Week Notes 17 - 24 May 2024: Amaravati


Obligatory selfie with monks
23 May 2024

Work(ish)

I ran an OKR wrap-up session with a client and talked about the importance of lessons over scores. I also got some nice feedback to put on my testimonials page.

I had some nice biz-dev meetings about some new projects that I may never get to talk about 😔 including a potential visit to Hong Kong next month. 🇭🇰

I got a terrific lesson in how to read complex commercial agreements from the very generous Andy Holmes. I now almost know what it means to be TUPE’d.

I had a moderate freak-out after upgrading my laptop to MacOS Sonoma 14.5 and discovering that the script I use to deploy this website no longer worked… After much jiggery pokery it occurred to me to try upgrading my AWS-CLI docker image to the official AWS-CLI docker image from Amazon.

Thankfully that solved the problem and I was back in business!

Not work

Giuseppe Solazzo, of the wonderful WB-40 crowd, introduced me to Di Umari a website dedicated to the art of pausing to to observe construction work in progress.

Friday afternoon I attended my first Campfire Call with Dave Gray’s School of the Possible and enjoyed talking to some very interesting folks. It’s essentially a 90 minute open space session using Zoom breakout rooms.

Today I’m having lunch with a longtime friend from Seattle, Shawn Dempsey, who’s in London for work. I met him at Chiso (now closed 😔) years ago and we bonded instantly over coding, synths, and sushi.
💻 🎛️ 🎹 🍣 ️

Visiting Amaravati for Luang Por Sumedho’s 90th birthday

The highlight of the week was definitely my two-day weekend visit to Amaravati Buddhist Monastery to celebrate Luang Por Sumedho’s 90th birthday. It was a wonderful gathering of some very senior monks, nuns, and lay supporters. I had the privilege of meeting a number of teachers who’ve really influenced my practice including Luang Por Sumedho, Luang Por Amaro, Joseph Kappel, Luang Por Pasanno, Ajahn Candisiri, Ajahn Jayasaro, and many others.

I got to briefly meet Luang Por Sumedho and tell him how much I appreciated his teachings. He smiled and said “Well, that’s always good to know!” He was very gracious but the exchange confirmed for me what I already suspected: when someone is walking a path out of passion, they really don’t care what praise or criticism they get unless it helps them to improve. It was a good reminder to keep feedback useful and specific. But it still felt good to say thanks, even if it was a bit generic.

I bought myself a bivvy sack to sleep in which was comfy, cozy, and wonderfully easy to carry.

The volunteers were lovely and included me in helping to set-up, direct traffic, serve tea, and more. Even washing dishes was kind of pleasant.

I learned some important lessons about getting people to volunteer:

  • React with enthusiasm, joy, and encouragement no matter how small a contribution may be
  • Be quick to offer thanks and slow to offer correction or criticism
  • Don’t ask for a big commitment, make it easy to help, easy to stop, and easy to start up again
  • There is room for any helpful thing you can think of doing, just be mindful that it really is helping
  • If you don’t prescribe how people should help, creative wonderful things will emerge

It was really touching to see the senior monks – especially Luang Por Amaro who must have been exhausted by the end –  patiently posing for photos and making time for whomever wanted to speak with him.

Sunday afternoon, I had a nice 90 minute stroll back to the train station across the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside.

I look forward to my next visit!

More monks, nuns, and anigarikas than I've ever seen in person
Luang Por Sumedho with Ajahn Asoko on his left, receiving well-wishes
My abode for the night, kind of a luxurious body-bag
Pretty purple things
Note the Partridge's bag
This guy made gallons of delicious congee for breakfast
Rice "pindipat" (Alms round)
More pindipat
So much delicious food
Taste the rainbow
Many selfies – the monks were ever gracious.
One of several packed shoe racks outside the temple
Amazing watermelon art
Luang Por Amaro and another senior monk who's name I don't know...
Beautiful views on my walk to the station
The Tranquil Rose - how apropos

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Tags:  week-notes   buddhism