GLOBAL SANGHA NEWSLETTER 126
Wednesday 21st September 2022
All times in this Newsletter are Rome time zone
Para artículos en español, desplácese hacia abajo, por favor.
THE REFUGE GROUP
On Saturdays at 14:00 we meet for puja - a service with chanting, meditation, readings and sharing. This is a good way to practise together, deepening one's faith and involvement with the sangha. Pureland practice is rather communal. The good spirit between members is the foundation of the faith. When an enquirer asked the priest how to do Pureland practice, the priest just said, "Keep turning up." This is wise advice. In the end it is just between you and Amida, but for all practical purposes, the mutual support of sangha is the key.
Meeting ID: 833 6526 3186 -:- Passcode: 353386
READINGS FROM THE COMMENTARY
ON SUMMARY OF FAITH & PRACTICE
Priti Vaishnav & Dharmavidya
These reading continue weekly on Thursdays at 16:30. Summary of Faith & Practice is a text by Dharmavidya based on the Ishimai Kishomon of Honen Shonin. The Commentary is an extensive explanation of this short text providing insight into the whole range of Pureland Dharma. Each week we study a short section. Recently, we have been studying the 'Three Minds".New code
Meeting ID: 871 8967 0352 -:- Passcode: 732590
BUDDHIST PSYCHOLOGY DIPLOMA
NEW INTAKE: Applications are now coming in for February 2023
A googlegroup has been set up for new registrants for the 2023 entry. New registrants will start to get study materials in February, but, once enrolled, they can already join existing students at on-line seminars as soon as they get their ticket. To book
Morning at Yaya's
22-23rd October 2022
"ENCOUNTER & PATH"
OCTOBER BUDDHIST PSYCHOLOGY WEEKEND
Therapy as a Spiritual Path for Client & for Therapist. A presentation of the application of Buddhist psychology in a number of dimensions; a forum in which to reflect upon the spiritual path from a psychological point of view and the psychological work from a spiritual perspective.
talks, seminars, master class demonstration, groupwork, "Dharma à Deux", case
presentation and discussion. Theoretical material will be presented and there will also be experiential workshops so participants should be willing to
share material about personal life and agree to respect the
confidentiality of others.
Suitable for: The weekend is open to anybody interested both in understanding their own life and relationships better and in the therapeutic process and how this relates to the spiritual path in a Buddhist approach.
Students enrolled on the BP Diploma programme will be invited free of charge.
8-11th December 2022
"HEALING THE HEART"
SHAKYAMUNI ENLIGHTENMENT RETREAT
On 8th December we celebrate the enlightenment of Shakyamuni Buddha. On the three days following we shall have periods of practice and presentations of applications of Dharma faith and practice. The theme of "Healing the Heart" invites us to consider both the transformation of the practitioner on the bodhisattva path and also the need for healing of our world and our planet.
21-22nd January 2023
JANUARY BUDDHIST PSYCHOLOGY WEEKEND
Details to be announced. A good preparation for new students planning to join the Buddhist Psychology Diploma programme on 1st February and a valuable experience for students already on the programme. Also open to all.
JEALOUSY & ENVY
It is an interesting question how much of human action is motivated by jealousy or envy. It takes many forms. There is the envious jealousy of social one-upmanship. This can motivate possession: wanting to have a better car in the drive than the neighbour. It can appear as shame: not wanting to have a worse car in the drive. It also affects conversation: I'm sure you know the kind of person who cannot talk without hinting at how important, clever, influential or desirable he or she is or used to be. This person is always name dropping, making allusions to meetings with famous people, happening to mention important positions held, and so on, all done as if natural and incidental, but actually motivated by a craving to impress and terror of appearing insignificant, as if it mattered. Unfortunately, even many supposedly spiritual books are shot through with this kind of thing as the author hints at all the great spiritual achievements, empowerments and realisations he has had.
Then there is the kind of really destructive jealousy that leads a person to try to destroy or eliminate his or her rival, or even the one once loved. One of Shakespeare's characters famously says "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." Thus a woman may try to destroy a man, or his reputation, if he has rejected her, or she has failed to win him. The famous poet T.S.Elliot was, in his later career, followed round by his ex-wife. When he gave a public lecture, she would sit prominently in the audience holding up a placard saying "I am the wife he rejected". This kind of thing is not limited to women, though men may usually adopt a different style, scheming more secretly to bring about the downfall of the person now despised. In all this there is a sentiment of "If I cannot have him, nobody else shall."
In all these perverse ways, lives are wasted. Occasionally the targeted person is damaged, but often the strategy is counter-productive. I have myself been attacked by envious people. These days it often happens over the internet. Somebody tries to whip up a hate campaign. So far, in my own experience, the effect has generally been that it quickly reveals who one's true friends are and strengthens their friendship, while those who climb onto the band waggon soon fall off again, or fume pointlessly for a while and then settle for less than they had before.
How is one to handle all this? If one is prone to jealousy or envy, there are, as usual in Buddhism, two seemingly opposite possible strategies. The first is awareness and restraint. Learn to observe one's own bad habit and, by conscious intervention in one's own process, avert it. The second is to expand the jealousy or envy in one's mind until it reaches a completely ridiculous proportion and one realises that one wants to be queen of heaven or king of the world, and enjoy this feeling of megalomania for a while, then get on with doing the laundry. If, on the other hand, one is a target for such behaviour, again, there are the two possibilities. One can be studiously restrained, not react, block the e-mails and practice patience. Or, one can laugh and delight in the folly of it all. As Oscar Wilde once said, "The only thing worse than people talking about you behind your back is when nobody is talking about you behind your back." As they say, "No publicity is bad publicity."
Buddhist psychology will tell us that envy and jealousy are forms of conceit. They are born of the wish to embellish the ego and avoid the shame of loss, failure or rejection. In this world, dukkha (loss, failure, rejection) is inevitable. It comes to us all. It can be a gateway to spiritual emancipation or it can suck us into the whirlpool of greed, hate and delusion. To avoid the siren call of the whirlpool, one must be tied to the mast of Dharma. This is faith. Take refuge. The Buddhas will provide spiritual riches far greater than worldly possessions and an inner security that worldly position can never match.
above by Annette Tamuly Jung
left by Yılmaz Akgünlü
Shan Tao established the idea of the Three Minds, or the threefold spirit of Pureland practice. These three are the sincere mind, the profound mind and the mind that transfers merit toward the birth of all beings into the Pure Land of Amitabha. Now we all have a general idea about the meaning of sincerity and profundity, but in Pureland these terms also have a more specific connotation. Sincerity means genuineness, of course, but here it really means complete faith in the saving power of the Buddha. Profundity means going deeply into things, but here it means especially realising one's own bombu nature. The saving power of the Buddha reaches even poor cases such as ourselves. Transference of merit, thus also acquires a particular meaning. In all Mahayana schools there are practices by which we transfer merit to those in need. This is a cultivation of personal generosity. However, in Pureland, it is not one's own merit that really matters. What counts is the merit that Buddha transfers to us. We merely pass it on. Thus, in Pureland there is a renunciation of personal spiritual achievement. It is not about my own goodness. Virtues are all very well, but we are not here to make something of ourselves. We are here to dissolve into the great merit of the Tathagata. Nor is this in any way exclusive. One Buddha is all Buddhas. There are infinite manifestations of Dharma Nature, so we are not making something of our group any more than of ourselves. We are turning to the Light that is always, unimpededly everywhere and wishing similar benefit to all sentient beings, and we are doing it together, supporting one another. Namo Amida Bu.
As the first words of the day,
listen closely, hear me say,
“Namo Amida Bu -
I’ll soon be dead and so will you.”
Skin, flesh and bone by turns
will rot away and feed the worms.
The spirit left will never die,
merely merge into the sky,
one day, perhaps, to come again
as, after drought, comes the rain.
Many times returning, coming,
just as rain on roofs is drumming,
just as last year’s fallen leaf
now feeds a good man or a thief
or a saintly dame or tart
as the hoof leads on the cart
for karma is unceasing pain
for all the dross that does remain
when blindly we poor mortals go
from foolish folly unto woe
and it’s no victory at all
to come again into this fall
unless and only by the vow
to be whatever, here and now,
the Buddhas do for us prescribe,
we and all our motley tribe,
not by posing, being good
will we escape the poisonous wood,
but by experiment with strewth,
facing life’s most dreadful truth:
all this and this will pass away
no matter what you do or say.
Matters not what’s glad or fond,
abandon hope and go beyond
everything that’s small or great,
made by man or gods or fate;
say now, before it is to late,
everything that comes to you
everything you ever do
just, “Namo Amida Bu!”
David: I've been here alone with the cat for a while, but now, for the next few weeks, on and off, I'll be travelling, to Paris and to the south, attending meetings and seeing friends.
I've been busy with work, indoor and out. The Buddhist Psychology programme is in full swing and students are doing some great work. I'm trying to stay a little ahead of them, revising and refining units six and seven while they work though number five. It is creative and stimulating. Although it is material I been through many times, it never ceases to throw up new insights and possibilities. The advent of zoom has also cast a new perspective on things, making possible interactions between people who are continents apart - meetings that often prove surprisingly close, deep and touching.
Then, outside, it has been pretty wet - a big change from the drought of August. All the water tubs are full to the brim. When weather permits, I've been digging and shifting soil and rock away from the back wall of the house. It is a big job, but I take it in small doses. I'm not as young as I once was. Still, a lot has got done. I'm still fitter than most at my age. It is a blessing to be in good health, especially considering my crisis of a few years back.
There are still a roses blooming - about fifty blooms at the moment. Pumpkins are ripening and make good soup. There is a lot of grass to cut. I have pruned the apple trees. There's always work in a garden and, beyond, there is wood to cut in the forest. I've got a fair bit in for the winter.
In the summer heat it is difficult to imagine how cold it can be in February, just as, in winter, one forgets how hot the summer sun becomes in August. Yet all year round there are some sunny days and sometimes stormy skies. This summer there have been more storms than usual. Sometimes the sky has been full of rumbling electricity for days on end. We live beneath the gods, but also among the goddesses.
All times are Rome time zone
Every day 06:30-06:50
- Geeta Charihttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/84702079106?pwd=bGxZbGF4c2hTU2xUbTdNWjZoRFNMUT09
Thursday 14:30, 8th September & every two weeksIBAP Group / BP Diploma Tutors Meeting *
Thursday 19:00-20:30, 25th August & every two weeksITZI Supervision Group **- Iris Dotan Katz
For presentation, review and discussion of counselling/psychotherapy casework from a Buddhist psychology perspective.
Thursdays 16:30 from 8th SeptemberReadings from the Commentary on Summary of Faith & PracticeNew code
Meeting ID: 871 8967 0352 -:- Passcode: 732590
Fridays 19:30 from 9th SeptemberAmitabha Service For the West
- Vajrapala & Angela Romani
Meeting ID: 894 8069 9209 -:- Passcode: 137836
Saturday 10:00 & 20:00, 3rd September, 1st October, 12th November, 3rd DecemberBuddhist Psychology Seminars *
For students on BP course
Saturdays 14:00Refuge Group Puja
A group for those who have taken refuge**.
Puja, Dharma Talk, Sharing, Discussion, https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83365263186?pwd=cURmOW5FNGJvdTd2SG1qVWtPSDJrZz09
Meeting ID: 833 6526 3186 -:- Passcode: 353386
Saturday 8th OctoberUpavastha: Full Moon Practice Renewal
Programme of puja, readings, meditation, & chanting until eveninghttps://bit.ly/3OhYJ3r
-:- Meeting ID: 833 6526 3186 -:- Passcode: 353386Sabado 16:30
Encuentro de la Sangha en español y servicio.
Guiado por Ganendra.
Por zoom. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81138990223?pwd=dmNZU3VmRTRhUjBobVdnMjhuV3NYUT09
Para asistir, escribir por whatsapp a +34 620265962.
Sundays 10:30Global Sangha Interest Group
- Liz Allmarkhttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/88974912642?pwd=N2VyQnc0MUM4WUU0YTFTdCt0QWVmQT09
Meeting ID: 889 7491 2642 -:- Passcode: 537296
Sundays 20:00 GS Friendship Group
An informal meeting for allhttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/87394084532?pwd=eEY3eUhHcjN0b0xLanZXcTNqVmVzdz09
Meeting ID: 873 9408 4532 -:- Passcode: 519784
Weekend 22-23 October"Encounter & Path"
A weekend of Buddhist Psychology
David Brazier, Iris Dotan Katz, Kimiko Nita, Yaya de Andrade & Natividad Menendez
* Codes separately notified
** Details from Jisshas <email@example.com