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

2018 – The Journey & The Guide

Happy New Year!

We are beginning a new theme at the Hornchurch Buddhist Group based around the book The Journey and the Guide: A Practical Course in Enlightenment by Maitreyabandhu (available at the London Buddhist Centre and various on-line book sellers).

Some of you will have read the book before (and some of you know the author).

If you haven’t read the book, we encourage you to get a copy. It is written in an engaging and contemporary style. It gives a coherent overview of Buddhist practice within the Triratna Community and lots of practical guidance and examples. We’ll be commencing with Chapter 1 on January 15th and moving on from there, pausing for a practice evening after each pair of Chapters.

As you know, we teach and encourage people to practice the mindfulness of breathing and the metta bhavana (see the resources section of this web site). During the next few months we also invite you to:

• Keep a journal of how your practice is going
• Pause 3 times a day to do a Breathing Space mindfulness practice
• Take a mindful walk once a day

This may sound like a lot but the beauty of these practices is that they can be slipped into a busy daily schedule and will even free up time!

Come and enjoy the journey!

Best Wishes

Nandaketu and Saddhabhaya

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2018 – we are five years old!

At the time of writing it’s almost 2018, our Monday evenings will restart on January 8th following our short winter break. Newcomers are always welcome to come along and experience what we do. You should find all you need to know at this page but if you have any questions then don’t hesitate to drop us an email.

May everyone have a healthy, happy and peaceful new year

very best wishes

Saddhabhaya and Nandaketu

Newcomers are always welcome

The Hornchurch Buddhist Group began in January 2013 and over the past four and half years has become a lively and friendly gathering of local people of all ages and varying backgrounds who together are deepening their understanding and practice of Buddhism and meditation.

Buddhism offers the vision of a life lived with awareness, compassion and creativity and the tools needed to transform our own lives so as to bring this vision into being.

Classes are held on Monday evenings in room 12 at The Fairkytes Arts Centre, starting promptly at 7.15 and finishing at 9.30. There is no need to book, just come along for the beginning of the class. Everyone is welcome to come to our classes; you do not need to think of yourself as a Buddhist to listen to the Buddha’s teachings (the Dharma) or to meditate.

Commencing on Monday September 4th and through the autumn the group will be undertaking an exploration of the fundamental Buddhist teaching of the Noble Eightfold Path. This presents a particularly good opportunity for newcomers to come along and discover Buddhism.

In late November the group will be undertaking its fourth annual weekend retreat in Sussex.

Newcomers are always welcome.

Best wishes Saddhabhaya and Nandaketu

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Hornchurch Buddhist Group 2017 Weekend Retreat

Hello everyone

I have just noticed that we have hardly added anything to our web site this year but be assured that we are still at Fairkytes on every Monday evening that isn’t a bank holiday.

It is only five months now until our 2017 retreat at Kench Hill details of which can be found via the link below

Hornchurch Buddhist Group 2017 Weekend Retreat

Best wishes Saddhabhaya and Nandaketu

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Welcome to 2017!

Hello everyone

The first part of each Monday evening is normally given over to meditation and in the second half we usually explore some aspect of the Buddha’s teaching, the Dharma. Commencing in January 2017 our Dharma topic will be conditionality, the Buddha’s insight into how all things and in particular our experiences come into being and pass out of being dependent upon supporting conditions. This is known as Praticca Samutpada and in English is traditionally expressed as follows…

We’ll be using the book This Being, That Becomes by Dhivan Thomas Jones as a rough template for our exploration and should you wish to read around the subject yourself we can recommend this book as a resource. It is available in paperback and as an eBook.

Best wishes Saddhabhaya and Nandaketu

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The turning of the year…

Greetings all. we’ll be at Fairkytes on Monday December 19th as usual but then breaking until January 9th. Have a splendid festive season. If you need a fix of Dharma here is a splendid Dh Maitreyabandhu course for you. Lots of love, Saddhabhaya and Nandaketu