This page has the temple's most recent newsletters.
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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.
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.
Continuing our practice throughout lockdown
With the winter months approaching, it doesn't look likely that the restrictions relating to households will be eased for some time. In the meantime we continue to meet together via zoom, and in addition to our regular events there will be some additional events in October.
On Sundays we will have Meditation Mornings throughout the month, from 10am to 12.30pm. These will consist of two double periods of meditation starting at 10am and 11.30am. There is also the possibility of doing morning service after the first period, at about 10.30am, but we will wait and see who comes along, and what those who are there would like to do. We will still have morning meditation and the Kanzeon Ceremony via zoom from 7.30-8.30am on Sundays. We will also have another zoom social on the afternoon of the 10th.
Summary of our recent Steering Morning
On Saturday the 12th of September we had a Steering Morning over zoom, and Rev. Aiden gave an update on the temple's finances, as well as where we are with the building work.
Despite the temple having been closed since mid-March, we have managed to cover our expenses each month thanks to the generous support of Sangha members.
We have not received any Guest Donations in the alms bowl during this time of course, but a number of people have kindly dropped off donations at the temple, and others have made donations either online or by cheque. As these are in lieu of putting donations in the alms bowl they have been included as Guest Donations, and as a result, the income from Guest donations has been fairly steady over the lockdown period, and in fact slightly higher than the preceding winter months. A number of people have also kindly increased their Standing Orders, or set up new ones, which is also a great help.
The graph below shows our core incomings and outgoings each month, and you can see that our outgoings (the red line) increased significantly in April 2018 as we started making mortgage repayments. They have also been a bit higher in recent months, as the temple has had to spend more on food, as donations of food have of course been lower.
Our core incomings (the dark green line) vary quite a bit, but have held up well in recent months, although they are still less than the outgoings. However, when the income the temple receives from prison visiting is included, our incomings are as shown by the light green line. With this additional income they are greater than the outgoings each month, so that we have been covering our core costs.
This graph shows how much the temple's cash incomings vary from month to month, as well as how narrow the margin can be in some months.
Thank you to all those who are so generously supporting the temple through your online, cheque or cash donations, standing orders, food donations and other donations in kind, in addition to the support of your practice.
There is much more information, and more graphs, on the finances page of the temple website.
Over the summer we have been getting quotes from builders, but it has been rather a slow process due to all the restrictions. We have now narrowed it down to a couple of builders, and it looks like the cost, including VAT, will be in the range £73,000 to £83,000. This includes building a porch at the front, replacing the stairs so that they go up from the entry hall, converting the garage into rooms, and dividing the upstairs bathroom into two shower rooms, plus some smaller changes.
The scope of the work is wider than our initial plan of just the porch and stairs, but will substantially improve the temple and allow it to function much more smoothly. The garage would be affected by the porch work anyway, as the porch would partly obscure its front door, and doing the other work at the same time would minimise the inevitable disruption that building work causes.
At the moment we have about £32,000 saved, some of which we specifically held back when we bought the property. That leaves us about £40,000 to £50,000 short, although we have been offered a long term interest-free loan which will go some way to closing the gap. We will also apply to a grant-giving charity who kindly supported us with a grant when we bought the property.
We probably need to raise another £10,000 to £20,000 in order to be sure that we can carry out the work.
We realise that these are difficult times in which to be trying to raise money for a project, but if you felt able to help the temple with a donation or interest-free loan of any amount, that would be very much appreciated.
If we don't have sufficient funds, it would certainly be possible to do just part of the project initially. However, the overall cost would definitely be higher if we did it in stages, and if we can have the work done whilst we are forced to be closed anyway, due to the coronavirus restrictions, that would be very helpful.
If by any chance we raise more than needed, any extra will be used for the general purposes of the temple (and there will also be carpets and furniture etc. to buy).
If you feel able to help in any way, that would be greatly appreciated.
Some photos of the temple
First a picture of the garden in mid-September. By the end of the month the lower sun means that almost all of the lawn is now in shadow for most of the day.
And then a photo in the Common Room, showing the Bodhi Tree which is by the front bay window. It is flourishing this year, after having been treated for spider mite earlier in the year, and is now taking up much of the bay.
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
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”.
Events on New Year's Eve
On New Year's Eve we will be holding the traditional New Year’s Eve Ceremony, starting with meditation at 7.30pm.
During the ceremony we recite the Scripture of Great Wisdom, and a ceremonial copy of the scripture arranged in a fanfold design is "revolved", symbolically showing it and offering it in all directions. After this we all drink a glass of celebratory New Year juice together, making a wish for the peace and prosperity of the temple and the Sangha during the coming year.Continue reading →
Wishing you all a very merry festive season and best wishes for 2020.
Thank you all for your support during this past year, which is very much appreciated.
Festival of the Buddha’s Enlightenment
and Fifth Anniversary Celebration
The understanding that the Buddha came to during his enlightenment is the basis for the whole of Buddhist practice, and on Saturday the 7th of December we will be celebrating the Festival of the Buddha’s Enlightenment to mark this important event in the life of the Buddha.
Festival of Founders Day
On Saturday the 2nd of November we will be celebrating the Festival of Founders Day. This festival is an opportunity to offer our gratitude for the life and practice of all those who have practised Buddhism, from the far distant past to the present day. In particular we celebrate those in our own lineage who have passed on the teaching from generation to generation for over 2500 years, and are the founders of this temple. These include Rev. Master Jiyu (the founder of our order), her master Koho Zenji, Great Master Dōgen(1200-1253) and Great Master Keizan (1268-1325).
Monastic Gathering at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey
As many of you know, Turning Wheel Buddhist Temple is part of a larger organisation, the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives (OBC), which is an umbrella organisation for monks and temples in the lineage of Rev. Master Jiyu Kennett. The order has temples in the US, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands, as well as here in the UK. With such a wide geographic spread it is important that we meet together regularly, and we currently have monastic gatherings every other year, with the venue alternating between the UK and the US.
Recent Trustees’ Meeting
On the 24th of August we had a meeting of the charity’s trustees, with Rev. Alicia from Sitting Buddha Hermitage joining local lay Sangha trustees and Rev. Aiden for the day.
Festival of Great Master Dōgen
On Saturday the 10th of August we will be celebrating the Festival of Great Master Dōgen. Dōgen was a thirteenth century Japanese monk, and 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.
Festival of Achalanatha Bodhisattva
On Saturday the 13th of July we will be celebrating the Festival of Achalanatha Bodhisattva. Achalanatha, the "Immovable One", represents commitment and determination in Buddhist practice. Achalanatha is portrayed sitting in meditation amidst the flames of the passions, and is not driven away from the place of meditation by them, however much they seem to burn. Achalanatha holds the Sword of Wisdom to cut through delusion, and offers us the rope of the Buddhist Precepts. To begin with this may seem like it constricts us, but when we look more closely we see that it liberates us.
The Festival of Kshtigarbha Bodhisattva
On Saturday the 8th of June 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.
The Festival of the Buddha's Birth
We will be celebrating Wesak at the temple on Saturday the 11th of May. Everyone is cordially invited to come and celebrate the Buddha’s birth with us on this festive day, and you are very welcome to bring family and friends along to see the temple and join in as well.