It’s been a while since I’ve updated you on Sangha news. So, as the mellow autumn comes in and as we return to Sangha practice after the summer break, what better time.
Last May’s retreat at Jampa Ling was eventful. Not only did Sangha members Josan (David) and Binsen (Neil) take the precepts in the Jukai ceremony, but we had an official visit from the Sotoshu European Office, with Rev. Togen Moss coming over from Paris. It was a great pleasure to meet and welcome him.
With the flowers blooming and the May weather warm and sunny, our friends at Jampa Ling extended to us their habitual kindly welcome. And as ususal, it was a great pleasue to catch up with Lobsang (William), Desmond and, of course, with the Venerable Panchen Ötrul Rinpoche. At Jampa Ling it was a time of great celebration, with Lobsang being newly ordained. Our sincere congratulations to him again.
With our summer break behind us now, we are back to our weekly Sangha sittings in the Lantern Centre in Dublin. However, we have now moved to Thursday evenings at 7:30PM. This change has been forced by booking issues at the Lantern and the departure of the Lantern’s founder Michael, who has retired. A new management is now in place at our host venue, and we wish Michael well in his retirement. He was very generous in offering us a home at the Lantern when we began the Sangha back in the winter of 2014-2015. Our sincere thanks to him.
Certainly, our issues in finding a place for our weekly sit only highlight the need for a more permanent home for the growing Zen Buddhism Ireland Sangha. Maybe that is something that will come in the next year or two – along with an attempt to formalize the Sangha structure: something Binsen has been kindly looking into, as he explores how we might best come together in a more legally recognizable charitable structure. No doubt Binsen will be updating us with his recommendations soon.
Other news is that Shoshin and Jay are continuing their efforts to see how we might find engaged expression for our practice. Shoshin has put a lot of effort into exploring this. And for this the entire Sangha is very grateful. With Jay’s help, various suggestions for engaged Buddhist practice were made – with a number of Sangha members (Barry and Jay, for example) donating blood to the Irish Blood Transfusion Service as part of this engegment. A very direct expression of Bodhisattva practice in helping all sentient beings. Such efforts will continue on into the future.
Finally, it is with great pleasure that we will welcome American Zen monk and author Brad Warner as our guest teacher on our Autumn Sesshin this September. I am happy to report that the Sesshin is now fully booked out, and I will report on his visit and the Sesshin itself in greater detail when it is over. Suffice it to say that it will be a great time of celebration for our Sangha, as Jay and Peter will be taking the Precepts at the Sesshin, having spent the summer sewing and studying. Joyful and auspicious to see them both formally entering the Buddha Way.
So, as the shadows lengthen and the nights draw in, we return to our practice with renewed vigour. We are blessed to have found this practice in this lifetime – and to have found each other to support one another along the way.
Enjoy your practice and see you in the Zendo.
With palms together,