Monday, January 30, 2006

Climate Change Report

Rising concentrations of greenhouse gases may have more serious impacts than previously believed, a major scientific report has said.

The report, published by the UK government, says there is only a small chance of greenhouse gas emissions being kept below "dangerous" levels.

It fears the Greenland ice sheet is likely to melt, leading sea levels to rise by seven metres over 1,000 years.

The poorest countries will be most vulnerable to these effects, it adds.

read more

Weekend retreat, Lotus Lake

Relaxing in the garden at Lotus Lake during the weekend retreat.

Family Day

Yesterday we had great fun making dragon masks at the family day at Lotus Lake Buddhist Centre, Tallahassee, to mark the Chinese New Year.  Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 27, 2006

Prison visit and hospice workshop

Visited Paul's meditation group at the archaically named Wakulla Correctional Institution. If you look at the web link you will see a picture of the entry where we spent 40 minutes waiting for clearance to enter. Well worth the wait though as we spent the morning with a delightful group of men, sharing practice and discussing the spiritual dimension of life. A very moving experience. I really felt for those we left behind as we drove out of the door - to imagine being confined to suc a small space for so many years....
Afternoon, we visit Big Bend Hospice where Paul also volunteers. Here we gave a workshop on Buddhist Psychology . Quite a challenge to give the basics in an hour and a half!

Death penalty - last minute hold on this weeks execution

On Wednesday we attended a press conference held to support the plea for clemency for the man due to be executed next week. Meanwhile, drama unfolding as the execution die to occur yesterday was held at the last minute on a human rights plea (the method of execution, it was argued, caused unnecessary pain) so there is a stay of execution for a short while at least. What crazy inhumanity. I stood in the small crowd that assembled to show solidarity at the press conference. Members of the condemned man's family were there - his daughters, ordinary young women, yet so strong and brave in their willingness to spea up for their Dad. The whole situation quite surreal - how can these people really be pleading with thier own country's authorities not to kill their father. What do they tell their kids. It cut me up when the older daughter described telling her son this might be the last time he saw his grandad. Judy has been working on this case all week- a tough job. She is moderately hopeful of getting clemency on this one.

Read more about this case

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

India Volunteers in Tamil Nadu

So here I am in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. All new to me, never been in South India before. It's an utterly different world, As different to Delhi as London is to the Mediterranian. The heat slows everyone right down, and everyone smiles at you and is friendly. Genuinely friendly, not "I'm smiling at you 'cause I want you to buy my stuff" as happens regularly in the Big Smoke.
to read more from Tam's most recent message go to Amida Volunteers

St Marks Nature Reserve


Sunday evening we visited St marks . Baby aligators at The Nature Reserve

Paul & Judy


enjoying time with Paul & Judy Posted by Picasa

Radical Buddhism

This weekend we were running a retreat retreat at Lotus Lake Buddhist Community

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Snake 'befriends' snack hamster

Aochan, the snake 'seems to enjoy' being with Gohan, the hamster
A rodent-eating snake and a hamster have developed an unusual bond at a zoo in the Japanese capital, Tokyo.
Their relationship began in October last year, when zookeepers presented the hamster to the snake as a meal.

The rat snake, however, refused to eat the rodent. The two now share a cage, and the hamster sometimes falls asleep sitting on top of his natural foe.

from BBC website

Arrival in Tallahassee

Arrived in Talahassee last night. Amida arranged a beautiful sunset as we landed. Its a beautiful tree lined city. This is the view from Paul's window.
This morning we visited Lotus Lake Buddhist Centre where we will be running events.This spider lives on Paul's window - a banana spider I am told - impressive.
Great to spend time with Judy and Paul again. The Dogs, Bishop and Asta, are pleased to see us.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Last year's class in Delhi


This is last year's class in Delhi celebrating their achievements at the end of term. Amida will be looking for new volunteers to start training September 2006.

News from volunteers

Got an email this morning from one of our Amida volunteers, Tam.
What an extraordinary week! My learning curve has been pushed so hard and reached such new levels that it's no longer a curve but a bullet straight line reaching up several hundred metres onto the air. Okay, occasionally it has a few wobbles and wiggles, and even crumples up into a little heap on the floor and goes "I don't know what I'm doing, HELP!" But essentially it's keeping straight and true, and being added to every minute. I've even started to learn just a smidgen about the science of the English language. That's the toughest part for me (and for many of the other volunteers with no official teacher training/TEFL as we're from the generation that never had to learn "this is a noun, this is a pronoun, this is the past participial tense".) Fortunately I don't need to worry too much, since in grammar classes I play assistant to the more experienced teachers, and my strengths are more in guiding discussions in conversation classes, and bouncing about doing nursery rhymes with the little 'uns. Also I will be doing movement and song and drama and art stuff when I go down to Tamil Nadu on Wednesday, as those Tsunami orphans need learning through fun and relaxation and gentleness more than anything else by the sound of things Tam writes on the Amida volunteers blog site

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Parrot squawks on woman's affair

African Greys are often considered the best speakers among parrots. A parrot owner was alerted to his girlfriend's infidelity when his talkative pet let the cat out of the bag by squawking "I love you Gary". Suzy Collins had been meeting ex-work colleague "Gary" for four months in the Leeds flat she shared with her partner Chris Taylor, according to reports.

Mr Taylor apparently became suspicious after Ziggy croaked "Hiya Gary" when Ms Collins answered her mobile phone. The parrot also made smooching sounds whenever the name Gary was said on TV.

Mr Taylor, 30, a computer programmer, confronted the woman he had lived with for a year who admitted the affair and moved out, several newspapers reported. He also gave up his eight-year-old African Grey parrot after the bird continued to call out Gary's name and refused to stop squawking the phrases in his ex-girlfriend's voice.

"I wasn't sorry to see the back of Suzy after what she did, but it really broke my heart to let Ziggy go," he said.

This story came from the BBC NEWS PAGE

Women in Religion

A Church of England group has devised a compromise designed to allow the ordination of women bishops without causing a split in the Church.

A report suggests a group of male bishops - so called "flying bishops" - could work in parishes unwilling to accept the authority of a woman. BBC News

So frequent in religion, the struggle to change attitudes to women are thwarted or subverted by past protocols. Would a similar concession be made if parishes didn't like a black bishop? Surely it is for them to consider their prejudices... thankfully in the Amida Order we are not tied to outdated outrages.

Meantime, Gus has had enough


Goodnight Gus Posted by Picasa

Bennett and Dharmavidya at the end of discussions


A good day of talks. Saying goodbye and see you in Kohala... Posted by Picasa

Saigyo Poem

Saigyo the twelth century Japanese poet writes

My heart
I have held back a while
And so,
The snipes' wing-beats
Are hard to bear, this morning

Hawaii Planning Day

Spent today with Bennett discussing plans for this summer's teachings at Amida Hawaii. These will be based at New Moon Foundation's beautiful site at the North End of Big Island, Hawaii

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Shinran Memorial day

Shinran day. The aniversary of Shinran's death is tomorrow. Shinran Shonin (1173-1262) was born at the close of the Heian period, when political power was passing from the imperial court into the hands of warrior clans. It was during this era when the old order was crumbling, however, that Japanese Buddhism, which had been declining into formalism for several centuries, underwent intense renewal, giving birth to new paths to enlightenment and spreading to every level of society..... read more on Shinran by following this link

Meeting with Vancouver Amida group


One of the delights this visit has been to meet with friends from the Vancouver Amida group. Today we joined with some of them visiting The Buddhist Church of Vancouver where we very much enjoyed joining in the Jodoshinshu service and then having good conversation over a meal. Posted by Picasa

Talk at Vancouver Public Library


Last Thursday we were talking at Vancouver Public Library on David's book The Feeling Buddha

This book was seminal in our thinking on Buddhist approaches to psychlogy, paving the way for our later development of an integrated model.  Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A Walk in Vancouver

Walking along the waterfront to Granville Island.
A view of Vancouver

Pidgeons circle as children feed them on the deck beside the market Posted by Picasa

A walk to Granville Island. Sitting, we are spied by voracious seagulls Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Volunteers in India

Received phots from Modgala showing the volunteers in Tamil Nadu great to see them looking so enthusiastic, and to see all the youngsters they are working with.

Paradigms workshop at UBC

Today a full day workshop at UBC on the theme of paradigms. A chance to explore contradictions and connundrums of mental process.

The collective mind-sets that shape our view and the hidden assumptions on which we build our delusion. Plenty of bompu nature here to rustle through

Friday, January 06, 2006

A few days in the mountains of British Columbia

Staying at Maple Ridge we visit neighbouring lakes. Here Pitt Lake, a great expanse of water, bounded to the south by marshes

Lake Alouette, a stretch of water that draws the spirit out.

In the foreground, a stump from a tree felled early in the twentieth century before the park became protected
Walking in rain forest, everything green and moss covered

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Looking after Gus

Dharmavidya and Gus have a good working relationship....

Gus is not really what you would call a cuddly cat.....