Categories: dharma glimpse

    Dharma glimpse by Beth H

    Having faith is a tricky concept for me.
    It’s a bit like the clouds. It comes and goes.
    The sun is there shining and grinning its reassuring glow.
    And as suddenly, it’s gone and I’m thrust back into greyness and find I’m floundering.
    Sunshine provides the reassurance, the comfort and glow that nurtures me and I imagine that is what faith provides.
    I can’t hold on to it. The cloud comes and murks the clarity. No sinjin here!
    But, I realise that practice has its place and role to play, so I pick up my Buddhist books, I meditate, I sing the nembutsu and I learn to breathe and be still. Restoring my Buddha nature. And I feel marvellous.
    I’ve started on this journey, that’s enough in itself for me.

    Doggy Glimpse

    Categories: dharma glimpse

    by Sharon Taylor Dechen

    Today my dog Poppy and I did our usual walk and I was thinking what I could share of my recent experiences to put into this Dharma Glimpse. As I was pondering this a set of two legs and two wheels came running past us sniffing flowers
    It was an elderly Labrador’ who still had use of his front legs but not his back. His owners spoke to me and said they had got him “his wheels“ so he could still get out and about . I have heard people say that it’s not fair to keep a disabled dog and at this point it would be better to have it put it down to end its life.
    This made me think, ”Were the owners being selfish refusing to accept the impermanence of even those we love?”
    I thought around this but in the end I decided that I didn’t think so. I think they were recognising that even when suffering ill health and age their friend was still a sentient being as we know from Buddhism and that he could still have some quality of life if only using wheels.
    He didn’t seem to be in pain and was happily sniffing and trotting along if with the odd bash into a tree!
    Life is impermanent and involves suffering. We can however value the simple joys that we have and appreciate our life in this minute right now . It may be that at some point the choices will be harder but for now let’s smell the flowers, using legs or wheels if we need them. NAB

    New glasses

    Categories: buddhism dharma glimpse

    Dharma glimpse by Dave Smith

    My eyesight has been slowly deteriorating for a while now but I never seem to get round to going to an optician. Someone suggested that I should just buy a cheap pair of reading glasses. I bought a pair yesterday, when I got into bed last night I thought I would try them out. I picked up my copy of Nagapryia’s “The promise of a sacred world” and started reading. The words were so much bigger and clearer which is what you would expect, but also I was able to read much faster. I didn’t have to struggle or concentrate in quite the way I usually do, the unexpected consequence was that I was able to understand the text more easily. I didn’t have to read and re-read everything to get the meaning of what Nagapriya was saying. My eyes had literally been opened! It felt almost like a mini awakening!
    Not only could I see more easily, but I could understand the text more easily. It made me want to start meditating more again, and reminded me of the value of having a clear and uncluttered mind.
    Who would have thought that a pair of £1 glasses could improve my spiritual well being?!
    Namo Amida Bu

    The Warm Voice

    Categories: Uncategorised

    Dharma Talk by Kim Allard

    What attracted me to Pureland Buddhism was being able to relate to the practice and teachings and not feeling shame or failure if my practice wasn’t done rigorously and in a disciplined way.

    Not leaving well enough alone I bought some books and ended up in tears when the author dove into the experience of Amida with such an intellectual lens I found myself lost in a forest of concepts that were beyond my grasp.  The presentation left me feeling a failure because I could not hold two contradictory concepts of reality within my mind as an “ah ha” moment. 

    I kept reading that real knowledge of Amida is that his power, compassion and loving acceptance is real but if you observe it you’ve missed the whole point. It’s when you let go of observing that true enlightenment is achieved. This left me feeling like I was standing in a featureless room understanding nothing after all.

    What happened to the warm voice within me that hears my joy, my sadness and interacts with me?  Where is the power that guides me and teaches me and assures me that Amida will always be with me? 

    As I drink my coffee this morning I am going to find my way back to that place. The new book will go on the shelf as a message for another. I am open to new ideas and concepts but I have always relied on my instincts for finding the right fit. Whether I am simply not ready for another view of Amida or I need the more personal approach or I lack the intellect to grasp this authors view of being – but not if I observe it – leaves me bereft.

    I will now pick up Satya’s book and find my way back to a place I know and trust and sit a while. I’m pretty sure Amida will meet me there as well.  

    Love and light 🙏

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    Warning – War and Peace ahoy!

    Categories: Uncategorised

    Dharma Glimpse by Frankie

    yoghurt and honey
    a spoonful of memories
    crete 1983

    ‘attachment is the source of all suffering’
    internet meme attributed usually to the Buddha.

    Non-attachment, nekkhama, not clinging, not grasping etc is a fundamental of Buddhist teaching and philosophy. It is at the core of the four noble truths, often the first lesson that students of Buddhism are exposed to. It’s often taught quite simply at first, involving attachment to physical objects, and then moves to a deeper level – attachment to our likes and dislikes, conditioned thinking, thoughts themselves. In my case above, memory.
    As an excuse to keep my elderly mind active I often do online jigsaws. One evening recently I came across a jigsaw featuring Agios Nikolaos in Crete, somewhere I had spent a two week holiday back in 1983 with my late, ex-husband. We were lucky; I did a very late booking, and when we arrived we had been given a lovely 2-bed, rustic style apartment on the outskirts of town- it was a great holiday.
    While I completed the jigsaw, I couldn’t shake myself free of memories,mixed as they were, the beauty of the town and surroundings, lovely food and weather, feelings of general love and happiness combined with terrible sadness at how our marriage eventually failed. Wondering what that apartment looked like today I started what turned out to be an agonising and obsessive search on the internet and Google Earth. I could find no trace of it, nothing that resembled it, almost nothing apart from the port that I recognised.
    Somehow I just couldn’t get it into my head that over 40 years places change, despite my knowing full well from experience that they can change drastically in half that time. I had such a clear picture in my mind of the apartment, the road it was on, the two walks we used into town, one down a winding lane full of olive groves; I clung so steadfastly to those memories that I spent days in a futile search online for anything that proved the permanence of them. Then I was sure that I must still have some actual photos from that time; I had brought some from the UK when we moved – and that became another obsessive search, which did indeed end in more suffering – a few photos of us in Crete which only made me sadder for my ex husband’s suffering and all that we had lost.

    And after everything I’ve learned as a student of Buddhism!
    More than 11 years of being immersed in the Four Noble Truths!

    And still here I was, clinging to things that were impermanent – not just physical spaces, but memories and narratives distorted by time. It was more than three weeks before the pain started to recede – yes I clung to that for a little while too.
    The past can be like a hungry ghost, bloated on useless memories, feeding on the present, stealing it away. I’m happy to still be able to remember, but I need to remind myself to remember with love and acceptance and awareness that it’s in this precious, fleeting present that I now reside.

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