Happy Easter 🙂
I love this time of year as Spring is in the air, and I even got the sun lounger out of the shed yesterday. This annual ritual heralds the advent of sunshine, and lighter warmer evenings.
Also the pandemic continues to contract as more people get vaccinated. Having got used to this hermit like existence, it is actually possible to start dreaming of meeting up again with friends and family in real life once again. Plus we will be able to go away on retreat which is something I really miss.
It has been so long, that I have almost forgotten what all this was like. But I know it was good, and will be good again 🙂
I am not sure yet about our group. But I am guessing that things will stay on zoom for at least the next couple of months.
In other news we have a course starting on the 13th April – Vision and Transformation. Like all our courses we will teach meditation from scratch, newcomers are very welcome, and you don’t have to “be a Buddhist”. This one will also focus on getting in touch with our spiritual vision, and transforming our lives into more alignment with that.
No need to book, just turn up on 13th April.
06 April – Paramjyoti will talk on Milarepa
13 April – Keith will kick off week 1 of the course
20 April – Mangala will lead week 2
27 April – Amber will lead week 3
04 May – Jnanadaya will lead week 4
11 May – Padmajata will lead week 5
18 May – Karunadhara will lead Week 6
I hope to see you at some of these.
All the best, and enjoy the sunshine 🙂
p.s. Excerpt from one of our favourite books: “Buddhism: Tools for Living Your Life” by Vajragupta © Windhorse Publications
It is worth reflecting on our predisposition to the idea of an ethical life, since we often, I think, inherit from our surrounding culture a seriously impoverished view of what ethics is about. Or sometimes we have negative associations with the idea of ethics and morality because our previous experience was of it being inculcated in us in a narrow or dogmatic way. I’ve frequently noticed upon meeting someone and their discovering I’m a Buddhist, their first question is something like, ‘What does that mean you’re not allowed to do, then?’ or, ‘Does that mean you’re not allowed to drink?’ They identify ethics with rules, and with not being allowed to do what you want.
My reply to their questions is that as a Buddhist I can do whatever I like. However, I might choose to do, or not do, some things because of the effects I know they will have on me and on others. Buddhist ethics is not a list of rules and regulations, but about trying to make wise and aware choices. In the last two chapters we looked at meditation as the cultivation of positive frames of mind: those of mindfulness and loving-kindness. The practice of ethics involves acting in ways that are motivated by these qualities. If we do this, certain consequences follow. First, the positive frame of mind that we’ve acted from is reinforced. We are cultivating happiness for ourselves. Secondly, it has a much more positive effect on the world than if we had acted on the basis of a negative frame of mind. We are also cultivating happiness for others.
In other words, we could say that we are trying to bring creativity to our actions, in the sense of bringing awareness into our interactions with the world, instead of acting in the same tired, habitual, irritable, or busy way. When we are being creative, in the sense the word is being used here, we bring something new to the situation. We are more able to rise above a difficult situation. Whatever happens, we will try to be creative; to do so becomes deeply part of who we are. Someone like the Dalai Lama seems to be creative in this way. To all the troubles his people have faced under Chinese occupation, he could have easily – and understandably – responded with hatred or anger. But he seems to rise above the situation and encourage others to respond peacefully and with equanimity. This example has inspired many people all over the world.
Put another way, happiness is not something you can ‘get’ if only your life would work out just right. Happiness is a by-product of an aware and creative approach to life. It is this creativity that is the true source of happiness and contentment. That’s why you can sometimes meet someone who has everything materially, but still doesn’t seem satisfied. Or, you may meet someone whose life circumstances are hard, who undergoes suffering, but they meet it with an inner richness and optimism that is uplifting to witness. Despite their difficulties, they seem to be happy.