I had a wonderful night at Dhammagiri. We had as many people turn up as on a Sil day - and considering it's an hours' drive from the edge of the city, that was a pleasant surprise.
A visiting monk, Ajahn Khemasiri, who is Abbot of the Dhammapala Kloster – Switzerland located in Kandersteg in Switzerland, gave a 50 minute talk and guided meditation on "Forgiveness" of each other and ourselves.
We had a short break for sparkling soft drinks, tea/coffee, marshmallows, jubes and dark chocolate - the Ajahn Dhammasiha gave an hours' talk and guided meditation on adhitthana [adhi.t.thaana]: Determination; resolution. One of the ten perfections (paramis) ... of which our New Years Eve Resolutions are a very weak copy. We all had food for thought about our own Determinations for 2010. There was a further break for refreshments and talk.
Then Glow Sticks were handed out and we began a half hour walk up the very very steep hill in single file and noble silence (apart from panting for breath). We circumnambulated our new little Bodhi tree which is not doing so well in the heat and drought, and then also did the same for our other Bodhi tree at the top of the hill which is doing splendidly.
Then at the high point where there is a Dhamma Wheel (Dhammacakka) on a pole, we circumnambulated the Wheel and had auspicious Chanting in Pali by the monks and lay people. Then we chanted the Karaniya Metta Sutta in english and radiated lovingkindness in all directions. We could see the lights of Ipswich and of Brisbane in the far distance.
A very inquisitive possum was jumping from branch to branch high up in the eucalypt trees and wallabies could be heard pounding through the bush. The full moon was high in a cloudless sky - absolutely beautiful. The only small problem was that the temperature at midnight was 23 ºC = 73.4 ºF with between 70 and 80 percent humidity. Everyone was soaked in perspiration - which does nothing for ladies hairstyles and make-up - but who was noticing.