Sad news of the death of Rev. Master Myfanwy
In early July we received the sad news that one of the senior monks of our order, Rev. Master Myfanwy, had died. Rev. Master Myfanwy was ordained at Throssel Hole by Rev. Master Daishin in 1983, and in 2002 moved down to the South West of England to start a temple there, which she named Dragon Bell Temple. The temple started out in a small cabin in Starcross, Devon, before moving to a property in Exeter, and recently moved to Tiverton.
It was quite a shock for us all to hear this news, and Throssel have posted an article on their Blog about Rev. Master Myfanwy, with many Lay Sangha members leaving comments expressing their appreciation for her life of practice.
Rev. Master Myfanwy’s funeral was held at Throssel last Sunday, the 26th of July. Her coffin arrived there on Saturday afternoon, and a vigil ceremony was held for her that evening. The burial was on Sunday morning at 11am in the monastery’s cemetery, and we had a meditation period here at the temple to coincide with that. Due to the current coronavirus restrictions, only a limited number of people were able to attend the funeral, but the intention is to hold a larger public memorial as soon as circumstances permit.
Forthcoming Events: The Festival of Great Master Dōgen
On Saturday the 1st of August we will be celebrating the Festival of Great Master Dōgen. Dōgen was a thirteenth century Japanese monk, and he has a very important place in our tradition, as he brought the Sōtō Zen school of Buddhism from China to Japan. This festival is an opportunity to celebrate his life and teaching.
We will be holding the festival over zoom so that Lay Sangha members can join in from where they are. Details will be sent out by email prior to the festival.
Visits to the temple once the Leicester Local Lockdown is lifted
In last month’s newsletter we were anticipating being able to open the temple again to some extent from the 4th of July. Unfortunately, due to the imposition of the local lockdown in Leicester, that has had to be delayed. We are still waiting to hear when the lockdown will be lifted, but we are hoping that it will be within the coming month. Below is a reminder of what we hope to be able to do once the current restrictions ease.
Once the local lockdown is lifted, it will be possible for people to visit the temple individually again. Places of worship will be able to reopen for services, but the temple is not legally considered to be a Place of Worship, so the guidelines that apply to us will be those for a residential household. The guidelines are that people from any two households will be able to meet indoors at one time, and up to six people from different households will be able to meet outdoors.
So for the temple this means that there will be three different ways that we can meet:
- Our existing Zoom meetings for regular events.
- Up to six of us from any households could meet in the garden.
- People will be able to visit individually (or more than one person if from the same household), to meditate or just come round for a chat.
So what we are proposing is that once the lockdown is lifted:
- The regular temple events in the mornings and evenings that we have been having during lockdown will continue as they are, as virtual-only zoom meetings.
- There will generally be a festival on the first Saturday of the month, and the Renewing the Precepts Ceremony on the third Saturday (both also via zoom).
- On the other Saturdays the temple will host a “socially-distanced tea” in the garden, from 2pm-4pm, which up to five others would be able to come to at a time. These will be a great way of connecting with each other in small groups again (weather permitting!), and we hope that existing Sangha members will come along and join us if they feel able. You will of course need to call or email in advance to arrange your visit so that we don’t exceed the maximum number at any one time.
- Each Sunday will be a “Personal Practice Day”, with a schedule similar to our previous Sunday Meditation Days, when people will be able to come for one of the double meditation periods (starting at 10am, 11.30am, 2pm and 3.30pm), either to sit, to have a chat, or both. Again you would need to call or email in advance to arrange your visit.
- If you would like to come individually but Sundays don’t work for you (or they are booked up) you can contact the temple to arrange another time to visit.
- This also means that we will once more be able to have Introductory Sessions to introduce people to the practice, again by prior arrangement.
This is what we will start with, but of course it may change as things unfold, and also as we see what works in practice and what doesn’t, and which ways people prefer to visit.
We hope you will be able to come and visit, and we look forward to being able to welcome you to the temple again.
For the time being, you will need to book in advance before any visit, to make sure that we don’t exceed the guidelines. We realise that this may sound rather restrictive, and it is quite different to how we have done things in the past, but this is just what we need to do if the temple is to start to reopen again.
And we shouldn’t forget that these measures are to safeguard the health of everyone who visits the temple, and that we will also be doing our bit to help restrict the spread of the virus in the population as a whole.
The temple is dependent on donations for its continued existence, and any financial support you are able to offer is greatly appreciated. Details of how to offer support can be found on the Donations page of the website.
All donations are received with gratitude