Dear Friends and Supporters of Vimokkharam,
I hope everyone has been keeping healthy and safe. These last few weeks on lockdown have been quite eventful at the hermitage, despite being closed to visitors.
The lockdown restrictions in Melbourne have been continually tweaked over the last year, and each time restrictions are introduced or eased, we have to check carefully how they apply to the hermitage in every new case. These last two or three weeks we have remained closed, but with the latest easing of restrictions set to go into effect at midnight tonight, we will be able to receive visitors on a limited scale once again -- beginning tomorrow morning (i.e. Friday June 18th). For those of you content with putting food in the monks' bowls on almsround, we would like to encourage you to continue to do just that, and only those who really want or need to visit the monks can come up to the hermitage.
Visits will be even more rustic than usual due to the fact that our basic facilities are still without electricity (and likely to be so until July 10th). The big storm last Wednesday night brought down hundreds of trees and wrought massive destruction all around the area. Luckily the hermitage property sustained no damage, but we have been without phone and/or electricity for the last week or so. Attached below is a photo of Perrins Creek Road just approaching the hermitage on almsround last Friday morning -- there were a few days when all access was by foot only. A number of our neighbours have sustained catastrophic damage, so we consider ourselves quite fortunate here.
The local SES and other responders miraculously managed to open up the roads within two days, but there are still power lines down on the roads and people need to be careful coming and going...
Due to our lack of electricity, phone calls, text messages and emails to the hermitage will not be responded to promptly, but only as time and conditions allow. For the next few weeks, seeing the monks on almsround or at the hermitage will be the best way of getting in touch with us.
A few of our committee members acted fast to procure two new generators for the hermitage, so the living conditions here for the monks will be enough to suffice for the next three winter weeks.
We will leave our working bees on hiatus for the time being, but the Sunday afternoon meditation sessions will resume this Sunday June 20th, from 3-5pm, for anyone brave enough to endure the cold!
Take care for now.
Very best wishes,