Travels with Bhante
I flew to California on the first of the month to spend about ten days with my father on the Point Reyes Peninsula. We settled some issues that remained concerning my deceased brother Arthur’s estate and spent time together. We shipped three big boxes of books that I had selected on my previous visit and before the auctioneer arrived from Arthur’s library off to Austin where they will find a welcoming place on the shelves of the non-Buddhist section of the Sitagu Vihara library.
On Monday I flew up to Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where I am staying at the Myanmar Buddhist Temple until about January 15. They have been without a monk of their own for over a year and have been inviting a series of monks for short visits, including our abbot, Ashin Ariyadhamma, who had come back to Austin with a smile on his face. I am naturally the first Westerner to come in that capacity and as expected I have been very warmly welcomed to this winter wonderland by the Burmese community. The snowy temperature here has been down to about 8 degrees Farenheit. I can look out the window and see the Canadian Rockies to the west. I had never been in Canada before, except for a brief trip to Toronto to attend a conference many years ago. I think of Canada as a colder, roomier and more civilized version of the United States. This, from their Web site, is what they expect of me:
“Bhikkhu Ashin Cintita is arriving on December 11, 2012. He will be staying at the Temple until January 7, 2013. He will be giving Dhamma Talks, Cultural and Spiritual Classes for Children & Youth. There will be special Dhamma sessions for young adults. Dhamma discussion (Q&A) and One-on-One counselling will be provided upon request. Most of the programs will be open to general public. Please send an email at email@example.com or call 403 460 3161 for further information or request.”
I’ve also been helping on a community development grant proposal for remodeling the temple into a facility to serve primarily as a community center for the Burmese Buddhist Community.