This years Wesak celebrations were very well attended and made for a glorious day. 16 adults and 4 youngsters packed out the ceremony hall. It was good to hear a roomful of joyous singing. It was also good to welcome a couple from London and their two offspring who are members of Thich Nhat Hanh’s sangha. Also attending were 3 members from the Milton Keyne’s group, one of whom brought their daughter. Due to the glorious weather we later were able to spread out into the garden and have lunch. Thank you to all who provided a sumptious feast.
Over the Easter weekend the priory will be holding a drop in wwekend retreat. Feel free to come for all or any part of the retreat. The usual group events will go ahead. If you would like to attend a meal please if possible bring something to share or let me know that you will need catering for. Please click on link for schedule.
I will be way at Throssel for a few days in March. Consequently I have postponed the talk on Meditation in Daily Life which was planned for March 14th. I will reshedule. The group evening will still happen.
The Reading half marathon this year will be on Sunday 18th March. This means that access to Cressingham Rd for parking, is limited.
The friday afternoon sessions are proving popular. With this in mind I am thinking of stopping the friday evening meetings. These are proving less popular, and those I have asked who do come then all say they can come Sunday. No final decision has been made but it is looking likely to happen. Possibly form April. If you have any feedback on this, I am as always, happy to hear from you.
Richard Bentley is a Sound Artist who visited the priory this week. He is doing a Phd on sound in silent spaces. He goes to many places which have a quality of silence, woods, libraries, and religous spaces for example. He referred to what he does as listening meditation. Richard is a buddhist practioner of some years standing and will be coming back to record some more and we are thinking of having a conversation on the subject of silence and practice.
On Saturday March 3rd, between 10.00 am – 4pm there will be a work day here at the priory. There will be activities for all abilities and skills. These are always good ways of the sangha coming together and expressing the active aspects of meditation. Some of the projects currently on the list are sorting and organising the loft space, pointing up some brick work in the sacristy store + organising the store itself, garden work, one of which maybe adding a 2nd raised bed, and getting it ready for planting seeds.. There is also of course help getting lunch together if that is more in your line. There may be others added to the list depending on interest and numbers attending. I thank you in advance for your help and if successful I can see adding more during the year if and when they are needed. As always please let me know in advance of your interest in coming.
On Saturday February 17th between 9.30 am – 12.30 pm, I will be giving a morning of instruction and advice for those of you who would like to learn or brush up on participating in the ceremonial here at the priory. It will mainly consist of precenting and chaplaining. Precenting is leading the singing and chanting for ceremonies aswell as the ringing of the gongs. The chaplaining will be showing the skills needed in assisting the celebrant ( me) in ceremonial. If you are already doing this to some extent but wish for more guidance then this will be suitable for you aswell. Along with the practical instruction of course I will be covering the spiritual aspects of ceremonial which underpin it all.
I hope some of you are interested in this and thereby swelling the pool of priory members who can help out when needed. Remember it is the offering that is primary here. If you can’t hold a note don’t forget there is evening service where the recitation is spoken.
Please let me know in advance if you are interested in attending.
Here is a photo of clouds that have been recently painted on the frieze above the altar. They not quite finished but it gives a good idea. The photo doesn’t show the subtle changes in tone and colour in the clouds. I am now looking at getting quotes for the new carpet to finish it all off.
To quote Great Master Dogen;
Yesterday, Friday 29th December, Betty Hahner died. Some of you will have known Betty as she was a regular at Reading Priory back in the 90’s. We are holding a memorial for Betty this afternoon (30th) at 2.30pm. I had known Betty for over 20 years and appreciated her friendship even though we weren’t in touch on a regular basis.
I have added an extra retreat at Alton Abbey for next years schedule of events. It will be in the summer and run fromThursday 5th July to Sunday the 8th. The one in the Autumn will also be from Thursday to Sunday, November 1st – 4th. I have added the extra day because the feedback from the spring Stroud retreat was very positive and everyone seemed to like extending it by a day. I would be interested in any feedback regarding this.