18 June 2008

Letter 2.11

The mosquito netting arrived -- at last. The duty was reduced from 101 rupees to 23 rupees -- still 75% duty, and quite high, but at least not absurd, and it was paid and the netting -- of a rather unexpected, but quite satisfactory, weave -- arrived. There is a sewing machine here (a 2 year old Singer, excellent quality), so I should have no trouble making the net, once I get some sort of ground material -- I'll find out what is locally available for that.

'Vas', or the 'Rainy Season Retreat' starts with the full moon today -- the 3 month period when monks stay in one residence and don't travel about. 'Rainy season', of course, refers to the season in the Ganges valley area east of Benares -- Island Hermitage has rainy season all the time (particularly these last 2 weeks) -- which starts about this time of the year. Looks like we'll have 10 monks here for Vas -- 2 Germans, an Indian, myself, and 6 Sinhalese -- and there are also a Dane and an Australian, laymen, I don't think either of the latter will stay much longer (though they've been here for quite a few months already). In any case, that's a pretty full house; a very full hermitage…

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