I really, really didn’t want to meditate any more. But there is so much stuff related and to practice before one can even start, and it doesn’t lead to enlightenment, so there is no point, really. It is interesting that it is quite easy to hold the breath for a minute and a half, two minutes is more difficult. It has excellent effects for one who needs help to empty the bowels, not good for me, though.
For Ajahn Suphan’s birthday I got a set of new robes and was very keen on wearing it, just wanted to dye it a bit darker. I ruined the pot and the set of robes which is now multi coloured, somehow. It is a very good object to observe attachment and the process of letting go.
I was pondering and writing a lot about love, the altruistic one, metta.
Before I write, imagine me sitting here giggeling when I think about it.
For my part, it feels that I am at the upper end of what is possible for me now. Since the mind is defiled, metta cannot be pure. The same holds true for the other paramis, qualities of the four Brahma viharas, like compassion and empathy and also for all the 10 perfections.
Compassion for example, I sometimes felt so sorry, even for a dying insect, I sometimes felt like I could cry and sometime did. Of course, I do safe even an insects life, if possible. It is compassionate. But the underlying tendency for this is fear of death. Fear is routed in all three: greed, hatred and delusion.
None of the paramis I tried to develop is without defilement. To all the disillusion I experience, this comes in addition. Even when I think I have only good intentions – the defilements linger underneath and sully the purity of the parami. No wonder I don’t want to see clearly any more when something frustrating like this is the result. What next? :)
What I have to develop more is upakkha, equanimity. Upekkha has to be consistent of metta, karuna and mudita (at least) otherwise it will be cold ignorance and metta, karuna and mudita (and others) have to be governed by upekkha otherwise they go out of hand. I have developed some patience and acceptance. One would not think that I once was a very passionate actress. But still, there are moments when the patience comes to an end. And then there is no more parami. When the dogs for example jump on me with their dirty feet on my alms bowl or robe and almost kick me over… aversion arises. Or, someone sprinkled me with water, willing or not doesn’t matter, I just stand there and develop khanti – but I would like to react in such a moment and take a playful revenge, laugh, squeak, sprinkle back, childish, just as they do it here on Songkrang, the Thai new year. That would be the end of upekkha.
Although I think that I came to the upper end of what is possible for me in regards paramis (at this present state of defiled mind), I will not give up training and practising them.
Two days ago the work on my new kuti here in kun Pang began. Little by little I will post pictures of the progress. Soon we have a big holiday so there might not be much progress.
There have been two monks visiting again, they went straight to the villagers, telling them bhikkhunis do not exist, etc. They wanted to stay here for long, one of them said to me. They are gone now.
I hope that my dear friend and nun Maggadhira can come and stay here with us for some time once the new kuti is ready. She said may be it is possible in June. That would be wonderful.
Days go by with going on almsround, sweeping leaves, feeding (and cuddling a bit) dogs, learning (and at the same time forgetting) Thai, getting desperate over a translation of the Bhikkhuni vibhanga from German into English (I gave up), and practice of mindfulness and concentration, applying right effort whenever mindfulness reminds me to do so, daily evening chanting etc. etc., a very uneventful, happy living.
This year will be my fifth vassa. Increadible how time flies. I wanted to be a nun for one year only and now I am in robes for seven years.
Not long ago, when I was considering where to go or/and settle one of the villagers of Kun Pang where I live since 8 months, came and said they would like to build a new kuti for me in the monastery. The kuti where I live is actually the bell tower with dome wooden plaks around the basement. It is very beautiful and I never complained to live there. But thei were afraid the bell might fall on my head and the bathroom is a bit away and a poisonous snake has been seen around so they don’t like much that I have to go there at night. As a result they came up with the ‘new kuti’ idea.
Overjoyed I mentioned this to friends and they started gathering funds for the project without even being asked.
Day before yesterday they went to get the first load of construction material.
In about 60 days the kuti might be ready to move in. It’ll take long because the Songkrang festival in April no one will work at that time. They can build a wooden house within 3 weeks. I saw it happening.
I am still a bit speechless because of the geerosity of the donors and the invitation of the villagers. There are still few who do not believe that bhikkhunis exsist butit seems they are outnumbert.
In Singapore on my trip there for the chinese new years celebration, 300 people, following of my friend Bhikkhuni Hui Hai donated 40 thousand bath, my friend in Bangkok, Sirikarn, her son Kub, her friend Samyom each 10000 bath, my friend in Chiang Mai Dr. Bursara who lost her only son last year and her husband donated 50000 bath, of which 2000 come from Mae Chii Elena, 1000 from Mae Chii Sujai, and 300 from each, Mae Chi Supi and Mae Chii Anjali. And just yesterday I received an email from Adhimutta Bhikkhuni announcing that Dhammadharini, a organisation who sponsors Bhikkhunis, will contribite 5000 bath also.
This is overwhelmingly wonderful. I would never had expected this. May the Dhamma protect you all as it protects me. (It does ptotect me exteremly well, in my opinion.) May the offering done by any of the donors, may it have been small or large, lead you closer to the end of suffering!
Anumodana. Congratulations to all involved, to the donors of money because generosity is the first parami, and all of you gave without being asked, without thinking twice, means your parami is pretty good developed. To me because within 60 days, when the kuti is doen, I will sit in it on my meditation cushion and feel as safe and well as in my mums womb, knowing that I have friends out there in this samsara and their generosity is protecting me. To the villager because they brought up the idea of the kuti and their offering to give me a place to live and practice led my friends to their generous donation which in the end will at least in parts remain as wealth in an otherwise quite poor village. Which makes me happy :)
I will come down sometimes and post some pictures of the construction.