- Published: 29 June 2015
BUILDING PLUM VILLAGE AUSTRALIA - Your help needed.
Stream Enering Meditation Center (Thien Vien Nhap Luu, Nhap Luu Monastery) was established with a small Monastic presence in 2010. It is situated in peaceful bushland near Beaufort (a small town in regional Victoria) and supports a small community of nuns who are dedicated to teaching the practice methods of the most Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh.
Currently on the property are a beautifully simple Meditation Hall, and a solid and fairly spacious mud-brick house for the Sisters themselves to live in. Two other currently existing buildings , which are in use for visiting lay people's accommodation and for a kitchen and dining area, were built as temporary solutions. They are inadequate, and do not meet building standards. The local Council is now insisting that they be replaced by permanent structures properly designed approved and constructed. They want what we now have to be fully decommissioned.
The vision for Nhap Luu has always been that it would become a larger community with permanent monastics (monks as well as nuns) trained in the Plum Village tradition, and a fully functional, dedicated teaching, practice, and retreat centre for the benefit and use of lay practitioners.
There are probably several causes and conditions which have contributed to our not yet having moved this vision forward far enough. However now, with the imperative of the Councils’ requirements present, we as a community together with other friends really need to make sure the means are found to help the vision become realised.
Thays’ teachings of the dharma are inspirational, and highly valued within the entire world wide Buddhist Community. To have a dedicated centre for them here in Australia which has the capacity it needs, will be both a real privilege and something that thousands will benefit from.
It is time.
Our Proposed Buildings
Stage one will cost approximately $300K and construction has now begun. It is an eco-friendly building for lay practitioners' accommodation, and for the use of visiting monks as well. It includes 6 bedrooms (which each sleep four people). one office, a communal room, 2 segregated bathrooms with two toilets and showers each, and an accessible bathroom with toilet and shower. The design makes it very easy for rooms to be added as funds and the need arise later on. The Construction stages with projected times as given by the builder builder Eric Gip, are:
Tree clearance is done and first site-cut/levelling complete. Set out by the Surveyor was completed , and the Footings are now installed, with the Steel Sub Floor being delivered on Monday 19 December. The Timber frame was to be delivered on 21 Dec and completed by 25 Jan. Frame stage inspection by 27 Jan.
The Building Surveyor must approve pre and after each of these steps, and once the frame is approved then roof, walls, cladding, windows, doors, decking, and finally the interior with all details can be done. The builders' estimate is that we could be at lock-up sometime in late July, or August 2017. Which will be wonderful.
It means that our visiting brothers for the 2017 Spring Opening Retreat, will have a decent place to sleep and work for the first time. And that's something we have wanted for a long while. Happily, also,the community we sit in will be looked after through our project. Eric has sourced the majority of tradesmen from Beaufort, and most building supplies from Beaufort and Ballarat.
Fig. 1: Proposed 24-people dormitory and office for stage 1
Stage two will potentially also cost around another $300K and will give the centre a proper kitchen with attached dining hall to seat up to one hundred. This we must be working on by some time through next year (2016) if we are to be able to satisfy the council's requirements in a proper and timely fashion.
These two are the matters of really pressing importance. The local Council is being as helpful as they are able, in allowing us the time to complete the project.
Once these stages are behind us, we will then be able to look towards our Stage Three,which will be permanent and suitable accommodation for the Monks that we have all long wanted and hoped to see here, and at a less urgent pace.
All our buildings will reflect the monastics' commitment to taking care of the environment, and to living in a simple and considered way.
We need your active participation to ensure that all of this can happen. With your help as either practitoners already committed to the Teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, or as other Buddhist admirers of this extraordinary Teacher, or simply as friends of the community - the bud that we see now can open and blossom and grow to become Plum Village Australia.
Please get involved now.