Festival of Avalokiteshwara Bodhisattva
On Saturday the 2nd of February we will be celebrating the Festival of Avalokiteshwara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. The name Avalokiteshwara is Sanskrit (Japanese: Kanzeon, Chinese: Kwan Yin, Tibetan: Chenrezig), and means “The one who hears the cries of the world”. To live with compassion is to hear the cries of suffering within ourselves and within all beings, and to be willing to respond, and the festival day will focus on this centrally important aspect of Buddhist practice.
During the festival, a wide variety of different images of Avalokiteshwara are placed around the walls of the meditation hall, and we circumambulate the hall and bow to each image as we pass it. This symbolises the fact that compassion can appear in many different forms, sometimes in a way that we least expect, and that if we want to know stability and contentment in our lives we must accept, and bow to, all these different appearances of the nature of reality. This is one way in which we ourselves express compassion for all living things.
The day will start at 10am with a meditation period, followed by the ceremony. After the ceremony there will be a Dharma talk, and at about 1pm there will be a bring-and-share vegetarian lunch. In the afternoon there will be two periods of meditation from 2pm, followed by a Dharma discussion and tea. You are welcome to come for any part of the day.
Festival of the Buddha’s Parinirvana
On the evening of Friday the 15th of February we will be celebrating the Festival of the Buddha’s Parinirvana. This festival commemorates the death, and entry into boundless meditation, of Shakyamuni Buddha. As we recite the Scripture of Great Wisdom, all the lights in the meditation hall are extinguished, one by one, except for a single light in the Founders Shrine. As the scripture continues, we make the wish for the Light of Buddha to return to the world.
The light is then brought back from the Founders Shrine into the rest of the hall, and we recite the Adoration of the Buddha's Relics and the Scripture on the Immeasurable Life of the Tathagata in celebration of the ongoing life of Buddha, and the way of ceaseless practice.
The Light of Buddha is seen in the world whenever we give rise to the sincere wish to live in harmony with what is true, and to find the end of suffering for ourselves and for all beings.
The evening will start at 7.30pm with a meditation period. We will then have the festival, with a short rehearsal beforehand, and after the ceremony there will be another meditation period, followed by tea and biscuits, ending at 9.30pm.
For other events in February, please see the events calendar.
Visit to Throssel in January
It was lovely to be able to spend ten days at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey during the January retreat time. The weather was mostly fairly mild and quite still, which is unusual for January, and it was nice to be able to have some walks around the property and along the valley, especially when it was sunny.
It was very nice to be able to talk with Rev. Master Daishin, who recently announced that he will be retiring as Abbot of Throssel, and to catch up with members of the monastic community as they prepare for the upcoming abbatical election.
Peter Galbraith's grave at Throssel
Below is a photo of Peter Galbraith's grave at Throssel, and also a closer view of his gravestone. For those who didn't know Peter, he was a member of the Leicester group for many years, and died at a care home in Nottingham last July. Rev. Alicia and I conducted his funeral in mid-August, and he was buried at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey a week later. The natural stone grave marker fits in well with the wooded surroundings.
A New Painting
We recently received a very kind donation of an original water-colour painting of the Sange Shrine at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey, painted by Kevin, who is a member of the Leicester Sangha. It is currently hanging in the Common Room, and I hope you will have a look at it when you next visit, as the photo doesn't do it justice.
In case you haven't seen this shrine at Throssel, which is in a secluded spot by a waterfall at the far side of the property, here are a couple of photos of it:
Alms Bowl Requests
Thank you to all those who have donated items to the temple. We are very grateful for donations of any household or other items that the temple might be able to use. Please contact Rev. Aiden if you have an item to offer but are not sure whether it would be useful.
Donations of Food
Offering food is a traditional way to support a monk, and all donations of vegetarian food are most welcome. In particular:
- porridge oats
- peanut butter
- peanuts or other nuts
- fresh fruit and vegetables (except garlic or peppers)
- dried herbs
- yoghurt and eggs
- brown rice and pasta
Any other suitable items would also be appreciated.
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.