Submitted by Sudaka on Thu, 03/14/2024 - 12:29
Los Iris

Was great to roll up to the Online European Chairs meeting on Tuesday. I was really aware of how much everyone there is working really hard on their projects and in their lives. Also it was wonderful to be presented to the Chairs at Paris and Berlin. Two amazing cities with two very different Triratna stories unfolding.

We have had a full-on couple months (that means most weekends booked out with groups and retreats). Suryavana rolls forward but the sense of precariousness follows forward too. My aim is to build an “financial cushion”. Still working on that! I am noting an uptick in activity. Also, our installations our constantly being improved! My intention is wherever possible re-invest and upgrade. Now we have a “new look” Dharma book shop, meditation gear, with some local produce also on display, olive oil and so forth.  We have installed an automated chlorination system, a big plus when you are off-grid. We have a new water dispenser in the dining room offering locally sourced mineral water (Bejis) at air temperature, cooled water and even hot water! I have finally put up some curtains in the shrine-room/living room after four years sitting in what felt like a naked, and draughty space. 

Picking up wood off our land yesterday I had a great exchange with Angel, who looks after our 14 hectares. He has secured us a couple years firewood (old almond trees), indispensable in the colder winter months. We are replanting the trees and going ecological with our lavender fields. In a couple years the views down from the house will be beautiful in the summer months with the lavender in full bloom.

Since November I have felt more Ok about the sacrifice that goes with being involved in such an all-encompassing endeavour. It mostly suits me, though I do wonder sometimes that it’s crazy. All-consuming. And I find myself rejecting the commitment. I imagine, not necessarily because n those monents throwing myself in Kurukulle’s cauldron. To be cooked up with the dead dog, dead cow, horse, elephant and other sustances (nectars). Believe it or not, the image helps!.

The project gets me up in the morning and I am enjoying the sense of agency that directing the project offers. I am also aware it’s a limited time, some years of my life. It is not forever. It is impermanent. I am connected with the vision and see that it works for me, and my family, my companions in this adventure, mostly works that is to say. It’s an unusual set up. Why not? It works because we have decided to build our lives here. It’s taken four years to “feel” more "at home" here in Rural Spain.

Talking to Angel yesterday, I commented how much I was coming to appreciate the land; the colours, the trees, the space and sky and even so I realised how much I don’t know about how it all works;  the dynamics of the folks that live and work here. Seems like I am on another planet sometimes! For Angel it’s been his whole life, some seven decades, cultivating the land, growing and caring for almond and olive trees, growing fields of lavender and chamomile. No doubt he comes from a long line of farmers. I feel like the guest, the Neo-Rural, here for a short time to take care of a new retreat centre, a Buddhist Temple, one I hope will embed and enjoy decades of use and practice. The house atleast has been more than a hundred years standing here. An olive farm originally. The house anyways is being requisitioned for our use.

Tommrow we gather a group of men to do a “Going for Refuge” retreat for the Spanish speaking community. We are few but from all over the world, Spain, Mexico, Venezuela, UK, Ireland, Catalonia, the Canaries. All good and I look forward to sharing the experience. In the summer, thanks to Hadayasiri, we are planning a big gathering for the Womens Sangha that are also preparing for Ordination. Again it will be an International affair. These retreats, though few, give a great sense of meaning the project which I have been increasingly having to see as a kind of "team-based right livelihood”. A modest sixty thousand euro a year business. It is not much in worldly terms but having our old van on the edge of failing its emissions test with the grand cruncher of metal with its jaws wide open and waiting patiently (the van was a gratefully received gift some years back), I feel the sharp edge of the limited access to euros and resources.

We heroically strive on. If anyone is looking for a worthy cause and wants their euros to go a long way, please feel free to contact us and give.

Many thanks Sudaka