GLOBAL SANGHA NEWSLETTER 107
16th March 2022

RECENT PODCASTS

THE ILLUMINATOR OF THUSNESS

THE ENLIGHTENING BEING Universally Good, the great being, sat on a lion throne made of a bank of lotus flowers, and, imbued with the psychic power of the Enlightened One, entered into concentration. This concentration is called the immanent body of the illuminator of thusness, which is in all enlightened ones. It enters everywhere into the equal essence of all enlightened ones, and is capable of manifesting myriad images in the cosmos, vastly and immensely, without obstruction, equal to space. All the whirling oceans of universes flow along into it; it produces all states of concentration, and can contain all worlds in all directions. The oceans of lights of knowledge of all the enlightened ones come from here; it can reveal all the oceans of all conditions everywhere. It contains within it all the pow'ers and liberations of the enlightened ones and the knowledge of the enlightening beings. It can cause the particles of all lands to be universally able to contain bound­ less universes. It develops the ocean of virtuous qualities of all Buddhas, and reveals the ocean of great vows of these enlightened ones. All the cycles of teaching of the Buddhas flow through it and arc guarded and maintained by it, and kept without interruption or end.
 - Avatamsaka Sutra, Chapter Three, translated by Thomas Cleary

DB: What does it mean, to illuminate thusness? Thusness is truth. At the most prosaic level, to illuminate thusness means to look at the facts and not be carried away by stories or superficial appearances that can be misleading and are often deliberately contrived to mislead. We live in an age of "information warfare". False or slanted news is everywhere. This is so much the case that it is easy to be led into the mistaken belief that the person or side that wins the information war has achieved victory in all respects, when, in reality, they may be holding to a story that has very little correspondence to what is happening on the ground. In Britain, we saw this in the Brexit campaign. Now we are seeing it in relation to the Ukraine war.

It behoves a Dharma practitioner to try one's best to illuminate thusness - to try to see the reality situation and also the factors that have produced the real situation. Understanding in this way, one can often discern where things are heading and what may happen next. I encourage everybody to try to be objective and not carried away. This is important in our assessment of big international events. It is also important in the conduct of our relationships with others. It is a foundation of wisdom and compassion. 

Currently, Global Sangha and ITZI are sponsoring a two year programme in Buddhist psychology. On the course there are staff and students from many countries. There are many differences of language and of culture. The challenge is to understand one another. After all, understanding others is what psychology is all about and understanding in depth is what Buddhism is all about. In this way, we try to illuminate thusness. 


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THIS SATURDAY

12:00 Dharma Ocean Seminar. 
14:30 Upavastha Meetings with Sharing, Guided Meditation, Readings and Chanting until evening.
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89297903728?pwd=VjYvYlo2UU1TNk16dkFKVmcvRFhIUT09
Meeting ID: 892 9790 3728  -:-  Passcode: 891675


SUNDAY MEETINGS EVERY WEEKEND

Both meetings are informal meetings for friendly discussion among Dharma practitioners on topical or personal matters.

Sunday 10:30 Interest Group
An informal meeting for all.
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88974912642?pwd=N2VyQnc0MUM4WUU0YTFTdCt0QWVmQT09
Meeting ID: 889 7491 2642  -:-  Passcode: 537296

Sunday 20:00,  GS Friendship Group
An informal meeting for all
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87394084532?pwd=eEY3eUhHcjN0b0xLanZXcTNqVmVzdz09
Meeting ID: 873 9408 4532  -:-  Passcode: 519784


SATURDAY 2nd APRIL

10:00 & 20:00 (Rome) Seminars for students on the Buddhist Psychology programme
led by Iris Dotan Katz



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ELEUSIS NEWS

Spring has arrived in central France. The woodland is full of tiny flowers and patches of daffodils are looking glorious. The car is coated in a thin film of Saharan dust blown up by the Mistral. I have been collecting wood and sawing it up to replenish supplies burnt during the winter, stacking it to dry in preparation for next year. Also, cutting grass, some of it in areas that have not been cut for thirty years. It is nice to see new lawn where previously there was rough ground. Today it was warmer outside than in the house.

It was a delight to have a visit from Annette from Oasis. We walked the land, enjoyed the forest and discussed the prospects for creating here an Oasis 2. It would certainly be a joy to share all this beauty with fellow spirits and create a settlement of semi-independent but mutually supportive households inspired by Dharma principles. 

Meanwhile, life goes on. The farm next door has changed hands and the new owner is doing a lot of clearing and fencing. Prices in the shops are going up - my most recent shop was noticeably more expensive. Covid restrictions are easing and vaccine passports are now no longer needed for most purposes. 

Weather permitting, I try to balance my time between indoor and outdoor work and feel blessed to be in a position where I can choose what to work on without any great pressure. A stress free life in a place of tranquility is a rare treasure these days. Namo Amida Bu. 


Picture
liSunset in the Desert, Israel  -:-  Photo by Iris Dotan Katz


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REFLECTIONS ON OUR TIMES

David Brazier:

Human Folly & the Need for Intelligence

We had the economic crisis triggered by human malpractice in regard to housing loans. We have had fires, floods, storms, droughts, mudslides, and rising sea levels brought on by human destruction of the natural world. Many forms of life have become extinct. We have had the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters resulting from devices that we built that could not be kept under control in the natural circumstances they encountered. Then we had the pandemic, the source of which is still being debated, but which certainly had something to do with human exploitation of animals. Now we have a vicious war brought on by human ambition and refusal to compromise. What next? We can already see that these factors alone will give rise to more ecological damage, to food and resource shortages and to higher costs for transport and heating which, in turn will exacerbate problems of poverty and the division of the human population, both in terms of nationalisms and in the increasing rich-poor divide. Yet, we seem to be deficient in seeing how so much of this is our own doing and we continue to persist in delusion. I fear there is worse to come.

Now much of this misery could be abated or have been avoided if humans had learnt, on the one hand, to listen to each other with compassion and understanding and, on the other, to intelligently observe the effects of their actions. This is Buddhist doctrine, but Buddhism is only pointing out what is obvious. Then, a second point of Buddhist teaching is that we are "foolish beings of wayward passion" - we are driven by greed, hate and delusion and much of the time these motives remain uinconscious to or hidden from ourselves and from others because we want to think of ourselves as virtuous. We divide the world into those we call good and those we call bad and want to put ourselves in the first group. This, however, only further fuels the delusion.

An unfortunate facet of contemporary life is the way that the media fuel these divisions. I recently read an account by a Russian student studying in UK. He tells how he is not discriminated against by the authorities nor, mostly, by ordinary people, but goes on to say, "On the other hand, the biggest pressure undoubtedly comes from the British media, even though it’s not directed at me personally. However, reading the Telegraph, Guardian or BBC, and their almost constant Russian hysteria tires me quite a lot." So why are the media so hysterical? Presumably they are controlled by people who are now frightened.

The media is fuelling self-righteousness, division and hatred. We are now welcoming millions of Ukrainian refugees, and it is good to help people in distress, but how long is it since we were repelling thousands of Syrian ones on the Belarus border and letting them die in the snow? Are Ukrainians good and Syrians bad by definition? Some of the countries welcoming Ukrainians are still sending Syrians back. Is this sane?

These tendencies are not just evils to be eliminated by moral instruction - they are the working out of the human predicament, the koan of our species. Impermanent are all compounded things.  Ever so often that koan ripens into a major challenge. This is one of those times. The world as we have recently known it is now in a very fragile condition. The certainties we have operated from, including our own sense of righteousness, are being shown to have set up a disaster. So far we are still trying to play the same game. We welcome Ukrainian refugees while still turning back Syrian ones. We see the sins of the Russians while covering up our own part in creating the crisis. We think we are better because we have democracy and that, apparently, gives us the right to exploit half the countries on the planet by controlling the world money system and intervening militarily wherever things are not going our way, but we feel outraged if any other country behaves as we do. 

Buddhism advocates an approach to life that sustains faith, compassion, and equanimity in whatever circumstances come along. It advocates intelligent examination of the conditions and the factors at work in producing a situation including the ones that we ourselves are responsible for. It is not in favour' of scapegoating individuals since this is generally just a way of avoiding one's own responsibility or complicity. The world is not made up of easily distinguishable good guys and baddies, it is made of people who mostly do their best within the perspective allowed to them by their circumstances, but who readily fall into fear, jealousy, envy and other unfortunate states as soon as things start going against them - we ourselves no less than others. We cover this up by clinging to ideals. Thus politics is full of ironies, contradictions and hypocrisy.

The Present Political Situation in Europe

This is all quite normal. Let us look at the present geopolitical situation, since this is, with good reason, on everybody's mind at the moment. When the Iron Curtain came down, there seemed to be a real opportunity for peace and prosperity in the world. Countries almost everywhere, feeling safer, reduced their expenditure on weapons and spent the money on schools, hospitals, roads, houses and so on. Euphoria.

However, what was happening must actually have been threatening to those who believe in US supremacy. USA was the only major country that increased arms spending at that time. Why so? Russia was opening up and asking to be part of Europe. De Gaulle's vision of a "Europe des états de l'Atlantic à les Urals" started to look possible. Geographically such a vision makes a lot of sense. Russian raw materials cooperating with West European technology would be a world beater - and that is exactly what some in the USA were afraid of. American hegemony depends upon a divided Middle East and a divided Europe. How else are 5% of the world population going to remain the one and only super-power?

Of course, this could not be said openly. USA stands as the defender of democracy - the rule of the majority - yet it is a country run by an elite and, in a world context, it is a small minority of the total world population. If the world were run on a majority rule basis, China and India together would be permanently in power. So USA, via NATO, kept Europe divided and West Europe went along with it as long as USA footed the bill.  Materially this was a good deal for West Europe (as also for Japan and S Korea, for similar reasons). USA would pay for our defence and we could relax and spend our money on good things. You can say that USA was grandiosely ambitious and West Europe was greedy, but this is all so human, isn't it? 

It has produced a situation where, now, life expectancy in France, Germany, UK, Japan, S Korea, and so on is four or five years longer than in USA, child mortality is lower, diet is better, health standards are higher, less people are in gaol, many fewer are killed by fellow citizens, racial problems are less, and so on. The effort to remain top dog is very costly and cannot be sustained indefinitely as many other countries in history have found. Are we now at the point where this arrangement breaks down? 

Keeping Europe divided meant keeping Russia in the role of enemy and promoting the myth of it being outside of European civilisation. Russia's opening had allowed states it previously dominated to have independence and Russia trusted that they would remain neutral and not become a threat to Russia. However, NATO took advantage and pressed eastward, taking in most of the former Soviet dependencies, promising them a similar deal to West Europe. You can probably see that this was unrealistic in that the USA cannot afford to subsidise half the world without impoverishing itself. Longevity in USA has actually fallen in some recent years. Will NATO expansion now prove to be a house of cards on the point of collapse? Maybe. President Biden is visiting East Europe giving assurances, but does he actually have the ability to back them up? 

Ukraine was the final straw for Russia. The prospect of NATO nuclear weapons in Ukraine was just too much. So the bear has risen and is lashing out. Yet, such lashing may well not stop at Ukraine. If you are seeing all this from the Kremlin, you see that the West has reneged on the tacit understanding that East Europe would stay neutral and has refused to let Russia join the prosperity deal that it offers to other countries. It has little to lose and much to gain.

In a couple of weeks, Russia has conquered the parts of Ukraine that it is most interested in, securing Crimea, joining up the Crimea and Donbas, and taking over the east of the country. Its major remaining objective is, presumably, to capture Odessa and cut the rump of Ukraine off from the sea. That objective may be soon within its grasp. But what then?

The temptation to now invade the Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania must be hard to resist. "But they are part of NATO," you will say and I say, "Exactly!" Is it reasonable to assume that NATO will risk a nuclear war for the sake of any of these three? Not really. Is it reasonable to think that the NATO forces already in those countries would be sufficient to defeat Russia in a conventional war? Again, the answer is no. Unless the USA now puts many thousands of its own soldiers into those three little countries, Russia can overrun them when it wishes and will the USA be willing to put its soldiers in the sights of Russian guns? The political gain for Russia in demonstrating that joining NATO does not really provide security would be enormous. The whole Western ("Clinton Doctrine") strategy of NATO expansion would then be in tatters. Other countries would see NATO as a paper tiger. So, unfortunately, and notwithstanding all the rhetoric in the Western press, the demonising of Russia is backfiring and we are all getting burnt. This puts all our comfortable assumptions to flight. I hope I am wrong about the likelihood of the war expanding, but I do wish that we could give up our illusions of superiority and grandeur that have created this situation and are still inflaming it.

How Should it Be?

All this could easily have been avoided if there had been goodwill and intelligence. That is the enlightened approach. Create conditions in which all parties can feel secure. Trust will grow. Playing goodies and baddies is childish. Real world issues are complex, but mutual understanding is possible and compromise and generosity is generally the only way to bring real peace. The world cannot be dominated by one country and when one country tries to take that path - be it Britain, China, USA, or even the ancient Romans, the result, after brief periods of glory, is a disaster all round. 

Yet, war is not the only disaster. Economic crisis, ecological destruction, technological meltdowns, pandemic and war - what next? If humankind is to survive and prosper, we need to find better ways to confront what befalls and ways to avoid setting up such tragedies. We need wise compassion, faith and equanimity. We need to live wholesome lives, abandon prejudice against this or that group and have some humility about our own role in what unfolds. For sure we should resist oppression when we can, but it is also important to demonstrate an alternative, not just threaten and interfere, assuming that because we are the good guys nothing that our side does is ever wrong.

Things are going to get worse on a number of fronts and we must look after one another. Things we have relied upon and taken for granted - luxurious food supplies, energy to keep our houses super comfortable, transport and travel, security from violence and intimidation - all these aspects of civilised living are under serious pressure from political, ecological and geo-economic factors that are all likely to get worse in the near future. War refugees, climate refugees, - the numbers are increasing.  I hope that the worst can be avoided, but such prayers may go unanswered if we do not learn the error of our ways. And if we don't and things keep getting worse, then faith, mutual support and a better philosophy of life will be of paramount importance. This is what the Dharma offers. Keep faith and practise.



a77ca62b-3314-11eb-a3d0-06b4694bee2a%2F1647028099001-IMG_7330.jpg
Sunset in California -:-  Photo by Helen Evanfé
EVERYDAY DHARMA

Rinkaian: When I go through an ordeal, I always say to myself, “I am studying Buddhism now.” I sometimes confront the ordeal, and at other times I am upset and at a loss what to do. But that’s me. It is important to know my own limitations. 
I stand still for a while and walk again.
Namu Amida Butsu.
https://www.facebook.com/rinkaian/


FILM BY JAYATA

A film made in 2014 by Jayata Joan Mccann from pictures taken in her garden. Jayata is a member of Global Sangha who has seriously handicapping medical problems.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HMsRkrCXwo&list=UUqIJuIRQs5gsWGIp83GD-cA&index=3



DHARMA OCEAN COURSE

A small group are studying the history of the tradition. Last autumn we  studied the transmission in India in the early centuries following the life of the Buddha. In the semester that is just starting there are study units covering the transmission of the  teaching  in China from the beginning of the common era up to the medieval period (13th century). This is a good course for gaining a deeper understanding of the way that the Dharma has spread and adapted to changing historical and social conditions. You can
 still join this course: Tickets <https://www.tickettailor.com/events/globalsangha>


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IPPEN POEM

Geeta Chari: This lovely poem by Ippen caught my eye
With wholeness of heart
Revere the luminous majesty of the gods;
Do not slight the virtue of their original source.

With wholeness of heart
Think on Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha;
Do not overlook the power in the interaction
Between Buddha’s compassion and our aspiration.

With wholeness of heart
Perform the practice of seeing the Name;
Do not endeavour in sundry practices.

With wholeness of heart
Entrust yourself to the Dharma you revere;
Do not denounce the teachings followed by others. 

With wholeness of heart
Waken the realisation of sameness;
Do not engage in discriminative thinking.

With wholeness of heartGive rise to compassion;
Do not be forgetful of others‘ sorrow.

With wholeness of heart
Disclose a gentle countenance;
Do not manifest marks of anger and intolerance.

With wholeness of heart
Dwell firmly in humility‘s insights;
Do not arouse a spirit of arrogance.

With wholeness of heart 
Discern the sources of impurity;
Do not generate a mind that cherishes attachments.

With wholeness of heart 
Contemplate the reality of impermanence;
Do not awaken thoughts of greed and desire.


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a77ca62b-3314-11eb-a3d0-06b4694bee2a%2F1647028214089-Oasis.png
With wholeness of heart rectify your own thoughts;
Do not reveal others for their transgressions.

With wholeness of heart
Sport in the activity of transforming others;
Do not be negligent in practice for self benefit.


With wholeness of heart
Fear the three low paths;
Do not indulge in evil acts.

With wholeness of heart
Aspire for the Land of Peace;
Do not disregard the pain in the three dark courses.

With wholeness of heart
Be settled in contemplation of birth;
Do not become lax in the practice of saying the Name.

With wholeness of heart
Hold the West in mindfulness;
Do not divide your thoughts among the other nine regions. 

With wholeness of heartEndeavour in the practice leading to enlightenment; 
Do not keep company with those given to amusement and pleasure.

With wholeness of heart
Follow the guidance of your good teacher;
Do not leave matters to your self-will. 

To the end of the last age,
Disciples who survive me
Should strictly uphold what is written here.
Exert all your powers, and never neglect [The Name that is] the embodiment of practice pervading the three modes of action.



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Annette Tamuly Jung
lives at Oasis de Longue Vie
a Buddhist community
close to Eleusis in France.

There is some possibility of
converting Eleusis into an
"Oasis 2"

David Brazier has offered to
donate the land
if others will come forward with the finance
to create a new settlement community.

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DIARY  
All times are Rome time zone


Tuesday 17:00-18:00, 22nd March & every two weeks
Italian Class
- Angela Romani
https://bit.ly/3yxLd3Z  -:-  Meeting ID: 889 9850 0278  -:-  Passcode: 515887

Tuesday 18:00-19:00, 29th March & every two weeks
Italian Meeting - Incontro Italiano
- Angela Romani
Incontro di pratica e condivisione
Dettagli da Jisshas <[email protected]>

Wednesday  21:00, 16th March & every two weeks
Dharma Bud: Peer learning and Dharma discussion
- Geeta Chari
https://bit.ly/3i5PhTS  -:-  Meeting ID: 858 9773 3604  -:-  Passcode: 108108 

Thursdays 16:30,
Readings from the Commentary on the Summary of Faith & Practice
- Dharmavidya & Priti Vaishnav
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86563620686?pwd=OUh4L25zbHl6SEpFWW9LT3o5YnVVZz09
Meeting ID: 865 6362 0686  -:-  Passcode: 274590

Thursday  14:30, 24th March & every two weeks
IBAP Group / BP Diploma Tutors Meeting
Codes separately notified

Thursday  19:00-20:30, 17th March & every two weeks
ITZI Supervision Group
- Iris Dotan Katz
For presentation, review and discussion of counselling/psychotherapy casework from a Buddhist psychology perspective.
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81888100021?pwd=b1JNbUhuekNRMWZoMEdUdEUyRFppdz09
Meeting ID: 818 8810 0021  -:-  Passcode: 153110

Fridays  19:30
Amitabha Service For the West 
- Vajrapala & Angela Romani
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89480699209?pwd=enBHS3RYWVZxN1FyUGthZ1o0cVdFZz09
Meeting ID: 894 8069 9209   -:-   Passcode: 137836

Saturday 14:00, 26th March & 9th April
Refuge Group
A group for those who have taken refuge. To join, please enquire via jisshas.
Codes separately notified.

Sabado 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.


Saturday 19th March 
Uposattha Sangha Day
Including
12:00 Dharma Ocean Seminar.
14:30-20:00 Upavastha: readings, sharing, puja, meditation & chanting. Review of the month past and renewal of practice resolution for the month ahead.
Tickets <https://www.tickettailor.com/events/globalsangha>
Free to students on BP & DO courses.

Saturday 10:00 & 20:00, 2nd April
Buddhist Psychology Seminar
For students on BP course: codes separately notified

Sundays 10:30,
Global Sangha Interest Group
- Liz Allmark
An informal meeting for all.
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88974912642?pwd=N2VyQnc0MUM4WUU0YTFTdCt0QWVmQT09
Meeting ID: 889 7491 2642  -:-  Passcode: 537296

Sundays 20:00
GS Friendship Group
An informal meeting for all
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87394084532?pwd=eEY3eUhHcjN0b0xLanZXcTNqVmVzdz09
Meeting ID: 873 9408 4532  -:-  Passcode: 519784

23 y 24 de abril de 2022
Retiro urbano presencial en Bilbao (Bizkaia)
Sesiones de mañana, de 9,30 a 14h. Existe la posibilidad de asistir parcialmente
al retiro, uno de los dos días. Info: https://bit.ly/347EtAv

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GENERAL

Jisshas <[email protected]> - for all general enquiries
Tickets <https://www.tickettailor.com/events/globalsangha> - to book courses


DONATE

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 https://ko-fi.com/feelingbuddha
You will also find a wealth of interesting articles there curated by Geeta Chari.


USEFUL LINKS

Global Sangha Web Site: https://www.globalsangha.net/
Recent Audio Podcasts: https://eleusis.ning.com/notes/LATEST_PODCAST_AUDIO 
Dharma Ocean Buddhist Studies Programme <[email protected]>,
The Feeling Buddha on KoFi: https://ko-fi.com/feelingbuddha
Tickets for Events: https://www.tickettailor.com/events/globalsangha
Spain: Ahora, Centro de Psicologia y Consciencia Plena: [email protected] Teléfono: 945120948 y 620265962

IBAP & Buddhist Psychology Programme
(English) Dharmavidya <dharmavidya&fastmail.fm>,
(Español) Nati Menendez <[email protected]>,
ITZI: https://zen-therapy.org/

GS on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/710544479619937
GS at Eleusis: https://eleusis.ning.com/group/global-sangha
Dharmavidya: [email protected]
Dharmavidya on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/davidbrazierauthor/
Dharmavidya website: http://eleusis.ning.com
Zen & Now - the musical https://www.zenow.net/Donations: https://ko-fi.com/feelingbuddha


GLOBAL SANGHA CONTACT PEOPLE BY REGION

Worldwide: Jisshas <[email protected]>,  
United Kingdom: Geeta Chari <[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 : https://eleusis.ning.com/notes/GLOBAL_SANGHA_INDEX

You received this mail as you were previously in receipt of Global Sangha Newsletters or David's podcasts  or you bought a ticket for a GS event  or you are subscribed to the Eleusis website.  If you do not wish to receive these newsletters in the future please unsubscribe from the Octopus list (below).  Thank you.

Thank you very much
Namo Amida Bu
Global Sangha at Eleusis
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4 La Ville au Roi
Bessais le Fromental
Cher
18210
France
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