Manchester Buddhist Conference 2009

The original website for Manchester Buddhist Conference 2009 is here.

Manchester Buddhist Conference 2009

The 2009 Conference will be held on Saturday 10th October at the Samatha Centre in Chorlton-cum-hardy in South Manchester at 9.30am.  Lunch will be served in the Irish centre which is right next door to the Samatha centre on High Lane.

How to Get There
The Samatha Centre is at 19-21 High Lane, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9DJ.   To see a map please click here

Busses 85 and 86 run from Picadilly gardens and stop on Barlow Moor road just after the junction with High Lane.  Ask the bus driver to tell you when you arrive at Chorlton bus station.  Cross the road, walk back about 100m taking the first left onto High Lane.  At that time of the morning on a Saturday the 85 and 86 run every 15 minutes and the journey takes 25 minutes.  The fare is about £2.50 each way but you can purchase from the bus driver, a day-saver covering any bus company for travel anywhere within the greater Manchester region for about £4.30.  You can get specific details for your journey from the GMPTE website.
Parking
Ample parking is available in the Irish Centre on High Lane.  The entrance to their car park is on Cross Road which meets High Lane about 50 yards from the Samatha Centre.  Their postcode is M21 9DJ.  If you type this postcode into the AA’s map finder http://www.theaa.com/maps/map_finder.jsp you can get a map and directions.  The walking distance from the Irish Centre car park to the Samatha Centre is about 50 yards.
Food
Most food is being generously donated by the Fo Guang Shan temple but individuals from some other groups are bringing contributions as well.  If you are bringing food for the event please take this to the main downstairs hall of the Irish centre before the programme starts.  We only officially have the Irish Centre booked from 0930 so it may be a bit of a rush but you don’t need to set food out as we will have someone there all morning getting things ready for lunch.
When lunch time arrives please allow ordained members eat first because many of them refrain from eating after midday.
Bring Leaflets about your Group
Please feel free to bring leaflets or brochures about your group and any upcoming events.  We will have tables set up in the lunch area and we will set out any leaflets you may care to bring along.
The Programme

Time

Main Shrine Room

Rear Hall

Downstairs Lounge

Upstairs Shrine

Irish Centre

09:00-09:30 Registration
09:30-09:40 1. Introduction and Welcome
09:40-10:00 2. Chanting demonstration by Fo Guang Shan group
10:00-10:45 3. Keynote speechVeronica Voeils
10:45-11:15 4. The Network of Buddhist Organisations – How it might work for you.
11:15-12:45 Lunch
12:45-13:30 5. Fo Guang Ch’an meditation session led by Manchester Fo Guang Shan Temple 6. The Thirty Two Marks: Recollecting the Qualities of a Perfectly Awakened One 7. The history, structure and mission of Soka Gakkai International 8. NKT Meditation Session
13:30-14:15 9. The Four Satipatanas. Mahabodhi 10. Buddhist video for young people: the work of Clear Vision 11. Discussion group Application of Buddhist principles to our own lives. 12. Samatha vs. Vipassana meditation.
14:15-14:35 Tea break
14:40-15:20 13. Meditation session led by Venerable Piyatissa 14. Meditation Session led by Samatha Trust 15. The Unborn and Emancipation from the Born 16. Introduction to Soto-Zen Meditation
15:20-16:00 17. Group discussion questions and answers session for venerables
16:00-16:30 18. Closing speech and chanting session led by Samatha
ASK A BUDDHIST!
Clear Vision is a Manchester charity promoting Buddhism through audio-visual media. One of their most popular online services for schools is Ask A Buddhist! – a host of free 2-minute video answers to school pupils’ questions about Buddhism. 

During the Conference, Clear Vision’s cameraman will be inviting your views. If you prefer not to be videoed that’s fine but if you’re happy to take part they will be around all day, in particular during the lunch and tea breaks. Check out the questions on the Clear Vision stall; things like “Are Buddhists allowed to get married?” and “If suffering is caused by craving, isn’t it wrong to want to be Enlightened?”!

Programme Detail

Registration

We will just ask you for your name and email address.  We want to know who turned up and we will also use this to tell you about future programmes but if you don’t want to give it that is ok.

1. Introduction and Welcome Speech

Jackie Callow – President of the Manchester Samatha group.

2. Chanting demonstration by Fo Guang Shan group

The Fo Guang Shan group based in Trafford will lead us in a chant which is part of a Buddhist repentance service called the Great Compassion Repentance Service.  This is the chant that is normally chanted on Guanyin’s (Avalokiteśvara’s) birthday, the main part of which is the Great Compassion Mantra, otherwise known as Dharani of the Most Compassionate One (da bei zhou in pinyin). The chant will be in Chinese and the words are at the bottom of the programme if you want to join in.

3. Keynote Speech

Veronica Voeils from Samatha.  Details to follow.

4. The NBO – How it might work for you

By Wilson Young from the Network of Buddhist Organisations.  The NBO was Founded in 1993 to promote fellowship and dialogue between Buddhist organizations, to facilitate co-operation in matters of common interest and to work in harmony with Buddhist and likeminded organizations around the world.
As well as these aims, the NBO is probably the nearest UK Buddhism gets to an umbrella organization, representing the diversity of Buddhist traditions to a number of external agencies and multi-faith groups.
In particular the NBO is currently in dialogue with the UK Border Agency over the issue of visas for overseas monks ~ something that may ultimately affect the structure of Buddhism in the UK.

5. Fo Guang Ch’an meditation session led by Manchester Fo Guang Shan Temple

Fo Guang Shan (FGS) is one of the world’s largest Buddhist organizations.  Founded in 1967 by Venerable Master Hsing Yun, it is a Chinese Mahayana monastic order based in Taiwan, where it promotes modern Humanistic Buddhism aiming to make Buddhism relevant to the daily lives of ordinary people.  Although FGS’s ordination lineage is from the Linji school, the order itself is an amalgam of all eight schools of Chinese Buddhism.  FGS temples have now been established on five continents in 173 countries and its 1,300 monastics maintain universities, Buddhist colleges, translation centres, publishing houses and mobile medical clinics worldwide.  There is also a Fo Guang Shan children’s home, retirement home, high school and television station.  The Manchester branch of Fo Guang Shan was established in 1994.

Monastic and lay Buddhists are able to join the Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA), an organization in which Humanistic Buddhism is practiced in members’ everyday lives and in which friendly ties are maintained with devotees of other sects and religions.  FGS also calls itself the International Buddhist Progress Society (IBPS).

Today Venerable Miao Shiunn from our temple in Old Trafford will lead us in two sessions: one of chanting and one of meditation.  There is a pinyin handout (a guide to Chinese pronunciation) which will enable you to join in the chanting. Please feel free to ask any of us about our temple services and Saturday meditation classes.  Fo Guang Shan headquarters: www.fgs.org.tw/english, Manchester Fo Guang Shan: http://www.fgsman.org.uk

6. The Thirty Two Marks: Recollecting the Qualities of a Perfectly Awakened One

By Rob Adkins from the Samatha group.

7. A talk on the history, structure and mission of Soka Gakkai International (SGI) and demonstration of chanting the mantra “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo”

By Jill Brennan from SGI.

8. Meditation Demonstration Class led by the New Kadampa Tradition, Chorlton

Kelsang Chodor from the New Kadampa Tradition will guide a Lamrim Meditation. Lamrim, or Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, is a presentation of the complete Buddhist path by the Indian Buddhist Master Venerable Atisha (AD 982 – 1054). It is the heart practice of Kadampa Buddhists worldwide. Contained within the Lamrim meditations are all the essential practices we need gain experience of in order to attain Enlightenment – from Reliance upon a Spiritual Guide to Meditation on Emptiness, or Ultimate Truth. Kelsang Chodor will guide the Lamrim Meditation on how to generate loving kindness towards others.

9. Talk on the Four Satipatanas followed by a short meditation on them.

By Mahabodhi from the FWBO.  In the Theravada Buddhist tradition, satipaṭṭhāna refers to a “foundation” for or “presence” of “mindfulness”. Cattāro satipaṭṭhānā is the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, bases for maintaining moment-by-moment mindfulness and for developing mindfulness through meditation. These four foundations for mindfulness are: –

  • the body
  • feelings (or sensations)
  • mind (or consciousness)
  • mental objects (or qualities)

(Source – Wikipedia)

10. Buddhist video for young people: the work of Clear Vision

By Munisha from the FWBO and the Clear Vision Trust.  Talk about the work of the organisation “Clear Vision” making Buddhist video and online materials for young people

11. Discussion group (max 12 people) Application of Buddhist principles to our own lives.

Led by Jill Brennan of the SGI, the session will kick off with a short recitation and some chanting.  Someone prepares a discussion topic (usually a passage of reading and some questions to get people started) and SGI will take responsibility for moderating the discussion.   Numbers would be limited to about a dozen people, simply because in a larger group, not everyone would get a chance to speak.
It’s not at all an intellectual activity: the discussion generally takes the form of people describing and exploring their own life experiences around a theme we have recently been studying.

If you’d like to join this group please go along to the room and the 12 places will be filled on a first come first served basis.

12. Vipassana or Insight Meditation by Venerable Sayadaw from Saraniya Dhamma Meditation Centre.

There are many types of meditation techniques according to the objects used to develop concentration. But, basically, they can be grouped into two categories, namely, tranquility meditation, samatha bhavana and insight meditation, vipassana bhavana.

Briefly, in samantha or tranquility meditation, we take on one single object and focus our attention on it. The Buddha has taught 40 kinds of samatha objects. So, we contemplate on one of these objects again and again until we develop concentration, samadhi. And then we can experience calmness, joy and rapture; we can enjoy very deep peace and bliss. And that’s it. The aim of tranquility meditation is only to gain tranquility, thus its name ‘tranquility’ meditation.

In vipassana or insight meditation, attention, sati, concentration, samadhi, zest, piti, and tranquility, passadhi, are as well developed. However, that is not all. What is interesting with vipassana is that we can realise knowledge or wisdom, panna. We can gain understanding. Understanding what? Not concept, not external phenomena, but understanding ourselves.  In other words, to discover and know the true nature of our body and mind. This is the very art of vipassana or insight meditation. To understand with insight knowledge into the true nature of our body and mind. Thus, the name insight meditation.

’True nature’’  means the nature of impermanence, the nature of unsatisfactoriness, and the nature of insubstantiality (or the absence of the unchanging self or soul). It is important to see these three characteristics of  phenomena so that you can have the correct view of things, so that you may have less attachment to your mind and body. And then gradually, you will be able to weaken the hold of mental defilements that prevent enlightenment . In my talk, I will discuss and elaborate more about the practical aspects of meditation that is in the tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw, in regards to Theraveda Buddhism.

13. Meditation Session led by Ketumati Vihara.

Ketumati is the Sri Lankan group based in Oldham.  Venerable Piyatissa is the most senior monk in Manchester with years of experience gained all over the world.  He will lead a demonstration meditation class using Therevadan techniques based on observation of breath.

14. Mediatation Session led by Samatha Trust

Ian Rose from the Samatha group will be leading a meditation class on the unique Samatha meditation technique.  Based on observation of breath, the Samatha technique is much more structured than most breath-focussed techniques.

15. The Unborn and Emancipation from the Born;

By Ron Henshall from the Western Chan Fellowship.  The ‘Unborn’(Ajāta), unconditioned; the heart of the  Buddha’s teachings of emancipation from the born/conditioned and it’s underpinning of Chan in meditation and everyday life.  Dhamma talk  followed by meditation session and if time allows, a question and answer session.

16. Introduction to Soto-Zen Meditation

By Alan Smith of the Manchester Zen Dojo.  More details to follow.

17. Group discussion questions and answers for monks, nuns, and senior practitioners.

A short forum of venerables/ordained members, lay people can ask the venerables any questions.  Think about questions you may like to ask and don’t be shy!  Take a look at the questions received as part of the MUBS Buddhist FAQ project on this webpage: – http://sites.google.com/site/manchesterbuddhistconference/Home/buddhist-faq-project

18. Closing speech and chanting session led by Samatha

Rosemary Rose of the Samatha group will lead some Pali chants.  Feel free to join in if you like.  The text and English translations are at the bottom of the programme.

Morning Chanting led by Fo Guang Shan

Great Compassion Repentance Service

Afternoon Chanting led by Samatha

The Refuges

Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammasambuddhassa. Homage to the Blessed One, the Noble One, and Perfectly Enlightened One.
Buddham saranam gacchami. To the Buddha I go for Refuge.
Dhammam saranam gacchami. To the Dhamma I go for Refuge.
Sangham saranam gacchami. To the Sangha I go for Refuge.
Dutiyam pi Buddham saranam gacchami. For the second time to the Buddha I go for Refuge.
Dutiyam pi Dhammam saranam gacchami. For the second time to the Dhamma I go for Refuge.
Dutiyam pi Sangham saranam gacchami. For the second time to the Sangha I go for Refuge.
Tatiyam pi Buddham saranam gacchami. For the third time to the Buddha I go for Refuge.
Tatiyam pi Dhammam saranam gacchami. For the third time to the Dhamma I go for Refuge.
Tatiyam pi Sangham saranam gacchami. For the third time to the Sangha I go for Refuge.

The Metta Sutta

Karanīyamatthakusalena,
yantam santam padam abhisamecca;
Sakko ujū ca suhujū1 ca,
sūvaco cassa mudu anatimānī.
He who is skilled in welfare, who wishes to attain that state of calm (nibbāna), should act thus: he should be able, upright, perfectly upright, obedient, gentle, and humble.
Santussako ca subharo ca,
appakicco ca sallahukavutti;
Santindriyo ca nipako ca,
appagabbho kulesvananugiddho.
Contented, easily supported, with few duties, of light livelihood, with senses calmed, prudent, not impudent, not greedily attached to families.
Na ca khuddamācare kiñci,
yena viññū pare upavadeyyum;
Sukhino va khemino hontu,
sabbasattā4 bhavantu sukhitattā.
He should not do the slightest thing for which other wise men might censure him. May all being be happy and secure, may they keep themselves happy!
Ye keci pānabhūtatthi,
tasā vā thāvarā vanavasesā;
Dīghā vā ye mahantā,
majjhimā rassakā anukathūlā.
Whatever living beings there may be: feeble or strong, long or big, medium or short, tiny or huge, without exception;
Ditthā vā ye va aditthā,
ye ca dūre vasanti avidūre.
Bhūtā va sambhavesī va,
sabbe sattā bhavantu sukhitattā.
Seen or unseen, those dwelling far or near, those who are born or those who are to be born, may all beings be happy!
Na paro param nikubbetha,
nātimaññetha katthaci na kañci.
Byārosanā patighasaññā,
nāññamaññassa dukkhamiccheyya.
Let none deceive another, nor despise any person whatsoever in any place. Let him not wish any harm to another out of anger or ill-will.
Mātā yathā niyam puttam
āyusā ekaputtamanurakkhe;
Evampi sabbabhūtesu,
mānasam bhāvaye aparimānam.
Just as a mother would protect her only child at the risk of her own life, even so, let him cultivate a boundless heart towards all beings.
Mettañca sabbalokasmi,
mānasam bhāvaye aparimānam;
Uddham adho ca tiriyañca,
asambādham averamasapattam.
Let one cultivate thoughts of boundless love for the whole world: above, below, and across without any obstruction, without any hatred, without any enmity.
Tittham caram nisinno va
sayāno va yāvatāssa vitamiddho
Etam satim adhittheyya,
brahmametam vihāramidhamāhu.
Whether he stands, walks, sits, or lies down, as long as he is awake, he should develop this mindfulness. This they say is the noblest living here.
Ditthiñca anupaggamma sīlavā
dassanena sampanno;
Kāmesu vinaya12 gedham,
na hi jātuggabbhaseyyam punaretī”ti.
Not falling into wrong views, being virtuous and endowed with insight, by discarding attachment to sense desires, never again is he reborn in a womb.

The Dedication of Merit

Puññassidāni katassa
Yānaññāni katāni me
Tesañca bhāgino hontu
Sattānantāppamāṇaka.
May all beings  —  without limit, without end  —have a share in the merit just now made,and in whatever other merit I have made.
Ye piyā guṇavantā caMayhaṃ mātā-pitādayoDiṭṭhā me cāpyadiṭṭhā vāAññe majjhatta-verino; Those who are dear & kind to me  —beginning with my mother & father  —whom I have seen or never seen;and others, neutral or hostile;
Sattā tiṭṭhanti lokasmiṃTe-bhummā catu-yonikāPañc’eka-catuvokārāSaṃsarantā bhavābhave: beings established in the cosmos  —the three realms, the four modes of birth,with five, one, or four aggregates  —wandering on from realm to realm:
Ñātaṃ ye pattidānam-meAnumodantu te sayaṃYe cimaṃ nappajānantiDevā tesaṃ nivedayuṃ. If they know of my dedication of merit,may they themselves rejoice,And if they do not know,may the devas inform them.
Mayā dinnāna-puññānaṃAnumodana-hetunāSabbe sattā sadā hontuAverā sukha-jīvino By reason of their rejoicingin my gift of merit,may all beings always live happily,free from animosity.
Khemappadañca pappontuTesāsā sijjhataṃ subhā. May they attain the Serene State,and their radiant hopes be fulfilled.

The Bojjhangaparitta

Saṃ sāre saṃ sarantānaṃ , Sabbadukkhavināsane; Satta dhammā ca bojjhaṅ ge, Mārasenāpamaddane. These seven dhammas are the factors of enlightenment, which eradicate all the suffering of all living beings who wander through Samsara. These factors overpower the army of Mara.
Bujjhitvā ye cime sattā, Tibhavā muttakuttamā; Ajātimajarābyādhiṃ , Amataṃ nibbhayaṃ gatā. Having realised these seven dhammas, beings attain Nibbana; where there is no rebirth, ageing, disease, death and danger. They are freed from three existences.
Evamādiguṇ ūpetaṃ , Anekaguṇ asaṅ gahaṃ ; Osadhañca imaṃ mantaṃ , bojjhaṅ gañca bhaṇ āma he. Endowed with such and other attributes together with innumerable benefits, this is a medicine.
Bojjhaṅ go satisaṅ khāto, Dhammānaṃ vicayo tathā Vīriyaṃ pīti passaddhi, Bojjhaṅ gā ca tathāpare. The factors of enlightenment are mindfulness, investigation of states and also effort, rapture, tranquillity, and other factors of enlightenment;
Samādhupekkhā bojjhaṅ gā, Satte te sabbadassinā, Muninā sammadakkhātā, Bhāvitā bahulīkatā. The factors of concentration and equanimity. All these seven are well expounded by the All-seer; cultivated and amplified repeatedly by the sage –
Saṃ vattanti abhiññāya, Nibbānāya ca bodhiyā, Etena saccavajjena, Sotthi te hotu sabbadā. In order to see profoundly, to realize the wisdom and to attain Nibbana. By this affirmation of the Truth, may there always be happiness for you.
Ekasmiṃ samaye nātho, Moggallānañca Kassapaṃ , Gilāne dukkhite disvā, Bojjaṅ ge satta desayi. At one time, the Lord saw Venerable Moggallana and Venerable Kassapa suffering and sick, and he expounded the seven factors of enlightenment.
Te ca taṃ abhinanditvā, Rogāmucciṃ su taṅ khaṇ e, Etena saccavajjena, Sotthi te hotu sabbadā. The two elders were delighted the Discourse; and were freed from sickness. By this affirmation of the Truth, may there always be happiness for you.
Ekadā dhammarājāpi, Gelaññenābhipīḷito, Cundattherena taṃ yeva, Bhaṇāpetvāna sādaraṃ. Once even the King of Dhamma, the Buddha himself, was afflicted by sickness, then the Elder Cunda was requested to recite that very doctrine with due reverence.
Sammoditvāna ābādhā, Tamhā vuṭṭ hāsi ṭ hānaso, Etena saccavajjena, Sotthi te hotu sabbadā. Having rejoiced at the Discourse, the Lord was immediately cured of the sickness. By this affirmation of the Truth, may there always be happiness for you.
Pahīnā te ca ābādhā, Tiṇṇ annampi mahesinaṃ , Maggahatā kilesāva, Pattā nuppattidhammataṃ , Etena saccavajjena, Sotthi te hotu sabbadā. These ailments were eliminated from the three Great Sages. By this affirmation of the Truth, may there always be happiness for you.
Etena saccavajjena, Sotthi te hotu sabbadā. Etena saccavajjena, Sotthi te hotu sabbadā
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