Dear <<First Name>>,
Happy belated New Year greetings!
I hope you are well and that the new year provides an occasion to pause, breathe and reflect upon some of the things you have been grateful for in 2020. Looking back, we may recall a kind word or deed that lifted our spirits at a time when we were low, or perhaps recognise qualities that we have developed or strengthened within. Whilst entering a new year cannot in and of itself be a cause for change, it can invite us to lay down burdens or patterns that no longer serve ourselves or others and ask: "What do I truly wish to bring forth ~ into the world, into my life and into this moment right now?"
I had hoped to send this letter out a little closer the start of the year; however I have been fully engaged with teaching and only just finished organising the retreats and talks I am sharing with you here! We also welcomed some new volunteers to our organically-growing team and are delighted to have Ishani (as a second bookkeeper), Sue (as a new trustee), Madhu (in admin), and Reny, Leonie and Shirley, as additional co-hosts for Zoom Bhikkhuni! Thanks to all those who wrote in to us about the latter ~ we will definitely engage more of you as we go.
In this letter then, you will find Ajahn Brahmali's Jan 16th talk ~ and his 8-day May retreat (assisted by me, Ven Canda), several day retreats with me and Ajahn Brahm, my New Year Retreat videos, and news of an exquisite hibiscus wood statue that has been offered to Anukampa, of the Venerable Arahati Patacara Theri, (an enlightened bhikkhuni in the Buddha's day), along with the story of her Awakening. So, get a cup of tea, sit back, and enjoy!
Next Up: "The View That Frees"
Ajahn Brahmali, Sat 16th Jan: 12 - 1.30 pm GMT
We are in for a special treat this Saturday, as Ajahn Brahmali, one of our great Teachers and right hand monk to Ajahn Brahm, has kindly agreed to teach a Zoom session for us! If you are considering registering for his long retreat (found further below), this is a nice taster of his teaching style, characterised by clarity, wisdom and joy.
Here is the talk description:
All of us hold views based on our conditioning, which then reinforce our perceptions and thoughts, essentially creating our world. Buddhist practice is about learning how to steer our mind away from suffering and in the direction of freedom - whether inside or outside of meditation - and gradually align our views with the way things are.
Right view at the preliminary level is the foundation of the path and helps guide our intentions and behaviour in wholesome ways, gradually making deep meditation both possible and productive of liberating insight. Once we penetrate the Four Noble Truths, our view of reality becomes perfected and forms the basis for the successive stages of liberation.
In this talk, Ajahn Brahmali will define right (and wrong!) view and help us understand how views come about. He will show how we can develop right view to inform and empower our meditation, freeing our minds from the five hindrances - and eventually freeing ourselves from all erroneous views, to experience a peace beyond the conditioned world.
N.B This event does not require registration, but you will need to be signed in to your personal zoom account to access the meetings. Aim to arrive 15 minutes early to be sure to get in! Please refer to our easy guidelines here.
Meeting Password: 400866
~For security reasons please don't share links on social media, but instead refer people to our website :-)
Regular - and Novel - Zoomi Bhikkhuni Teachings!
(January to March)
This February I was due to join a retreat at the Forest Refuge in Massachusetts and instead will spend a month solitary retreat in our Oxford Bhikkhuni Residence. Aware that our Dhamma sessions provide a joyous occasion to gain support, inspiration and even life-changing insights through the Buddha's teachings, I asked Lia, a regular participant from Italy, to facilitate Sunday's "Delving Deeper in Dhamma" sessions, as a peer-led group. I feel incredibly grateful to her for agreeing to serve in this way and know you are in very good hands, so do come along if you can!
Lia says: "The idea is to meet on Zoom on 7th and 21st February and sit in silence for about twenty minutes, then play one of Venerable Canda or Ajahn Brahm's past talks. We can then open the floor for anyone who wishes to share feedback or thoughts and maybe even have some breakout rooms if you feel up for it. I am sure that I speak for many of us when I say that I find the group very supportive and I enjoy the group meditations, so in this way we could support each other, hold the space whilst Venerable is away, and strengthen our little community."
Delving Deeply Into Dhamma (every 1st and 3rd Sunday)
Next Meeting: Sun Jan 17th, (then *two peer-led sessions on Feb 7th & 21st), then 7th & 21st March, 7.30 - 9pm GMT
Meeting password: 675909&9
Pali Chanting & Blessings Group (every Wednesday)
Every Wednesday of Jan & March (*no sessions in Feb), 5.30 - 6pm GMT
Meeting password: 364195%L
Guided Metta & Sharing Group (usually every 2nd and 4th Saturday)
~Please note that this month, the metta session originally scheduled for 23rd Jan will be replaced by a day retreat for Oxford Insight (see below). Instead, there will be #an extra, bonus session on 30th Jan, before we resume on 2nd and 4th Saturday in March.
Next Meeting: #bonus session - Sat 30th Jan, (*no sessions in Feb), then 13th & 27th March, 9 - 10 am GMT
Meeting password: 01140!$M
This list of dates is also found at: www.anukampaproject.org/events
N.B You will need to be signed in to your personal zoom account to access the meetings. Please refer to our easy guidelines here.
~For security reasons please don't share links on social media, but instead refer people to our website :-)
Recently flooded Christchurch Meadows, near Anukampa Bhikkhuni Residence, by Lawanya
Three Upcoming One-Day Retreats:
~ with both Ven Canda and Ajahn Brahm!
1. "Rejoicing in Mudita" Ven Canda: Sat, Jan 23rd: 9.30 - 16.30 GMT, for Oxford Insight
To support ourselves and others, and remain balanced in challenging times, the Buddha gave us the practice of muditā (sympathetic joy). As one of the brahmavihārās (divine abodes), it encourages the celebration of happiness, success, freedom and joy, of others as well as inside oneself. Learning how to do this nurtures and inspires us, making it easier to tap into feelings of compassion, kindness and even love, also when faced with suffering.
On this retreat Ven. Candā will offer different ways to recognise, cultivate and celebrate our inherent goodness, and explore how focussing on the goodness of life as a path to our own happiness also contributes to the happiness of all sentient beings. The day will include sitting and walking meditation, Dhamma talks and Q&A. Register here
2. "Power Mindfulness" Ven Canda: Sat, March 20th: 9.30 - 5pm GMT, for Bristol Insight ~ N.B. this is extremely likely to be moved online!
Mindfulness has many benefits to our health and wellbeing. Looking at mindfulness in the context of the Buddha’s teachings, opens up the path to experiencing its full power and how it awakens our potential as human beings.
The mind becomes empowered through letting it settle in stillness. This day retreat will show how to truly rest our mind and explore mindfulness at a deeper level. Ven. Candā will teach how to overcome the hindrances that prevent our active mind from calming down and how we can redirect our energy to supercharge our innate wisdom and sense of happiness.
The day will include periods of sitting and walking meditation, Dhamma reflections and an opportunity for Q&A. Register here
3. "The Calm In The Eye Of The Storm" Ajahn Brahm & Ven Canda: Thurs 25th March, 8.30 am - 5pm GMT
In this day retreat, organised by Anukampa, Ajahn Brahm shows us how we can build a reservoir of freedom and peace within, even when everything is chaos on the outside. Ven Canda will also offer reflections, meditation instructions and further exploration of the theme, in her afternoon sessions.
The day will be filled with warmth, humour and practical tips for developing the mind, using personal anecdotes, teachings from the Early Buddhist Texts, and group discussion.
The tentative schedule is as follows (UK/GMT times shown):
08:30 - 10:00 am Dhamma talk and meditation ~ Ajahn Brahm
10:00 - 10:30 am Walking meditation
12:30 - 02:00 pm Guided meditation and Q&A ~ Ajahn Brahm
02:00 - 02:30 pm Walking meditation
02:30 - 03:00 pm Silent meditation ~ Ven Canda
03:00 - 03:15 pm Tea break
03:15 - 04:30 pm Dhamma talk and Q&A ~ Ven Canda
04:30 - 05:00 pm Guided Metta meditation & closing words ~ Ven Canda
*Please note that full time attendance is necessary for this retreat and it will therefore work best for people in European time zones. For those only wishing to come for part of the retreat, please watch via Facebook livestream or after we upload the videos to our YouTube channel.
Full time participants can register here!
A New Arrival At Our Oxford Bhikhuni Residence!
~Lessons from Ven Patacara's Life and Awakening
In an auspicious series of events, the above statue of the Great Arahati Venerable Patacara Theri was gifted to us for our current Residence and future Monastery. Described as "an exceptional one of a kind statue, simple and refined, carved from an ancient hibiscus tree," the statue was made in Bali, by Ida Bagus Anom, a father of two grown sons, who today I learned "...lives very simply, is modest, gentle and likes to laugh. His community would like him to become a priest and his presence is important at ceremonies. His energy, as well as the energy of the deities comes through in his carvings and.. joy arises when he knows the statue has come alive." I am told that joy happened for him with "our" Patacara, and I find the statue remarkable not only as a work of exquisite craftmanship, but for the profound serenity her features convey.
I saw her by chance in a post by Ayya Tathaaloka Theri, our senior-most Western Theravada Bhikkhuni living in the USA. Though I have seen many wooden and brass statues of female deities or goddesses (such as Tara and Kwan Yin), this was the first time I had laid eyes on a statue of one of the Awakened Bhikkhuni disciples whom I have read about in the early Buddhist texts ~ let alone one of such elegance! Seeing her immediately deepened my sense of connection to our historical bhikkhuni lineage and, as I imbibed the peace in her smile, I was struck with a visceral and spiritual clarity I had never before experienced, about why representation matters.
So, how did she come to be with us? Amazingly, the proprietor of the statue, Victoria, was known to Ayya Tathaaloka. When Ayya kindly explained that we were interested in whether the statue is available and told Victoria about Anukampa's aims, Victoria felt inspired. She wrote to Ayya: "I wanted her not be bought casually. I actually resisted making her available but she has a job to do! Thank you so much for helping her find the right home!"
Furthermore, Victoria decided to forgo any profit to help the emergence of the Theravada Bhikkhuni Sangha in Europe and the UK. Things continued to fall quickly into place, as offers of help poured in from American supporters (the retail outlet is in the USA), both known and unknown to me. My deepest gratitude goes out to our American friends Carudhamma Jo Ferris and Suruttama Ron Browning, who sponsored the statue, and to Deva, Garry and Ann, who sponsored her swift and safe transportation. Patacara found her new home in Oxford on 30th December and I felt such reverence and joy upon unpacking her, that I paid my respects all teary eyed!
The date of her arrival felt significant too. Ayya Tathaaloka, who is also a renown Buddhist historian, wrote to say: "How amazing that she arrives today on the very full moon anniversary of great Arahati Sanghamitta Theri and Arahati Anula-devi arriving in Anuradhapura with the southern branch sapling of the Bodhi Tree and a thousand strong newly-ordained Bhikkhuni Sangha ~2,270 years ago today. Both Patācārā and Sanghamittā were such outstanding proponents of the Dhamma and Vinaya-based Bhikkhunī life."
So, who was Venerable Patacara, and what can we learn from her life?
It may surprise you to know that Venerable Patacara was the teacher of another Venerable Canda (!) in the time of the Buddha, as well as over five hundred bhikkhunis, all of whom realised nibbana due to Patacara's superb teaching skills, which in my opinion may have developed at least in part as a consequence of the immense suffering she overcame to find peace.
The following is excerpted from a book "Stories Of The Elder Nuns (Bhikkhunis)" by Venerable Anandajoti Bhikkhu:
This nun disciple’s story is certainly one of the most memorable in Buddhist literature, and is also one of the most celebrated... Patacara was (re)born in a good family home in Sāvatthī. Against all family conventions, and outside of marriage she had a liaison with one of the household’s workers, fell in love and eloped, rather than marrying the man her family had arranged for her.
When she became pregnant she decided to go back to her family for help with the delivery, but her husband kept putting off the time for departure, and departing late she eventually had the child on the way. She therefore returned home with the child. A second time the same thing happened, and she gave birth on the road.
Just then a great storm blew up and she asked her husband to prepare a shelter, which he did. But as he went to get materials for a roof he was bitten by a cobra and died. When she discovered the body in the morning, she lamented but decided to continue to her parent’s home.
On the way, while crossing a ford, one of her children was snatched away by a hawk, and the other one was swept away by the current and drowned. She made it to the city, but only to find that her family home had collapsed during the storm, and all inside were lost and were awaiting their cremation. This meant that within one day she had lost husband, children, parents and siblings.
At that point she lost her mind completely, threw off her clothes and went around naked and senseless, until one day she met the Buddha who suffused her with loving-kindness and admonished her, whereat she regained her senses, covered herself up and listened to his Dhamma teaching.
The Buddha taught her with a memorable verse and she attained the First Stage of Awakening and ordained. In a story which is not included in this commentary, but is brought in here from another, while contemplating the fading away of water in the ground she gained insight, realised that life was impermanent, and attained Liberation.
Later the Buddha appointed her as the one who was foremost in bearing the discipline in mind. The connection of her story to her position is presumably because of her conversion from being a woman who refused to abide by the rules of society to one who later became the most diligent in Discipline.
She therefore appears as the counterpart of Ven. Upāli, who answered the questions on discipline at the First Recitation.
In The Therigatha (available for free download), she proclaims her Awakening:
Ploughing the fields,
sowing seeds in the ground,
supporting partners and children,
young men acquire wealth.
I am accomplished in ethics,
and I do the Teacher’s bidding,
being neither lazy nor restless—
why then do I not achieve quenching?
Having washed my feet,
I took note of the water,
seeing the foot-washing water
flowing from high ground to low.
My mind became serene,
like a fine thoroughbred steed.
Then, taking a lamp,
I entered my dwelling,
inspected the bed,
and sat on my cot.
Then, grabbing the pin,
I drew out the wick.
The liberation of my heart
was like the quenching of the lamp.
Translated by Bhante Sujato and Jessica Walton :-)
Ajahn Brahmali & Ven Canda Retreat: 16th - 23rd May
(Suffering & It's End)
Ajahn Brahmali is an exemplary monk with a gift for bringing the depth and scope of the Buddha’s message to life ~ and infusing this message with an inspired joy born of profound personal understanding and meditation experience. Instead of the rural Derbyshire retreat we had planned for him to teach, he will offer an 8-day online retreat, assisted by me (Ven Canda). Our "catchy title" (as promised in the last letter!) is actually from Ajahn Brahm, who came up, on the spot, with: "Why?" Ajahn Brahmali and I added a sub-title so you are not too confused by this open, probing question that we all endeavour to answer!
In this 8-day retreat we will be looking at two of the Buddha's famous causal sequences: dependent origination and dependent liberation, with the main focus on the latter. Together they reveal the entire course of the human experience through and beyond this world, to nibbana.
Whilst dependent origination details why and how suffering arises, dependent liberation shows how, by coming in contact with and developing confidence in the Buddha's teachings, that same suffering can take a completely difference direction and lead us step by step towards freedom. Dependent liberation (sometimes called "transcendental dependent origination") is a supremely uplifting teaching that shows how the Path is to be experienced as a sequence of ever deepening joy and peace, ending in the highest liberation.
How do we get this sequence going? And how do we sustain it to the very end? Through their offering of Dhamma reflections, guided meditations and Q&A sessions, Ajahn Brahmali and Venerable Canda will gently guide us in exploring and implementing the supporting conditions for our greatest happiness. Follow the instructions in their fullness, and awakening is guaranteed!
This special "dual Sangha" (bhikkhu and bhikkhuni led) retreat will include three sessions of one and a half hours each: a morning and an early afternoon session with Ajahn Brahmali; and an evening session with Ven Canda. There may be an additional silent group meditation, subject to volunteer availability.
The retreat starts at 8:30 on Sun 16th May, and ends at 15:00 on Sun 23rd May. On the last day, there will be an opportunity to share your experience with other retreatants. The schedule is deliberately designed to be spacious and allow for plenty of personal practice time and rest, so that you can take a break from the screen and find a supportive rhythm and pace. You will be guided as to how best to make use of your personal practice time.
08:30 – 10:00 Dhamma talk, guided meditation and precepts (Ajahn Brahmali)
10:00 – 12:00 Lunch for those on 8 precepts
12:00 – 13:30 Sutta study and Q&A (Ajahn Brahmali)
13:30 – 14.30 Lunch or rest
14:30 – 18:00 Personal practice period
(17.15 – 18.00 Optional silent group meditation ~ subject to volunteer availability ~ time may change)
18:00 – 19:15 Tea or dinner
19:30 – 21:00 Short talk, guided meditation and long Q&A (Ven Canda)
Full time attendance – including the personal practice period – is necessary for this retreat, and will help you experience the full potential of the practice. Due to the timing it will work best for people in European time zones (or the east coast of the US if you are an early riser!) Places are limited to 95, so we kindly ask that if you only want to attend the teacher-led sessions, to please to watch them via our Facebook live-stream, or after we upload them to our YouTube channel, by the end of the same day where possible.
More information and registration here!
Sharing Dhamma along with Ajahn Brahmali at the BSWA Kalyana Mitta group, Perth 2018 :-)
To help you decide whether an online retreat might work for you (if you have not done one before), here is yet more feedback from our "Bliss Upon Bliss" online retreat with Ajahn Brahm last November, to encourage you to give it a try!
The retreat was a great opportunity to deepen one's meditation and I truly benefitted from it. It gave a huge boost in my mental energy and my mind feels so much more peaceful and at ease. As someone who has been meditating for many years, to me, this retreat had the perfect balance of talks, guided meditations and time for individual practice. Words cannot express my gratitude for this retreat and all that you do to help make the world a kinder more compassionate place to live. Madhu
The retreat provided me with the experience of practicing for 6 days on the 8 precepts at home. Something I thought would struggle with but in fact found quite easy. The teaching was first class. I sometimes found the afternoons quite long, but I appreciated the spaciousness it gave to the day. A tremendous amount of hard work must have gone into planning and organising, but from the receiving end it seemed effortless and seamless. And this didn’t just benefit those booked onto the retreat. One of my friends mentioned how impressed she was at the efficiency of the live-streaming and the fact the talks went up on YouTube so quickly. She listened to all 5 of Ven Canda’s evening sessions and found them very inspiring. Shirley
Many thanks for arranging the "Bliss Upon Bliss Upon Bliss" retreat. I have been on many retreats over the years but this one was one of the best. I didn’t think that a retreat run via Zoom would work, but I was wrong. It was nearly as good as being there. You were both on top form. I thank you again from the depths of my human heart. Richard
The whole experience was beautifully supportive, inspired and seamlessly executed by the whole Anukampa team. Not only was it a space of refuge, it was a feast of love and joy. Such an honour to partake in Ajahn Brahm and Ven Canda's deep love for and sharing of the Buddha Dharma. May they live long! Special gratitude to the whole Anukampa team of volunteers for their caring and largely anonymous support. Lila SR
“I say, bhikkhus, that liberation (vimuttī) too has a proximate cause; it does not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for liberation? It should be said: fading away.
I was not sure at first to register for the retreat because it was my first Buddhist retreat and not sure I could do it for such so many days in a row. Now I'm so glad I overcame my fear and doubts, and joined. The teachings went directly to my heart. Even questions I hadn't asked were magically answered. I'm not saying it was always easy, but it sure brought me so much to reflect upon, "techniques" to meditate, and the incredible feeling to belong a to community and be filled with a beautiful energy at the end. Melanie
More information and registration here!
Here is a sutta we will no doubt be exploring, to deepen our wisdom and stillness together during the retreat:
"Proximate Cause" (Upanisa Sutta) S.N. 12:23 (slightly adapted from Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation by Ven Canda)
“I say, bhikkhus [bhikkhunis and lay people], that the knowledge of destruction of the out-flowing's (khayeñāṇaṃ) has a proximate cause; it does not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for the knowledge of destruction of the out-flowing's? It should be said: liberation.
“... And what is the proximate cause for fading away? It should be said: revulsion (nibbida).
“... And what is the proximate cause for revulsion? It should be said: the knowledge and vision of things as they really are (yatha bhuta nyanadassana).
“... And what is the proximate cause for the knowledge and vision of things as they really are? It should be said: stillness (samadhi)
“... And what is the proximate cause for stillness? It should be said: happiness (sukha).
“...And what is the proximate cause for happiness? It should be said: tranquillity (passaddhi).
“... And what is the proximate cause for tranquillity? It should be said: bliss (piti).
“...And what is the proximate cause for bliss? It should be said: joy (pamojja).
“...And what is the proximate cause for joy? It should be said: confidence (saddha).
“I say, bhikkhus [bhikkhunis, lay people], that confidence too has a proximate cause; it does not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for confidence? It should be said: suffering (dukkha)."
And now read it in reverse! :-)
"At Peace Through Metta & Gratitude"
by Ven Canda, transcribed by Lia Lalli from a talk on 31st Dec 2020
This afternoon I want to talk about loving kindness. Really, we have been talking about loving kindness over all three days because all these [wholesome] qualities are so interrelated. Somebody asked yesterday whether there is a place for cultivating and developing certain qualities ~ not only through the way we observe and relate, but as developments of the mind ~ and of course the answer is: “Yes.” That place is in the third and fourth factor of Right Effort: to maintain the wholesome states that have arisen and to increase them, bring them to fulfilment. I believe you cannot ever bring metta to fulfilment, in the sense that you can never have too much, so it is something that we can pursue to a great extent. The great teachers in the world ~ certainly, the ones I have known ~ are characterised by the power of their loving kindness, by the unconditionality of their love. It is the kind of love that really asks nothing in return. It is utterly amazing to meet people like this, who just give; who just love for the sake of loving; wanting nothing back from you at all, except of course they hope for your happiness. But even if you are not happy after years of them teaching you, they do not get upset, they do not get impatient or complain!
A snowy winter morning and sunrise in Lancashire, by Paul Michael Burton
Metta or loving kindness is one of the Brahma Viharas - the others are compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity. The word brahma in this case is like a divine abiding. The word vihara means abode, so they are like divines resting places for the mind.
I wanted to read out a little quote by Thich Nhat Hanh. He is not someone I consider one of my teachers in the sense that I do not read him a lot, but sometimes I come across these quotes and they are so beautifully expressed. For anyone who is not aware of who he is, he is a Zen Master, very elderly now, maybe 94, and he may not be alive for much longer. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King, so a great monk and an engaged Buddhist. He say:
“Your true home is something you have to create for yourself. When we know how to make peace with our body, take care of and release tension in our body, then our body becomes a comfortable peaceful home for us to come back to in the present moment. When we know how to take care of our feelings, how to generate joy and happiness and handle a painful feeling, we can cultivate and restore a happy home in the present moment. And when we know how to generate energies of understanding and compassion our home will become very cosy and a pleasant place to come back to. Home is not something to hope for but something to cultivate.”
This is the beauty of the mind; because it is malleable, because it is constantly changing, we have the possibility of influencing it and creating the inner home we feel can be a peaceful abiding; a Brahma Vihara for us to come back to again and again. And, with this cultivation of metta as a quality, I find that it starts to seep into the rest of my life and reinforce the right intentions. So, on the one hand you can infuse your awareness with metta and use metta as a way of relating, but also when you cultivate metta formally that feeds back into your intentions, that everything you do seems to be more readily coming from the place of metta. During my rains retreat (it was a summer retreat in the English climate zone!), I noticed that I was developing quite a lot of metta and that was translating into a much softer, more forgiving inner dialogue with myself. Maybe other people have noticed this too, but I find when I am a bit on edge or feeling a bit rushed, I tend not to take care of my surroundings as well, (the Residence gets a bit messy, things get a bit neglected), whereas when I am in touch with myself and I have got a lot of metta I tend to go that bit further to really take care of myself and my environment. It is nice to notice how much space metta gives you for that, and how taking care of the heart translates into taking care of everything around you, including the people around you as well.
At Peace With Experience: NY Retreat Videos
Ven Canda, 29th to 31st Dec 2020
The New Year Retreat, attended by around eighty folks each day, was a delight to teach, held in the experienced hands of the wonderful Sheffield Insight crew, River, Mary Ann, Catherine and Sue. In these six videos (each offering a talk & a guided meditation), we explore ways of making peace with our body, breath, emotions and thoughts, and discover how contentment, letting go, loving kindness and gratitude, help further pave the Path to Peace. I hope you enjoy them ~ and do see our beautiful Patacara statue shared publicly with our group at around 1hr 23 minutes in the session on Contentment & Letting Go (how appropriate!)
At Peace With The Body
At Peace With The Breath
At Peace With Emotions
At Peace With Thoughts
At Peace Through Contentment & Letting Go
At Peace Through Loving Kindness & Gratitude
Some kind and interesting feedback from the retreat:
Liz and I want to thank you so much for a wonderful 3 day retreat with Sheffield Insight Meditation. I am not a Buddhist, so it was great to receive some excellent teaching, delivered in such a clear and lovely way. You are a very gifted communicator! We are Anglican Christians and for most of my working life I have worked as an ordained Anglican Priest, and for the past 20 years as a psychotherapist. I have been practising meditation and contemplative prayer for many years, but I’m finding mindfulness and Buddhist teaching enormously enriching and compatible with Christian spirituality. Paul and Liz A.
Kumo (Cloud) II, 2019, Paul Cupido, part of a series on mu, a philosophical concept that could be translated as ‘does not have,’ but is equally open to countless interpretations (such as emptiness or void).
To end, I would like to share some belated New Year blessings that I find quite beautiful, from Archarya Samaneti, a social media friend:
"May we be at ease in our bodies, feeling the ground beneath our seat and feet,
May we be attentive and gentle toward our own discomfort and suffering,
May we be attentive and grateful for our own joy and well-being
May we move towards others freely and with openness
May we receive others with sympathy and understanding."
May we also be safe, well and content, and develop the courage and resilience, born of living aligned to our innate wisdom and virtue, to greet whatever comes ~ one step, one breath, one moment at a time.
I am looking forward to seeing you soon, and especially to rejoicing in the blessings of our lives together, on 23rd January.
With deep loving-kindness,