Saturday, 10 January 2009

Where We all came from II

Regular readers may recall a previous posting entitled "Where We All Came From" where I gave a bit of background information about the West Wight Sangha and also said that it would, hopefully, be the start of an occasional series featuring the other Buddhist groups on the Island. Well here's a piece from Dave of the Newport Soto Zen group, one of the oldest on the Island.
Isle of Wight Buddhist Group
"There are several Buddhist groups on the Island, tending to follow a particular flavour; we are a Soto Zen group, following the tradition of Throssel Hole Priory, and affiliated to Reading Priory, following the teachings of Master Dogen, and Rev Master Jiyu Kennett, who spent many years in Japan under the instruction of a Soto Zen Teacher, and brought zen to UK and USA in the ‘70’s. The group consists of about 15 to 20 people altogether, and we usually have between 5 and 10 coming to meetings. The group has a mixture of people, who include those who have been around Buddhism for quite a long time, and people who are just beginning, and all stages in between!

The group meets at my house on a Thursday evenings. We meet between 7:30pm and 10pm.

Generally, we follow the Soto tradition, but not exclusively. We begin with meditation, one or two sessions, with walking meditation, and perhaps a reading. Then we may listen to a tape, read from a book, watch a video, or whatever people want that evening, and then perhaps spend some time having a discussion about what we've heard or seen, usually over a cup of tea! Sometimes we may spend the whole evening just talking about a specific aspect, especially where we have newcomers who may be unsure about meditation practice, or whatever. We occasionally have a whole day retreat, on the Island, or perhaps at Reading, led by the monk from Reading, Rev Olwen.

Our style is very informal, and we try to adapt to the needs of whoever happens to turn up! So if everybody wants to sit in meditation for the whole evening, that's fine. Or if you are a complete newcomer, we’ll help you with whatever questions you may have, without making you feel like your in the spotlight! We usually try to fit in a cup tea somewhere in an evening, but sometimes we get so engrossed in the discussion this gets overlooked! There is no charge for attending, but we have a collecting bowl so we can accumulate money to buy equipment, books, videos, or defray expenses of visiting speakers.
You'd be very welcome to come along, just to sample how you feel about the way we are. If you have your own favourite sitting cushion or stool, please feel free to bring it. Then you can choose to come again, or not, just as you wish.

If you'd like to come along, please call me on 520795, and I can tell you a bit more, including how to get to my house."

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