There are ten monks currently living at Ananda Village, and within our monastery, our temple is its heart and soul. We draw our daily sustenance by meditating together there every morning. As it unites our spirits, so too do we seek to unite our growing magnetism with the divine ray that permeates all of Ananda.
Our temple had its humble beginnings as a centrally located room in our home. It was a “snug fit,” and not impermeable to household sounds. Our dream has been to build a temple outdoors, a comfortable distance from our living quarters. This past spring, we began planning. We wanted the temple to be round, but we also had to be practical. Deciding that a yurt would fit our ideals, we found one for $30,000 and set that as a fundraising goal for ourselves. Throughout this process, we kept in mind that a Village temple project was being developed in parallel. The question arose, how can we build a yurt without drawing energy away from the Temple of Light?
Rather than solicit donations, we decided to earn money by working in our spare time. How great would it be, we thought, to raise money for a temple by feeding our gurubhais? And so it was! Aided by two faithful bread machines, we baked several loaves of bread each week for delighted customers. More importantly, we were moved by our faith that God will satisfy our needs, so long as we offer to Him our joyful, selfless service. The bread has acquired modest renown, and through its exchange, it has become a channel of divine love and friendship between the monastery and the community.
In September, we reached a turning point. An anonymous donor wrote us a generous check for $11,000 for our temple. When added to the proceeds from sales of the bread and a number of other products and services, it was enough for us to make the purchase! We were grateful for the donation, yet we had to pause for reflection in order to reassess our efforts. How would we continue with the energy we had set in motion? How we would allocate our future income? Was it too early to start thinking about altar cloths?
With our initial decision to earn rather than “raise” the funds, we had already committed our energy to both of these temple projects. And so it seemed only natural to us, now, to pledge to earn another $11,000 — the very sum just given to our little monastery temple — for this long-awaited Temple of Light: a temple for our village and for the world. What better way to offer the blessing back to God?
Through meditation, through selfless service, and through the construction of holy temples, may we establish beacons, all interconnected, that will guide us in our return to our one true home, the One Light of all lights.