orchard sangha newsletter may 2009
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The Orchard Sangha Newsletter
New Shoots, New Growth
As spring begins to turn into summer, and the season of new growth and vision transforms into blossoming and fruition, I reflect on how heartening and inspiring it is to receive the contributions for the newsletter. Practice can move us deeply and touch the very core of our being; it can sometimes make us feel vulnerable and sensitive. To be willing to undertake the sometimes difficult task of expressing those feelings, those experiences, in words and then to share them with us all is very special indeed. So thank you to all those who have contributed to the newsletters, and to The Orchard for holding the space that nourishes this unfolding.
Ads operation went well. He returned from hospital earlier than expected and is now recuperating back at The Orchard. Many thanks to all those who held him in their thoughts.
Inspirations Rinpoches Story
Here is where I make an apology. The last issue contained Rinpoches Story, which came from Sonia. Unfortunately I omitted Sonias name from the final copy so, my apologies Sonia.
In metta Sandra
Editorial and 1 This Precious Human Birth
Sangha News 2 & 3 Inspirations 4
Insights in the Spring by Tony Birch 5 Poetry Corner & Contact details 6
This precious human birth
A star hurtles through space a vessel of luminous radiant light Its destination unchartered journeying on a voyage of discovery Into the depths of an infinite ocean of possibility and potentiality
Oblivious to its inevitable doom it is magnetically drawn towards a formless void Caught in the web of its insatiable appetite resistance is futile Frustration gives way to exhaustion, capitulation, resignation and surrender
The release and letting go of effort yields transformation engendering acceptance and joy Perpetual motion gathering momentum a cosmic dance of mutual attraction Form spiralling around an invisible axis enacted on the stage of spaciousness Driven by love in perfect harmony
Meeting and merging a fusion of opposites as form and emptiness embrace Fulfilment, Completion, Union Compression, consumption, extinction, expansion An orgasmic explosion of bliss and awareness bathing the universe with light Stardust navigated by karma condenses into form the genesis of life
Within a distant galaxy on the outer reaches of the expanding cosmos Inside a small blue planet orbiting its golden sun Life consciously witnesses itself unfold
Peace to all beings May all beings be well and happy and free from fear
Newsletter 5 2 May 2009
The Orchard Sangha Finance Group report that there are still funds available in the bursary fund and would welcome applications. If these financially challenging times are preventing you from attending a workshop or undertaking a private retreat then do please contact Gini at email@example.com
Dear Orchard Sangha
It has been very moving to receive the recent requests asking the sangha to hold and remember those people you know who are in need at times of dedicating the practice.
The messages you send to us will be sent out to about 150 other sangha members, including Ad and Sonia of course, and, whenever possible, their names will be put in the blue Medicine Buddha healing bowl in the zendo - in this way they will be held by the practice of many, many beings.
So, please continue to send any future requests, or if you are not included on this database and would like to be, to firstname.lastname@example.org
May all beings be well and happy
Jane and Sarah
As reported in the last newsletter, changes have been taking place to the kitchen at The Orchard. The following photos show just how stunning those changes have been. Now re-named the Tara Space it provides a modern, fitted kitchen and a larger, much improved relaxation space. Our grateful thanks to all who made it possible.
Work in Progress
The Relaxation Space
The Productive Space!
TUESDAY AT THE ORCHARD: PRACTICE DAY AND MEDICINE BUDDHA MEDITATION
Tuesday is a day of silence, a joyful mind attending to deepening the practice of mindfulness, releasing grasping, bringing the mind home, resting in the natural state, free from fabrication arising from hope and fear.
The 5.30 pm sitting will be dedicated to the practice of the Medicine Buddha using the short version, for the benefit of all those in need, including Sonia Sensei and Ad Sensei.
Newsletter 5 3 May 2009
Those of us who attended the 'Musical Rasalila' with Tanji on 21st March were richly rewarded with an exhilarating performance by Tim and Jon.
The zendo was flooded with Tim's passionate singing and Jon's mesmerizing tabla playing.
Occasionally the audience was invited to join in the singing which many of us did with joyful enthusiasm.
Bodies were swaying to the rhythm of the music, feet were tapping, hands clapping - if we can persuade Tim and Jon to come back and play for us again, next time we may even get up and dance!
After the performance everyone was invited down to Maitreya house for refreshments which included delicious scones and cakes handmade by Barbara, Jo and Sarah.
Thank you to everyone who helped to make the evening such a success. Eleri
tandj on 21st March 2009.
Tandj.... ......the zendo filling with sounds, uplifting songs of devotion, and the stirring of a thousand yearnings in the heart......... ..........a beautiful evening, thank you................
A reminder that the Orchard Sangha Summer Celebration is happening at The Orchard on Saturday 20 June 2009. No programme as such, just a relaxing day of connecting, celebrating and being rather than doing. Do come along partners and/or families welcome - as are contributions of food.
For further information contact: Eleri on email@example.com or Gill on 01981 241315
To book accommodation at The Orchard please contact: Ad on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01873 860207.
Newsletter 5 4 May 2009
As promised in the last newsletter Sonias teachings are now available on CD. Details are as follows:-
NB: postage for Europe, outside UK: 1.50 (1 or 2 CDs) or 2.50 for 3 or more CDs postage for rest of the world: 2 (1 or 2 CDs) or 3 for 3 or more CDs
Make all cheques payable to Sonia Moriceau and send to: The Orchard, Lower-Maescoed, Hereford HR2 0HP UK www.soniamoriceau.org Tel: 01873 860 207
CD-1: Flowering the Mind of Loving Kindness (1 CD) 12.00 with postage free within the UK
CD-2: Peace to All Beings Meditation (1 CD) 12.00 with postage free within the UK
CD-3: Medicine Buddha Meditation: a set of 3 CDs including: Medicine Buddha Meditation; Explanation of Text; and Tom Thumb Blue Healer Meditation. 25.00 with postage free within the UK NB: only available for those who have attended a Medicine Buddha retreat with Sonia A second set has the Medicine Buddha Meditation with a German Translation
To study the Buddha Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the
self. To forget the self is to be realised by myriad things.
Eihei Dogen, 13th century Zen master
Newsletter 5 5 May 2009
This year has presented a rare opportunity for me as I seldom have the luxury of being able to do two retreats with only a few weeks between them; these were the two Insight retreats in March and April. On the first, the practice centred on developing an open heart and the contemplation of impermanence, and the second developed the open heart practice further and focused on instant presence, being fully in the present moment with an open heart. Retreats at The Orchard always produce profound insights, but after the short break which allowed the effects of the first to be integrated and digested, when I started the second my practice really deepened, leading to a more pronounced state of letting go than I think I have ever experienced before. In that calm state I came to understand more fully many of the things Sonia had been trying to teach me over the years that through my own failings I hadnt fully comprehended. Id like to share my thoughts and experiences of this time... When we practice with an open heart we merge our awareness with each unfolding second, so that the present moment stops being a concept and becomes a dynamic and endlessly creative experience, and in the silence of no internal dialogue we become aware of the spaciousness of our mind. At such moments its possible to see a gap, and to feel and widen that gap, between awareness and conceptualisation, between contact and conditioned response. In that gap we have a choice. All our habitual ways of thinking, all the different energies that flow through our minds each day, attraction, non-attraction, differing levels of stimulation or excitation, keep us firmly tied to a feeling and emotional rollercoaster all of our lives. They are just transient states and not mind itself, and as such we can choose whether to be dominated by them or not. But to do so we need the right tools, it is not enough to simply be aware of the present moment, we need to know how to work with it, we have to develop meditative calm and concentration.
I read a chapter from Food for the Heart by Ajahn Chah at the beginning of the retreat, and in it he makes the point that the Buddhist path is a training, a discipline, that has to be practiced continuously if the mind is not to endlessly fulfil its own desires. Through walk