Lots of news!
News, like the rain, is rarely purely good or purely bad, but a mix of both. For instance, in the materialistic West, the approach to rain is often as the destroyer of vacations and the ruiner of fun. Hench the children’s rhyme – “Rain, rain, go away, come again another day!” Yet in the East the monsoon rains flood the fields and grow the rice. Rain is seen as the benevolence of protector spirits and dragons, and is only an adversary when it fails to arrive on time or comes too generously and floods the villages.
Maybe our approach to rain in America says something about why our News is almost all Bad News. The reality of the situation is often more in the middle. Good, welcome news brings challenges, and hard, unwelcome news brings opportunity for change.
Because of all the things going on, there’s been less time and energy for updates to the facebook and webpage. But, like the weather, this is just part of a cycle that will come around again.
The first piece of news is that Upavana Foundation has finally received confirmation of its status as a 501.c3 Non-Profit. This won’t have many affects in the short term, but will absolve it from having to pay taxes and will make donations to it tax-deductible. There are a wealth of resources to help non-profits flourish – we just need to find them! After many long months of waiting (the process of applying for non-profit status used to take only weeks pre-covid), it’s hard to know where to begin.
Second, several monastic friends have asked to join the fold, coming up to visit and spend some time with Tahn Pamutto in Massachusetts starting in July. It’s always a delight to connect with and support other monastics; at the same time, it will be an interesting logistical challenge to find a place where three monastics can both come together in practice and spread out to live comfortably. In the short term, the community will probably need a new spot for the mobile-temple, and offers of meals and supplies will be even more helpful to be sure they can continue the lead the holy life in earnest.
Third, Upavana was offered a professionally-built website based on the old website. This new site is in WordPress, something which Tahn Pamutto (who, by the way, lives in the woods) is not familiar with. The new site is up and running, though we’d be happy to talk with anyone who is very familiar with the WordPress system who might be able to help with changes to the set-up and design to better suit the different avenues of Upavana’s mission.
Finally, with more friends getting involved, it’s becoming easier to offer things to the community and breathe life into things that have gone dormant during COVID, like local Meditation Groups and Retreats. Tomorrow Tahn Pamutto will sit in on the first meeting of a group in the small town of Wendell that ran every Sunday for years before the lockdowns. It’s not easy for one person to be in many places, but that’s the default for many people! So if you’re nearby and looking to connect with good people, drop us a line or just keep an eye on the website for updates about activities in your area.
This Full Moon will be the beginning of the Rain’s Retreat, a time of stability for monastics during the monsoon. Though we don’t (usually) have quite so much rain during this time of year, it’s a great opportunity to fix up a structure, get comfortable, and develop a close connection with the community. Let it rain!