Friday, 23 March 2018

World Poetry Day

I missed putting up something for World Poetry Day on Wednesday so to make up for that I'm reposting this powerful slam performance by award-winning poet George Yamazawa.

In it he recounts his earliest memories of teasing classmates by calling them “gay,” and the reaction he got from his Buddhist father. In rhythmic verse, Yamazawa talks about the power of words as insults and poetry, and the love that Buddhism inspires.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

TAWAI - a Voice from the Forest

I have just received an email from Anna about another interesting film that the Commodore in Ryde is showing this coming Wednesday. As Anna is going to be there dressed as an Orangutan and collecting for Greenpeace you can both enjoy the film, support conservation and express solidarity with our fellow primates.

The Commodore, Ryde, has agreed to screen the Film TAWAI - a Voice from the Forest - TWICE on Wednesday 21st of March - the International Day of the Forest: Once at 2:30pm and again at 8:05pm.

The film is a collaboration between Bruce Parry and Greenpeace. Tawai is the word the nomadic hunter-gatherers of Borneo use to describe their inner feeling of connection to nature. In this dreamy, philosophical and sociological look at life, explorer Bruce Parry travels the world to learn from people living lives very different to our own. From the jungles of Malaysia to the tributaries of the Amazon, TAWAI is a quest for reconnection, providing a powerful voice from the heart of the forest itself.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

FULL MOON - Full Appreciation

When we appreciate fully 
the benefit of our own pure deeds 
we are filled with joy; 
here and hereafter 
there is a celebration of joy.

Dhammapada v.16

For most of us, our critical faculties are already well-developed. The Buddha encourages us to also exercise our faculty for appreciation. When we shine the light of appreciative awareness on the pleasant consequences of skilful actions, the result is joy. Wholesomeness is enhanced when consciously appreciated.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Newport Buddhist meeting cancelled due to the Beast from the East!

The Newport Soto Zen Buddhist group has cancelled their Thursday meeting due to the Beast from the East!

Nationwide temperatures plummeted again overnight, with Farnborough in Hampshire recording a low of minus 11C. For most places, the mercury hovered at between -4C and -7C.

Motorists have been urged to take extra care on the roads, after four people died in car crashes on Tuesday and forecasters have warned of long delays on rail, bus and air travel. Temperatures could plummet to minus 15C by midweek where there is lying snow.

On top of all that Storm Emma is forecast to hit Britain tomorrow, leaving parts of southern Britain hit by blizzards and strong winds which are expected to cause snow drifts.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

“Walk With Me”; a Second Showing

Just a quick note to let you all know that the Commodore in Ryde is giving “Walk With Me” a second showing tomorrow at 5:15 p.m.

So, if you missed it last time around, there’s still a chance to catch it.

"Slow down and breathe. This contemplative journey follows in the steps of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh and is a rare insight into life within a monastic community. The sun rises. Everything is calm and still. Life is beautifully serene as Benedict Cumberbatch’s composed, meditative voice reads an extract from Thich Nhat Hanh’s early journals. So begins Max Pugh and Marc J Francis’ fascinating and immersive exploration of what it means to devote one’s life to mindfulness. With unprecedented access to the famous secluded monastery of Plum Village in the South West of France, Walk With Me captures the daily routine and rituals of monks and nuns on a quest to develop a deep sense of presence. It is an insightful rumination on the pursuit of happiness, living in the present and our attachment to material things – a welcome remedy to the stresses of city life and a world in turmoil."

Laure Bonville

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

NEW MOON - No Distraction

Knowing the Way for oneself 
walk it thoroughly. 
Do not allow the needs of others, 
however demanding, 
to bring about distraction. 

Dhammapada v.166

When our heart is at ease we can feel as if all is well in the world. But we know that even when it feels that way to us, for others life is an intense struggle where it definitely does not feel as if all is well. So is it appropriate that we put time and effort into developing an inner sense of contentment, or does having empathy mean always remaining aware of the suffering of others? When the Buddha warns against allowing the needs of others to distract us, he is pointing to where the priority lies. The fact is that when we lose connection with deep inner well-being, we more easily become caught in the forces of delusion. In practice it is wise to learn how to walk so that the way can regularly refresh and renew us; thus when we encounter the forces of delusion, we will be able to enquire into them without being dragged down. To be in possession of such strength is to have something truly valuable to share.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Buddhism Through Its Scriptures Course

Now here's something that you might be interested in..............

On Monday Harvard University started its free interactive course, “Buddhism Through Its Scriptures”, on their online learning platform.

It is the third module of the HarvardX series “World Religions through their Scriptures,” and is taught by Charles Hallisey, the Yehan Numata Senior Lecturer on Buddhist Literatures at the Harvard Divinity School.

There are eight days of lessons presented through both video and text that can be completed in the user’s own time. The project schedule is flexible for participants so you can work at your own pace to complete the materials.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

FULL MOON - Beyond Suffering

Let go of the past.
Let go of the future.
Let go of the present.
With a heart that is free,
cross over to that shore
which is beyond suffering.

Dhammapada v. 348.

The ‘other shore’ to which the Buddha is referring, that place which is beyond suffering, already exists. It is not as if we have to create the other shore; not as if we have to create Dhamma. Even the Buddha didn’t create Dhamma, he realized it. Our efforts in practice need to be aimed at seeing that which is already here, now. The encouragement to let go of images of the past, present and future suggests that we are paying too much attention to ideas we have about reality and not enough attention to that which is actually in front of us.