“I thought it might be helpful to attempt to answer some suggested questions in a list. No doubt some of my answers are inadequate. There are certainly elements of this project that are clearly ‘work in progress’ and only as more and more people get involved to help develop the vision and help work through the countless challenges will more answers be found.
"Personally I do not believe we should try to have this project all neatly sewn up before we even have a site. It is a new venture with new obstacles to be overcome as it unfolds. Having said that we need to be confident that it is achievable and exploring searching questions are essential. Other questions, other answers and fresh ideas are always very welcome. I hope this helps you engage more deeply with the project.
Another entry on the SLP blog, entitled ‘We_were_getting_close_but...’, recounts their recently-abandoned pursuit of a property in Staffordshire, where after a couple of months excitement, lack of cooperation from local planners led them to conclude it was best to move on and look elsewhere.
Finally he recounts some conversations with Sangharakshita exploring their vision for the accommodation and gardens they seek to create. He says - “I had the great pleasure of meeting with Bhante today. I wanted to clarify what he himself wanted in terms of accommodation and explained that we were determined that his move would be a stress free and seamless as was humanly possible. In fact I thought we might recreate his exact current floor plan in the new location to make life easier for him. However he made it clear that this was not necessary. He asked for his rooms to be all on the ground floor and wondered whether he might have a kitchen space big enough to eat in rather than have to eat in his sitting room as at present.
“But most interestingly he said that he did not want to take many of the things in the flat with him as he wants a simpler life. He wants to be free of the clutter and a move to a new abode will enable him to have a space free of clutter and a simpler environment. As he's not writing now he doesn't want most of his books around him and many of his Buddhist images can be rehoused in the 'library'.
“There are many reasons why we need the Sangharakshita Land Project but perhaps creating an abode for Bhante that really suits him for this phase of his life would be reason enough.
Creating A Garden for Bhante
|Sangharakshita in the Madhyamaloka gardens|
“Now it occurs to me that if we do find land this year and if we hope to create a new abode for Bhante and his support community next year we will also need to create his garden. We will want to create a garden at least as big as the current Madhyamaloka garden so that Bhante will have a beautiful space to explore as he takes his exercise.
“Plants cost money, especially well developed specimens, so here's an idea. I want as many folk as possible to contribute plants for Bhante's garden. Perhaps you could start growing plants now especially for him - as many as you like. Then when the time comes we'll collect all the plants and have a grand time laying out the gardens and planting them up. We'll need a lot of plants so no need to be cautious and we'll be looking for big bushes and trees as well as small plants. We'll hope for some plants that are particularly good for partially sighted folk given Bhante's eyesight difficulties.
“Perhaps you could let me know if you plan to contribute in some way so that when the time approaches I can let Sanghadeva have some idea of what plants he might be working with.
Would you like to work on the project?
“Finding the land might take years or we might find it next week. Once we have it we will want to get moving. Over the last few months a number of people have made contact with me expressing an interest or offering their skills. That has been a fantastic boost and has helped the vision take shape.
“Now I want to start creating a number of lists of interested people with particular skills and experience as well as people who might be unskilled but keen to work on the project. So, bearing in mind that this is just in case we do find land in the next few months, if you might be interested in helping and fit into one of the categories below please email me with some details (facts and figures about yourself as well as contact details). I will then keep you in touch with developments by e-mail and you'll at least have the option of getting practically involved if you so wish when the time comes. Please pass this request on to others in the Triratna Buddhist Order and Community that you think might be interested.
“We’re looking for - Architects, Landscape Architects, Designers, Structural Engineers, Land Managers, Building Trades, Alternative Energy Engineers, Sustainability Project, Designers, Artists, Gardeners, Outdoor Event Managers, Self-funded able-bodied Workers, Able-bodied Workers - and more!”