Project Updates

This week, Savannah and I will be editing the project website by adding information for each of our pages; “Home Page”, “About the Authors”, “History”, “Interviews”, “Life and Responsibilities”, “Photographs”,”Principles of the Community”, and “Programs Offered”. We currently don’t have enough information to supply some of the pages like “Life and Resposibilites”, “Photographs”, and “Principles of the Community”, but we will add more as we get interviews from its members and founders.

We have to figure out how to re-order the list of pages on out project website, so that they aren’t alphabetical and so that the home page pops up when arriving at the site.

I spent last week into the weekend applying for an IRB review of my future visit to MorningSun, and it should be getting approved today. I will visit MorningSun by the end of the week, most likely on Sunday. I’m very eager and excited to go to MorningSun in order to fill in all the gaps in my understanding of their community. I know that there are only 9 members of MorningSun, according to the website, and I really want to know if they live there full time or not, and how much of their resources that they’re able to get from their own land and work.

Testing Timeline JS


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Structure Plan

My Keene Project Sight designed to be easily navigated.  Right now, the contract is up as the “home” page when you visit.  This is going to remain on the front of the website until it is finished.  This ensures that if anyone visits the sight that they will understand that it is being built.   The different tabs on the side of the page include About the Authors, History, Home Page, Interviews, Life and Responsibilities, Photo’s, Principles of the Community, and Programs Offered. These are going to be reorganized in a different order (If I can ever figure it out, someone told me and I forgot already!).  I have deleted an “analysis” page that I originally intended on having to extend my thoughts in the community, however, I will integrate this information in with the rest of the website.

I plan on having many links embedded into the website that can take the reader to new places to continue their learning of communities.  Soon we will have pictures and quotes integrated into our website to add to the presentation.

Making a website

<Shout out to Dana for knowing things about computers>

This was my first experience building a website in my life. My experience was not so much as building it as it was of helping Dana create the website as I was next to her and tried to give ideas about how to get the website to look good and work.

Our main thinking about the website was to make it simple to readers and to show them what the monks did at the Abbey through our pictures. We also wanted to set up the website so we can easily put our documents in places that combine with our analysis and differing opinions.


Update on website

Hey all!

I finally published my website – or, at least the outlines of it! If you go and visit it, you’ll see my contract and then an about the author page. There are options in the menu, but nothing in those options as of right now. I plan on adding some more to it tomorrow.

I don’t have much news on my front, as I’m still waiting to have another interview. While I wrote down the previous interview, I did not record it in any way. I hope to conduct the interview in a different way this time so that I can either record it or videotape it. Hopefully I will hear back from Quinn soon.

Since Dr. Schact and Dr. Schleef always ask us if we have or had any problems with WordPress, I’ll say that what I posted today included a learning process. Most of the work I did today was just messing with the options on WordPress and looking back at the website to see if I liked its appearance. There weren’t any problems, though I did have to make some notes (i.e. this button will do this). But I think WordPress is not as daunting now.

There’s still some things I don’t know how to do with WordPress (and inevitably, other things that I’ll have to learn), but I think I like the way my website looks right now.

See y’all Wednesday!


Navigating Our Project Website

We all know that navigating unfamiliar sites is hard enough, but navigating our own was a really interesting task. Cody and I met up on Sunday night to look over our extremely bare-bones project website and get to work. We pulled from other students’ course websites to get some inspiration for “Pages” we could make to allow site visitors to easily access our project’s conclusions.

Cody and I settled on pages titled “About Us”, “Our Contract,” “Media,” “Differing Perspectives,” and “Our Conclusion,” while agreeing we may add more depending on the sort of data we collect along the way. I think it’s important for site visitors to know a little bit about our personal interests in the course, and it helps build a relationship even if it may be a virtual one. We think of this section as more colloquial and friendly. Our contract still needs editing but we can’t work on that until we’ve talked to the monks one-on-one. “Media” will include photographs and videos obtained from the visits to the abbey, as well as archived photos and videos. “Differing Perspectives” will allow us to further explore our conclusion but in a more personal sense where both Cody and I can write about our experience with the project and our differing interpretations of the collected data. Our conclusion will be a comprehensive collection of both Cody and my work and will be less separated than the aforementioned page.

Today we applied to be exempt from review by the Institutional Review Board and hopefully will hear back soon. I don’t think Cody and I knew what we were getting into; the process is tricky and it seems like they’re looking for very precise responses from us. In general, I hope that we are accepted as exempt because it’s a shorter wait process. As soon as we have the OK, we will begin interviewing the monks.

Architecture of Site

Sarah and I spent the morning going over how we want to design our archive. Our goal is to focus on specific aspects of the community and using those topics as the main features on the site. This would allow for visitors who are navigating the sight to use the visuals as a tool in order to understand the main areas of the archives. When they click on a specific picture they will be taken to a new page that will hold all the information collected regarding it. I think this will allow for both a very well-functioning site that people can learn a lot from and also be very pleasing to the eye. We were also planning to have a bar that have a few sections such as about us and our contract. This will allow for a little background information on how we created the archives and why.

MorningSun’s Mantras

Namo Avalokiteshvara, have compassion on me, listen to my sufferings…..
Namo Avalokiteshvara, have compassion on those loved ones around me, listen to their sufferings…..
Namo Avalokiteshvara, have compassion in the world, listen to all sufferings…..

This Buddhist phrase is chanted to honor the Bodhisattva of compassion, someone who can reach nirvana but delays doing so in order to help suffering people. In the case of the MorningSun community in New Hampshire, an extension of the Plum Village tradition, the meaning behind this chant is the basis for their foundation – a community centered around mindfulness and compassion.

Here is a video showing a ceremony of compassion held by the members of MorningSun:

The Plum Village tradition, which MorningSun practices, originates from the geographic location of the Buddhist village in France and from the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who was instrumental in bringing Buddhism to the western hemisphere by establishing monasteries. Co-founders of MorningSun – Fern Dorresteyn and Michael Ciborski lived at the Plum Village for nine years, training as a nun and monk under Thich Nhat Hanh for seven. Then, after returning to lay life in the states, they decided to start Mindful Living Initiative, a non-profit organization, and were then able to purchase 243 acres of beautiful land in Alstead, New Hampshire. The traditions of MorningSun represent strong ideals of peace, and represent its possibility even though the community is small in numbers.


Plum Village Song

The co-founders of MorningSun community studied under and worked with Thich Nhat Hanh.  He is a peace activist and spiritual leader.  Both the co-founders of MorningSun and Thich Nhat Hanh study Plum Village tradition.  This focuses on peace and mindfullness.  You can hear this tone in the following Plum Village song,  Happiness is Here and Now.

The words to this video are posted below, as found on SoundCloud.

A Plum Village song. Words and music by Eveline Beumkes.

This performance and arrangement © Monica Max West

Happiness is here and now
I have dropped my worries
Nowhere to go, nothing to do
No longer in a hurry

Happiness is here and now
I have dropped my worries
Somewhere to go, something to do
But I don’t need to hurry

The abbey and Merton

This is a nice video that gives an example of the history and how the monastery works. The monastery has a bookstore in it that focuses heavily on Thomas Merton. I am pretty sure that Thomas Merton’s books outnumber pamphlets and encyclicals written by the Pope. However, their understanding of Thomas Merton differs somewhat from how Eric Reece understands Merton. Perhaps the strongest similarity between the monks understanding of Merton and Reece’s is that Merton desired to continue Jesus’s mission of bringing the Kingdom of God to Earth. However, Reece appears to see the restrictions placed on Merton by his abbot as a microcosm for how Merton dealt with the Catholic Church. However, Merton’s censored writings that were not allowed to be published had such a meaningful impact within the Church such that Pope John Paul the Second adopted some of Merton’s ideas.