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Moving day approaches… on accepting help

Gratitude by shannonkringenSatya writes: Time is ticking on. We’re still waiting for a date, but all being well, in three or maybe even two weeks we will be moving into the new temple in Malvern.

We are incredibly lucky to have had lots of offers of help both locally & from our sangha across the UK. Something that’s going to be a bit more challenging for me is accepting all that help.

There are various reasons for this. I worry that people will offer us too much and then feel resentful. I don’t like to be in people’s ‘debt’. Accepting help makes me feel vulnerable and that I can’t-do-everything-myself (which is true of course, but I still don’t like to acknowledge it). I don’t trust others to get things ‘right’. And so on.

This resistance to being helped isn’t helpful for me or for the people offering their help. We human beings like to help. We like to know that we have been of use to people & projects, especially if we care about them. Different people will bring their own unique talents & perspectives to the temple, helping to mitigate our blind spots and creating something much more amazingly wonderful than the sum of our parts. Community is glued together by people helping & people receiving help.

And so my practice over the next few weeks will be gratitude – for the offers we receive, and for all the things people do to contribute to the project – which isn’t mine & Kaspa’s but OURS.

US. Everyone that sends us their good wishes, or donates a few pounds, or does the washing up after our open day. Everyone on our mailing list, and everyone who is hoping to come & see us sometime.

Getting better at receiving help will be one of the gifts the temple has for me. What gift might it have for you, whether you visit or are influenced from afar?

Namo Amida Bu _/\_

 

 

How to relax – by Kaspalita

This morning I was supposed to be giving a talk on how to relax. I had the flowchart of the talk I had prepared earlier in the week in one hand (‘flowchart’ is the grand name I gave my few scribbles on a page) and a cup of tea in the other. I watched as the clock ticked towards ten, and waited for people to arrive.

No-one turned up.

I might have been disappointed (Why on earth wouldn’t people want to come and hear me speak?) but in fact it felt like a gift.

Satya and I have just been given a tentative moving date. In four week’s time (or perhaps five) we’ll be given the keys to our new home: Bredon House. It has been a guest house since the 1820s and is about to become a Pureland Buddhist Temple.

One of the things keeping me from relaxing recently has been the ever expanding to-do list of jobs that we need to complete before moving, and the anticipation of a continually growing to-do list when we move.

Years ago when I first read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance one of the few parts of the book that made sense to me was the advice that if worry about an outstanding job keeps interrupting your meditation, getting up from your cushion and completing the job might be the best course of action.

This morning, instead of giving a talk on how to relax, I decided to tackle some of the jobs on the to-do list that had been keeping me from actually feeling relaxed.

A few hours later and the garden is now ready to handover to whoever inherits this house from us, the contents of the shed are packed and ready to move, and I’ve started collecting assorted books from the corners of rooms and packing those away too.

As I closed the shed door at lunchtime one layer of worry evaporated  and I relaxed a little.

So thank you to whoever arranged the gift of a free morning.

In the talk I had planned to say how it’s taking refuge in impermanent things that keeps us from truly relaxing, and there was something of that going on in my worry about getting things ready. I had become attached to the idea of specific outcomes like keeping people happy, creating a beautiful looking space, and having a smooth transition from one place to the next without ruffling anyone’s feathers. With those expectations I was bound to become disappointed at some point, and part of me knew that – hence the worry.

If I can remember the spirit of the move instead, the compassionate impulse and the act of love, then all of those specific outcomes suddenly become less important.

The more I take refuge in what is not impermanent, the more I can step out of the cycle of attachment and disappointment.

Nonetheless, here’s to a smooth move and no ruffled feathers ;)

There is that dimension, monks, where there is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind; neither dimension of the infinitude of space, nor dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, nor dimension of nothingness, nor dimension of neither perception nor non-perception; neither this world, nor the next world, nor sun, nor moon. And there, I say, there is neither coming, nor going, nor staying; neither passing away nor arising: unestablished unevolving, without. This, just this, is the end of stress

The Buddha, Udana 80 Tr. Thanissaro Bhikkh

 

 

From Kaspalita’s blog: Letters from nobody.

A Wonderful Chanting Day

chanting dayThanks to everyone who came and joined the continuous chanting day on Saturday. It’s one of my favourite practices to take part in. People came in, people go out but the chant  continues nonetheless and I feel held by the whole group. Amida speaks through our collective voices.

Our next continuous chanting day will be part of the Bodhi Retreat, our annual celebration of the Buddha’s enlightenment. This year the retreat will be here in Malvern. Do get in touch if you are interested in coming to the retreat or just dropping in to the chanting.