Thursday, 26 July 2007

From Daizan across the border

Hiya and greetings from Scotland. I crossed the border yesterday and it was striking the immediate change in the landscape. I can hardly believe that the people of England have supported me on my journey the entire length of the country, but here we are despite daily rain and, in one place, waist-deep floods (someone was swept away and drowned the day after I came through). It's hard to explain how much more connected to the land you feel when you're actually immersed in it every step of the way, but I'm sure you can imagine. It's even harder to work out how stepping into the place of "no visible means of support", actually somehow generates a whole new beautiful pattern in your life. All I can really say is, if you have a dream, something you've been putting-off doing, something that's really going to make you come alive - don't wait too long. It might be more achievable than you think. When you move, the whole universe moves too. Who knows what is really possible.

Wishing you all the goodness of summer. More later.

Cheers Daizan

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Talks for Discussion

At the top of the right hand column opposite you will see the link to the talk we will be discussing...... any problems let me know.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

We all have two nostrils and a common fate (death)

It's been a hard week's work at the prison.Last Saturday saw another suicide. There are many people working to try and make the place more humane, but it is difficult sometimes to see how this can be achieved within the present system, with its lack of resources. If society really wants prisoners to change (a process that only they themselves can effect), banging them up for most of the day does not necessarily help the process. One prisoner told me the worst thing about prison if that you cannot show your feelings. You need to suppress them in order to survive the regime. The Listeners (prisoners trained in listening) have a role similar to that of the Samaritans on the outside and spend many hours performing a role that our friends (and, if we are lucky, family) perform on the outside. They try to transcend and help transcend the over-crowding, lack of staff, lack of privacy and loss of control over one's life.

On the outside, people are generally not very concerned about prisoners. If anything, the attitude is positively sadistic. "I'd like to take them out and shoot them" says one of my neighbours, normally a kind and compassionate man. "They have better food and stuff than pensioners" says another. Not true - in my experience anyway. Potatoes boiled to perdition,
erratic portions, pasties with no filling, gristly meat. No Jamie Oliver to campaign here aboutthe link between nutrition and behaviour! It is not luxury - not even decent.
I come home feeling I smell of the sickly disinfectant and cooped-up male and, oh, how wonderful is my little house, my cats, my cup of tea from my own pot. The garden (somewhat overgrown) looks lovely. I can go where I want when I want. For me, the worst thing about prison is that lack of control over one's life. This may be a deterrent to crime, but it is an incomplete one. Without offering options, other strategies for living, it just encourages a "them-and-us" divide between staff and prisoners, reinforcing the criminal culture. Oslo prison, which I visited recently has several staff whose sole task is to keep prisoners active doing something -
some activities probably categorised here as "luxurious". I asked the young officer (sweatshirt and jeans) about this. His reply -"What do you want them to do? Sit around and talk about their crimes and plan a few more?" The whole emphasis there is on the future from Day 1 of the sentence. What will happen when the offender is released?
This morning I heard that the Lifeboat Shop where I work at weekends has been burgled and smashed up, and my reaction was a reminder that I am not immune from the knee-jerk, angry,vindictive feelings I so condemn in others. It is a struggle (on a partly animal level) when one feels under attack. Practical compassion is something for which we strive, but it is a challenge as I sit on a comfy chair with a cup of fresh-ground coffee and plan my day, remembering we all have two nostrils and a common fate.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

New Feature

If you look to the top right of the page you will see a verticle strip of four pictures. Float your mouse pointer over these pictures and you will see a title for that picture (e.g. one is "The Right to Believe? - Ajahn Brahm ( 61m 56s )").

Now switch on your speakers and click on one of the pictures........... Let me know, below, in the "comments" what you think.

Friday, 13 July 2007

Re: Buddhist Relics coming to the UK

This explains the actual nature of the "Relics" - let me know what you think in the "Comments" at the bottom of this post.

Buddhist Relics Tour Passes through Fremont, California
By Roy McDowell, Epoch Times, Jul 11, 2007

San Francisco, CA (USA) -- Sacred relics of Buddhist masters and saints, or Sariras, were on display at Fremont's Willits Center this past weekend. Local residents had a rare opportunity to view the precious collections for free.

<< A golden Maitreya Buddha statue is surrounded by relics of ancient Buddhist masters and saints at Fremont's Willits Center last weekend. (Roy McDowell/The Epoch Times)

The Sariras are kept in golden lotus flower shaped containers surrounding a golden Maitreya Buddha statue. Throughout the day, a steady flow of visitors came to pay respect to the enlightened, to feel the curing energy, or to enjoy the loving energy.

"It's peaceful," said Sandra Cabrera, a Fremont resident and an immigrant from Mexico. "It's relaxing and I can feel the positive energy." She came with her parents and brother.

According to Buddhist tradition, the Buddha and Buddhist saints were able to focus their energy to create Sariras of various colors in their bodies prior to giving up their bodies. These pearl- or crystal-like beads contain the essence of a cultivator's purity and allow people to receive blessings.

The rare collection of Sariras came from 16 Buddhist masters and saints, including Buddha Shakyamuni, who enlightened under a Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya, and Kasyapa Buddha, who preceded Shakyamuni and is better known as the "historical Buddha." Others included the Venerable Maudgalyayana, Nagarjuna, and Milarepa, etc.

Some of the Sariras were salvaged from statues in Tibet where they had been enshrined for thousands of years before the Communist occupation in 1959. Other relics were donated by museums and monasteries. They will travel the world until they are placed in the 500-foot Maitreya Buddha statue that's being built in Kushinagar in northern India.

Maitreya comes from the Sanskrit word "maitri" meaning "love." Maitreya Buddha is sometimes called the Laughing Buddha and is usually portrayed as having a large belly. According to the Buddhist scriptures, Maitreya Buddha will be the next Buddha to descend to the world to spread his teachings.

"The reason we display them is because we want people to receive blessings from the holy objects," said Victoria Ewart, the relic tour director. "We all want to be happy. One way to generate happiness is to get into contact with holy objects."

The relics display will tour several cities in California and Nevada until mid-August. The next stop will be Irvine, California from July 13-15. After that, the tour will visit Canada, the Midwest, and then the East Coast.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Buddhist Relics coming to the UK

I came across this today on

Heart Shrine Relic Tour

"Relics come from masters who have devoted their entire lifetime to spiritual practices that are dedicated to the welfare of all. Every part of their body and relics carries positive energy to inspire goodness and reduce negativity… we can see how these relics are so precious."
— Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Spiritual Director of Maitreya Project

The Maitreya Project Heart Shrine relics have been donated to and collected by Lama Zopa Rinpoche specifically for placement in the Heart Shrine of the 500ft/152m Maitreya Buddha statue. The statue will be the focus of Maitreya Project's vision of creating spiritual, social and economic benefit during the next millennium.

The relics will travel the world until they are placed in the completed 500ft/152m Maitreya Buddha statue. Until then, it is Rinpoche's wish that as many people as possible will have the opportunity to view the relics in their local communities.

In March 2001, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Spiritual Director of Maitreya Project, released this rare and precious collection of Buddhist relics for worldwide exhibition. Since then, these sacred relics have been displayed at temples, meditation centres, and other public locations all over the world.

The collection is truly extraordinary. There are many relics of Shakyamuni Buddha and of the Buddha's well-known disciples - Maudgalyayana, Ananda and Sariputra -as well as relics of many other saints and spiritual masters from the Chinese, Indian and Tibetan traditions.

Many living Buddhist masters from a number of traditions and countries, including Burma, Indonesia, Thailand, Tibet and Taiwan, have donated relics to be placed in the Heart Shrine of the Maitreya Project statue, including relics of Shakyamuni Buddha which were offered by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The relics are mainly pearl-like 'beads' collected from the ashes of spiritual masters after their cremation. There are also Buddhist artifacts in the collection.

Some of the relics were salvaged from statues in Tibet where they had been enshrined for thousands of years before the Communist occupation in 1959. Other relics were donated by museums and monasteries. Lama Zopa Rinpoche ensures that the relics are genuine before they are put on display.

The Heart Shrine Relic Tour exhibitions are open to the public free of charge, thereby giving everyone the rare opportunity to be in the presence of such priceless holy objects.

This collection is visiting the UK, the details are listed below.

12 - 14 October
London, England, UK
Friday 5pm Opening Ceremony
Saturday 10am to 7pm
Sunday 10am to 7pm
Jamyang Buddhist Center
43 Renfrew Road
London SE11 4NA
Contact: Jane Sill
Tel: +44 (0)20 7820 8787

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

The latest from Daizan

I received this email from Daizan..........

Hiya how are you. So here I am on the twentieth day of this meditation walk northwards and it seems to have finally stopped raining. The list of amazing people who have appeared out of nowhere and helped me along is now too long to repeat. This walk - not using money - makes every step, a step into trust in the goodness and kindness of the people of Britain. And so far, the whole thing has been an ongoing good news story. There's still a long way to go, of course, and my legs are still pretty sore, but it's working. Thank you so much for all your thoughts and prayers and kind messages. It's really inspiring to see quite how much goodness and kindness are around. It's all right in front of you and maybe just needs something a little unusual - a smile, a greeting, a wave.... - to manifest.

Here's hoping you encounter that goodness and kindness every step of your day.

More later Daizan

Friday, 6 July 2007

Our priorities as a society.

The reason I have not contributed before is that I have been settling a "new" cat into my home.
Bob is a black-and-white mog of 16. It's not hard work, but requires constant attention to someone other than No.1! He has been very well cared for, but his previous owner went into a care home and could not take him, her companion since he was a kitten, with her.
Now I don't underestimate the difficulty of running a care home, but what does it say about us as a society? How do we treat old people? How do we treat old animals? Why can't they stay together if they want to? Quite a lot of my friends do not understand why I home elderly cats.
It is actually a good reminder of ageing and death, sometimes sad, but often good fun, with a lot of mutual love. My existing resident, Muffin, regarded Bob with suspicion at first. Perhaps there is something of that in human first meetings..... Now we are sitting together in the lounge watching the evening sky. Personally I owe a great deal to cats. When I was first ill, it was very difficult to settle in a house. Cats will show you how, especially if they are elderly and have spent a longish period in a rescue centre! They do tend to want to sit on your head while you meditate, though........ Thank you, Cats Protection, Ryde!

Island Sangha Picnic

Sunday 2nd September
12.30 start
This very special event is open to Buddhists, their families and friends. ( and pets too!)

The picnic will be held on Stokes Green, Totland.
Stokes Green is located to the right of the Turf Walk as you approach the road down to the beach.

Café and toilets conveniently placed. They sell lovely ice creams in the café. Parking spaces on esplanade and approach road.

Bring frizzbees,etc. as the beach is nearby. Also if you have rakes, we thought it might be fun to try making a zen garden on the beach.

Bring food to share. If food requires reheating Stephen has kindly offered his kitchen to those who need it.

Please respond to this by email or phone so we can have a rough idea how many would like to join us.

Contact Details
Stephen Parker 756884 ( )
Angie & Mark 404740 ( )


A Monk's Progress

Yesterday I received this email from Daizan............

I'd been stood in the town square of Rugby for nearly half an hour. My alms bowl was slowly filling - with rain. Mostly people ignored the sight of a Zen monk standing beside his rucksack and straw hat. But now and then someone would come by. The pattern was pretty predictable. They'd get out some money to put in the bowl. I'd gently as I could, refuse it - "I'm sorry, I'm just collecting food. I'm walking up the centre of Britain, on this walk I'm not touching money." About half of them would reappear a few minutes later with sandwiches, fruit, something to eat, which I would gratefully accept.

"Excuse me, mate, who are you collecting for?" He was dressed in a red jacket with red baseball cap. Both were embroidered with the Rugby town logo. He carried a big black two-way radio.

"I'm not collecting money. I'm a Buddhist monk walking the length of the country. On this walk I don't touch money. I'm only accepting food."

"I'm sorry if you don't have a licence, I'll have to ask you to move on. We're town wardens paid for by the shops. We want to make it a pleasant experience for visitors. We're linked-up with the CC camera system."

I wanted to argue, but he'd clearly been given his orders and couldn't deviate "Ok." I said.

As I carried my pack away up the High Street. I stopped by a touch screen built in the middle of the pavement. "Free Internet Connection From Rugby to the World", it said. I stopped to look.

"Do you want me to show you how it works?" The warden said. He'd been following, perhaps worrying that hunger would get the better of me, and I'd get my bowl out somewhere else. "We want to make Rugby a pleasant experience for the visitors." He added.


This was just a blip on what's been an incredible experience so far. It's about a quarter done so still a long, long way to go.

Hope all's very well with you. Let me know if you know of anyone around Britain's centreline who might enjoy a visit from a walking monk.

More later Cheers Julian

Daizan Roshi starts his walk!

Daizan Roshi started his walk today with a ceremony and a meditation at St Catherine's Point at the Southern tip of the Island. From there he made his way to Newport where he met up with Dave Downer. We then joined Daizan and Dave for the Newport Soto Zen group's Evening meeting.