It’s like this, and it all belongs

I’ve spent the last 3 weeks at Tisarana Buddhist Monastery, outside of Perth, Ontario. The monastery is located in a forested, flat area with many bogs and lakes nearby. With all the water sources come friendly mosquitos, black flies, various other flying insects, and ticks, necessitating liberal applications of DEET.

Despite the bugs, it’s been an enjoyable time. The monastery schedule is similar to most: morning service, followed by breakfast, a work period, lunch, and then meditation/practice on one’s own until the evening service. The abbot of the monastery, Ajahn Viradhammo, is very similar to my main teacher, Ajahn Pasanno at Abhayagiri. He also has spent over forty years as a monk in this tradition, and is warm-hearted and easy going.  Coming recently from Abhayagiri, it’s been like staying at “uncle Ajahn Viradhammo’s place”. Although he number of monastics is about half the size of Abhayagiri’s, the warmth of community is no less.

I was picked up at the Ottawa train station by local supporters whom I’ve met at previous gatherings, and given a place to stay for the night (not to mention some delicious Sri Lankan food as well) before being taken out to the monastery the next day. There were several visits by local supporters who offered meals to the monastery throughout my stay here, and it’s great to see the place so well supported.

There’s been abundant wildlife around here, with deer, groundhogs, squirrels, chipmunks raccoons, turtles, birds and frogs. Each morning, we have whippoorwill alarm clocks that go off outside our windows. Although the idea of reaching out one’s window and patting the birds gently on the head seems amusing to think about, there’s no snooze button on the whippoorwill alarm clock. Just as well, since morning meditation starts at 5AM.

I’ve explored the local area on foot (and canoe) and found some beautiful places, but once again it’s been the people who have really made the stay enjoyable. While some who know me may find this hard to believe, I used to be pretty shy, to the point where some mistakenly thought me as snobbish since I didn’t talk much. I think working in medicine, and probably Buddhism as well, has certainly brought me out of that shell to a large degree. Although I’m still quite content to be on my own, more and more I find the joy in making new friends and sharing with others, and this trip is weaving a beautiful tapestry of connections as I go along.

Groundhog and her babies
Inside the sala
Mom and baby
The big old barn
Inside my kuti (cabin)
Loft bed
My kuti (cabin)

Author: mettatsunami

In 2009 I was working full time in medicine, and living a life that was alienated from what I truly valued. While volunteering with a local hospice, I began to wonder: "What would I do differently if I had six months to live?". This began the impetus to change direction. While it has been a case of two steps forward, one step back in many ways, there has still been slow movement in the direction of a more authentic life. Since the pivotal decision to change direction, I have been a Buddhist nun, returned to lay life, changed Buddhist schools, returned to medicine part time, and then full time, quit again, traveled extensively, trained in yoga, spent time in several Buddhist monasteries, and am in the process of how to live according with Buddhist and yogic practice and values, and how to streamline this life into something worthwhile. In the Theravadan Buddhist practice, one of the daily reflections is "Has my practice born fruit with freedom or insight, so that at the end of my life, I need not feel ashamed when questioned by my spiritual companions?". That is my practice. My goal in this blog is to share the journey along the way.

12 thoughts on “It’s like this, and it all belongs”

  1. Love it all……… As I mentioned, my daughter, Cindy, keeps me connected to her Buddhist world & practice. She is now putting up a “tiny house” – similar to your “kuti” for her dad to occupy in her family’s backyard. Glad you have made the connection and are enjoying the others along your path. I’m sure they are thinking the same of you. best wishes…… Currently have tenters here, attending a Peace & Non-violence 2 week, workshop held with worldwide participants at URI. gail


  2. Your kuti is such a cute little house and the bed in the loft looks really comfortable. What a great time of the year to view the wildlife and see the babies. Sounds like a very restful three weeks.


  3. I agree. It’s the relationships that one makes in this journey that count. Thanks for being.



  4. nice!! i finally took a break for a few days at my mom’s time share condo….but I have worked almost every day since i have been out of monastery, trying to be aware of busyness……good thing my monk friend is staying in my hood for a month, we have done lots of meditation

    glad the trip is going well…jeed sent some nice photos of abhayagiri anniversary…..happy travels…

    with metta paul


  5. Beautiful pictures and text. Thank you for a preview of Tisarana. We’ll be there in less than two weeks! And it is the folks we meet who truly make the journey, at least as much as the beauty we take in.

    Continuing safe travels to you, dear friend,


  6. Well, I finally got around to reading your blog entries. The photos are beautiful, and your adventures are interesting. I look forward to keeping up with your travels. Keep those posts coming!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: