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;
“There is brilliant sea of clouds, there is a dignified sea of clouds.”
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.
Seasons greetings and wishing you all a happy and peaceful New Year. If you can make it to the priory in 2018 I look forward very much to greeting you and treasure the chance to share with you the path of Buddhist practice.
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.
From the 22nd to the 27th December (inclusive) the priory will be closed. There won’t be the normal meetings during that period. Nevertheless if you wish to use the priory as a refuge during what can be a difficult time for some, please email or phone me so that we can arrange something. I will primarily be using that time for retreat purposes.
For the last month or so I have been running meetings on Friday afternoons. They are from 2 – 4pm. They are proving fairly popular so I wanted to advertise them again so that you are aware of them happening. If you wish and are able, you can stay through to include the evening session aswell. They are designed to help those who can’t come at other times to be able to attend. Over the years peoples lives have changed, one example being retirement. This meant it was a good time to reappraise what the priory is offering as we go forward.
It is my sad duty to tell you of the death of David Jarvis. David was a long time attendee of the priory. He came on Wednesday nights and also was a regular presence at the outside retreats. I hadn’t seen him since the spring because every summer he would head off on this narrow boat along the canals. I was made aware that he was in the Sue Ryder Hospice near Prospect park. I made two visits with Jan who kindly gave me a lift each time. He quickly got worse by the time of the second visit which was a day before he died on Friday morning. His family said he died in his sleep. We will be holding a memorial for David at 2pm on Friday 8th December here at the priory. David seemed a very private and quiet man but his contributions and depth of experience always added to the occassion.
Wishing you all peace and joy for the Buddha’s Enlightenment. We will be holding the Enlightenment Festival this Sunday the 3rd. All are welcome.
A prompt about the New Year Retreat this year. From the 29th until the 1st the priory will be running the regular New Year Retreat which includes the Ceremony on New Years eve. If you would like to come to all or some of it please let me know. I appreciate it is more difficult for some of you to partake in a residential type retreat which includes staying over, but for those of you wishing to do that then it is still possible.The New Years eve ceremony consists of the usual fanning of the Scripture of Great Wisdom, the chanting of the Sambo Kojin and the drinking of juice. If you wish to bring in the New Year and reflect upon the past year amongst the sangha then this is an excellent opportunity. If you are new to this practice and wish to come but don’t quite know what it is about then don’t hestiate to contact me.