March News from SUK
Smile, breathe and go slowly ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Hello Everyone and welcome to those of you who have newly signed up to our newsletters.
As some of you are aware, we look to keep our mailings to a minimum and typically you will receive two per month. One may be quite short to remind you of the next informal chat date and its topic, or a longer one such as this. Our second mailing will then be the zoom link for our chats, which is sent 24 hours prior to the event.
Our informal chats have been supported by a couple of teachers within the UK and going forwards we have more lined up. It is hoped that you will be able to join us at these events, as the conversation that ensues is rich and at times lively. Our group chair had to bring our awareness to the time this month as we were so engrossed as the discussion was flowing and we ran over!
We have made the decision for our longer newsletters to be sent on a quarterly basis.
Here's what you will find in this bumper offering:
Do let us know if there's anything you wish to see us cover or any queries you have regarding your interest and practice of the Dharma within the UK.
- Anicca / Impermanence
- Death & Dying
- The BEP Buddhist Embroidery Project
- meet Claire from SUK Development Group
- Arts for World Peace
on behalf of SUK
My Preceptor Venerable Narada Maha Thera (1898-1983) (who gave me the Five Precepts (panca sila) in Sri Lanka in 1975) on page 267 of his book The Buddha and His Teachings quotes from the Anguttara Nikaya
"Whether the Tathagatas appear or not, O bhikkhus, it remains a fact, an established principle, a natural law that all conditioned things are transient (anicca), sorrowful (dukkha) and that everything is soulless (anatta). This fact the Tathagata realises, understands and when he has realised and understood it, announces, teaches, proclaims, establishes, discloses, analyses, and makes it clear, that all conditioned things are transient, sorrowful, and that everything is soulless." (Anguttara Nikaya Part 1, page 28) [read more]
This month's (March) informal chat was on Impermanence and we have it's sister topic, Death and Dying planned for 6th April.
There has been more focus on this topic over the years, seeing death cafés (in person and online), serve as a wonderful way for people to talk openly on this topic, which can oftentimes be highly charged. Discussions can be thought-provoking and life-affirming. More a way of helping people make the most of life / living. (They are not counselling sessions).
Within Dharma teaching, death is a large topic and sits within Impermanence. From 'The Torch of Certainty' (Jamgon Kongtrul, pp.36-37) we have various contemplations:
- "think that many other people have died"
- "think repeatedly of the many circumstances which might cause death"
- "meditate on what will happen at the hour of death"
- "think about what happens after death"
We hope you will be able to join us to chat more on this area of life. As always, our chats are very relaxed, open and informal.
In addition, a couple of us are considering whether to have a separate ongoing group around this topic and for want of a better description - a death café approach.
If this would be of interest to you, please let us know by sending an email
The BEP Buddhist Embroidery Project was started by attendees of the London Buddhist Vihara (Monastery) in 1994. The BEP decided to teach embroidery to people who had not learnt it in childhood. The late Venerable Apparakke Jinaratana, a Theravada Buddhist Bhikkhu (monk), who lived in a cave in Sri Lanka, near a very poor village, was using very old newspapers (supplied by villagers) as tablecloths ... [read more]
(Photos of this wonderful project can be seen at the end of the newsletter)
Claire: "I first encountered Buddhism at the age of 15 - finding a glossy book on Tibet in the travel section of the library. The rich colours were a feast to my eyes, as was this mysterious sounding place - Tibet ... [read more]
Our regular poet and development group member Wendy, has offered this wonderful peaceful protest project for Ukraine and all conflict zones.
We hope that you will be inspired.
The Peace Igloo
During the Iraq War and following a heavy snowfall in England, I built an igloo in my garden and placed objects on it and photographed it at different stages up to its dissolution, and dedicated it as ‘Art for Peace,’ in the hope that by the very act of doing it, it would create a peaceful space, in this world of conflict. There is a narrative attached explaining how the igloo and it parts demonstrate the interdependence of the world and not to destroy the very people and places that we are all dependent upon...[read more]