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.
I was recently visited by Rev. Olwen and Rev Leoma. Rev. Olwen who currently resides at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey and Rev. Leoma is prior of The Norwich temple. They came mainly to discuss charity affairs but also to take the chance revisit the priory which has played a large part in their lives.On wednesday evening during the regular group evening they had a chance to meet old friends who are still current members of the priory congregation. I thoroughly enjoyed hosting them and hope to do again sometime.
We have just had the new carpet for the meditation hall fitted. It is the last of the major changes that have been happening over the past year. The overall plan was to keep the room light but add some warmth and an embrace. I hope you agree that the carpet has aided this. We de-squeeked some of the flooring especially around the gong, which means walking meditation should be a bit more quiet in places. It was paid for with a generous donation, which was accepted with gratitude and bows.
Last weekend 5th – 8th July we held a new event in the calender which is the summer Alton Abbey retreat. I wasn’t sure what the uptake would be but there did seem to be interest. In the event we had a full house of a dozen of us. The Abbey had put a ceiling of twelve on it anyway. Like everywhere else it was very hot and dry, therefore we were very grateful for the cooling atmosphere of the chapel we used for meditation. I gave a couple of talks based on chapters from the Vimalakirti sutra. ‘The Buddha Way’ and ‘Entrustment’. The afternoon saw two tea sessions which proved to be very lively and interesting. We thank the Brothers yet again for their hospitality. They are a small community and appreciate the work they put in to accomodate us. I will contact them soon to book again for next summer. We will be back there this Autumn.
Unfortunately I am having to cancel the group morning of Sunday 22nd July. We are having a new carpet fitted on the monday which will put the ceremony hall out of action over the weekend. I will be holding a day retreat in Milton Keynes on the 22nd aswell so won’t be at the priory anyway. Apologies for any inconvenience.
Rev. Master Haryo who is Head of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives is planning visit the priory towards the end of August. Actual dates and events are yet to be clarified but we will probably be planning something for the last weekend in August. I will post and email when I know more.