Issue 11: Successful 2019 Visit and Exciting News for 2020

A Successful Visit and Exciting News for 2020

We invite you to reflect on the joy and goodness that has arisen from the May 2019 visit of Wat Metta monks Than Peter and Than Tim. The monks, organizers and participants enjoyed the experience. We are grateful for the opportunity to be able to host Buddhist monks on Vancouver Island.

Highlights of the monks’ visit:

  • Sunrise meditations on a grassy knoll near the rental property in Metchosin, BC.

  • Several visits to East Sooke Park where they experienced very favourable conditions for their meditation practice.

  • A two-day camping trip to Sombrio Beach complete with west coast rain conditions and sightings of minks and otters. (Photos)

  • A visit to Avatar Grove and Botanical Beach.

  • A tour of downtown Victoria, downtown Sidney, and an ocean-side meditation at Trafalgar Park.

  • Four Saturday dana meal offerings in Victoria - 33 participants from Victoria, North Saanich, Sooke, Nanaimo, Salt Spring Island, Vancouver, Falkland, Vernon, and Washington state.

  • Opportunity to meditate with the monks and ask Than Peter questions at the Saturday dana offering.

  • Meal offerings at the Metchosin rental property - 14 participants.

  • Dana meal offering at Chon Tong Thai Restaurant, Sidney, BC - 8 participants.

  • Dana meal offering in Sooke - 10 participants.

  • Four stewards who ably provided support for the monks.

    • Thank you to Brock Brown, John Jordan, Russ Callaghan and Norvin Cuentes.

  • Many volunteers who gladly helped with driving, bringing food, cleaning up after the dana meals.

Budget

The budget for the 2019 visit included costs for the monks’ travel, health insurance, property rental, food and other requisites.

Total expenses for the May 2019 visit: $4767.59

The highest cost was $3,000 for the property rental.
A detailed budget is available upon request.

Aranya Refuge bank balance after expenses: $3781.53 CDN; $2427.98 USD

Generosity

Food expenses were lower than budgeted as a result of the generosity of the stewards and participants who donated groceries and meals for the monks at the Metchosin residence.

We also appreciated the financial donations to support the project. Special thanks to John Jordan for hosting the monks for the camping trip to Sombrio Beach.

Plans for 2020

We are honored and very happy that Ajaan Geoff has accepted our invitation to come for the month of May 2020. He will be accompanied by a second Wat Metta monk. Ajaan Geoff has also agreed to offer a teaching weekend, sponsored by the Victoria Insight Meditation Society, on May 23/24 2020.

Vision for the Future

While it is not yet clear if we will evolve to be more than a “pop-up” monastery, we hold the possibility for a hermitage on Vancouver Island for Wat Metta monks to practice and to share the dhamma with the lay community. To this end, organizers are taking steps to become a registered BC Society and are investigating becoming a Canadian charity.

For those inspired to support the Aranya Refuge project to continue, we welcome:

  • Financial contributions - see this page for ways to contribute

  • Participation in dana meal offerings at the rental property (May 2020)

  • Male drivers for bringing the monks to dana offerings (May 2020)

With appreciation,

Aranya Refuge Organizing Team

Jacqui Balfour
Brock Brown
Russ Callaghan
June Fukushima
John Jordan



Issue 10: The Monks have Arrived!

Greetings!

Than Peter and Than Tim from Metta Forest Monastery have arrived for their month-long stay on Vancouver Island. They are residing in a rental property in Metchosin, a half-hour west of Victoria, BC.

The monks are practicing, studying and exploring the forested areas nearby. 

Organizers are pleased that the location is working well for the monks.

Ajaan Geoff, abbot of Metta Forest Monastery, named the project, Aranya Refuge. Aranya is the Pali word for wilderness. 

From the time of the Buddha, monks lived in secluded wilderness areas and would walk to a village to receive food offered in their bowls.  Today, monks continue the tradition of walking alms rounds, although in the West it is more common for lay people to come to the monks with food offerings and other requisites.

A lay practitioner who is bringing food to the monks every Sunday in May said, "This kind of opportunity doesn't come by too often, so I am very happy to do it."

The Buddha encouraged generosity as a foundational practice for achieving peace. We encourage everyone to participate in this joyous and rare opportunity to offer food to the monks.

How to participate:

  • Saturdays in Victoria arrive by 10:30 am

  • 4013 Magdelin St. (near Shelbourne/Mckenzie)

  • Bring food to offer to the monks and share with other participants.

  • Meditation at 12:30 pm followed by Q&A with Than Peter.

Mondays in Metchosin

Tuesdays - Fridays

On some days the monks will not be at the house.

The Aranya Refuge Project relies on financial donations from those who feel inspired to support the monks from Metta Forest Monastery to experience a wilderness retreat. You are welcome to send a cheque or e-transfer. Dana baskets to receive financial contributions are set out at food offerings in Metchosin and Victoria.

We thank everyone for contributing time, food and finances to this noble endeavour.

Sincerely,
Aranya Refuge Organizers and Volunteers

Issue 9: Details of Monastic Visit 2019

Greetings

The Aranya (Wilderness) Refuge Project organizers are honoured to receive Metta Forest Monastery monks, Tahn Peter and Tahn Tim, for the month of May, 2019. The monks will reside at 1295 Boulderpath Road in Metchosin, BC where they will study and practice.

Please join us in welcoming our monastic guests to Vancouver Island.

How you can participate:
You can bring a dish of food to share with the monks.

In Victoria: Saturdays, May 4, 11, 18 and 25. Please arrive by 10:30 am for food offering at 11:00 am
4013 Magdelin St.  The 27/28 bus stops close by.
After the meal offering to the monks, the participants can share the remaining food, and then the monks will meditate with the group and answer questions.

In Metchosin: Monday - Friday Please arrive by 9:30 am for food offering at 10:00 am
On most weekdays in May, food offerings can be made at 1295 Boulderpath Road in Metchosin.

It would be most helpful to contact organizers to pre-arrange food offerings at info@aranyarefuge.ca

Offering food for monastics is considered a virtuous act.
Financial contributions to the Aranya Refuge Project are also welcome. 
Contact organizers at info@aranyarefuge.ca to mail a cheque or to send an e-transfer. 

Gratitude
We are grateful to Ajaan Geoff, abbot of Metta Forest Monastery, for supporting our Vancouver Island community to host monastics. It is an honour to offer requisites to the ordained sangha.

We are also grateful to the two visiting monastics who are willing to travel to Vancouver Island.
We are fortunate to have the volunteer service of stewards who will support the monks.

We are also grateful to the local Thai community who will be supporting the monks by offering meals on the four Sundays in May. 

Sincerely,
Aranya Refuge Project Organizers
Brock Brown
Jacqui Balfour 
June Fukushima
John Jordon  

Issue 8: Update For Monastic Visit 2019

GREETINGS

Happy New Year. Hope you are all well and entering 2019 with ease.

Following the success of the visit of monastics from Wat Metta in May 2018, two monks will again come to Vancouver Island. The visit is planned for the month of May 2019.

The abbot of Wat Metta, Ajaan Geoff, has informed us that Tahn Peter and Tahn Tim will be the visiting monks.

The monks will be on retreat.

INITIAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE VISIT

Organizers have rented a house in Metchosin where the monks will study and practice. The home is in a quiet, forested area, approximately 25 minutes west of Victoria, BC.

Those wishing to offer food on week days may contact organizers to arrange the dropping off of their items in Victoria or at the Metchosin location.

On Saturdays, the monks will be offered a dana meal in at a home in Victoria that is on a bus route. Everyone is welcome to the Saturday meal.

Thank you for your interest and generosity in supporting the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha.

The Aranya Refuge Project team

Issue 7: May 2019 plans and reminder of Ajaan Geoff talk Sept 12 2018

Hello Dhamma Friends

The Aranya (Wilderness) Refuge Project organizers are very pleased to announce the plans for hosting two Wat Metta monks for the month of May 2019.

We have secured the rental of a private home in Metchosin. The house is a 35 minute drive west from central Victoria. The house is on 10 acres of forested property in a rural area.

We chose this location as it promises to offer wilderness and solitude to support the monks’ meditation retreat, but still be accessible to supporters. To ensure that the monks receive their requisites, there will be a volunteer male steward at the home.

Feeding the Monks

Buddhist monastics are not permitted to purchase or cook food and must rely on lay people to offer them food.

Lay people gain much merit through this opportunity to make a joyful offering of food.
The monastics contribute by committing themselves to the teachings of the Buddha, offering themselves as living examples of the holy life.

There will be various opportunities for lay supporters to offer food to the monks.

Saturday Gathering: The monks will receive the meal offering at 11 am at a home in Victoria.

Everyone is welcome. The home is on a bus route.

Following the meal offering to the monks and a pot luck shared by participants, we will meditate with the monks.

Sunday: The Victoria Thai community will arrange for the offering of food to the monks on Sunday at the home in Metchosin. Nat Johnstone will coordinate these offerings.

Monday to Friday:  Meal offerings can be brought to the home in Metchosin by 9:45 am. A Meal Coordinator and the Stewards will assist in organizing those who wish to bring food during the week. For those without a vehicle, please be in touch to arrange a ride or to drop off food in Victoria to be offered on your behalf.  

Financial Contributions

We will have greater expenses for the May 2019 visit due to the accommodation costs.
We also pay for the monks’ airfare, food, and other requisites they may need during their visit.
We welcome any amount of financial support you feel inspired to offer.

The Aranya Refuge Project can receive e-transfers, cheques or cash. To arrange financial contributions, please email aranyarefuge@gmail.com

Reminder: Ajaan Geoff Talk

September 12 2018 7pm
Finding Refuge in a Troubled World
Ajaan has kindly offered to give a talk in Victoria following his teachings in Bellingham.
Place: Goward House, 2495 Arbutus Road, Victoria, BC

Date: Tuesday Sept 12, 7pm
Freely Offered.  

Donations to support the Aranya Refuge Project and Metta Forest Monastery, can be made at the event.

Issue 6: September 12th Evening Talk with Ajaan Geoff

Finding Refuge in a Troubled World

Date: Wednesday Sept 12 2018
7:00 - 8:30 pm

Location: Goward House

 

Finding Refuge in a Troubled World
A Public Talk with Ajaan Geoff

Thanissaro Bhikkhu, known as Ajaan Geoff, is the abbot of Metta Forest Monastery in San Diego County. He is a respected meditation teacher and translator of the Buddha's teachings.

This event is open to all and is freely offered.
No Registration Required.

The room is wheelchair accessible.
 
This event is co-sponsored by the Victoria Insight Meditation Society and the Aranya Refuge Project

The Aranya Refuge Project will be hosting two monks on Vancouver Island from Metta Forest Monastery in May 2019.

Donations to support the Aranya Refuge Project and Metta Forest Monastery can be made at the event.

Issue 5: Successful inaugural monastic visit and 2019 Plans

Greetings

The Aranya Refuge Project’s inaugural visit of Wat Metta monks on Vancouver Island for the month of May 2018 was a success!

Than Will and Than Saulo spent their time on personal retreat at the home of Piriya and David Nowak in Maple Bay, B.C.  It was a pleasure for everyone involved to support the monks with their sincere dedication to the Dhamma-Vinaya.

For half of the month, Piriya and David provided steward support for the monks. For the other half of the month, Piriya and David travelled away from their home, and Brock Brown from Victoria, BC stayed at the house to be the steward.

On Saturdays, visitors travelled to Maple Bay and offered a dana meal. Visitors from six cities came to one or more of the Saturday dana meals. Following the meal, the group listened to a recorded guided meditation from Ajaan Geoff. After meditating, there was time for the monks and visitors to learn a little more about each other. 

The monks were also invited to two dana meals, one in Vancouver and one in Victoria. As well, they were invited on an outing to explore the southern shore of Vancouver Island. A highlight while travelling in the car was seeing a black bear!

2019

Ajaan Geoff is in favour of the Aranya Refuge Project continuing. We have extended an invitation for two monks to return in May 2019. 

For 2019, we are looking to rent a suitable place that has access to forested areas where the monks will be able to meditate in solitude. We would like the location to be within an hour’s drive of Victoria. We will continue with food offerings and a meditation on Saturdays. In addition, people can offer food on other days of the week

How to Get Involved
Open Meeting on July 29th  - Noon

You are invited to a meeting on Sunday July 29th at Noon.
Place: Brock and June’s home - 4013 Magdelin St. Victoria
Come learn about plans for the future, and to see how you might wish to be involved.

Please RSVP to info@aranyarefuge.ca.  A light lunch will be offered.

If you cannot come to the meeting and have information about  a suitable home to rent for the May 2019 visit, please be in touch.  Or if you would like to offer dana meals on weekdays in May 2019, please let us know so we can get a sense of how many are available to contribute in this way.

Financial Contributions
Expenses for the monks’ visit included airline tickets, baggage fees, travel insurance and food. We were able to cover the cost of all these expenses from donations made to Aranya Refuge.

We are happy to share financial records for anyone wishing to view the contributions and expenses.

Should you wish to offer financial dana for the Aranya Refuge project, please go here for more information. https://www.aranyarefuge.ca/offer-support/

Please also know that contributions to Wat Metta can be made directly to the monastery.

Sincerely,
AR Project Team

Brock Brown - President
David Nowak - Vice President
Jacqui Balfour - Treasurer
June Fukushima - Secretary
Piriya Nowak - Director

Volunteers:
Kiko Brown - Bookkeeper
John Jordan - Website and Newsletter
Lex Acker - Steward Support

 

Issue 4: Update on the visit by the Monks of Wat Metta

Anumodana to all who have made it possible for Than Will and Than Saulo to be on retreat on Vancouver Island.

Both monks have settled with ease at the home of Piriya and David Nowak in Maple Bay, BC.
Mount Tzouhalem trails are just behind the house. As Thai Forest monks, they welcome the opportunity to walk daily in the forest.  The monks are well supported by Stewards Piriya, David and Brock.

Visitors have come on Saturdays to offer food and to meditate with the monks.

On Saturday, May 12th, participants came from five communities: Nanaimo, Victoria, Sooke, Salt Spring Island and Seattle.  We rejoice in everyone’s wholesome efforts!

There are three more opportunities to offer a dana meal to the Wat Metta monks while they are on Vancouver Island:

Maple Bay (10 min from downtown Duncan)

  • Saturday May 19
  • Saturday May 26

Victoria (Gordon Head neighbourhood)
Home of Brock Brown and June Fukushima
Easily accessible by the 27/28 busses.

  • May 29 - Vesak

Food offerings are at 11 am.  Arrive before 10:45 am.

If you cannot make it to the food offering, you are welcome to join the monks for the meditation gathering around 1 pm.

Please contact us at info@aranyarefuge.ca to receive addresses and further details.

Please also let us know if you have room to drive someone, as we have people who would like to attend but do not have access to a vehicle.

We wish you good health and happiness.

The Aranya Refuge team

Piriya Nowak
David Nowak
Jacqui Balfour
Brock Brown
June Fukushima
Kiko Brown
John Jordan