The Festival of the Buddha’s Birth
It was lovely to have so many people join our online celebration of Wesak, the Festival of the Buddha’s Birth, on Saturday the 9th of May. There were 20 of us altogether and we started the morning with two meditation periods, with walking meditation in between. For the festival itself, Rev. Aiden performed the role of celebrant in the temple’s meditation hall in the usual way, and we had a “backing track” which was played so that everyone could join in from where they were. This started with the gongs for the initial candle offering and dedication, followed by the ringdown and signals for the six bows. After these we had a recording of the community at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey reciting the Scripture of Great Wisdom, followed by recordings of the community at Shasta Abbey singing two of the Wesak Invocations, so that we could all join in with those. The reading of the Festival Offertory came next, and then the ceremony ended with six more bows, followed by the three gratitude bows.
The ceremony was followed by a Dharma Talk about some of the teaching that is contained in the story of the Buddha’s Birth, and this was then followed by an opportunity to ask questions and to discuss the issues that were raised.
We hope that you had a joyful Wesak, however and wherever you chose to celebrate it.
Forthcoming Events: The Festival of Manjusri Bodhisattva
On Saturday the 13th of June we will be celebrating the Festival of Manjusri Bodhisattva. Manjusri is the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, usually portrayed holding the Sword of Wisdom that cuts through delusion, and riding “the Beast of Self which never sleeps”. Are we Manjusri or are we the beast? It may seem like we are divided between a good side and a bad side, between clarity and confusion, but we gradually come to see that Manjusri and the beast are not two different things.
When we come to understand the true nature of “self”, we see that the “beast” is what carries and supports Manjusri – and us. The wisdom which Manjusri embodies is not intellectual or conceptual wisdom, but the ability to see ourselves and the whole of existence with clarity. When we see clearly, we understand that we must act in the world in a way that is rooted in compassion for all beings.
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.
Building Project Update
As was mentioned in the previous newsletter, we have now received Building Control approval for our building plans, so we are now in a position to start contacting builders in order to get some quotes for the work.
Our architect gave us a list of building contractors who work on project like ours, and we have contacted each of them and sent them the plans. Several have been to visit the property, and we are now waiting to receive quotes or estimates from them.
We have some funds set aside to help with this work, but it seems likely that the actual cost may well be quite a bit higher than this. Once we have an idea of the sums involved we can start looking into how we might be able to raise the additional funds.
In the April newsletter we mentioned the work on renovating the shed at the bottom of the garden. Although it looks quite good from the front, the plywood cladding on the other three sides was in a very bad state. The different layers of the plywood were separating, rotting, and falling off, with the result that the shed was very damp on the inside.
Work on the outside of the shed is now pretty much complete, with all of the old plywood removed and replaced with tongue-and-groove cladding boards. A concrete footing has also been laid around the bottom of the shed walls, to stop animals from burrowing underneath it.
Below are a couple of before-and-after photos of the back corner of the shed, and the end of the shed that is adjacent to the park. It’s looking a lot better now!
The next step will be to line the inside, and then a lot of the items that are currently stored in the garage can be moved to the shed, in preparation for the building works.
A Big Thank You
Thank you to all those who have continued to support the temple whilst we are closed. This has enabled us to continue covering our costs during the recent months of the lockdown, and is very much appreciated.
Thank you to all those who are so generously supporting the temple through your financial donations and food donations, in addition to the support of your practice.
We look forward to welcoming you back to the temple as soon as we are able to.
The plants in the garden have suddenly come to life with the warm weather during May. The trees have come into leaf, and lots of plants are in flower at the moment too.
Below are some recent photos.
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