Here is a round up of some the events that have been happening recently.On the first weekend of the New Year BBC Berkshire asked me to appear on two of their programmes. On the Saturday I took part in a morning programe where a reporter travelled around chosen venues which are linked with clues. I was happy to take part in this although it was a bit more hi – energy than my daily routine normally demands of me.
On the Sunday I was interviewed on their Faith programme about New Year Resolutuions. Although not a conversation or debate I was followed as part of the same section by a Humanist. I would like to thank BBC Berkshire for their continued interest in the Priory, as I have appeared quite regularly over the past two years.
The New Year Retreat went very well, with 4 people staying over for the retreat + one other for one night. This meant there was a good turnout for the New Year Ceremony with others coming for the evening. As well as those dropping in for a day it made for a very good way to make the transition from one year to the next.I have recently become the group monk for both Milton Keynes and London Groups. I hope and intend to visit them regularly from now on and part of the this wish is to make the Priory a sort of hub for the South again as it once was. I look forward very much to linking up with these two groups and supporting them in their practice the best way I can.
Look out for more weekend drop in retreats this year as they are proving popular. I am currently looking into finding ways of increasing the provision of staying over here a more viable option.
Friday afternoons are proving to be one of the most popular group events we do here. When possible I am putting on 1/2 Day Retreats on these days approximately once a month. They will be from 1.30 to 5.00. Look out for these on the calender.
Best wishes to you all as 2019 truly gets under way. The Priory doors are always open to those who truly seek to practice and explore the Way.
Seasons greetings to you all. Thank you for your support over the past year and for visiting the website. With best wishes for the season and for your continuing practice which brings untold benefits to all beings. I hope you and yours have an enjoyable Festive period.
Unfortunately I have had to cancel the group afternoon session on 2nd November. due to the Alton Retreat Apologies for this. Sunday morning will be running.
This weekend a congregation member donated a Hotei for the priory garden.On Sunday afternoon 3 of us spent the time placing the statue and relocating some plants from the front to the rear. Some of these we placed around the Buddha.
In preparation for the improvements we will be making to the front drive I am transplanting some of the shrubs as they may get lost in the transition. As well as this some of the shrubs that have got overgrown are being thinned out or replaced.
Thank you for the generous donation, it is a splendid addition to the garden.
This the last call for booking into the Alton Retreat November 1st – 4th. The Abbey has asked us to not exceed 10 persons this time around. There are a couple of spaces left if you would like to join us. Please click on the links below to access forms and information. I hope you can join us as it is always a good retreat in peaceful surroundings and we are looked after very well by the monks.
Alton Info Sheet 2018
Alton booking form Nov 2018
You may have seen on the calender a Festival and wondered what it is. We have just held the Achalanatha Festival here at the Priory. This is just one of many Festivals that are spread throughout the year. They may celebrate significant moments in the Buddha’s life, a particular Bodhisattva or maybe one of the teachers that are significant within our tradition. It is a wonderful way for the sangha to come together and look into the many aspects of our practice that have brought us to this moment.
The Festivals are held on Sundays and are always followed by a dharma talk which will expand on what the Festival of that day is pointing to. If you would like to explore this aspect of Buddhist training and have been instructed in our practice there is no need to book in but just come along and explore for yourself.
The September newsletter has just landed in email inboxes. Using mailchimp we have updated the newsletter with a new layout which has photos and links to the website. This will hopefully make it easier to access for example the calender and other items referred to in the newsletter. This will be monthly with roundups of what has happened aswell as looking ahead to future events. If you were already on the group email list then you have to do nothing as your email address was transported across. If you would like to receive the letter then just sign up with the button on the front page of the website.
I have been wanting to do this for quite awhile and thanks to Dan’s know how have managed to do so. I hope you find this a good way to receive news and enjoy reading it.
Here is the picture that tops the newsletter for now.
We are currently in the process of moving our group emails onto a new system. The newsletter will be available through the website soon. If you are already on the system then you need to do nothing as we are moving that list onto the new one. If you fell off the mailing list after the recent GDPR go round then just sign up afresh. I am hoping this will be a better and and more pleasant way to receive regular information from the priory. Thanks to Dan for his assistance and perserverance.
Over the last year and a bit I have been contacted by BBC Radio Berkshire to talk about aspects of Buddhism. This could be an interview about a Festival i.e. Wesak or Manjusri. I have also given one minute talks on a differnt topic.Below is the short piece on meditation. This obvoiusly is directed at a multi faith audience early on a Sunday morning.
‘I follow the practice of Soto Zen Buddhism. The twin pillars of this are meditation and the Precepts, which are the active aspect. Meditation is the bedrock from which everything flows. A good way into understanding this is the beginning of the Scripture of Great Wisdom, which goes:
“When one with deepest wisdom of the heart, which is beyond discriminative thought”
Meditation is the letting go, without judgement, of that which arises in our minds. Doing this regularly allows us to see a deeper truth to the one our minds generally conjure up. We see that when we follow these discriminatory thoughts they can drive us in ways that aren’t helpful, and form behavioural loops which are difficult to get out of. Meditation is a way to see through these repeating patterns and that it is possible to have peace and contentment in our lives. We return to our true spiritual home, a place which we had left but never quite forgot.”
Rev. Master Haryo, Head of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives will be visiting Reading Buddhist Priory during the last week of August. On Wednesday 29th we will be holding an evening where you can come an meet him, whether it is as an old friend or for the first time. It will start at 5.30 with a bring and share meal at 6.00. The main event will be between 7.00 and 9.00 where Rev Master Haryo will give a dharma talk or something similar, (details to be discussed). He is also available during Tuesday and Wednesday for individual meetings. Just let him know directly or through myself to organise a time. I hope as many of you as possible can make it at some point during his visit. Also attending will be Rev. Kanshin who is assisting him on his travels.