In daily life there are
many ups and downs.
To maintain equanimity and to
generate love and compassion
despite these vicissitudes
is the training of Vipassana.
– S.N. Goenka
Resuming Regular Courses
Center management and area Teachers are continuing to monitor the everchanging landscape of Covid-19 health concerns, management, and safety. The small eight-person old student courses have been running smoothly, and management is confident that the protocols and procedures that have been developed are effective in providing a safe environment for students, servers, and staff. It is gratifying and delightful to know that the Dhamma continues to flow on our Dhamma land.
The next phase in reopening the Center will occur with the completion of Building 3. At that time, we will be able to serve around 16 students both old and new. Each student will have their own room and bathroom, and the temporary partitions in the dining halls, previously used to create server sleeping quarters will be removed, allowing for much more space in the dining hall for social distancing. In addition, there will be meditation cells that can be allocated with AT discretion. Our limitation for student capacity will be the Dhamma Hall, and with current recommendations for social distancing, 16 students, four servers, and two ATs are the limit.
Thus far, the courses have been served primarily by the Long Term Servers in residence. When we open with expanded student capacity, we will also be able to accommodate course servers in Building 2.
We anticipate, but cannot guarantee, that this next phase will begin sometime in November. There is a tentative plan to hold a 20 Day course as well. (Dates not finalized). Course participation requirements for students and servers will be rigorous and thorough.. Initially all applications will be waitlisted in order to conduct the screening process. This process may include requiring all students to be tested for Covid-19 before arriving at the Center, and there may also be restrictions on types of transportation, how far, and from where, a student or server may travel to participate. Everything possible will be done to ensure the safety of all concerned, and a lot depends on the changing tides of this pandemic both locally and globally. We will continue to give monthly updates in this newsletter.
Please contact us with any questions at: [email protected]
If you have the volition to serve any of these upcoming courses you can sign up to be notified of serving opportunities here: [email protected] as well as checking the website.
Building 3 Construction Updates
Building 3 is nearing completion. All the electrical fixtures were installed last week, and the electricity turned on. Now we are able to see the beautiful tile floors in the bedrooms and bathrooms that were recently completed. Take a look at the construction update video to see for yourself below.
The major items to complete before we open include the installation of bathroom fixtures, interior doors, alarm system, carpet and signage. As you can see, it won’t be long now until students are living and meditating in the building.
Finances and Construction Updates
In these difficult economic times, we are fortunate to have the generous support of old students to keep the Center running and continue the construction projects. Initially, when courses were cancelled due to Covid, we had a deficit of about 10K per month. Since starting the small courses our monthly finances have turned around, and we are no longer running a deficit, although we are still about $10K below the previous average monthly dana. As a result, we are able to put some additional funds towards construction.
As part of the budgeted work for the Building 3 construction phase, funds for more minor renovations of Building 1 are also included. The following are the improvements planned for Building 1:
- A small increase the size of the Dhamma Hall by removing the cushion closets in the back and moving the cushions to new spaces in the female and male mudrooms. This will allow for more comfortable seating for the 60 student courses.
- Changes to the male entrance of the Dhamma Hall will increase the size of the mudroom and add male bathrooms. This will enable males to have more convenient facilities during the breaks.
In consultation with the Finance Committee, new funds have been approved for the start of construction for Building 4. $90K has been allocated to start demolition and asbestos abatement. This building will be a mirror image of Building 3, and provide an additional 29 rooms with private baths, and 30 meditation cells in an adjoined pagoda area.
Building 3 construction continues to be fully funded with $283K allocated towards completion. The projected total cost for the project is $1.2M, 14% higher than the original project budget.
Dhamma Pubbananda hosted its first Grounds Committee/Garden Team virtual meeting in August. Old students will be meeting monthly to discuss landscaping, trees, plants, garden and walking path maintenance. A monthly service day is also scheduled to implement plans and work on Dhamma land.
The meetings take place on the second Wednesday of the month at 7:30pm, and the service day is usually scheduled on a weekend. Anyone with the volition is welcome to join.
We are always looking for ideas, plants, trees and tools. Here is our current wish list:
If you are interested in donating any of these items or joining the team, please call/sms Dhamma Pubbananda Garden Team at (302) 217-6206.
Long Term Service
Dhamma Pubbananda has openings for old students interested in long term service (LTS).. This extended period of service provides the opportunity for students to deepen their practice and develop their paramis, while helping the Center run smoothly.
Currently we have two LTS programs.
- The sit/serve program allows for students to live on site for several courses or even several months. The student participates in courses as a server, either in the kitchen, or as a course manager, and as a student sitting the course. The emphasis is on serving, so the schedule usually consists of serving two courses and then sitting a course.
- The off-site long term service program is for mature students who can commit to service for at least 6 months. This program allows students to live in our off-site residences. The service provided may include serving courses as well as many other Center operation duties. Often a LTS will be kitchen coordinator, household coordinator, or maintenance manager depending on the Center’s need and the old student’s skills. It is beneficial if the student has completed some time in the sit/serve program before joining the off-site LTS program.
An Assistant Teacher is always available to the LTS students to discuss development in Dhamma, and the integration of their practice.
We’re working on starting a lending library at the center with books to support students in this tradition. With the help of some local old students and the New York Vipassana Association we have an app based system for letting you know what’s available and for keeping track of loaned books. Now, all we need are some books. If you have any books you could donate to the library please contact the center and let us know. Thanks for your support.