हवा में उड़ रहा है

The cool evening here at the monastery land is welcomed after another hot day in Haryana. The peacocks can be heard in the distance singing along with the music coming from the temple next door, though slightly out of key. With the weather starting to take a turn and the daytime temperatures creeping up, we are still experiencing lovely cool evenings.

This week has given us a small taste of what’s to come in regards to wind and heat. The week started off with some high winds during the day which gave our tents a bit of a shake, say the least. The wind was literally ‘in tents’ .. 😉 Along with the wind was some climbing temperatures, myself and Khantko keeping an eye on the thermometer as it climbed through the 30’s quicker each day. But this is what we signed up for and are taking it on for now and doing our best to learn from the environment. As the weeks pass, we are discovering more about the land, the environment and the people we now share a space with.

We had a very interesting and useful meeting with a man name Mr. Kabir who came up along with Nikhil from Delhi for one night to visit us. Mr.Kabir is an architect who has a lot of experience with environmentally sensitive buliding and project design. He spent the evening with us and we shared some time discussing the tradition, the vision of the monastery and how we may want to move forward with the project. The following day we explored the land as a small group while he asked questions, taking many notes, and getting a feel for the environment. Having only met him on Zoom, it was very useful to have him here in person and have discussions in real time as we explored the terrain. He had many ideas, perspectives and hesitations while we talked about what would go where and how we may do things. It was a very useful meeting and it gave us encouragement that we could really create a conducive environment, building a monastery based on what the natural landscape has to offer. We are planning, and we’re encouraged, to wait till we see some rainfall to start the construction of any more permanent buildings.
For now we will consider a ‘survival mode’ phase of building and constructing some very basic and temporary spaces. What seems essential will be a toilet block of some sort, including a place for bathing. Also a small kitchen area with space for dining and some food storage. This will help us move away from the village compound, which as nice as it is, it is “a bit out of place”. So we are now making some considerations of the location of these buildings, along with possible hut sites, and then moving in the direction of our first phase of building. We will be having a visit from another eco- architect/construction person next weekend and I have already explained our needs of ‘quick and simple’ shelters. So with the feedback from both these teams, we hope to get the ball rolling in the very near future on some kind of structures.

The upcoming weeks may be a bit tough with the increasing heat and our minimal set up at the moment. There has been some concern expressed regarding us living here, the way we are. But please rest assured that we are doing fine and we are used to a certain degree of endurance. We will also use our judgement in making decsions as we make our way through this initial phase. We have invitations and support to step away for breaks from the environment, so we don’t have a feeling we are stuck here. We appreciate the concern and will consider things on a day to day basis, seeing how our health holds up. As It was previously mentioned, we are technically open now as a monastery and can receive guests. However it may be wise for the next month or so to keep our community size to a minimum, for the basic reason that there isn’t really much space yet and this weather is not conducive to camping tents. Rahul also plans to take a well deserved break to visit his family and may be gone for 10 days or so. We will likely be fed by our village neighbors and things will be very simple. So please feel welcome to visit, but perhaps consider the option of staying at the nearby guest house or making other arrangements.
Again, much gratitude to all the support and effort made in getting the monastery land this far. It has taken a lot of time and energy from some members of our group to get to this point. And we will continue to make efforts to create a space that is conducive to the practice of Dhamma.