This week saw the welcome return of Dharmavidya from Japan, he arrived late Monday evening, just after a lively Sutra Study in which we have been studying some collected writings of Honen. All are welcome to the Study class, Monday at 7.30 at The Buddhist House. It's been wonderful to hear about Dharmavidya's trip, and on Wednesday evening we were treated to a slide show of photographs from the visit - all good community building stuff.
The Thursday evening meditation, chanting and relaxation class continues, and seems to be growing, with another two new members from the local community coming to join us this week. The daily life of running a temple continues, preparing rooms and meals for guests, and making sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. Although the work might at first seem mundane and chore like, when done in a spirit of faith, and love the sacred is revealed even in this.
Yesterday we heard that one of our order members, Joy Marston had suffered from a minor stroke. Susthama will be retuning from France shortly and travelling directly to Joy's in order to provide support. Also Rev. Sujatin from the Newcastle sangha recently broke a foot, we wish them both quick recoveries, and send much love.
The London Sangha is preparing for an Introduction to Pureland Buddhism course which take place at Sukhavati, will be open to the public and will take place on four consecutive Wednesday evenings starting 30 May 07 at 1830. In addition we are continuing with the garden work, with the next stage being to take away the rubbish generated during the clearing work and tidying the front garden too. We are continuing to meet on Wednesday evenings for Pureland practice, and we were delighted to have welcomed Sundari and Bhaktika from Sheffield as guests recently!
We are happy here that Sue's shoulder operation has gone well. Only a week after the operation we managed to have a study group, listening to Dharmavidya's talk on Ananda, a Pureland ancestor. We recently decided not to try to fit study into our regular Monday evening practice but to hold study groups on Saturday mornings at intervals, giving us time to digest and reflect. It was a good start, and a more relaxed and useful way to study. Our thinking also is that keeps the Monday evening welcoming and relaxed, rather than trying to cram too much in. It also keeps it more accessible. Having had recent attendance by people with limited English language we realised the importance of this, and the pleasure of having more time to savour our commonalities and differences around the dinner table. This has also given us the chance to have some time specifically for School members, to talk over any issues or plans.
At City of Sanctuary we have now appointed a development worker, which is very satisfying, and will put City of Sanctuary on a firm footing to continue its work of developing a climate of welcome in Sheffield for asylum seekers and refugees. Bhaktika as Buddhist rep on the Faiths Forum joined in a statement from the city's faith leaders encouraging a high turnout in the local election today to give a real voice and to show that fascism and racism are not supported in the city (a party many of whose candidates are known for racist statements is fielding an unprecedented eight candidates). It may well be the first time in Sheffield that Buddhists have appeared on the political scene at this level. Ray and Sundari have been accepted as members of the Centre for Radical Christianity, and the priest in charge of its church base is interested in meeting us.
The household at 118 has been augmented for the last few weeks by our friend Sudir who returned from India and is living with Bhatika and Sundari for a couple of months. We are much appreciating good mealtime conversation and good cooking!