Tuesday 23rd November 2021

Photo by Helen Evanfé

WE HELD A SANGHA DAY - 20th November 2021

Facilitating Organically: On Saturday we had one of our monthly sangha days (upavastha) when we meet to celebrate the Dharma together. On this occasion a theme of "deepening & broadening" emerged which gave some sense of definition to our sangha.  The common practice these days is that groups or organisations design some kind of mission statement that consciously embodies its values and aims and then sets out to implement what has been written.  Often, what happens in practice is that what actually emerges is nothing much like the mission statement. This is surely because such an ultra-rational approach is mechanistic whereas actual groups of people are organic.  A better approach is to persiodically review what is actually happening in the life of a community and see what ethos is emerging and manifesting and then to reflect upon that.  In this way the spirit of a community can be facilitated to grow naturally: to deepen and broaden.

Black Poplar: At present there is a feeling in our sangha that deepening is primary.  For a strong plant to grow it has to put down a strong root.  Trying to put out too much foliage before the root has formed will probably only result in the plant being blown over by the first gale that arrives. I was out for a walk the other day along the bank of the River Cher.  There are stands of black poplar trees (peuplier noir) along the riverside.  Often these result from seeds that fall upon sand banks in mid-river.  The seed germinates and has to get down a good root before the next surge of river flood.  If the roots of several seeds get established, the sandbank evolves into an island and eventually the whole course of the river is changed.  Thus the deepening is necessary for the widening to occur later.

Shravaka Bodhisattva Sangha: The term Global Sangha has a double meaning. Firstly, it is descriptive: we are a network of people scattered over six continents. Secondly, it is aspirational: sangha implies harmonious relations founded upon Buddhist principles and if such harmony were truly global many of the world's problems would disappear. Humankind will not, for instance, overcome the ecological crisis without co-operation, mutual understanding, restraint, a simpler lifestyle, harmony with nature, and so on.  Members of the sangha are "shravakas": those who heed the Dharma and apply it in the world by being individually engaged in a wide range of bodhisattva activity.  We are sangha in our coming together to support one another and celebrate together.  In my own case, I am endlessly seeking to deepen my practice and apply my faith by facilitating others each upon their path.

Amitabha Tantra: In our day two particular things happened that assisted this deepening process.  One was the introduction of a meditative practice that extended our existing nei quan chih quan sequence.  We could call this form of meditation an Amitabha tantra as it involved the tantric principles of the central channel and subtle body.  Those who participated in this initiation found the practice profound and helpful.  The method was introduced in the morning Dharma talk and then repeated in more depth as a led meditation in the afternoon.  The basic principles can then be used by the practitioner in own time, either as part of a regular practice or occasionally, or as an enrichment of naturally occurring contemplation when in nature or other conducive conditions.  Such practices can enhance one's appreciation of the meaning of refuge (nembutsu) which is the heart of our approach to the Dharma.

Vimalakirti Sutra: The second important contribution was an excellent talk by Will Holcomb in which he gave a synopsis of the main themes of the Vimalakirti Sutra.  This is one of the foundational sutras of Mahayana Buddhism.  It incorporates many allegorical incidents that highlight elements of the Mahayana spirit.  Thus Vimalakirti is sick, suffering dukkha, but this is a means for teaching the Dharma; he is a layperson but has a deeper understanding than the monks; he is fully engaged in the mundane world yet not corrupted by its dualisms; he is always manifesting Dharma even when in the most worldly situations.  There is an incident in which a goddess appears and scatters beautiful petals: these then fall off the lay bodhisattvas but stick to the monks: the stickiness inheres in the fact that the monks are attached to their rules of non-self-decoration.  The petal incident illustrates how adopting a formal rule of renunciation can easily simply give rise to a compensating attachment resulting in hypocrisy.  There are many other items in the sutra, including Vimalakirti's famous silence and the Buddha's own exposition.  We all felt Will's enthusiasm for the sutra and enjoyed his very clear exposition.

Many Voices, One Dharma: At the end of the day we shared readings of passages from the sutras and then chanted nembutsu together  into the night.  Even in such chanting there is a manifestation of unity-in-difference: each voice is unique, each practitioner has his or her own experience, yet together, as a team, we celebrate and receive the Dharma.  Thus, like the poplar trees, we strengthen our intertwining roots and build an island of practice that ultimately may change of course of the world.

Photo by Yılmaz Akgünlü



Last week I took part in an on-line dialogue with Peter Coyote and Paul Shippee, compared by Richard Laubly.  Discussion roamed over a number of topics relevant to the arrival of Buddhism in the West. You can now see the discussion on Youtube at



What a joy it is to visit other members of the sangha and members of other sanghas and actually meet with them in person after this long period of lockdowns and restrictions !  At the beginning of this month I was in Hamberg and then Den Haag. In Hamberg I was the guest of Tineke Osterloh and gave a weekend seminar on the theme of my book, The Feeling Buddha.  There was a good feeling in the group and much sharing on personal and spiritual issues.  It was also good to see around a fine German city.  Then I went on to Holland and spent time with friends and sangha members who were most hospitable.  We were all so very pleased to see one another in person at last.

Retiro de silencio: El Dharma que libera.

Ganendra: We did our first retreat since the pandemic started, taking advantage of the fact that there were no special sanitary restrictions to meet in person. The retreat was excellent. We were a small group of people from the Spanish Sangha, and some non members, in a very warm and intimate atmosphere. We explored the liberating power of Dharma in diferent ways and practices. Dharmavidya gave us a brilliant talk about Prajña, and his teachings were very inspiring, and permeated the rest of the retreat. Here is the link to Dharmavidya´s talk

Left to right: Annetta, David, Floor, Maitrisimha (Leo)


Sri Lanka is a mostly Buddhist country that adopted an intention to become the first wholly organic farming country in the world.  The country stopped importing chamical fertilisers and insectivides completely.  This policy has now been reversed.  It was not possible for farmers to produce the amount of food that the population need.

This is rather tragic.  It illustrates the enormity of the problem humans face in the immediately coming years.  There are many protestors who seem to assume that it is clear what needs to be done to avert ecological disaster and that the obstacle is simply the wickedness or stupidity of certain politicians, but, in fact, the matter is much more difficult.

I live in France and in recent years we have seen several attempts by the central government to reduce fossil fuel usage, increase biodiversity and limit the use of agricultural chemicals defeated either by popular resistance or practical problems.  While some progress is made, it seems never to be enough and many initiatives fail in spite of good intentions.

I am much in favour of organic methods, of biodiversity, and of the development of alternative green energy sources, but realistically I have to face the fact that it does not seem to be the case that we yet have a real solution to the worldwide problem.  Things are going to get worse.  The debate is moving toward how to adapt to inevitable losses.  Such adaptation will need to be spiritual as well as practical. In the difficult times to come we shall need one another. 



Change of time
15:30-16:45 Tuesday 30th Nov, 14th Dec 
Satsang is a meeting for Dharma testimony and questions (mondo), including chanting and a reading.  -:-  Meeting ID: 899 7087 5848

16:30 – 17:30 Thursdays 
Tineke Osterloh & Priti Vaishnav
: Readings  followed by discussion and reflections. From time to time, the author may join the reading/discussion.   The group is open to all who would like to  explore this inspiring and multifaceted Dharma text. 
Meeting-ID: 810 2086 5322  -:-  Passcode: 478476

19:00-20:30 Thursday .
Iris Dotan Katz
For presentation, review and discussion of counselling/psychotherapy casework from a Buddhist psychology perspective.
Zoom:  -:-  Meeting ID: 818 8810 0021 -:-  Passcode: 153110
Contact for details: Iris Dotan Katz <[email protected]>,

14:30 Fridays
Angela Romani has had a serious accident.  This service will, therefore, be led by Liz Allmark for the time being. This is an excellent chance to practice with some time also for sharing and discussion. We all wish Angela a speedy recovery.  -:-  Passcode: 159857



Kshitigarbha Bodhisattva


If you would like to support my work of facilitating the sangha and especially of assisting people to come to Eleusis in France for teachings, the simplest way is to make a donation via Ko-Fi
You will also find a wealth of interesting articles there curated by Geeta Chari.


14:00-15:30 Saturdays
Refuge Group
Codes separately notified

16:30 Saturdays
Encuentro de la Sangha en español
Para más información: [email protected]

Saturday 4th December
Bodhi Day
A full day of talks, meetings and events to celebrate the enlightenment of Shakyamuni Buddha
Tickets <>

10:30-12:00 Sundays
Global Sangha Interest Group  - Liz Allmark  -:-  Meeting ID: 878 4051 9127  -:-  Passcode: 584137  

12:30 Sunday 19th Dec
Golden Chain Meeting
Codes as previous meeting

20:00-21:00 Sundays  
Friendship Group  -:-  Meeting ID: 873 9408 4532  -:-  Passcode: 519784

12:30-13:45 Tuesday 30th Nov, 14th Dec  
Satsang - Dharmavidya
Gathering for discussion of faith and practice  -:-  Meeting ID: 899 7087 58480

17:00-18:00 Tuesday - suspended for the time being until Angela is recovered.
Italian Class - Angela Romani  -:-  Meeting ID: 889 9850 0278  -:-  Passcode: 515887

17:30 Tuesday 16th & 30th Nov, 14th Dec
Italian Meeting - Incontro Italiano
Incontro di pratica e condivisione
Dettagli da Jisshas <[email protected]>

21:00 Wednesday 8th Dec
Dharma Bud: Peer learning and Dharma discussion - Geeta Chari  -:-  Meeting ID: 858 9773 3604  -:-  Passcode: 108108  

19:00-20:30 Thursday 11th Nov.
ITZI Supervision Group - Iris Dotan Katz  -:-  Meeting ID: 818 8810 0021 -:-  Passcode: 153110
Contact for details: Iris Dotan Katz <[email protected]>,

14:30 Thursday 2nd & 16th Dec
IBAP Meeting
Codes separately notified

16.30-17.30 Thursdays
Faith & Practice Reading - Tineke Osterloh & Priti Vaishnav 
Meeting-ID: 810 2086 5322  -:-  Passcode: 478476

14:30 Fridays
Afternoon Service - Liz Allmark 
With short Dharma Talk  -:-  Passcode: 159857


Jisshas <[email protected]> - for all general enquiries
Tickets <> - to book courses


Global Sangha Web Site:
Recent Audio Podcasts: 
Dharma Ocean Buddhist Studies Programme <[email protected]>,
The Feeling Buddha on KoFi:
Tickets for Events:

IBAP & Buddhist Psychology Programme
(English) Dharmavidya <dharmavidya&>,
(Español) Nati Menendez <[email protected]>,

GS on Facebook:
GS at Eleusis:
Dharmavidya: [email protected]
Dharmavidya on Facebook:
Dharmavidya website:
Tineke's website
Zen & Now - the musical


Worldwide: Jisshas <[email protected]>,  
United Kingdom: Geeta Chari <[email protected]>,
Germany: Tineke Osterloh <[email protected]>,
France: Dharmavidya <[email protected]>,
Spain Pais Vasco: Ganendra <[email protected]>,
Spain Pais Vasco: Sonia Gobbato <[email protected]>
Spain: Nati Menendez <[email protected]>,
Italy: Angela Romani <[email protected]>
Latin America: Maya Choi <[email protected]>,
USA: Carol Corey <[email protected]>
Africa: Juline Smit <[email protected]>,
Israel: Iris Dotan Katz <[email protected]>,
India: Priti Vaishnav <[email protected]>,
Hong Kong: Nando Maril <[email protected]>,
Japan: Nita Kimiko <[email protected]>,

You can see other Global Sangha materials, past podcasts and articles via :

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Thank you very much
Namo Amida Bu
Global Sangha at Eleusis
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4 La Ville au Roi
Bessais le Fromental
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