The first physical steps towards the creation of the European Long-Course Centre have been made on site in the UK with the planting of trees to form a boundary between Dhamma Padhāna and Dhamma Dipa.
On October 29, in glorious autumn sunshine, work began on Dhamma Padhāna land. Young trees growing in the area of the future pagoda/Dhamma Hall were relocated alongside saplings to establish the division between the 10-day and long-course centres. As part of a Dhamma Dipa service period, more than 30 adults and children from over 10 nationalities were trained and worked together on this auspicious project. All shared a sense of joy at being part of a pioneering moment in the spread of Dhamma within Europe.
With the help of a mechanical digger, varied woodland belts of oak, ash, silver birch, cherry, aspen and other trees have been formed, their colourful leaves just a few metres from where Goenkaji meditated during his visit in 2002. The planting takes account of how the two centres will work together, making space for a connecting service road and setting aside new walking areas for ten-day students. Water and power upgrades are being investigated to serve Dhamma Padhāna. In these few golden days, the map at Dhamma Dipa has been redrawn and the landscape changed. The sapling has been planted - may the buildings for the first phase of the new centre be close behind!