On Sunday 3rd December, we’ll be celebrating the Festival of the Buddha’s Enlightenment. There’ll be two meditation periods, at 9.30am and 10.00am, followed by the festival ceremony at 10.40am. Afterwards, we’ll have a Dharma talk and discussion, with coffee and cake. You’re welcome to come along for any part of the morning and the schedule can be found here.
On the evening of Sunday 31st December, we’ll have a couple of meditation periods, at 7.30pm and 8.10pm, followed by the New Year Ceremony at 9.00pm. This ceremony is a contemplative way to welcome the New Year and includes the ringing of the temple bell, as we commit ourselves to another year of practice. This is followed by the opportunity to socialise over tea and cake until around 10pm. On the following morning, New Year’s Day, we’ll have a Sangha Morning with Renewing the Precepts Ceremony, so that we can reaffirm our commitment to live by the Precepts, as the new year begins. Details of these events can be found here.
On Saturday 13th January, we’ll be holding a Discussion Morning at the Priory (starting at 10.00am), to look at training with depression and other mental health issues. This is an opportunity to meet together and share experiences, as well as to explore how meditation and Buddhist practice can help our mental wellbeing.
The Priory will be closed from 4th to 16th December (inclusive). For the two Wednesday evenings during that period (6th and 13th), the Sangha will be able to meet together from 7.30pm, as usual. Otherwise, there will be no events at the Priory during that time. The Priory will also be closed over the Christmas holiday, from 22nd to 26th December.
On the first Sunday in November, we marked the fourth anniversary of the Priory opening its doors. We held a ceremony to give thanks for the life and teaching of Reverend Master Jiyu-Kennett, the founder of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives. The Priory here in Norwich is part of her legacy. Over coffee and biscuits, we looked at Rev. Master Jiyu’s teaching on ‘How to Sit’ and this prompted such a lively discussion that our bring-and-share lunch had to be delayed. Below is a photo of some of the Sangha who came along to the ceremony.
Various Sangha events have been taking place. One activity in particular that has just been initiated is the Sangha Stroll. Here is Ian’s report:
The inaugural Sangha Stroll happened on Saturday 11th November. Four Sangha members enjoyed an hour-long stroll through Earlham Park and around UEA Lake on a glorious, crisp, sunny autumn afternoon. The stroll was followed by a short browse of the free collection at the Sainsbury Centre and concluded with a well-earned hot drink at the Cafe. The next Stroll will be on the afternoon of Saturday 16th December at Whitlingham Country Park, Trowse. Meet at the Main Car Park at 1.45pm for a walk around Whitlingham Great Broad, followed by a hot drink at the Visitor Centre Cafe. All Sangha members, friends and family are welcome. For more information, please see the ‘Sangha Activities’ page of our website or email email@example.com.
A group of us had an enjoyable evening on Friday 10th November, when we went together to view a photography exhibition on ‘Meditation’ by one of our Sangha, at Studio 20 in Norwich – it featured portraits of “all sorts of people meditating in all sorts of spaces” (including photos taken of members of our Sangha).
For information about Sangha activities, there is now a page on our website, as well as a specific email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, the Priory now has a noticeboard in its hallway to highlight these events. The Sangha Board also functions as a community board where Sangha members can advertise services (cards for counselling and chimney sweeping are already in place) or offer unwanted meditation equipment and furniture or ask for help with tasks and projects.
Changes to the garden
In late October, we had to bid farewell to the magnificent copper beech tree that had been a prominent feature of the Priory’s garden. Unfortunately it was diseased with honey fungus and had to be chopped down. Work also had to be done to remove dead wood from the tops of the two large lime trees. This was a major task, involving a crane at one point, and it was very noisy when the chainsaws and a chipping machine were in action. The loss of the copper beech does allow much more light into the garden and the Priory building, especially the meditation room, the bathroom and the hallway. At about the same time, our neighbours replaced the fence by the main entrance to the Priory and that area now looks much smarter. The other fences around the Priory are due to be replaced sometime soon. Below is a sequence of photos showing the copper beech just before it was chopped down, then how it appeared at the end of the first day’s work when all its branches had been removed, then the main pieces of the trunk lying on the lawn with the stump that’s now left.
I am particularly grateful to those who helped with tidying up the garden after all the mess and disruption from the work on the trees. Thanks also to those who have offered help in other ways, such as by preparing the Priory’s Enlightenment cards, doing the accounts and organising the recent Sangha activities.
With best wishes and in gassho,