Weekly face to face classes continue :-)

Hi everyone

It has been amazing to meet back face to face again on Tuesday evenings. The meditative energy we are building up together is far stronger than what we have been able to achieve on zoom.

We did originally plan to carry on with zoom once a month on the last Wednesday of every month, but there has not been much demand for that, so we are stopping our zoom classes completely.

Coming up we have:

12 July 2022 Padmajata
19 July 2022 Jnanadaya
26 July 2022 Keith and Maisie
02 August 2022 Keith
09 August 2022 to be announced
16 August 2022 Padmajata

Newcomers are always welcome. Details are at https://hertfordbuddhistgroup.co.uk/

That is all for now. Have a great July!

All the best


p.s. Excerpt from one of my favourite books: “Buddhism: Tools for Living Your Life” by Vajragupta © Windhorse Publications

Right Livelihood

the life of calm and activity

Hakuin was a Zen master who lived in eighteenth-century Japan. He was also a renowned painter and calligrapher, and some of his self portraits survive to this day. They depict a large, formidable looking man, bald, with intense, bulging eyes, and a grizzly beard. He looks as though he could have tattoos under his robes and ride a motorbike at weekends. But Hakuin was very dedicated to his practice, and had some profound spiritual experiences during his life.

Two of the things Hakuin used to talk about were the ‘life of activity’ and the ‘life of calm’. In a way, what he meant by these phrases was similar to what we have been talking about as practice in the world and practice apart from the world. When leading an active life, it was obvious that one needed some calm to counterbalance it, and to help engage in activity with awareness and creativity. But Hakuin was also concerned that some of his disciples were choosing the life of calm for the wrong reasons. If they went to live in the mountains, it was because they had over-identified this lifestyle with the spiritual life. Or perhaps they were actually choosing it out of a desire to live somewhere peaceful and beautiful, rather than because they really wanted to make spiritual progress. He said they were often weak and incapable when they returned to the life of activity.

For Hakuin, the ideal was to blend a life of calm and a life of activity. Each was essential, but one without the other was useless. Activity and calm were to be practised together at deeper and deeper levels. So, when performing a task such as chopping wood, or fetching water, one would do it mindfully – almost like a meditation practice. One would stop making such hard and fast distinctions between calm and activity, and hankering for one or other.

In Zen circles there was a saying designed to depict the ordinary, down-to-earth quality of mindfulness. ‘A monk who is really practising meditation knows he is walking when he is walking, and knows he is sitting (in meditation) when he is sitting.’ Hakuin (who was a bit of a wit) played on this, saying, ‘A monk who is really practising meditation does not know when he is walking and when he is sitting.’ In other words, everything was potentially a practice – the monk ceased to make distinctions between what was practice, and what wasn’t.