Author Archives: mandala-admin

Five years!

On this date five years ago…

At nine o clock in the morning Satya and I were waiting in our house surrounded by cardboard boxes packed with all of our things.  At midday we received the keys to the temple.  Over the next few days lots of volunteers helped us to clean and sort things out and a week after moving in we hosted a retreat.

On that day I could hardly imagine five years into the future. It seemed like such a long way off. And yet I still had a vision of what we were aiming for: I pictured a shrine room full of people, joining their voices in chanting and sitting quietly in meditation a few times a week. I imagined those people coming together in shared celebrations and fellowship and I wondered what sort of leader I would be.

Five years later — does that imagined future match the reality?

The number of people coming to our events has remained pretty steady over the past five years, and maybe it’s even a few less than it was this time last year. And yet, that is far from the whole story.

This time last year or the year before Satya and I sent out a little survey, and one of the surprising results was that there wasn’t any correlation between how often people came to the temple, and how connected they felt to us.

Those connections have grown over the past five years, both in number and in quality. We are in a web of people inspired by Pure Land Buddhist teachings and that web is shining brightly.

Recently I wrote a paragraph about my activities for the Amida Trust annual report. Aside from the temple there was a long list of unexpected events, talks and projects. Satya has a similar list and I know others do as well, from the school visits that Dayamay organises and leads to the connections Khema makes with friends in other Buddhist communities. The Pureland dharma is alive in all of these places.

Personally my faith has deepened over the past five years, as I have come to know myself more deeply and seen the light of Amida shining into my darkest corners.

Perhaps one of the biggest lessons of the past five years is how little control I have had over these outcomes, mostly it has involved saying yes to the good invitations that have come along, and saying lots of nembutsu.

This moment in time is not the end of the journey, and five years ago was not the beginning. They are both just moments in a conversation that has been happening for generations: teachers transmitting the dharma to disciples, the Buddha transmitting the dharma to disciples, the world singing with the dharma to those with the ears to listen.

So thanks to all of those that have gone before us and made this particular flowering possible, and thanks to all of those who join us and support in our current adventure, from Padma and the trustees, to our teacher Dharmavidya, to our temple-mates and the volunteers who lend their time and energy at the temple, and to those who do come and join their nembutsu with ours, whether near or far.

Deep bow, and here’s to the next five years.

November News

Hi all,

The Bodhi gathering isn’t far away! Dharmavidya has announced the theme. It’s going to be a little poem, from his forthcoming collecting of teachings Authenitc Life. Here’s the poem:

The Pure realm of Buddha, they say,
lies in a land that is far, far away,
but if you are truly going that way
you’ll arrive at the gate in less than a day

The Bodhi gathering is 4th – 8th December. Check out more details here.

When I write these newsletters I am prompted to write something about the things we value here at the temple. This month I have written about community.

A while back I gave a talk called Radiating Love. I don’t think we shared the video on this particular mailing list. So here it is:

 Sending love

Kaspa

Namo Amida Bu

Amida Buddhists Rebel

This week Satya and Dayamay from the temple, other Buddhists from our own community, Buddhists of other communities and loads of people from all walks of life are taking part in climate crisis demonstrations in London.

Why? Watch this piece from last nights News at Ten to find out more:

There are demonstrations happening all over the world. How can you offer your support?

October events, and interfaith news

Hi everyone, 

In this email you can find details of events at the Temple in October. I also want to mention a couple of dates for your diary for later in the year. On 30th November we’re celebrating the temples 5th birthday. This event is for Sangha members. Facebook invite here. I also want to mention the Bodhi gathering (Wed 4th til Sun 8th) five days of shared practice, talks and ceremony.  We’ll be joined by people from all over the world, including our teacher and founder, Dharmavidya. Let us know if you want to join us.

Jnanamati has asked me to share local inter-faith news with you. Scroll down to read about what’s been happening, and details of inter-faith events you can attend.

Namo Amida Bu,

Kaspa

October Events

Sat 12th 10.30am til 11.30am “Radiating Love”: A Dharma talk by Rev. Kaspalita. Suitable for beginners or experienced practitioners, with time for discussion, questions and nembutsu. A good place to start if you are new to the temple. FB event here.

Sat 19th 9am til 10am Buddhist service for First Timers. Our usual Saturday morning service, tweaked to make it easier to follow for those who’ve never been before and those who haven’t been for a while.

Sat 19th 10.30am til 11.30am Taking Care of the Temple. A chance to offer something back to the temple and the community with some cleaning, gardening, or whatever the temple needs. We’ll find you a job you feel comfortable with. A good way to connect with the community.

Sat 26th 10.30am – 12 midday Malvern Temple Community Choir. Our lovely drop-in Buddhist choir, singing rounds and Indian-influenced music, open to all abilities. Led by choirmaster Andrew Cheffings. Email acheffings@cheffings.org.uk for more information or visit the site.

Interfaith News from Worcestershire Interfaith Forum
 

  • Dayamay attended with Jnanamati as a second representative for the Amida shu/Amida Mandala. We hope now to be able to make sure that either one of us can attend future meetings. The meetings are however open to anyone from a Worcestershire faith group
  • Holland House are hosting a multi-faith day seminar on climate change on the 11th November (10.00 – 4.00). Attendance is by invitation. Invitations to follow.
  • There was a long discussion about how members might get involved in responding to the climate change movement. As a first step WIFF made a pledge to have climate change on the agenda for all future meetings & the day on the 11th November will have gatherings in small groups to identify further actions
  • Tuesday 17th March 2020. Helen Caine introduced a Redeeming Our Communities event in Worcester. She is managing faith group invitations & is asking for representation from across faith groups. More information can be found here: https://roc.uk.com/
  • Representation is requested from faith groups for the Holocaust Remembrance Day on the 27th January 2020, 10:30-11.30 at the Guildhall. It would be good if someone from Amida shu could attend.
  • WIFF is hosting a festival day in March 2020 in which two faith groups introduce a festival from their tradition to the public/other faith groups. Is there anyone who might be interested in leading something that introduces a Buddhist festival? Unfortunately they haven’t yet identified a date. 

If you are interested in any of the above do let Jnanamati or Dayamay know. Also if there are any issues that you would like raised at the inter-faith forum meetings (they take place bi-monthly) then let us know.

Heading for Extinction, Tradition, and Bodhi Day

Heading for Extinction
Yesterday I was speaking to David Loy, the author of ecodharma. We were talking about what Buddhism is for and David reminded me of Yun Men’s answer to the question, “What are the teachings of a whole lifetime?”

What was Yun Men’s reply? “An appropriate response.”

In the present day the greatest challenge we face is the climate crisis, caused by humans and the sixth mass extinction, caused by humans. Can Buddhism support us to make an appropriate response? David suggested that it can, that our practices can resources us to take action, and support activists to have faith. That as well as being the cause of great harm – the virus – we can also provide a solution – become the antibodies.

We also talked about the importance of not being attached to outcomes. Of the value of taking right action for it’s own sake.
If you’re not sure how serious the climate crisis is, or want more information, watch this video: Heading for Extinction.Thanks to Suzanne from our local XR group, who gave this talk at the temple on Saturday night. This is probably being given in person at your local XR group, so do check that out as well.

Tradition in Pureland Buddhism
The last time I wrote to you I said a few words about honesty. Today I want share some lines about something else that we value here at the temple: tradition. I’ve posted about it on Friends of Amida. Click here to read.

Bodhi Day
From Wed 4th til Sun 8th we’ll be celebrating the Buddha’s awakening. There will be talks from our teachers, including Dharmavidya, discussions, practice sessions, ceremonies and a twenty four hour chanting session. Drop us a line for more information.

Metta,

Kaspa

Namo Amida Bu