Dear friend of Aryaloka,
Happy Autumn to you. May your harvests be bountiful and your reasons for gratitude be many.
As I write this, I have the good fortune to be at Aryaloka. I am enjoying the quiet care of Suddhayu and Lona Kovacs as they cook for us on the Noble Silence meditation retreat. I am taking lessons from the gently moving water in the river that winds at the foot of the Center’s beautiful grounds. I hear the sounds of raking as retreatants offer their energy for an hour after lunch. Our facilities, while simple, are comfortable and ideal for what we do: study, practice, and realize the Buddhadharma.
The benefits and pleasures of being on retreat (in person!) here at Aryaloka are more meaningful than ever now, since the Center was closed for well over a year. Our first tentative reopening was with outdoor meditations two mornings a week, followed in July with a weekend retreat. We held small events each month until October, when we hosted a Training for Ordination retreat for 17 women. Just after, a Zen group returned to Aryaloka for a week’s retreat, and now here are 13 of us in Noble Silence. All participants have remained healthy and felt confident in the facility management for everyone’s safety.
As you probably know, online activities have continued even as we reopen on a limited basis. The weekly Tuesday evening gathering carries on with hardly a break since 1985! Not even Covid-19 broke that steady program to learn and practice in a congenial group. Online life is here to stay in some ways. Some events will be offered in hybrid form, both in person and on the screen. If you are one of those who discovered Aryaloka online during the time of Covid, and if coming to the Center still is not feasible for you, we will do our best to maintain connection with you. Sangha can grow virtually as well as face to face.
Looking ahead, there will be a full retreat and event program next year. I hope you will be able to return and, as I have, rediscover the joys of collective practice. If there was ever a doubt, coming together again has renewed my sense that “these are my people.” The mutual support of spiritual friends is invaluable. Aryaloka is one of the warmest places I know to experience it.
I am grateful, too, for the generous support of Aryaloka from friends like you over this past year. Your generosity is what sustains Aryaloka, particularly through these uncertain times. November 30 is Giving Tuesday, a day of global generosity, and the kick-off of our end-of-year appeal. Will you help with your gift?
If you'd prefer to give by check, please make out to Aryaloka and send to 14 Heartwood Circle, Newmarket NH 03857.
With gratitude to all those who continue to work and volunteer at the Center to keep it looking lovely and ready to welcome us, I look forward to seeing you soon.
Chair, Aryaloka Spiritual Vitality Council