Festival of Avalokiteshwara Bodhisattva
On Saturday the 1st 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 Thursday the 13th of February we will be celebrating the Festival of the Buddha’s Parinirvana. as part of our regular Thursday Basic Buddhism Evening. This festival commemorates the death of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, who lived 2,500 years ago and is the founder of Buddhism.
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 just over a week at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey during their January retreat time. The weather was fairly mild, with a couple of very stormy days with winds of about 60mph. There was just one morning of snow, but this melted fairly quickly.
The photos below show a view of the courtyard on two consecutive days. The monks’ Meditation Hall is on the left, with the Ceremony Hall beyond, and the Abbot’s House on the right.
It was very nice to be able to catch up with members of the monastic community, and especially with Rev. Master Daishin. The January retreat period is also an excellent opportunity for a period of reflection and contemplation, away from the schedule of regular events that I am usually involved in at the temple.
Building Alteration Plans
Below are a couple of drawings showing some of the main changes that we would like to make to the building. The upper drawing shows the front door and the entrance hall, as well as parts of the Common Room (marked family room), Meditation Hall (marked Lounge) and kitchen, and the downstairs shower room – the wet room.
The lower drawing shows the proposed plan. The main feature is the added porch, with the wet room incorporated into this. The existing door will be the way through to the kitchen, and the doors from the kitchen to the Meditation Hall will be blocked up. The porch will also have two WCs, and the direction of the stairs will be reversed, so that the foot of the stairs is opposite the existing front door.
We hope to hear the outcome of our planning application in Mid-February. We currently have sufficient funds to carry out the first phase of the work, but we also hope to raise some additional funds in order to complete it.
Cleaning the Temple Roof
The roof of the single-story section of the temple is in the shade of the large trees in the adjacent park, and as a result a large amount of moss and other debris collects on it. The moss holds a lot of water, which adds to the weight that the roof timbers must carry. It also tends to eat into the roof tiles, and has needed cleaning off since we moved in nearly two years ago.
In November and December we managed to have a go at cleaning the roof, and the photo below shows Rev. Aiden sweeping the front part of it, above the garage. We had many buckets full of sweepings to get rid of, and thank you to Max for helping with the whole project (and for taking the photo!).
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
- peanuts or other nuts
- fresh fruit and vegetables (except garlic or peppers)
- dried herbs
- cheese, eggs and yoghurt
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.
All donations are received with gratitude