The Festival of the Buddha’s Enlightenment will take place on Sunday 5th December. There will be a meditation period at 9.45 and the ceremony will start around 10.30 (after a short rehearsal). This will be followed by coffee, with a Dharma talk and discussion. People are welcome to attend in person or join online.
There will be a four-day sesshin at the Priory, 17th – 20th December. This intensive meditation retreat will consist of five sessions each day, mainly double meditation periods, and there will be no teaching. Sangha members are welcome to join, in person or online, for as many sessions as they like. The schedule can be found on our calendar. If you would like more information, please contact the Priory.
The Priory will be closed 21st – 28th December (inclusive). On 31st December there will be the usual New Year’s Eve schedule, starting with a Meditation and Contemplation Day until 4.45pm. There will then be a Meditation Evening at 7.30pm and the New Year Ceremony at 9.00pm, followed by a short social tea until 10.00pm. On New Year’s Day, there will be a Sangha Morning with Renewing the Precepts. Our next day retreat will be on Saturday 8th January.
Priory Blessing Ceremony
On 7th November, the Priory celebrated its eighth anniversary, eight years since it opened its doors in rented premises on Unthank Road. We used the occasion to do a blessing ceremony for our new property, now that we have settled into what we hope will be our spiritual home for years to come. The occasion saw several people coming along in person and many more joining online.
The sun even shone as we chanted during the ceremony, enhancing what was a joyous expression of our gratitude for the Priory and its Sangha, which provide an exceptional opportunity for our training to flourish.
At the start of the ceremony, there was an offering at the founder’s shrine to express our gratitude to Rev. Master Jiyu – the 25th anniversary of her death had been the previous day.
Then the wish was made that we would all use this precious gift of a Priory to meditate and practise to the best of our ability, so that we and all beings might come to know the Truth.
The Priory was given the name The Place of the Blossoming Lotus and the bloodline certificate was handed to the chaplain who secured it in place above the front door.
Then there was a procession around all the rooms of the Priory, accompanied by chanting. Incense was offered, the smoke of which could permeate not only into every corner, but also into all the cupboards and drawers, which were opened for the ceremony.
Afterwards, there was coffee and a vegan chocolate cake to accompany an excellent Dharma discussion, which centred around the “desert island teachings” (i.e. the one teaching that we would each take with us to a desert island) that several Sangha members had offered.
This was an uplifting coming together of the Sangha to mark a significant milestone in the unfolding life of this Priory. A big thank you to everybody who helped to have the Priory clean and ready for its big day, as well as to those who ensured that the occasion proceeded smoothly.
Work on the Priory
Ongoing repairs and maintenance jobs continue to be carried out on the Priory, as well as various projects to enhance the house and make it safer and more user-friendly, such as installing outside lights and a hand-rail by the front steps. The garden group continues to be active on Tuesday afternoons and they are currently tackling the ongoing accumulation of leaves that are falling from the three large trees on our property.
Another area where big improvements have been seen recently is with the set-up for the online aspect of our meetings. This process is now much more streamlined and largely wireless, so that the common room is no longer festooned with cables.
I am particularly grateful to everybody who has been carrying out the work mentioned in the previous paragraphs, as well as to those who regularly help with the cleaning of the Priory. Thank you also to those who enabled me to have some time away in Wells-next-the-Sea in October.
With best wishes and in gassho,