Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Note - Latest Vishvapani Talk Now Available

The latest "Thought for the Day" talk by Vishvapani on "Shakespeare and the Buddha" is now available in our Audio Section.

"For me, Shakespeare is more than a poet or a playwright. Of course, he isn’t a teacher as the Buddha is. But I see them both, in different ways, as heroes of consciousness who offer new ways of seeing and open up new ways of being".

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Dennis Sibley 1950 - 2016

Sadly I heard yesterday of the death on Tuesday of Dennis Sibley who was one of the original pioneers involved with bringing Buddhism to the island. He had been involved with Buddhism for almost 40 years and in 1986 co-founded "The Buddhist Hospice Trust" with his friend, the late Ray Wills to care for people with advanced dementia.

I only met Dennis the once when he visited me in Totland to find out about the West Wight Sangha as part of a project to write a book on the development and growth of the various Buddhist groups on the isle of Wight. Regretfully, as far as I know, this never came to fruition but I know he would have been delighted to hear of the new group in Ryde. You can however read "The Laughing Buddha, Humour and the Spiritual Life", one of his pieces which gives you an insight into what made Dennis tick.

"For me, humour is essential in our lives and invaluable in the face of old age, illness and death".

Dennis Sibley

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

New Buddhist Group Starting in Ryde!

I have been in communication with Meme who is starting a Buddhist Meet Up group in Ryde.

Her spiritual journey started many years ago. she is a Meditation Teacher, Mindfulness Teacher and Complementary Therapist.

Since moving to the Island a year ago, she explored the idea of joining a Buddhist group; this, alongside the Sea of course, was one of the main reasons for her relocation. She found that despite there being a thriving Buddhist Community on the Island, there didn't appear to be a group which meets weekly, in Ryde.

The aim of the Meet Up, is to initially bring like-minded people in the area together, and have a relaxed chat over a cup of Coffee. It's her future intention to find a quiet venue, and set up a Sangha community in the Ryde area, where fellow Buddhists can meditate and explore the Dharma together.

Initially, meetings will be the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month from 2pm - 3.30pm at the Bagel Wrap, 61a Union Street, Ryde, PO33 2LG, STARTING THIS SATURDAY THE 16th!

The group will be non denominational and of gentle form. A typical session will consist of a period of silent meditation, a break for tea, a recorded talk from the Gaia House Dharma Teachers, a further period of silent meditation and a Metta prayer to end the session.

She hopes to see you soon (her website is

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

NEW MOON - Now and the Future

Live your life well in accord with Dhamma -
avoid a life of distraction.
A life well-lived leads to contentment,
both now and in the future.

Dhammapada 169

Probably most of us have benefited from the encouragement given by our spiritual teachers to pay attention to the 'here-and-now'. The way we apply this teaching, however, makes a big difference. For instance, clinging to it as an ideal and not really applying it moment to moment can lead to naivety. Such naivety sometimes even parades as spirituality. A wise way of relating to this teaching by the Buddha would be to remember to not-cling, even to great ideals like this one. And to contemplate clearly, with sensitive awareness, how paying attention to 'here-and-now', directly contributes to well-being in the future. It is not that we should blind ourselves to considerations of the future; rather to reflect on how our conduct in this moment affects our experience of the future.

Friday, 25 March 2016

How Things Come Together

Last night a couple of us from the West Wight Sangha made our regular trip over to Newport to join the Soto Zen group for their Thursday evening meeting. As usual I took along a recorded Dharma talk for us all to listen to, in this case it was "The Ultimate Question" by Ajahn Brahmali. On previous evenings we had spent some time discussing Stephen Batchelor's latest book "After Buddhism" so it was a joy to find that when I was looking for a photo of Ajahn Brahmali I also came across a videoed debate between Stephen Batchelor and Ajahn Brahmali on the relevance of the early Buddhist texts for the modern world at an event hosted by Melbourne Insight Meditation Group.

You can listen to Ajahn's talk on our Audio Section HERE

and you can watch the debate on our Video Section HERE

"After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age" by Stephen Batchelor is available from Amazon.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

FULL MOON - Responsibility

By ourselves we do evil
and by ourselves we are made impure.
By ourselves we avoid evil,
and by ourselves we are made pure.
The matter of purity is our own responsibility.
No other can take responsibility for us.

Dhammapada 165

It can be quite a wake-up call when we begin to accept that we alone are really responsible for ourselves; nobody else is. Perhaps we secretly prefer the idea that our family is always going to be there for us, or the welfare state, or some celestial being. Of course, hopefully we do have companions who will befriend and support us as we go through life. But that is different from their being ultimately responsible for us. The Buddha warned against those disabling notions that undermine our trust in the law of kamma. He encouraged us to find what it takes to accept full responsibility for our actions of body, speech and mind and to be careful. One of the rewards of doing so is self-respect.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Some Buddhist Poems for World Poetry Day

Today is World Poetry Day.

One of the main objectives of the Day is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.

The observance of World Poetry Day is also meant to encourage a return to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, to promote the teaching of poetry, to restore a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, and to support small publishers and create an attractive image of poetry in the media, so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art, but one which enables society as a whole to regain and assert its identity.


This day is a special day, it is yours.
Yesterday slipped away, it cannot be filled anymore with meaning.
About tomorrow nothing is known.
But this day, today, is yours, make use of it. 
Today you can make someone happy. 
Today you can help another. 
This day is a special day, it is yours.

Vijaya Samarawickama

Shrine Room

I have no shrine room
There are no flowers
There is no smell of incense burning in the room
There are no candles flickering gently

No meditation stool
No other bodies positioned round me
There is just me

What do I have?
I have a bed beneath me
I have my breath coming in, flowing out
And some, at least, awareness
I have pain in my body
And the cool detachment of moments of mindfulness

May that be enough
May I be well, may I be happy
May I be free from suffering
May I be at peace

Wendy Stern

(Wendy is a Buddhist and poet living in Bristol, in the west of England. For many years she has been completely bedridden, and her poetry therefore comes from this unusual perspective.)

Butsumon - The Gate of the Buddha

Before the mountain and by grace
of nature
I was allowed to realise "Oh!
I am only a child!"
Tendered by spruce and birds
I saw without my usual defences
and endless thinking I know
anything or everything
coming between me
and creation.

Myochi Roko Sherry Chayat

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

NEW MOON - Like and Dislike

One who has ceased
from following like and dislike,
who is cooled,
who is not swayed
by worldly conditions
- I call a great being.

Dhammapada 418

It is not the sense objects that create problems for us, it is our being swayed by them. The Buddha and the great realized beings all lived in the same material world as we do, but remained undisturbed. The beautiful and the not-beautiful were experienced, but without giving rise to suffering. Because they knew the reality of the world, inner and outer, they stayed cool, unintimidated, free. They were free to experience preferences without moving, either for or against.