It has been almost 10 years since the monastic sangha was invited to stay with the Buddhist community of Indy. We have practiced together in order to build and develop “a spiritual family” in each member, and to help each other practice the path of Enlightenment. During that time, the community of An Lac accumulated enough merits and the conditions ripened, so we were able to create such a beautful and solemn Buddha Hall. Furthermore, we have built the Temple Gate and Fence which visitors and friends admire. Looking back at what we have completed in the past three years, our community has extended its efforts with all our hearts for the achievement of our temple. But we have not finished yet. More work needs to be done such as: the parking lot, the memorial stupa for the cremated remains, the dining and activity hall....but, those projects are not urgent. We will fulfill them as the conditions come and our funds allow in this year, two years, three and more years or even in future generations.
However, an urgent matter that needs to be resolved is repaying the no-interest loans given to us by our members. When we started building the temple, due to the construction committee’s sincerity and earnestness of asking for support and contributions of our members, some members withdrew money from their savings, emergency money, and even their life savings to make a loan to the temple. We were so impressed with such an act of generosity and the dedication for the Spiritual Practice and for the temple, we aspired to keep our promise to repay the loans as their needed.
It has been 3 years now and some friends and members need the have their money back. However, we do not have enough funds in our bank account. Even though we have organized fund raising dinners, the profits more or less than six thousand dollars. Many friends have an idea of raising funds in other states such as Texas and California because of a large Vietnamese communities there with more sponsors and supporters. I, personally, do not think that this resolution would be the best, but there maybe no other way.
Enclosed with this letter of New Year, we unashamedly share the temple problem with the community of An Lac and friends with the hope that we are able to collect more ideas on how to resolve our debts which have been held for 3 years. Although the chair of fund raising committee, Mr. Minh Hien, is now retiring and not in the best health condition due to the winter weather, I have to share the burden with him.
We wish you a happy new year. May your new year be in peace and austerity.
Bhiksuni Nguyên Thiện