The monastery has been working on upgrading its hurricane protection system for some time. The Siddhidata Kulam is suiting up and battening down the hatches on the project. Soon all 200+ vulnerable windows and openings we have around the main building will be hurricane-proof. This is a huge job and requires months of planning.
We've recently received these photos from our carving site in Bengaluru. Great progress is being made on Iraivan Temple's parameter wall and the red granite pots which will sit atop it. Because these stones are not part of the main temple structure, the siplis can utilize small electric tools which are greatly speeding up their masterful work. The main pieces being carved are the wide panels which display carved scripture, the ornate pieces which go between them and the previously mentioned granite pots.
A couple of weeks ago, Doug, our excellent hired worker, was planning out some closet shelving for the slipi house, which he is helping to renovate. That's the building the slipis live in when they come to Kauai. In passing, he consulted with Acharya Kumarnathaswami as to whether he should buy MDF (press-board) or plywood for them. Acharya offered to provide solid boards instead from our large stock of local woods, milled and dried here at the monastery.
The option that jumped forward was to use some of the wide monkeypod boards that came from a tree that arborists gifted to the monastery after removing it from the side of the Shell station across the highway from Coco Palms hotel. The tree was enormous, and its antiquity was revealed by the fact that it was already a large tree when captured in a photo taken at Elvis Presley's wedding.
Over the retreat Acharya chose the boards from a pile made from a single log just the right length, so wastage would be close to zero. Fourteen shelves were needed, 10 of them 19 inches wide and 4 at 16 inches; all about 5 feet long.
Since our thickness planer accepts a maximum 15" width, Acharya ripped the wide planks down the middle, ran them through the planer and then edge glued them back together. (Sometime in the future, we hope to get a 20 inch planer!)
Step two was to hand plane the machined surface. Step three: sand with 6" orbital sander. Step four, apply sanding sealer, and Step 5 brush on one coat of lacquer. Eighteen man hours after the ambitious offer was made, the shelves stood ready to be installed.
While the Media Studio is up and running, there are a few projects still working their way towards completion. One such project has been the doorway to the conference room. With a lot of work from Acharya Kumarnathaswami and our hired carpenter, Jeff, the installation of the doorway's redwood frame has been made a reality. Ultimately the doorway will be fitted with sliding glass doors.
After many moons the eloquent carpentry and stone work in the Media Studio Cave Entryway has finished. This was a creative collaboration between the monks (design), Kanda Alahan in California (fabrication of the roof shrine, plus innovations), and Bhani Karthigesu in Singapore (engineering the masterful and colorful wooden sculptures in North India). The result is simply magical, providing a moment of blessing and change of consciousness as one moves from the tropical gardens into the more-akashic-than-physical space of the Media Studio. Jai to teamwork!
Archives are now available through 2001. Light colored days have no posts. 1998-2001 coming later.