Those of you who have been at the class for the last six weeks or more will have encountered the smiling face of a new member of our team, Dyotana! Dyotana's name means to shine, illuminate or awaken, and this is certainly an experience I have of Dyotana: that she has a relaxed radiance and openness about her. Dyotana lives in Lancing, and works west of Worthing. I'm so appreciating her presence, and the quiet no nonsense way she has arrived and begun taking initiatives that help things run more smoothly (such as making library labels, and helping keep the attic organised). In addition Dyotana has a straight forward experiential way of teaching that helps us to explore the Dharma for ourselves.
On Saturday the 6th of June we had our last Sangha Saturday, on the theme of metta. We reflected on the theme of compassion, and brought in the beautiful female figure of Green Tara, an archetypal expression of compassion, who sits half in meditation posture, but with one leg stepping down as if into the world. This represents a truth that our engagement with the world needs to come from wisdom, and also that wisdom leads to the desire to step into the world to respond to suffering. Myth has it that Green Tara was born out of the lake of tears shed by Avalokitesvara, the white Buddha, when he looked down upon all the suffering of the world.Dhammannyu and I also brought in the area of needing to find an appropriate response to climate change.
Coming Up! Saturday 18th July, whole day retreat, at Friends Meeting House. We have a visiting teacher, Atulyamati, coming from Colchester (originally Finland!) to lead the day. It will start at 10am and finish at 4.30pm. Atulyamati is an experienced retreat and study leader, having been the chairwoman of the Colchester Buddhist Centre for many years. Bring vegetarian food to share for lunch. Suggested donation £10. Suitable for those who are well versed in the Mindfulness of Breathing, Metta Bhavana and Just Sitting as taught within Triratna. It would be good to get a rough idea of how many are coming, so do email here if you would like to or plan to attend.
. Just to update you in case you didnt know that Abhayadeva suffered the loss of his mother just a fortnight ago, so i am sure those of us who know him will be sending him metta. The other day I popped in to see him in the electric-cigarette shop he is now managing in Shoreham, and he seemed to be bearing up! Being made redundant, diagnosed with borderline diabetes, getting married and losing two parents in less than two years seems to be quite a lot to be getting on with for anybody (he would probably say "careless" :)). Typically he seems to steadily be getting on with things. Anyway, he asked for his love to be passed on to all at the class, and he has appreciated our thoughts
A delightful appearance was made this Thursday by Julie - whom some of you know - and her newborn babe Imogen. It was delightful to see her. Imogen joined us for the Refuges and Precepts, although she seemed slightly non plussed at the start by our singing tones. By the end she had nearly gone to sleep. Julie and Imogen may appear again in this way, so keep your eyes open for sightings (they are unable to stay for the class at present as Imogen requires regular meals).
GREEN TARA TRUST: HELPING NEPAL
I am sure like me you have been distressed to see the awful suffering that the Nepalese people - already some of the poorest in the world - have suffered through the repeated earthquakes. It is hard to know how to help. One very direct way, where you can be sure the money will get directly to the people on the ground, is to donate to the Green Tara Trust, which was started by a GP, Jane Stephens, now called Karunamati (mind of compassion). Karunamati was travelling in Nepal and seeing that many children and young mothers died through lack of childbirth education and medical supplies. She set up the Green Tara trust which now helps hundreds of mothers and babies through education and enabling, and their work has spread from there. They are now also supported by the Karuna Trust, and since the Earthquake have been providing essential basic food, shelter and rebuilding resources. If you would like to know more or support their work, go here
Some people have asked me, so I thought you might be interested in hearing more about my plans for 2016. In my experience life goes in phases. It is a priviledge and delight to be part of the Sangha in Worthing, meeting and getting to know so many unique lovely and sincere people. Worthing has been one of my main forums for teaching and practice over the last ten years or so, for which I am very grateful. I have learned so much. I am amazed at how our Sangha has moved from strength to strength, thinking of the days when only a few of us turned up each week when we first started . And I will continue to be participating with you until October/ November this year, all being well.
Dharma practice seems to evolve in its own way, and evolves for everyone uniquely. On the basis of my practice whilst living here in West Sussex, it feels as if I am being drawn - and have for some time - to enter a more wordless reflective simple and quiet phase (in fact it feels as if this has already begun). My hope and trust is that this will help to deepen into seeing the Dharma more clearly, so that it will be for the benefit of our collective life. For practical reasons I will be moving somewhere where accommodation is cheaper than down here in Southern England, and somewhere not too far from other Order Members.
Until then, I look forward to more months of participating in and sharing this magical field of Triratna Worthing Sangha with you, oh fellow Dharma farers!