Dear Sangha Friends
On the last Friday in July several of us had a day out at Vijayaloka. Some of us attended a Vijayaloka team meeting and others spent the day working outside. Whether meeting or working we all enjoyed our time in the beautiful winter sunshine. A shared campfire lunch topped it off in Sydney sangha style!
In the Vijayaloka team, a high priority for discussion was developing a list of work options for the upcoming Working With Nature Retreat which is to be held this weekend on 14/15/16 August. This retreat looks set to be a wonderful opportunity to come together to practice and work to make Vijayaloka even more splendid. Perhaps the fresias will be blooming - come and recline in the dappled shade while recovering from your labours!
In case you are not aware, from time to time sangha members have got together and visited Vijayaloka during the week. Sometimes for the day and sometimes for a night or two. If there are no hireouts you are welcome to use Vijayaloka during the week to practice, enjoy the peace and contribute to maintenance or improvement. Contact the office if you would like to join the mid week visits - noting that they are purely opportunistic and dependent on someone instigating a day - you could be added to the list. If you are planning a stopover of your own please contact the office in order to ensure your planning meshes in with the Vijayaloka calendar of retreats and events.
Next time you are out at Vijayaloka take a look at the cottage roof! Recently we have had a bank of solar tubes and a new hot water tank installed to replace the failing rusty old electric hot water system. This setup is the first stage in a long term plan to shift the entire retreat centre over to solar hot water. Over time more tubes and tanks will be added and a ‘ring main’ system set up so that solar-heated hot water will be provided instantly to both the cottage and the shower block. It works by constantly circulating hot water through a well insulated circular pipe system.
Another announceable feat is the total upgrade of our fleet of vacuum cleaners. Pam Verrall has masterminded the purchase of two new machines and the servicing of the third. A new fourth vacuum has also kindly been donated by Mel Shishkin which will be placed in the cottage.
There is a plan afoot to clean out the storage room between the toilets and line it so that it is a proper room. That room could then be used as a laundry, linen store and storage for cleaning gear. A number of men have celebrated the fact that the laundry will be a uni-sex destination at long last. Moving the linen will also create more space in room 8. A dedicated cleaning store will mean both toilets can do away with the cleaning clutter currently occupying a lot of room. Tim Lamble, a new member of the Vijayaloka team, has undertaken to mastermind the plan which will hopefully be kicked off on the Working with Nature Weekend.
A new chainsaw has been purchased which should be a significant help in tidying up a number of fallen trees and building up the stock of firewood. It’s a serious saw - the Vijayaloka team is really concerned both about user safety and rigorous maintenance. Probably of interest to only a few. Enough said!
One of the first candidates for chopping will be the coral tree behind the dining room. Once gone, there is a plan being hatched to create a beautiful new Amoghasiddhi shrine in that vicinity - hopefully in time for the 21st birthday celebration of Vijayaloka later in the year.
Yes! Vijayaloka is going to be 21 and there will be great celebration of this coming of age! If you have any photos of the early days or or significant happenings over the life of Vijayaloka, please bring them to the office so they can be copied. There's a plan for a major retrospective. All contributions would be appreciated!!
Warm Winter Wishes,