Newsletter, 7th September, 2015

One Month Down…

It’s been quite a busy start to the annual three month Rains Retreat. Two weekends ago Luangpor led an Angulimala Workshop. There was a good turn out, with Prison Chaplains from the major Buddhist traditions coming from all corners of the country to meet, discuss prison matters, and collect supplies. In the week prior to that Luangpor paid one of his regular visits to the Isle of Wight prisons, teaching the inmates and providing them with books, meditation beads and Buddha images.

As for Luangpor’s search for a new driver, we have good news: Douglas has very kindly offered his services and will be starting this week. He will be staying with us three nights of the week and driving Luangpor on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
In mid-August Luangpor chaired a TBSUK meeting at the Thai Temple in King’s Bromley. Theravada monks from many temples in England, including Amaravati and Wat Santiwongsaram, met to discuss Sangha matters. One important thing worth noting is that TBSUK is in the process of compiling a formal database of all fully-ordained Theravada monks in the UK.
A new kuti has just been erected at Bhavana Dhamma. It will provide us with more accommodation for the retreats, and give the residents a little more simplicity and space when they need it. We built it from scratch with the help of Andy; and many others who happened to be staying lent a hand painting, cutting and nailing.

Just before the Rains Retreat began, Ajahn Manapo spent 8 days walking around the Peak District on tudong – meaning he carried neither food nor money – relying solely on people’s generosity. He survived to tell the tale, and reported that it had been an inspiring, if thoroughly challenging, experience.

Bhavana Dhamma Retreats

The monthly retreats at Bhavana Dhamma are going very well. A group of nine intrepid meditators were led by Ajahn Manapo on a 7 day retreat in mid-August. It was a very international gathering, with Thailand, China, Spain and Scotland represented. There was even a smattering of English people, too. Periods of walking and sitting meditation dominated the daily routine and noble silence was maintained throughout. Ajahn Manapo gave a Dhamma talk every morning and evening – the morning talks focussing on practical aspects of meditation and mindfulness, and the evening talks on cultivating the Ten Perfections.

The dates for the upcoming retreats are as follows:
18 – 20 September
23 – 25 October
20 – 22 November
29 December – 2 January 2016

The September retreat is full, but there are still spaces available on the others. You can find out more here.

Retreat Help Needed

The retreats are made possible through the generosity of many people, not least those who come in and cook. We’re very grateful to Aung and Aye, Sarah, Trish, Kanlaya, and Anne for providing the food during the last retreat.

If you think you might be able to help cook for a retreat, or bring in some food to contribute, please get in touch. As only one meal a day is served there are just two meals to provide on a weekend retreat (Saturday and Sunday), both at 11 am. We have plenty of food here, including rice, curries, vegetables, Quorn products, bread, sweets, etc. which can be used.

Please email us or call 01926 624564 if you’d like to help.

Buddhist Sunday School

We’re pleased to announce a new addition to our calendar: a monthly Buddhist Sunday School. We have a core group of keen Sri Lankans who requested that we start one, and so that’s just what we going to do! As for the age range, no younger than 6 or older than 16 is what we recommend, though that’s just a rough guide. Ajahn Manapo will lead them, and as he has 13 years worth of experience teaching school children of all ages about Buddhism we think the classes will be worthwhile.

Children of all nationalities are welcome, and no prior experience or knowledge of Buddhism is required. Classes will last for about an hour, during which time Ajahn Manapo will talk about a particular topic, answer questions, and lead a meditation sitting. If the weather’s good they’ll look at the grounds, too.

The first Sunday School class will take place on Sunday 13th September(this weekend), beginning at 12:30 pm. We will then hold one a month. Dates to follow.

Damsons in Distress

Yes, we have many damsons about to fall to the earth. We also have bushes chock full of blackberries and trees laden with plums and apples. If you would like to come early to a sitting, or at another time, to pick some, please do. You could use the fruit to make crumbles, jams, etc. for the monastery, as well as keeping some for yourself.