A Temple in Progress

[slideshow]Thanks to the faith, generosity and encouragement of so many, our temple building now stands gently outlined against the sky, its roof whitened by a blanket of snow. While our carpenters, who all live locally, continue the construction in the cold of winter, we observe with joy the care and dedication that they bring to this project.

With so many kind and wholesome intentions reaching us from near and far, we are reminded that this is more than just a temple for nuns. The new Dhamma Hall will is a spiritual sanctuary for this and generations to come.

The above photos show the building’s evolution during its first months of construction, as well as gatherings with small groups of friends to watch the cement poured for the footings and foundations.  At these auspicious times, we chanted verses of blessing and placed sacred objects and memories of loved ones in the temple foundations.

Twenty-two beautiful cedar posts surround the walking meditation porch and help support the roof of the Dhamma hall. They were discovered standing in the forest of a friend near our builder’s home just half an hour from the Hermitage. Having died during the ice storm 14 years ago, the trees had lost their canopy but their trunks were still in tact. Our builders carefully harvested them, brought them to the site and cleaned off their outer bark before resurrecting them as part of the temple.

The original design was adapted from a 12th century Japanese Buddhist temple and modified to comply with Canadian climate conditions.  With the building’s dimensions totaling just over 2100 square feet, it is designed to be energy efficient using passive solar and requiring minimal ongoing maintenance.

It includes a 784 square foot Dhamma hall that will seat about 70 for meditation, Dhamma teachings, blessings, ordination ceremonies, and alms-giving events. There will also be vestibule for coats and shoes as well as indoor walking meditation in winter, and a utility building with two public washrooms, two offices, a nuns’ work-meeting room, shower and laundry area, and a mechanical room.

The prelude to building this temple was dismantling a 100 x  50 square foot barn, most of which has been saved and will be reused by the team of enthusiastic neighbours who worked together to remove it. You can see how it finally came down, opening the space where the new temple now stands within a circle of welcoming trees.

Though all is uncertain – especially in the world of construction – we hope to host Gratitude to Parents Day on June 23, 2013 with Ajahn Viradhammo and the Sangha of Tisarana Buddhist Monastery in our new temple.

Completing the new Temple shows the culmination of this beautiful project.