This page has the temple's most recent newsletters.
Please see the full list in the sidebar for older issues.
Redecorating the Meditation Hall
We are very pleased that the redecoration of the Meditation Hall is now complete, and a picture showing the room before and after all of the building work and redecoration is shown below.
You can see that the doorway to the kitchen on the left-hand side has been blocked up, and the patio doors in the right-hand corner have been converted to a window, with an additional radiator in front of it. We have also changed the direction of the stairs, which no longer go up from the back of the hall.
All of these changes have made a big difference to the feel of the Meditation Hall, as we now don’t need to go through it in order to get to other rooms. We are pleased that it has been completed in time to welcome visitors back to the temple, hopefully from July the 19th.
Now that the Meditation Hall is in use again we have started decorating the new entryway and WCs, and hopefully much of this will be done by the time we re-open as well.
Welcoming visitors back to the temple
At the time of writing we are expecting the restrictions on meeting indoors to be lifted, along with many other restrictions, on the 19th of July. Assuming that these changes go ahead as expected we will start to have some "in-person" meetings from then.
Sangha members will still be able to attend all events via zoom, and morning meditation and morning service will continue to be zoom-only events.
Whilst the prevalence of the virus is still quite high, and whilst there is still quite a bit of redecoration work to do at the temple, weekend events will continue to follow the same pattern as before, with a festival morning and precepts morning each month, and with meditation mornings each Sunday. Hopefully we will be able to add more weekend events in coming months.
Initially, events will just be for those who already have a connection with the temple, including those who have been joining our zoom meetings, and they won't be advertised on the website for now. Once we get used to having in-person events again, and once we see the effect of the lifting of restrictions, we will hopefully be able to start having introductory events again.
Forthcoming Events: The Festival of Great Master Dōgen
On Saturday the 3rd of July we will be celebrating the Festival of Great Master Dōgen. Great Master Dōgen was a thirteenth century Japanese monk. 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. I hope you will be able to join us, and full details will be sent out by email to Lay Sangha members prior to the festival.
Some recent photos of the garden
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
Redecorating the Common Room
We are very pleased that the redecoration of the Common Room is now complete, and a picture showing the room before and after all of the building work and redecoration is shown below.
The Festival of the Buddha’s Birth
At this time of year we would normally be welcoming people to the temple to celebrate Wesak, the Festival of the Buddha’s Birth. Unfortunately, we will again not be able to meet in person this year, but on Saturday the 8th of May 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 during the coming week.
We hope that you have a joyful Wesak, however and wherever you choose to celebrate it.
Completion of the Building Work
March the 26th was the date by which the builders had agreed to complete all the work on the property, and we are very happy to report that all of the building work was successfully done by then. There was still a bit of plumbing work to finish off after that, but that has now been done too, and we hope to get our completion certificate fairly soon.
Progress with the Building Work
The building work has continued to progress rapidly during February, and most of the work downstairs is now complete. Below is a photo showing the front of the property before and after the porch was constructed, and you can see that we now have the new front door, with a ramp in front of it to give easy access. The upstairs windows have also been replaced.
Progress with the Building Work
There has been a lot of progress on the building work in the last month, with the builders returning in early January and finishing off the roof of the porch. The new windows were installed on the 14th, and the photo below shows the porch in late January.
Events on New Year’s Eve
On New Year’s Eve we will be holding the traditional New Year’s Eve Festival, starting with meditation at 7.30pm. Unfortunately we won’t be able to meet in person for the ceremony this year, but we will be holding it via zoom.
Wishing you all a very merry festive season and best wishes for 2021.
Thank you all for your support during this past year, which is very much appreciated.
Festival of the Buddha's Enlightenment
The understanding that the Buddha came to during his enlightenment is the basis for the whole of Buddhist practice, and on Saturday the 5th of December we will be celebrating the Festival of the Buddha's Enlightenment to mark this important event in the life of the Buddha.
Update on the Temple’s Building Project
Those of you who are in regular contact with the temple, or who have been following its progress in the newsletter, will know that we have been planning for some time to carry out some building work on the temple building. At a meeting of the temple charity’s trustees in early October, we decided on a firm of builders to carry out the work, and they hope to be able to start before the end of November.
Forthcoming Events: Festival of Kshtigarbha Bodhisattva
On Saturday the 3rd of October we will be celebrating the Festival of Kshtigarbha Bodhisattva. Kshtigarbha is usually depicted as a monk, carrying a staff and a “wish-fulfilling jewel”, and symbolises gentleness and the importance of offering.
It is traditional to make offerings of stones to Kshtigarbha; when we truly give ourselves to practice we find that this “ordinary pebble” we have offered, is in fact a precious stone. Anyone joining the ceremony is invited to have a small stone with them to offer during the ceremony.
Forthcoming Events: Festival of Great Master Bodhidharma
On Saturday the 5th of September we will be celebrating the Festival of Great Master Bodhidharma. Bodhidharma is an important figure within Zen, as he is credited with bringing the meditation school of Buddhism from India to China. His emphasis on “pure meditation”, and the need to spend time “just sitting” facing a wall, are still central to our tradition. This festival is an opportunity to celebrate the life of Bodhidharma and to focus on some of his important teachings.
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.
Following the government’s recent announcement about the relaxation of the lockdown rules, it will be possible for people to visit the temple individually again from the 4th of July.
Places of worship can reopen for services from then, 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 from the 4th of July, people from any two households can meet indoors at one time, and up to six people from different households can meet outdoors.
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.
Wishing you all a very happy Wesak
At this time of year we would normally be welcoming people to the temple to celebrate Wesak, the Festival of the Buddha’s Birth. Unfortunately, we will not be able to meet in person this year, due to the coronavirus restrictions, but on Saturday the 9th of May 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 during the coming week.
These are difficult and challenging times for all of us, and we hope that this newsletter finds you well.
As many of you already know, the temple has been closed since mid-March, due to the coronavirus restrictions, and we will be staying closed to all visitors until further notice. Scheduled events have been cancelled, and we are also closed to people coming individually to the temple.Continue reading →
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.
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”.