Happy May Day 🙂
I hope you are enjoying Springtime with the beautiful cherry blossom and growing anticipation of Summery days to come.
We started our course recently. I counted 43 people last Tuesday, which is the highest in person attendance since the start of the pandemic. It is good to see that our community is growing in size at the same time as our friendships are deepening.
Here is a photo that we took a couple of weeks ago.
The course is designed so that you can join at any time, so it does not matter if you have missed previous weeks, or if you have never been before. We always teach meditation from first principles. If you want to buy the book that goes along with the course, it is called “Not about being good” by Subhadramati. It is recommended, but it is not essential.
Have you ever been on retreat? Whether or not you have, I can definitely recommend the Cambridge Buddhist Centre Summer retreat https://www.cambridgebuddhistcentre.com/SummerRetreat from Sunday 11/6 to Friday 16/6.
Some of Cambridge’s retreats are just for people attending the Cambridge Buddhist Centre, but they have just decided to open this up to people attending the Hertford group (as well as other groups).
All you need to be ready for this retreat is interested in meditation, curious about myth and ritual and open to Buddhist teachings – you don’t have to be a fully signed-up Buddhist. It would be a perfect retreat if you have never been on one before.
And please do drop into our Tuesday Night Class
This is what is coming up:
02 May 2023 Course week 3 – Rob and Helen
09 May 2023 Course week 4 – Keith and Amber
16 May 2023 Course week 5 – Amber and Nigel
23 May 2023 Course week 6 – Nigel and Simon
30 May 2023 Kuladipa
06 Jun 2023 Samudraghosha
13 Jun 2023 Keith
20 Jun 2023 BAM – Buddhist Action Month and the Hertford Earth Sangha
27 Jun 2023 Padmajata
04 Jul 2023 Helen
I will hopefully see you at some of these.
All the best
p.s. Excerpt from one of my favourite books: “Buddhism: Tools for Living Your Life” by Vajragupta © Windhorse Publications
So we do not have to ignore or avoid the complex and sophisticated society in which we live. We can benefit from the possibilities it allows. But we make use of those possibilities, rather than letting them use us. I run a lot of weekend retreats as part of my work at the Buddhist centre. I’ve noticed something about them over the last few years. In the old days, people would arrive on Friday night, stay for the weekend, and return home on Sunday. These days, people arrive, phone home on their mobile to say they’ve arrived, check their phone for messages half an hour later, phone the next day to see if the cat has had its dinner, check for messages, and phone again on Sunday to tell their family they are coming home soon. The mobile phone revolution has made possible much that is useful: phoning ahead if you’re going to be late for a meeting, or texting a relative the other side of the world. But it also gives rise to all sorts of calls and worries that wouldn’t have even occurred to us before.
Sometimes, rather than using technology, technology starts to use us. Or rather, the technology becomes a way in which we distract ourselves from experiencing our own hearts and minds.
So perhaps simplicity involves asking ourselves what is really necessary for pursuing our true purpose, and for that dwelling in possibility. We ask ourselves what activities or possessions help us to do this, and which detract from it. We ask the same question at work. Perhaps, as we pursue spiritual practice, our work becomes, in certain ways, less central in our lives. Our sense of worth, or self-image, becomes less dependent on our job and status. Perhaps we do not see promotion, high earnings, and career success as all-important as it once might have been. We know there are other aspects to our lives that are we value more highly, and deeper and more vital currents that run through us.