As you know, the Amida Newcastle sangha has met here since Dharmavidya asked me to host and lead the sangha meetings, when he left Quannon House in Jesmond to move to Narborough in 2001. I was, at that time, a trainee priest on the first Amida Ministry course. Dharmavidya named the centre 'Amida Sanctuary' and, over the intervening years, many people have sat, walked, chanted, danced, created music, studied, shared deeply with our core group, here in the shrine room.
The years have seen me ordain, first as a Gankonin (at that time, called a Chaplain) in 2002 and then as a Minister, in confirmation of the work I was involved in. Later, I was given the title of Acharya (senior teacher) by Dharmavidya at the Bodhi Retreat of December 2009 2010, following a decade of discipleship. During my time here I have been Buddhist Chaplain at Newcastle University for 11 years, as I was for Northumbria University for several years.
Pureland Buddhist Service, walking and sitting and the practices of inward reflection: Nei Quan and Chi Quan. Plus we will listen to another of the recorded talks from 'Giving and Receiving the Unimpeded Light", the Amida Bodhi Retreat, December 2013 :: link
Tuesday 11th February:
Pureland Buddhist Service, walking and sitting practice. Reading and comments on a couple more chapters of David Brazier (Dharmavidya)'s inspirational book, 'The Feeling Buddha'
I was delighted and honoured to accept the invitation from the Catholic Hexham Diocesan Department for Interreligious Relations to be the Buddhist representative on a visit to Durham last Wednesday (14th August) to see the stunningly beautiful 700 year old Lindisfarne Gospels.
This is one of the world’s most precious books and is on loan to Durham from the British Library.
In addition to the Lindisfarne Gospels, the exhibition includes the Cuthbert Gospel
and Cuthbert’s own treasures: a sapphire ring, a portable altar, his
jeweled cross and fragments of his vestments, plus a large selection of NorthumbrianGospel
books, stone sculptures, viking swords and precious Anglo-Saxon
treasures including gold and jewelled pieces from the Staffordshire
Fr Chris Jackson (seen above, 2nd from left) writes:
A visit with a difference – the Lindisfarne Gospels
Thousands have welcomed the Gospel book to the north-east by going to visit this priceless treasure in its temporary home on Palace Green in Durham. Here’s some news about a visit with a difference.
On Wednesday 14th August members the Diocesan Department for Interreligious Relations visited the exhibition with friends from other faiths. Catholic members of the Department had sent out invitations to other faith groups in the north-east and were joined by people from the Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist communities. Head of the Department, Anne Shaw, says ‘The Lindisfarne Gospels have great significance for everyone in the north-east; they remind us that people with Christian faith have been here for many centuries; they are also a magnificent work of art. In promoting dialogue with people of other faiths we hope to learn from one another’s traditions and this seemed another way of letting the others see something that we value.’
Anyone who has seen the Gospels will know that only a few people are allowed in each room at a time. Understandable, as the temperature has to be kept constant, but it meant that our group had to split. Catholics were able to look and marvel at the book side by side with individuals from the other faiths and this turned out to be fruitful, giving us a real opportunity for one-to-one conversations about what we were seeing.
The Gospels have to be treated with great care - we were told that the pages we saw (the Cannon tables) were to be turned that evening - so will not be seen for another 200 years.
My first audioboo (rather quiet and rather wobbly) - ringing my Tibetan bell at 8.02 am, as Church bells are being rung around the UK, to celebrate the start of the 2012 Olympics - combined with two different Pureland Buddhist chants.
Come and join us for an afternoon where you will be introduced to the spiritual journey of walking, or dancing, the labyrinth. The afternoon will be led by Jackie, who has trained as a facilitator with Veriditas and is a tribal dancer, and Sujatin, who has had a short training in using the labyrinth for therapeutic purposes.
We will combine this introduction with nembutsu odori - dancing the nembutsu - a traditional Pureland practice of Pureland masters such as Kuya and Ippen.
We will use a variety of drums and other musical instruments - bring your own if you have them. This will be the first of a number of labyrinth and dancing events.
Cost: by donation. Suggested amount - £10 waged, £4 unwaged