Nyanatiloka - Founding of The Island Hermitage

Founding of The Island Hermitage

After arriving in Sri Lanka, Nyanatiloka stayed in a hall built for Koṇḍañño in Galle. Ludwig Stolz was given novice ordination at a nearby monastery and given the name Vappo. From Koṇḍañño, Nyanatiloka heard about an abandoned jungle island in a lagoon at the nearby village of Dodanduva that would be a suitable place for a hermitage. After inspecting the snake-infested island and getting approval of the local population, five simple wooden huts were built. Just before the beginning of the annual monk’s rainy season retreat (vassa) of 1911 (which would have been started the day after the full moon of July), Nyanatiloka and his companions moved to the Island. The hermitage was namedIsland Hermitage. The island was bought by Bergier in 1914 from its Burgher owner and donated to Nyanatiloka. In September 1911 Alexandra David-Néel came and studied Pali under Nyanatiloka at the Island Hermitage while staying with the monastery's chief supporter, Coroner Wijeyesekera. Visitors such as Anāgārika Dhammapāla and the German ambassador visited the Island Hermitage during this period. Several Westerners—four Germans, an American-German, an American, and an Austrian—were ordained at the Island Hermitage between 1911 and 1914. In 1913 Nyanatiloka started a mission for the Sri Lankan “outcastes”, rodiya, beginning in the area of Kadugannava, about 20 km west of Kandy. Some of the rodiya lived and studied on the Island Hermitage. The son of the Rodiya chieftain was accepted by Nyanatiloka as a novice with the name Ñāṇāloka. After the death of Nyanatiloka he became the abbot of the Island Hermitage. Nyantiloka mentions that there were reproaches because of the caste egalitarianism at the Island Hermitage

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