Category Archives: Spiritual event

Second letter of invitation to Dechen Centre, Sunday 12th July

tibetanbuddhismDear Friends,

I have already sent you information with regard to a second MBC event to be held at the Dechen Centre on Sunday 12th July.  If you have responded and you receive this please ignore it. If not please let me know if you are interested asap.

I will contact those who wish to attend with the address nearer the day.

We need notification in order to prepare lunch for which we will request a Donation to cover costs.

Below is a short outline of the day:

12.30 Arrive & lunch

1.30  Welcome

1.45 short meditation led by a venerable, following this an introduction to lojong

2.45 Break & discussion session.

3.15 Led meditation on lojong

4.00 Discussion & feedback

4.30/5.00 Dedication and Finish

Lojong or mind training is a comprehensive practice that is suitable for all types of students. It contains the entire path and does not depend on a person’s background. Lojong nourishes and cultivates the Buddha Nature, the pure seed of awakening that is at the very heart of all beings.  It has the power to transform even self clinging into selflessness.

The day will be a mixture of practice and discussion.

We will find time to decide if we wish to continue with the process begun with the ‘Mindfulness in the West’ event held at Triratna in April.

Dharma/Dhamma greetings,

Jaya – Co-coordinator MBC

Challenges to Mindfulness Practice in the West: event on 11 April 2015

For some years now, the planning group of the Manchester Buddhist Convention (MBC) have felt that we should aim to do smaller events between the large Conventions in October.

 

This year we finally decided to put this into practice. The first of these was held on the above theme on April 11th 2015, at Triratna Buddhist Centre, Turner Street.

 

WomanMeditatingThere were two broad aims to the event:

  1. To explore Mindfulness practice in secular and meditative contexts.
  2. To bring different lineages together.

 

As we expected to hold the event in the smaller of the two shrine rooms we limited the numbers to 25 and decided to invite Dharma centres to nominate two people to attend.
This is a short Report on the event:

The event began with introductions, welcome, saluting the shrine and sitting practice. This was followed by two presentations, both by Buddhist practitioners one of whom offered Mindfulness training in a Buddhist context and the other who worked within the NHS.

 

Both presenters were informed by their particular practices and the contexts in which they worked. The material covered a lot of ground – from the ‘religion’ to aspects of Buddhism from different perspectives; the 8 week stress reduction course courses taught by and the different working contexts of the two speakers – ie – in a Buddhist Dharma Centre and the NHS where any mention of a spiritual framework was taboo. Results had to be ‘evidence based’ and benefits demonstrable. One of the presentations suggested that ‘Mindfulness training could be likened to Padmasambhava taming the demons when he went to Tibet (can be looked up on the net). By contrast the other described the demons that might beset a client when s/he came for treatment and showed how it might soothe a distressed person even for a short time – so two quite different presentations. This presentation suggested that a not very creative tension existed between the evidence-based demands of a clinical context and trusting our own inner experience – integral to Buddhist practice.

She described her work as ‘harmonising the mind with the body, rather than the other way round.’ ‘Making mindfulness accessible to mentally ill people.’ Helping them to ‘accept themselves’.

 

The group broke into small groups. These are some of the questions/points raised:

  • Is secular mindfulness the same as Buddhist Mindfulness practice?
  • The value of secular Buddhism is dependent on the quality of the teacher.
  • Secular mindfulness is better coming from a Buddhist teacher.
  • Buddhists are being too precious/possessive about ‘Mindfulness’.
  • The need for an ethical framework was indicated.
  • The need for transmission from a qualified teacher.
  • Were grand claims being made for limited results in the clinical context?
  • The use of Mindfulness training in other contexts was raised – in industry, schools, even within the US army. A comparison with the use of it among the Samurai was made in one group.
  • The Buddha’s teachings were not complicated but were they losing this simplicity and directness through cultural accretion?
  • ‘Challenges’ faced by Buddhism were not necessarily ‘cultural’ (Western) but the challenge of ‘modernity’ Buddhism has changed its presentation without losing its integrity over hundreds of years.
  • What might our questions be if we reversed the question to consider how Buddhism challenges our ‘modern’ cultural and given assumptions.
  • The possibility of losing lineage, transmission, diluting the Buddhadharma, eventually leading to losing it.
  • Not going far enough – ie- it will teach us how to ‘manage’ samsara but will not address how Awaken. Does this mean that we just learn how to function better in a corrupt society?
  • Can it help managers, for instance, to exploit people better? *

 

The other aim was to bring Buddhists of different lineages together? Why?

 

This was one of the main purposes of the MBC and most groups are keen. The October event is evidence that most Buddhists really do enjoy this engagement. Despite this, over the years of organising this event and speaking with different individuals it has become clear that there is a historical residue of historical suspicion. Some of this may be lineage based and some specific to Manchester. This weakens our potential and opens us to accusations of ‘sectarianism’. Facing our differences may be the one powerful thing we can do to ensure that the Buddhadhamma/dharma is made secure from ‘threats’ it may face. The Planning group has begun to reflect on this; to ‘own’ our ‘baggage’ and admit its existence. It aims to create trust in which to embed our practice and group and would like this to happen in a wider context – hence this event. This worked remarkable well. In a small group of 28 people there were at least 6 different lineages all absorbed in conversation and really engaging with each other.

 

We also wanted to explore ways in which we could work together as an inter-lineage group. Related to this are these comments from attendees:

  • The Annual Convention was exciting but it was good to be able to meet Buddhists from different lineages in a smaller, more intimate context.
  • The event was ‘therapeutic.’
  • There are not many inter-lineage networks like this one.
  • It captured the energy obvious at the Convention.

 

Some parallel observations:

 

  • The use of the breath and of sound is, or course, ancient and pre-dates Buddhism by millennia.
  • There is a blurring of the edges of what meditation has been used for; suggestion that it is not especially linked to spiritual practice.
  • Secular ‘mindfulness’ is here to stay. What can we do to harness it for the best possible use and mitigate its misuse (which appears to be happening alongside the relief it brings to suffering).

 

Once again, interest in what Buddhists could do in relation to service emerged. There was a huge fund of experience and action based initiatives in the room. We are exploring these and will keep you informed of what is happening either via the Website or at the Convention. If you are interested in the possibilities or have ideas or are involved in such initiatives please get in touch with us via the Website of with me directly.

 

A further event is planned for July. Again numbers will be limited due to space. If you are interested please inform your Dharma Centre or contact us directly.

 

Jaya – Co-ordinator, Manchester Buddhist Convention.

 

Taking Good Care of the Present Moment: A Day of Mindfulness with Sister Jewel

Saturday 21st March 2015

From 10.30 am to 4:00 pm

At Cross Street Chapel, Manchester M2 1NL

For directions please see: www.cross-street-chapel.org.uk

We will come home to the present through the peaceful and transformative practices from the Thich Nhat Hanh tradition. We will refresh ourselves with meditation, mindful walking, mindful eating, noble silence, and tea meditation.

TakingGoodCarePhoto

The Day will be led by Dharma Teacher Sister Jewel

Sister Jewel (Chan Chau Nghiem in Vietnamese) grew up in the US and Kenya. Thich Nhat Hanh ordained her as a Buddhist nun in 1999 and a Dharma Teacher in 2007. Before ordaining, she graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. and M.A. in Anthropology and Social Sciences. She has led retreats in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Brazil, India and Southern Africa. She is editor of Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children by Thich Nhat Hanh.

The day is open to everyone, including Buddhists of all traditions, those interested in Buddhism and mindfulness practitioners.

Please bring vegetarian or vegan food to share for lunch. This should be food that is ready to serve and does not require heating up. You may also want to bring something to drink. For the tea meditation, you are welcome to bring a poem, song, story, musical instrument, dance or some other kind of offering to share.

Donations to support the teacher, teachings and hire of the room are very welcome. For those that can afford it we would like to suggest a donation of £25.00.However please feel free to donate according to your own circumstances. The day is open to all regardless of financial circumstances.

 

For enquiries or to book a place contact: Dene, Telephone: 01253 735121

Email: dene.donalds@pathwaysassociates.co.uk

The day of mindfulness is hosted by the Heart of Manchester Sangha. Practising in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh

www.coiuk.org/sangha-pages/heart-of-manchester-sangha

 

 

Invitation to Buddha’s Enlightenment Day Ceremony on 7th December at the Nine Peaks Zen Temple

BEDYou are all invited by Jibul to the Buddha’s Enlightenment Day Ceremony on 7th December at the Nine Peaks Zen Temple near Matlock in The Peak District.

This is a great chance to maintain contact and learn first-hand a bit about the Korean style of Zen Buddhism.

We can arrange transport between us, and instructions how to get there can be obtained from jibul@kwanumzen.org.uk.

Contact Jaya and/or Chris to coordinate transport.

There will be Buddhist friends there from Chesterfield, Nottingham, Sheffield and Derby as well as the Derwent Valley.

%d bloggers like this: