Introduction to Meditation Course Starts September 17th

From Monday September 17th we will be running an introduction to meditation course in our normal 7.15 pm to 9.30 pm slot at Fairkytes Arts Centre.  Normal arrangements apply i.e. suggested donation £5 each evening, no need to book. Full details regarding our classes can be found here

NEED TO MEDITATE?

Meditation can help us gain insight into our experience, shedding light upon our habitual actions of body, speech and mind; freeing us to experience life with greater clarity and kindness.

No previous experience necessary, suitable for those new to meditation and for current practitioners – one can always refresh and deepen one’s practice.

 

 

 

More Heroes!

This Monday (16/07/2018), will feature the Japanese Buddhist hero Kukai.

To get yourself in the mood,  you might want to take a look at the record of my pilgrimage to South West Japan:

Talking of Buddhist heroes, our very own Saddhabhaya will be rejoining us soon.  He will introduce us to Ananda a very important figure in the history and literature of Buddhism.

Best wishes

Nandaketu

Skills Auction Raises Money for the Dhamma in India

Well Done!   We have raised £676 to aid the work of the of The India Dhamma Trust.  Dhammvijaya (our recent visitor)  has sent us a colourful card to express the thanks of the trust.

The skills auction has also lead to many social interactions, useful services and fun.   What shall we do for Buddhist Action Month next year?

 

 

 

 

LBC Festival Day May 27th, no Group on the Bank Holiday

We won’t be meeting at Hornchurch on Monday the 28th as it is a Bank Holiday but Sunday May 27th at the London Buddhist Centre in Bethnal Green is the LBC’s key festival celebrating the Buddha’s attainment of Enlightenment. Explore this attainment through talks, reflection, meditation and ritual. Enjoy all or just part of the day

Programme for the day:

10am Doors open – All welcome

Doors close at 10.15am for a silent morning of meditation, chanting and readings evoking the days and hours before the Buddha’s Enlightenment. The whole morning will be spent in the shrine room including the serving of tea and snacks, and listening to the LBC Choir. Doors will open again at 1pm for lunch at 1.15pm.

1.15pm Lunch is served

Doors close at 2.30 to continue the afternoon of practice. There will be meditation, readings, chanting, tea and rice pudding. Doors will open again at 4.30pm for the talk at 4.45pm.

4.45pm The Story of the Buddha’s Awakening – Talk by Ratnaprabha

6pm Supper in The Larder

7pm Puja with Mitra ceremonies

 

Buddhist Action Month June 2018 – Connecting For Change

BAM is the UK’s Buddhist Action Month – a festival of Buddhist social action held across Britain every June. Conceived by the Network of Buddhist Organisations UK (NBO) (www.nbo.org.uk), it keeps expanding.

BAM invites us to make more conscious the connections between our ethical commitment as Buddhists and the needs of other beings – human and otherwise, our society and our environment; and it offers us the opportunity to explicitly explore and discuss the ethical issues facing Buddhists in the 21st century.   Read a short history of Buddhist Action Month in the UK.

At the Hornchurch Buddhist group we will be engaging with BAM 2018 by holding a Skills and Service Auction during our meeting on Monday May 21st with the aim of raising money for the India Dhamma Trust.  The idea of the Skills and Service Auction is that as many people as possible within the group offer a skill or service for a couple of hours which is auctioned on May 21st to raise money.

The possibilities as to what could be offered are numerous and limited only by our imagination, they might include: guitar lessons. gardening, cooking a meal, drawing or painting a picture or offering completed works, photography, dog walking, goat grooming, well-being treatments, instruction of some sort – maybe physical or IT, ironing, planning and leading an interesting walk, leading a nature safari, decorating or DIY etc.

Dhammavijaya skillfully introduced the work of the India Dhamma Trust on Monday April 23rd but essentially…

“Thousands of people are freeing themselves from adversity, poverty and caste oppression through practising Buddhism which offers a radical vision for a new life – with purpose, dignity and confidence – and encourages compassion for those suffering from disadvantage and prejudice. You can help to give people in India the Buddhist ‘tools’ they need to meaningfully improve their lives.”

In India, where millions of people are condemned to the hell of un-touchability by the Hindu caste system, living lives of abject poverty and painful discrimination, conversion to Buddhism represents a real liberation, a chance to flourish as a human being. You can find out much more about the India Dhamma Trust at their web site.  (https://indiadhammatrust.org/)

So please do start thinking about what Skill or Service you might be able to offer, we’ll be mentioning this on all of the intervening Monday’s and offering the opportunity for discussion. If you wish to ask a question or pledge a skill or service then please email saddhabhaya@hornchurchbuddhistgroup.org.uk

Let’s grasp this opportunity to Connect for Change with each other and with fellow Buddhists in India who do not share freedoms and benefits that we are so fortunate to experience.

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5 Things I’ve Appreciated Today

Hi Folks,

as promised (or some might think threatened) here is the results of my following Maitreyabandhu’s ‘five things I’ve appreciated today‘ in my J&TG notebook.

Surprisingly the highest number of things I wrote down were simple physical pleasures. This may be due to temperament, the habit of where I put my attention or the result of doing a lot of physical training recently. It included things like the exhilaration of feeling secure in a parallel bar shoulder stand or the relief as long term tension patterns in my body are released by deep stretching (Kit Laughlin’s methodology if you’re interested in this).

The next broad area was ideas and realisations. Insights, new ways of thinking or understandings gleaned from cultural appreciation.  I’m spending a lot of my time alone studying so it isn’t surprising. It did makes me realise how important decent mental stimulation is.

Despite not seeing many people at the moment, the next category is people. Not people doing anything in particular but just for being themselves and being around.  For example, Nigel’s company during the Parinirvana festival.

The next closely related category is seeing kindness.  This may be kindness directed towards me or witnessed to others. The internal feeling seems similar to that experienced when looking at natural beauty, such as seeing light flickering on waves; however, maybe because it is more active and human, I feel it more intensely.

As the weather warms up I’m spending more time wandering the marshes and woods around where I live.  I noted appreciating beautiful skies, gnarled trees and luxuriant foliage which often sets of reminders of more mythical aspects of life. It’s not just natural things though, human life especially seen from a distance, can look wonderful: such as the lights over the industrial area near where I live or the centre of London as I drive to the London Buddhist Centre on a Sunday night.

Another category I’d call mastery. It is just the satisfaction of doing something well. Cleaning the kitchen, getting all the shopping done or creating a new website.  I experience this with music too, improvising a little tune or knocking up a composition using music software.

Of course everything doesn’t fit into neat categories. I really enjoyed Nancy’s peanut cookies but is that physical sensation (they taste good), kindness (she generously baked them for us) or the excitement of an idea (you can make biscuits with my favourite food).

Your lists may be quite different. The balance will likely be different: according to habits, lifestyle and temperament. I may have missed, through mindfulness or lack of appreciation, whole areas of experience – please let me know if you feel this is the case. Mostly I hope it has stimulated you to keep trying (or start trying) this simple exercise.  If nothing else, you go to sleep with a better appreciation of life, and of course this outlook may well perfume your dreams!

Metta Nandaketu