I returned yesterday from the monastic gathering at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey. Monks attended the 10-day gathering from the UK, the US, Canada, Holland, Germany and Latvia. Our main topic for discussion was ageing, the fact that we are all getting older – the average age of monks in the Order is getting progressively older – and the issues this raises. We talked about caring for the elderly and infirm monks in our communities, what facilities we might need to provide and what outside help might be available. We talked about making wills and powers of attorney. We talked about how we could help ourselves and each other to keep fit and well for as long as possible. We talked about financial matters. We explored ways in which we could continue to run the temples and examined the fact that fewer young people have become monks in recent years.
We also had plenty of opportunity for informal activities such as walks and teas, and generally catching up with each other’s news. We have these gatherings every second year. As many monks as possible come to them. As well as being an opportunity to discuss matters concerning us all, there is nothing that beats meeting together in the same physical place to nourish the deep connection that we all feel for each other.
Just a reminder that there will be a day retreat at the Hermitage this Sunday, 27th. Please let me know by Friday if you’d like to come.