Walk With Me comes to Ryde

I’ve just heard from Angie that the film Walk With Me will be showing at Ryde Commodore on Saturday, February 3rd at 5pm. The film is about Thich Nhat Hahn and is narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch.

It would be great for as many people as possible to be able to see it, so ring round friends re: lift sharing.

SYNOPSIS

“Slow down and breathe. This contemplative journey follows in the steps of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh and is a rare insight into life within a monastic community. The sun rises. Everything is calm and still. Life is beautifully serene as Benedict Cumberbatch’s composed, meditative voice reads an extract from Thich Nhat Hanh’s early journals. So begins Max Pugh and Marc J Francis’ (Black Gold, LFF2006) fascinating and immersive exploration of what it means to devote one’s life to mindfulness. With unprecedented access to the famous secluded monastery of Plum Village in the South West of France, Walk With Me captures the daily routine and rituals of monks and nuns on a quest to develop a deep sense of presence. It is an insightful rumination on the pursuit of happiness, living in the present and our attachment to material things – a welcome remedy to the stresses of city life and a world in turmoil.” 

Laure Bonville, London Film Festival

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Full Moon for a New Year – Small Matters

Do not ignore the effect of right action, 1 January 2018
saying, “This will come to nothing.”, 
Just as by the gradual fall of raindrops 
a jar is filled
so in time the wise 
become replete with good.

Dhammapada v. 122

The enormity of what appears to lie ahead can at times feel overwhelming. But this is only the case when awareness is dominated by what we imagine lies ahead. Of course we don’t really know the future. We have an amazing facility for imagining and extrapolating, but the Buddha says we are wise to include in awareness an appreciation for the reality happening right now. When we are in touch with the here-and-now reality we are more likely to remember those things that we can do that immediately make a difference: slow down; steady attention; feel the ground beneath your feet; expand the sense of space which you occupy; simply receive this moment without taking sides for or against. Remember to not become lost in speculation.

Dhondup Wangchen Escapes From China

Tibetan film-maker Dhondup Wangchen was jailed in China for six years in late 2009 in the western province of Qinghai after he made a documentary in which ordinary Tibetans praised the Dalai Lama and complained about how their culture had been trampled upon.

The film, “Leaving Fear Behind”, features a series of interviews with Tibetans who talk about how they still love their exiled spiritual leader and thought the 2008 Beijing Olympics would do little to improve their lives. The film was shown in secret to a small group of foreign reporters in Beijing during the Olympics.

In a statement issued in Beijing late on Wednesday evening, the group “Filming for Tibet” said Dhondup Wangchen had arrived in the United States that day.

“After many years, this is the first time I’m enjoying the feeling of safety and freedom,” he said.

“I would like to thank everyone who made it possible for me to hold my wife and children in my arms again. However, I also feel the pain of having left behind my country, Tibet.”

Dhondup Wangchen had been released from prison in June 2014 in the Qinghai provincial capital of Xining but remained under tight surveillance with his movements and communications monitored.

Qinghai, which borders the Tibet Autonomous Region, is home to a large ethnic Tibetan population and is considered by many Tibetans as part of greater Tibet. It is also the birthplace of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Watch the film here…………

NEW MOON – True Principles

A healthy mind is the greatest gain. 
Contentment is the greatest wealth. 
Trustworthiness is the best of kin. 
Unconditional freedom is the highest bliss. 

Dhammapada v. 204

We might assume that the perfect realization of unconditional freedom is some way off, but we can already plant the seeds of the possibility in our hearts. The conditions of the world keep changing: at times quite wonderful, at other times challenging and often something in-between. How do we stay stable with such instability? We orient our hearts toward true principles, Dhamma. Establishing an initial understanding of true principles gives our hearts direction. Contemplating these principles is nurturing the seeds. As to when they will bear fruit is not something we can control. In the meantime cultivating trust in the possibility of unconditional freedom is something we can do.

Arson Attack Destroys Buddhist Centre in Savoie, France

On the night of Thursday to Friday, December 1st, the old Chartreuse of St-Hugon at Karma Ling Buddhist centre in France was the victim of an arson attack. Fortunately, there were no casualties.

The fire broke out around 1 a.m. on the 1st of December at the south side of the grand temple. The flames spread quickly to the roof and engulfed the rest of the building.

A newsletter posted by Shangpa Karma Ling last weekend revealed that there had been several threats and previous arson attempts at the centre.

“Yesterday morning, exactly one week after the December 1 fire, we received what is likely a third threatening letter from the person who claims to be the perpetrator. This letter claims the burning of the Chartreuse and urges residents to evacuate, at the risk of suffering the consequences of a new attack.”

The newsletter goes on to say…………

“I would also like to encourage you to practice the mantra of the Buddha of Immense Goodness: “Om Mani Padme Hum” associated with a special benevolent dedication intent for the person claiming the fires and continuing to threaten. This person is in great pain and we want to help him or her as much as we can. I personally make prayers and wishes so that he or she become free from any torments.

In these circumstances, let us remember the stanza of the thirty-seven Bodhisattva practices:

“If someone I cherish and protect as my child
Come to think of myself as his enemy,
Just like a mother for her child with an illness
To give him even more affection, such is the practice of a Bodhisattva. “

From heart to heart,
May everything be auspicious.”

Lama Denys Rinpoché

Excitement in Totland!

We hold our Sangha meetings weekly on Tuesday nights form 7:00 to 9:00. Last week we were bemused by the sound of nearby sirens and wondered what was occurring and where.

This, from this weeks County Press…….

Car flipped 

A MAN was taken to St Mary’s Hospital following a car crash in Totland. 

Emergency crews were called to Weston Road at 8.40 pm on Tuesday after a car flipped over and ended up on its roof. Fire crews made sure the scene was safe and one man was taken to hospital by ambulance.

That was just up the road from us. Who says nothing newsworthy ever happens in Totland!

FULL MOON – Our Contribution To Sanity

By renouncing unworthy ways 
and by not living carelessly, 
by not holding to false views, 
we no longer perpetuate delusion. 

Dhammapada v. 167

The way our senses work we find it easy to look outside at that which is wrong with the world – indeed, there is plenty we would wish was otherwise. When the mind is trained with wise reflection, we remember that we can also turn our attention around and look at what can be done to help; we don’t just dwell on the deluded conduct of others. In this short teaching the Buddha is indicating how it is always possible to make a wholesome contribution. It is good to know that we are not powerless and our situation is not hopeless.