Thursday, 30 June 2011

Buddhist Monks are Planning to Open a Meditation Cave Under Nottingham

This story from BBC Nottingham......

The cave below the Buddhist centre on Derby Terrace would be a place for people to be completely alone, said a spokesperson for the monks.

There are about 450 man-made sandstone caves in Nottingham dating back to the medieval period. The caves have been used as dungeons, beer cellars, tanneries and air-raid shelters but there are no records of them being used for meditation before.

Venerable Edo Shonin and Venerable William Van Gordon opened the Bodhayati Vihara Buddhist centre near The Park in May. The pair said the centre was home to what they believe is the only monastic temple in Nottingham. Buddhists using the temple said they previously travelled to Birmingham to practice together.

The monks begin each day with chanting and meditation at 5am which is then repeated throughout the day in various forms. The monks also give regular talks on the teachings and practice of Buddhism.

"The idea of the cave, which will be open to everybody, is to try and provide a very particular ambience that will enable meditation practitioners to simply be with themselves," said Venerable Van Gordon. He added that traditionally, it was not uncommon for a meditation practitioner to spend many years living in a cave or forest. "The cave in Nottingham will provide a flavour of what it might be like in such a setting. The only difference being that we will recommend practitioners meditate in the cave for one or two hours rather than one or two years," he said.

The monks said they moved to the city because of the non-religious meditation programme they had developed in conjunction with Nottingham Trent University.

The monks hope the meditation cave will be open to the public by August.

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