Festival of the Buddha’s Renunciation
On Saturday the 14th of March we will be celebrating the Festival of the Buddha’s Renunciation. Renunciation, or letting go, lies at the heart of all Buddhist practice, and the story of the Buddha’s Renunciation is a way of conveying the importance of this aspect of training. This festival day will focus on renunciation and letting go, and how we express this within our daily life.
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.
For other events in March, please see the events calendar.
New Bowing Seat
Towards the end of last year we were offered a Bowing Seat for our Meditation Hall by Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey. We are grateful to Throssel for offering it, and also to those who kindly helped transport it to the temple.
Those of you who have been to Throssel or to other OBC temples will know that a Meditation Hall or Ceremony Hall has a large mat at the centre called the Bowing Seat, which is used by the celebrant for ceremonies. It provides a focal point in the middle of the room, and points towards the main altar, which is of course the main focus of the room. We haven’t had a Bowing Seat for the last five plus years, so it is very nice to have one.
When we enter a Meditation Hall, the traditional way to walk around it to get to our meditation place is to walk in straight lines around the sides of the hall, with hands in the walking meditation ‘clasped hands’ position, rather than, for example, cutting across it diagonally. At our previous property the room was too small for this to be practical, or to even make sense, and we haven’t emphasised this aspect up until now. Now that we have the Bowing Seat in place, however, it is a good opportunity for us to follow this way of walking around the hall.
We don’t step on, or over, the Bowing Seat when walking around the hall, and we also don’t cross the hall between the Bowing Seat and the altar. This includes when someone is a chaplain for a ceremony; in this case, after handing the candle to the celebrant, the chaplain can go back behind the Bowing Seat to their starting place, and then back to their standing/sitting place, or go behind the altar back to their place.
This may sound like a lot of detail when written down, but it is much more straightforward in practice, and helps us to maintain the sense of stillness and meditation as we move around the hall.
Preparations for Spring
Our geranium plant in the Common Room is in it’s seventh year with the temple, which is very impressive. It has been growing very luxuriantly, even flowering throughout the winter.
It needs cutting back each year so that it doesn’t overload it’s roots, or take up too much space, and we hope it will bounce back again to provide us with colour and vibrancy throughout the year.
Update on Recent Steering Morning
On Saturday the 8th of February we had a Steering Morning at the temple, and the main things that we discussed were the temple finances and the plans for alterations to the buildings.
Support of the temple from regular donations by standing order has remained steady over recent months, which we are very grateful for. Guest Donations placed in the temple’s alms bowl have also been fairly consistent over the winter, which is good considering that the temple was closed for part of December and January.
As a result, our core cash incomings and outgoings have only been about £75 in the red over recent months. The graph below shows this “net core incomings”, month by month.
The temple also has other income (including from chaplaincy and outside events such as school visits) so overall we have broken even each month, but the “net core incomings” is an important indicator of the underlying health of the temple’s finances. It is nice to see the trend improving over time, and hopefully we will get closer to breaking even in future months, particularly when heating costs go down as the weather warms.
There is much more information, and many more graphs, on the finances page of the temple website.
Thank you to all those who are so generously supporting the temple through your standing orders, donations in the alms bowl, food donations and other donations in kind, in addition to the support of your practice.
Plans for alterations
We discussed various issues relating to the building works, and looked at the plans. The steering meeting was held before the date that the council planned to give us a decision on our planning application, but we have since heard that that has been approved.
The next steering morning will be on Saturday the 11th of April. Please do get in touch if you have any questions or comments about any of this, or anything else related to the temple.
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