This bittersweet life
7 July 2015: I am just back from our wonderful Order retreat in France. Refreshed and renewed from a time of deep practice and warm friendship. There is something very precious about having time together and learning about the life of our different sanghas scattered around the world. I am glad that I had this time of renewal before returning to London and the anniversaries of a couple of the worst disasters of my time.
The war in Bosnia stimulated the formation of Amida Trust and also led to my becoming deeply involved in Amida Trust and ultimately becoming an amitarya in 1998. I went to Sarajevo in 2003 to run retreats and services and give talks to people desperate to find a way beyond the traumas and their anger and despair. Everyone spoke of the ethnic cleansing that took place in Srebrenica twenty years ago. This week various events are taking place in the UK to remember and to help the “Mothers of Srebrenica” still searching for the bones of their husbands, brothers and children in the mass graves still being uncovered. On Sunday night I met with some of the mothers and listened to their stories and the story of a young man, the same age as my son, who, at seventeen was a lone survivor in a pile of bodies and struggled despite many bullet wounds to a safe zone far away.
Last night I went to Finsbury Park mosque to join them for their special Iftar meal which they offer during Ramadan. They despair for their young people and at the extremists that bring their religion into disrepute; Especially painful at this tenth anniversary of the 7/7 London bombings. However this event was far from saddening as I ate together with members of the mosque and Muslim charitable organisations, fellow members of Islington Faiths Forum, Bruce Kent, a leading figure in the Peace movement and Jeremy Corbyn, our local MP who is also very admirable. Very gladdening to be among a company of people working for peace and compassion in our society.
Namo Amida Bu
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Bodhi retreat 2015 with Dharmavidya David Brazier
December 8 - 13
Amida Mandala Buddhist Temple
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