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Buddhadharma : Spring 2008
programs & centers buddhadharma| 83 |spring 2008 Buddhadharma the Practitioner's Quarterly CenteRS anD PROGRamS a section highlighting upcoming programs being offered at various centers. for information about advertising your center’s upcoming programs and events in this section, please call us toll-free at 1-877-786-1950, ext 31. capacity of 60 kilowatts. this takes care of all needs, he notes, “including pumping up our own water out of the well, all the lights, all the appliances—washers, driers, freezer, fridge, bread maker, microwave, computers.” there’s an obvious excitement in sona’s body language as he ticks off the particulars, comparing current energy consumption to the on-the-grid record of Birken ii: “six to twelve times less, with more than double the space and popula- tion!” BtUs and kilowatt-hours roll off this abbot’s tongue as fluidly as abstruse metaphysical concepts. All the Buddhist precepts have influ- enced the achievement, explains Bhikkhu sona, harking back to ancient times for examples of environmental awareness in monastic lifestyles: robes patched and repatched, then recycled as doormats; toothbrushes made of biodegradable cane; fifth-century Bce latrines with filtering systems of sand, charcoal, and incense-scented clay. Birken iii, with its wood-burning water boiler, its recycling at source, and its refrigerator run on the power of a 40-watt light bulb, actively continues the tradition. “We mow our lawn with sun- light!” exclaims Bhikkhu sona. “electric shaver, electric hair trimmer—i cut my hair with sunlight! there is a kind of magic in the air at moments like this; a tantalizing sense of defying gravity—as if simply believing in sustainable ways of living were enough to make them real. has it not already happened here, far from the global mar- ketplace, where this unlikely venture flour- ishes? “our little commune is, frankly, a miracle,” sona observes. it is also a vin- dication, for him, of the “uncanny wis- dom” of the teacher he describes as “the most sophisticated thinker in history,” who could also easily qualify as the “first environmentalist.” last fall Bhikkhu sona changed the monastery’s name to sitavana, a Pali word meaning “cool forest”—a fitting name for this welcome retreat in the woods. from its earth-toned buildings to gleaming solar panels, everything about it serves to honor and enhance the natural stillness, cultivat- ing, as Bhikkhu sona describes it, “that most refined of tastes, the taste for silence; the flavor that makes everything else fall into place.” couRteSybiRkenfoReStmonaSteRy OPEN MIND ZEN THE BOOK A concise, comprehensible book that demystifies an ancient method of self-realization. O PENM INDZ EN. COM Ready to directly realize Unborn Awakened Mind? Visit our website where you’ll find information on our Email Correspondence Course, Retreats in Florida & Costa Rica, Open Mind Zen the book, and free MP3 Dharma Talks by our three lay teachers. (321)768-2098 • OpenMindZen@aol.com