Tu Viện Quảng Đức105 Lynch Rd, Fawkner, Vic 3060. Australia. Tel: 9357 3544. quangduc@quangduc.com* Viện Chủ: TT Tâm Phương, Trụ Trì: TT Nguyên Tạng   

Hermitage of Joyful Living (Thất Tâm Hỷ)

07/04/201507:08(Xem: 2641)
Hermitage of Joyful Living (Thất Tâm Hỷ)

That Tam Hy (1)

Hermitage of Joyful Living (Thất Tâm Hỷ)

Almost five years ago on June 1st 2010, I arrived with my two dogs in Tasmania to start a Ph D in Buddhist philosophy at the University of Tasmania and to continue my training in Clinical Pastoral Education, a form of professional preparation for chaplains and Pastoral/Contemplative Care Workers. On our way south to Hobart my attention was drawn to my right, looking towards the north west of this island state. I felt that I had an appointment with somewhere in that direction and that it would be important for my life.

A year later in 2011I went up to Ulverstone to give a talk on Buddhist views on death and dying to a group of hospice volunteers. I knew there was a Buddhist centre on the way and so I organised to break the journey and stay in the Centre. It is in a very ancient valley with lots of trees, many wallabies and paddy melons and birds of many different types. It felt to me as though people who were about to be reborn were just hiding in the gaps of the rocks in the hill sides, waiting. 

I stayed in a beautiful wooden cottage. It rained very softly all night and was deeply quiet. I built a fire in the stove and enjoyed the peace, the sound of rain on the roof and the crackling wood fire. The next morning I was very moved by the physical beauty of the place.

In the following October I went back for a week to enjoy the peace and quiet again. I met a few people in the valley who gathered weekly at the centre for meditation. Two of  these people lived on another property five kilometres away. Over the period of the next year I got to know them both a little better and told them of my hope to find a quiet place where I could stay to write my Ph D. They offered me the opportunity to build a small hut on their property. 

Since then, in 2012, we have developed our initial idea and so this week-end, Easter 2015, we beganthe process of clearing the ground to build the hermitage. It will be a small wooden building of one room for sleeping, cooking, eating, studying and meditating in and there will be a bathroom/laundry and store room attached. My plan is to spend at least three months of the year there for nhập thất  (solitary retreat) during the Buddhist retreat season, Nhập Hạ. The rest of the year the hermitage will be available for other people who want to have long term retreats while I am teaching, visiting my family and hopefully spending time at Trúc Lâm Đà Lạt  and with other monks in the Trúc Lâm school.

Last week two friends, a married couple, visited me. I told them that I was about to start building the hermitage over Easter and that I had saved $6,000 dollars from Dana offerings that Vietnamese people in Adelaide and Melbourne had given me towards building it. Included in this is $2,000 given to me by one of my cousins in Adelaide. The husband said “We’ll give you the money to build the floor” which of course is the first thing that gets built. I am really touched by the confidence and value that all of these people have placed in this project. I hope to have it finished and liveable by the end of 2016 so that in 2017, when I go onto the aged pension, I can spend perhaps a year there practising meditation.

The hermitage will be called Thất Tâm Hỷ or Hermitage of Joyful Living. Tâm Hỷ was the Dharma name I gave to  a very lovely lady who lived here in Hobart. She had breast cancer and she asked me if I would visit her and care for her spiritually. I did so over three years. She and her husband took the Three Refuges and Five Precepts with me at the end of 2012 and last June I conducted her funeral. This lady was a very joyful person even during the most difficult times of her illness and she was greatly loved by many people here in Hobart.  Her husband is a joiner and I will be helping him as we build our Thất. Here are some photos I have taken of our progress so far. We have this weekend laid out the hermitage and tested the soil to determine the kind of foundation we will need.

Best wishes
Thích Trúc Thông Pháp.

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