On Saturday 21st April, we’ll be having a day retreat at the Fairland Church Centre in Wymondham, where we usually hold our spring retreats. A map of how to find the venue is available here. For those travelling by car, there is parking at the centre. For anyone making the journey by train, the centre is a short walk from the rail station. For people travelling from Norwich, we are arranging lifts from the Priory, with cars leaving at 9.30am. If you would like a lift or are able to offer a lift, please contact the Priory. The retreat will begin at 10.30am, with people welcome to arrive from 10.00am, and it will finish at 4.00pm. If you’re not able to stay for the whole retreat, it’s fine to join in for part of the day. The schedule for the day can be found here. It would be very helpful if you could bring your own meditation equipment to the retreat. Otherwise, there will be some wedges available for sitting on chairs. For lunch, please bring your own sandwiches/packed lunch. Please note that on the day after the retreat, Sunday 22nd April, the Priory will be closed.
The Priory will be closed from 16th to 23rd March, except for the evenings of Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st, when the Sangha can meet together as usual and listen to a recorded Dharma talk.
The next Sangha Stroll will be on the afternoon of Sunday 18th March, meeting at the UEA Lodge, near the UEA Main Car Park. The stroll will begin at 2.00pm and will be followed by a hot drink at the Sainsbury Centre Cafe. It has been decided that the strolls will always take place around UEA Lake and in Earlham Park, as this location seems convenient for most people and there are a number of possible routes to take in the area. More information can be found on the Sangha Activities page of our website.
In January, we held a Discussion Morning on training with depression and other mental health issues. This was an interesting and worthwhile morning, as we explored how meditation and Buddhist practice can help in this area. People shared their experiences and talked about what had been helpful for them. Inspired by this, I have written an article, which can be found here. It was felt that it would be good to have similar discussions from time to time, not just on mental health issues, but also on other areas, such as training with physical health difficulties, or death and dying, and perhaps to look at more general aspects of practice, such as resistance to meditation.
On 9th February, we held a memorial ceremony for Renato Busatto’s stepfather, José Carlos Rodrigues de Sousa, who had died suddenly a few days earlier. Several members of the Sangha attended and gave their support to the occasion. The ceremony was streamed to Renato’s home in Fortaleza, Brazil, where his mother, his brother and other family members and friends were able to follow the ceremony as it happened. They had set up an altar which was very similar to how the Priory’s altar was prepared for the memorial, even with the same food and drink on it. Renato had also translated the scriptures into Portuguese, so that they could be understood by the Brazilian audience. It was a privilege to be able to offer this ceremony to help Renato and his family in their bereavement.
I am particularly grateful to those people who offered help and support to me in January, when I had surgery and was recovering from that.
With best wishes and in gassho,