2016 has been a year of consolidating, asking for help, saving, patience, gratitude, detail planning, decisions, building, and anticipation. As the year comes to a close, the guest house and cottage are near completion and will be ready for use by retreatants in the Spring of 2017. We look forward to guests enjoying these fruits of generosity and skilled contractors!
These buildings are now almost entirely funded, except for landscaping. If you are moved to help purchase shrubs, small trees, and prairie grasses, please contact us.
We are so grateful and touched that support for this heart of Liberation Park's mission has been forthcoming, and has accomplished so much. We are equally grateful for the very skilled and careful attention to detail of all the trades people and crafts people who have created the buildings. In particular, we give great kudos to our aptly named contractor Ross Carpenter of Carp's Construction, Viola, WI.
We give special thanks as well to Rodney & Bethany Sanchez and the Tender Shoot of Joy Sangha in Milwaukee for their ongoing and substantial Dhamma partnership in these years of building structures and community.
More building is yet to come, but this is the central, and largest portion. Please visit and partake as you are able. We think you are going to be pleased with the buildings and the refuge, and we will be so pleased to welcome you!
Throughout the year, Santikaro has kept up his usual schedule. Highlights include on-going sutta study in Chicago, a noble eightfold path retreat in Brazil, a four ennobling realities study retreat at Cloud Mountain, and a return to Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. In 2017, Cloud Mountain will host a special retreat exploring meditation, Buddhist teachings, and the Enneagram. And there will be retreats closer to home, as usual.
In cooperation with the Buddhadāsa Indapa˝˝o Archives in Bangkok and volunteers around the world, Santi has helped to prepare many new ebooks. These are being posted at http://www.suanmokkh.org/. The same site also hosts more than 80 Dhamma talks by Ajahn Buddhadāsa with Santi interpreting and transcripts of most of them. This is another aspect of Liberation Park's work and the network of worldwide Buddhadāsa students.
Further, the long-in-development book on dependent co-arising, Under the Bodhi Tree, is ready for publication. Early orders possible here.
Jo Marie has been deepening her practice in new ways. She is part of the Spiritual Direction Preparation Program with the Franciscan Sisters in La Crosse, and her poetry writing has taken wing. In addition to her on-going caretaking of Liberation Park's woods, fields, buildings and finances, Jo Marie has become our "resident hermit," making the creation and habitation of this contemplative refuge a primary vocation.
When Liberation Park first formed itself, two of us made a visit to Apple Farm in Three Rivers, MI. We visited to see firsthand, and to speak to the members of, a successful long lived community dedicated to the work of the inner life. Apple Farm was founded by Helen Luke and three other women in the 1960's as a community dedicated to the wisdom work of Jungian Depth Psychology. That contact point between Buddha Dhamma and Jungian inner work has held for Liberation Park and woven in and out through the years, primarily through Jo's work with spiritual director Joan Yoder Miller, an Apple Farm companion and part of the Farm's leadership.
Like many others before us, we find the two ways of working to be immensely mutually supportive on this path of wisdom, wholeness and liberation. Helen's Luke's work has shown up in Santi's retreat offerings, sparking interest among disparate groups. Her book "Old Age" has particularly enlivened us this year and we heartily recommend it to others in our "Aging Buddhist" cohort. We hope to integrate "Apple Farm" style groups into the work at Liberation Park, as time goes on, and interest allows. Let us know if you have an interest!
For more about Apple Farm: http://www.applefarmcommunity.org/
With deepening sadness, we acknowledge clearly, and once again, that we live and walk and practice in the midst of increasing collective uncertainty. We aspire to wisdom in the midst of growing fear, reactivity, extinction. We cultivate practices of wakefulness amongst the terrible fruits of humanity's greed, hatred and delusion. We acknowledge our part. We keep opening our eyes. We breathe deeply and even deeper. We keep looking. We keep creating a small island of silence, wakefulness, sobriety, and receptivity. We believe it is what calls to be, in our tiny portion of what is. May we each be faithful to the call of Dhamma in this crucial time. May we hear what is asked of us. May we simply and with humility, be faithful to the Great Call and mystery of what is. Please join us. You are welcome here.
Santi & Jo, caretakers
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