Ajahn Karuniko, an English monk and Assistant Abbot of Cittaviveka Monastery, in Chithurst, England, tells us about his monastery and something about Buddhism in England.
The monastery is 22 years old. Its environment is very conducive to meditation, being situated in a remote area with lots of country lanes to go through to reach it. Recently, the devotees got together to build a larger meditation hall because the number of yogis who come for meditation in the evenings has increased.
The devotees comprise Westerners and Asians. The Asian devotees are more concerned with doing dana while the Westerners are more into meditation, but both groups are beginning to learn from each other and more Westerners are now coming for dana while more Asians are learning meditation. There is a sense of working together to support the Dhamma.
When Ajahn first began practising as a monk in England, Buddhism was not so well known. He was often mistaken to be in the Hare Krishna movement. Now Buddhism is much better known. When children on the street see him, they call him ‘Buddha’. Once a week, he goes on alms round in surrounding villages.