Vigilance COVID at Montchardon

The programme now takes place under special circumstances, since the Centre may resume its activities provided that the health rules are strictly observed.

The conditions of participation imply strict compliance with the barrier measures, whether for practices or courses.

Here is how we will organize ourselves.
For places of worship such as Montchardon, the rules set by the State are as follows:

  • - upon arrival at the Centre, the trainee must not be ill or show symptoms of the virus.
  •  obligation to maintain a distance of 1m around oneself, in the temple, in the refectory and when moving around the Centre,
  • - mandatory wearing of a protective mask in :
    •   - the temple: permanently during the teachings and daily collective practices.
    •   - the refectory: from the entrance to the moment of sitting down and if you get up to get a drink or to go out.
    •   - all other situations: as soon as it is difficult to maintain distance from others,
  • - hand washing with hydro-alcoholic gel at the entrance and exit of the temple and refectory, every time you enter the self-service area and on all occasions when you have to touch a collective object.
  • - An identifiable member of the administration will be responsible for the entry and exit phases of the prayer area to ensure that the rules are respected.

If you are unable or unwilling to follow these guidelines, we ask that you do not come to the Centre while these rules are in effect. The same applies, of course, if you are ill or have symptoms of the virus.

About Lama Teunsang

It is essential to protect Lama Teunsang whose immunity is compromised, making him extremely vulnerable to infection, and the people at the centre are in daily contact with him for meals and care. This also means that it is not appropriate to return to Lama Teunsang's home to greet him. For the compelling reasons mentioned above, he currently only receives those who care for his health.

No offering of kata to Lama Teunsang
It is asked to stay away from him, at least 1m and not to offer him a kata.
This use, so much appreciated by all of us, is currently suspended during the Covid period, to preserve its still fragile health.

Individual interview with Lama Teunsang
We asked Lama Teunsang about personal interviews. He does not wish to resume them for the time being. We will inform you of their resumption when he tells us so.
However, it is possible to request an interview with one of the Lamas of Montchardon. See with the translator.

In brief

Access to the temple will be limited to 80 people to respect sanitary distances. For accommodation, the rooms with several people will become individual accommodation, except for couples or families. The number of dormitory places will be reduced to space between beds. We will thus be able to accommodate about 80 people. The campsite will be open, the installation of the tents will have to follow the same instructions. We will have disinfecting liquids in all the places where it is necessary.

We would like to remind you:

  • - on the one hand, failure to respect the rules could lead to the closure of the Centre and legal proceedings.
  • - on the other hand, we have a moral obligation to protect ourselves and others from a potentially dangerous disease, especially since we live in collective premises.

As Buddhist practitioners, the constraints of masks, social distances and frequent hand washing can be integrated into our practice, as a constant training for vigilance and support of attention in our daily actions. It is also a great opportunity to practice the awakening mind, the altruistic attitude: "I commit myself to make this effort, thinking more about the well-being and health of others than about my own inconvenience". These are the skillful means of Dharma called " integrating unpleasantness into the path ".

The new sewage system

In the Montchardon adventure, there have been engaging and federating projects such as the construction of a stupa or temple, and others that are less exhilarating but of prime importance for daily life, such as the creation of a new water treatment plant for the Centre.

Because Montchardon is far from the surrounding villages, it is impossible for us to connect to the communal sewage system. In 1988, the public authorities having asked us to establish an autonomous system, we built a 100m3 concrete pit where all waters from Montchardon are gathered and treated before infiltrating naturally into the ground. Located below the campground underneath the 8 stupas, this installation had so far given us complete satisfaction.

Recently, during the building permit process for the new building, the Administration asked us to increase the capacity of our sewage system. A specialized engineering office advised us to bring the installation up to current standards, which are more environmentally compatible. This advice seemed very relevant to us, since we had been aware of the limits of the system for some years. After studying the situation, and taking into account our present and future needs, the expert helped us choose a new installation capable of treating the effluents of a site receiving up to 200 people. The current capacity being about 130 people, this will also ensure our future development needs.

The chosen solution consists of a biological treatment plant, entirely buried so as to be unnoticeable in the environment. Water is treated by a population of bacteria attached to a support. A clever aeration system facilitates the development of aerobic bacteria which degrade the polluting materials contained in waste water. This makes it possible to obtain non-drinkable yet clean water, that can then be discharged into the natural environment by infiltration.

We wanted to replace the old system under the 8 stupas with the new one before the beginning of the summer courses. We called upon our friend Florent Lamberton, an excavation specialist, who has been working at the Centre for many years with great competence. He coordinated this particularly delicate work: first of all, he delivered 6 large concrete tanks, some weighing more than 11 tons, and then placed them precisely in a 3.5m deep excavation the size of a public swimming pool!

On July 5th, 4 vehicles brought the tanks, preceded by a truck crane, necessary to handle them. All were positioned on an access road laid out for the occasion below the construction site. After the crane was deployed, the impressive operation of removing each tank was carried out easily, in a record time, under the watchful eye of Lama Teunsang standing on the top of the terrace of the 8 stupas.

The total cost of this operation is also impressive: €70,000! This may seem quite expensive... yet if this facility lasts as long as the previous one (32 years), it is an essential and very profitable investment for the Centre.

The 100m3 tank that served as an all-water pit was in good condition: we kept it so that once cleaned and restored, it can be used as a water reserve for the fire services, for watering or for various needs.

Our photographer and friend Salva has made a film and photos that you can see on the french version.