A community of meditators
Hermitage Meditation Centre, located in Rawdon, Quebec, is the home and teaching center of Bhikkhu Dhammarakkhito (known as and referred to throughout this blog simply as “Ajan.”)
The place began in 1998 as a gift from Eric Delorimier, whose life had drastically changed when he became Ajan’s student two years previously.
In the beginning, it was the project of Eric alone to build the place from scratch, on a forgotten piece of land in the forest. Since that time, it has grown into a small community of lay students and supporters of Ajan. (If you want to read more about how Eric first came to build it, the full story is written here.)
Hardy Fruit Tree Nursery
The place has expanded and branched out in more ways than one. Eric’s interest in self sufficiency, and particularly in growing fruit trees, led him to plant an orchard full of many different varieties of apple, pear and plum. Gradually, as more and more people showed interest in purchasing some of what Eric produced, his hobby started to undergo a transformation into a small fruit and nut tree nursery, now known as Hardy Fruit Tree Nursery.
The nursery is an important aspect of the place, as it provides a way for the students living and working there to maintain and fund the meditation centre, and is what makes it possible for new people to come and learn meditation freely. It is run entirely by the students of meditation, along with volunteers from all over the world.
So far, we are six permanent meditation students along with Ajan. Until now, most of us in this community of meditators have originally arrived as volunteers at the nursery, and the nursery work continues to be a big part of how we spend our time.
While we are happy to do this, both as a means of supporting Ajan and the community, and because we believe in the mission of the nursery itself (to help people become more independent by growing their own fruit), our main aim is to use our work and all parts of our daily life as a meditation, to work on ourselves and to progress in our practice.