In October the Introductory evening will be on the 10th and not the first Tuesday. This is due to the Prior arriving back from Shasta Abbey on the 3rd.
Here is a picture of the new Heavenly Canopy which was installed this week. It lies flat against the ceiling due to space issues. Being much taller than previous Priors I need a tad more space. I am looking to reduce the length of the flex of the lamp or maybe change the lightshade and hang jewels from the canopy. The next job is to complete the frieze above the altar.
Changes to the meditation hall are still ongoing. I thought I would post some images of the work that has been happening. Voiles have been hung to give the side shrines a bit of enclosure yet still show what is there. The heavenly canopy is nearly finished, what you see here is close to what it will look like. A small icon of Rev. Master Jiyu has replaced the original set of seven.
At the next steering group meeting on the 19th August I am going to bring up the notion of introducing afternoon group meetings. At first as an extra event, but then maybe to replace one of the evening sessions, most likely Friday. Due to a couple of changes in peoples lives it is likely that Friday evenings will be very low in attendance, maybe to point of zero. To enable more people to attend, afternoons may be a better option, with regard to travel and being more available to come. After all many of you are now retired and possibly the old way of doing things has in some ways run its course. If you have any feedback on this that I can feed into the meeting that would be most useful. Nothing will happen until I get back from Shasta in October.
An early reminder of the annual Alton Retreat this Autumn. It will be from the 27th to the 29th October. Details to follow.
Some of you will already know that Irene is leaving Britain to return to Germany for good. Since her fathers death her mother needs more care so Irene and her husband Hugh are moving to be close to her. She will be popping back over to Reading over the next few months to finalise the move but to all intents and purposes she is leaving on the 3rd August.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Irene for all the dedication and hard work she has put into the Priory over the last twenty years. I have only been here a short time but the effects of her application are obvious and manifold.
May we all send her on her way with all our best wishes and thanks. In the Autumn, probably October, I will be hosting a farewell gathering for Irene here at the Priory. I will post details in good time so that those of you who would wish to come can organise your diaries.
For the second part of September I will be away visiting Shasta Abbey for the Conclave. This is the five yearly meeting where OBC rules are ratified. I will be flying out on Monday 11th September and returning Monday 2nd October. This will be my first visit tio Shasta and appreciate the chance to do so.
During this time I am hoping that the normal group meetings can continue in my absence. We will be organising this at the next Steering group. If you are interested and able to help with this I sure it will be appreciated. Upon my return and dependent on jet lag it may take a few days before I am up and running and properly around.
We have managed to book a spring retreat at Brownshill monastery for 2018. This will be from Thursday 12th April to Sunday 15th. The 4 day format proved popular this year so we will keep to this until it seems good to change. Rev. Master Saido from Telford Priory has kindly agreed to take part once more.
Here is the schedule for this weekends 3 day day drop in retreat I will be holding from Friday 21st to Sunday lunchtime 23rd. Please remember that the Group evening and Grpoupo morning will run as usual. Please join me on retreat if you can for a period that suits you. If you can’t join me in person then maybe you would like to sit with me at home.
6.00 am Meditation
6.35 Walking meditation
7.20 Dawn Drum/ Short Morning Service ( Sunday during Group morning as usual)
8.30 Working meditation
10.35 Walking meditation
3.05 Walking meditation
4.00 Exercise / break
6.00 Evening meal
7.30 Meditation x 2 + Vespers (Friday Group evening usual schedule)
There may be changes to this dependent on numbers here. (i.e. dharma discussion etc.)
Ends after Sunday Group morning
Here are some pictures of the ongoing work redecorating the meditation hall. Volunteers from the sangha worked hard and we got the painting done in 4 days. We went from brilliant white to sable and pale sable which has given the room a bright, airy yet warm feel. We have decluttered as well, moving chairs out of the side shrines and generally lessening the amount of things in the hall. I am now working on the shrines which hopefully will be done soon. I also hope to be able to put in a new backing to the altar. The frieze above the altar has been stripped back and a cloud shape has been cut out to give the Buddha more breathing space. I am going to add some minimal design to it aswell. When the budget allows the carpet will be replaced, possibly this Autumn. Thank you to all who have helped with this project. I will keep you updated on future additions.