Upavana now has a piece of property to take root in, a camper which can be a meeting place and shelter for monastics through the summer, and has already seen much in the way of its mission of building community. Though much of this has come about seemingly all at once, it is the fruition of a strong, clear intention, a bit of faith, and some hard work.
“When you ask the universe for something,” a friend said recently, “you should be very sure what it is you want. And be ready! -- you just might get it.”
That simple advice has been resonating a lot recently. Part of returning to western mass and the wandering monk way of life was setting a very strong intention for a community - thinking of a place, some basic services to provide, and thinking of structures to start with. At the beginning of May, Upavana had its first online ‘open house’ to discuss some of these points and get word out.
For several weeks it wasn’t clear that anything was happening, but that’s the way it goes. Checking out rental units, searching online lists for campers and pop-up tents. Then, last Wednesday, everything came together. Like most things that come from Faith and Hard Work, the results have been better and more accurate to the original intention than could reasonably be expected.
A good friend, Rich, has offered a piece of property in Leverett, MA, until it sells or until Upavana can arrange to buy it. The land is four acres of level field with a clean, gushing well and some of the healthiest, tallest Japanese Knotweed I’ve ever seen. The property, lush with the bamboo-like plant, has been lovingly named Veluvana - “The Bamboo Grove”, in remembrance of the first monastery given to the Buddha.
The camper was a bit of a mess, but American monks have to do a lot of renovation, and a trained eye could see through the grime that the base was good. It came with more open space than most campers - perfect for a shrine and chanting/meditation.
The Bamboo Grove is not yet a public site available for drop-in, but friends are welcome to arrange to visit. The first group meditation was held on the day of arrival with the delivery of some chairs for outside, the second meditation also brought the first meal offering. Tomorrow, the first almsround will leave from the site into the surrounding town.
Many blessings to all who have joined in making this possible!