April  1989   2534   Number 8 
THIS ISSUE Cover:
Articles:


Editorial:
Serenity, an Open Heart; Chithurst Anniversary
The Four Brahma Viharas; Venerable Munindo
Hammer Wood Progress; Aj, Sucitto & Mike Holmes
Question Time; Venerable Kittisaro
Thrift; Ajahn Sucitto
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A Guided Tour of Lay Practice
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Serenity, an Open Heart
The Tenth Anniversary: Chithurst Buddhist Monastery
To celebrate the Tenth Anniversary of Chithurst Buddhist Monastery, the Sangha invite you to attend an Open Day on June 25th 1989.

In the spring of 1978, as the result of a chance meeting on Hampstead Heath, the Sangha were given Hammerwood, some 120 acres of commercially coppiced forest in West Sussex. It was a wonderful gift, and when George Sharp - Chairman of the English Sangha Trust - heard of a house for sale in the hamlet of Chithurst near to Hammerwood, he drove down to investigate....

It was a brief visit on a rainy day in December. The owner, Mr. Hadley, wouldn't let Mr. Sharp into the house: "Just assume its derelict" he said; but considering the ideal location and the needs of the Sangha, Mr. Sharp made an offer. They agreed, shook hands and through the rain a rainbow shone forth.

 
...there was only one cold water tap for washing purposes and the woodwork was devastated by dry-rot.
 
An auspicious sign? Well there were a few more: Mr. Hadley, subsequently being offered GBP30,000 more by a rival bidder, turned the offer down as he had given his word. Like the donor of the forest who was also not a Buddhist, he seemed attracted by the idea that Buddhist monks would he taking over his property. Neighbours reported him dancing up Chithurst Lane to a friend to tell her of the glad news....
In June 1979 the Sangha eventually moved in and found that Mr. Hadiey had been quite honest in his appraisal of the house. Only four of the twenty rooms were in use, the electricity had blown; the roof leaked; there was only one cold water tap for washing purposes and the woodwork was devastated by dry-rot. The grounds were as bad: crumbling outhouses overgrown gardens, and thick brawbles through which protruded over thirty abandoned cars.

And so it began and much of the next ten years is well chronicled history. Daily life at Chithurst is the same in essence as in any of the forest monasteries of Ajahn Chah: an emphasis on meditation and training in the monastic life, and a steady atmosphere of work in the house and on the grounds. The meadows around the house, previously grazing land have been recently restored to a natural state by the planting of indigenous wild flowers. Hammerwood itself has been extensively replanted with native hardwood trees and is being managed by a lay warden as a nature reserve. There remains one major building project to undertake - the conversion of the derelict coach house into a temple building for accommodation and occasional large gatherings.

The commitment to meditation and the quiet forest setting is reflected in the monastery's formal title - Wat Pah Cittaviveka - the Forest Monastery of the Serene Heart. But that serenity has also been made possible by the many people who have passed through Chithurst's open door. Some have come seeking a place of peace; some have come out of curiosity; many have come bringing their goodness with them as an offering Whatever category you see yourself in, we do hope that you will be able to come and join the Chithurst community and the Maha-Sangha of guest bhikkhus on the Open Day.