Sunday, September 30, 2007


Report from BBC Radio (referring to Susthama)
Last Updated: Saturday, 29 September 2007, 13:28 GMT 14:28 UK
Demo to support Burmese protests
Buddhists in Leicester are to hold a silent vigil to show solidarity with pro-democracy protesters in Burma.
Organisers Amida Trust said the peaceful event was being held at the clock tower on Sunday afternoon.
A spokeswoman for the group said she had been sent an e-mail telling of human rights abuses from inside Burma.
She said: "We fully support what the Burmese monks and civilians are doing because they are doing it in a very peaceful way."

Friday, September 28, 2007

distressing news from Burma

REceived this terrible ccount (I have removed email addresses)

We just got phone call with our sister living in Yangon about a > few hours ago.>> We saw on BBC world, saying that 200 monks were arrested. The true> picture is far worse!!!!!!!!!>> For one instance, the monastery at an obscure neighborhood of > Yangon, called Ngwe Kyar Yan (on Wei-za-yan-tar Road, Yangon) had> been raided early this morning.>> A troop of lone-tein (riot police comprised of paid thugs) protected> by the military trucks, raided the monastery with 200 studying monks. They systematically ordered all the monks to line up and> banged and crushed each one's head against the brick wall of the> monastery. One by one, the peaceful, non resisting monks, fell to the ground, screaming in pain. Then, they tore off the red robes and threw them all in the military trucks (like rice bags) and took the bodies away. The head monk of the monastery, was tied up in the middle of the monastery, tortured , bludgeoned, and later died the same day, today. Tens of thousands of people gathered outside the monastery, warded off by troops with bayoneted rifles, unable to help their > helpless monks being slaughtered inside the monastery. Their every> try to forge ahead was met with the bayonets. When all is done, only 10 out of 200 remained alive, hiding in the monastery. Blood stained everywhere on the walls and floors of the> monastery. Please tell your audience of the full extent of the fate of the monks please please !!!!!!!!!!!! 'Arrested' is not enough expression. They have been bludgeoned to death !!!!!!
Aye Aye>

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Book signing in Waterstones, Leicester

Monday, September 17, 2007


Book launch events this weekend. Saturday we spent much of the day in Waterstones, Leceister signing books (well a few of them) It was pretty quiet but we did meet some old friends. Then we drove down to London. Yesterday we had an open day at Sukhavati, the London Amida centre. It was a very nice occasion, with a steady stream of visitors all day and some very nice conversations. A quiet day today, then tomorrow we'll be doing an event at St James Picadilly

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Other Buddhism Book Review on Amazon

Engaged and engaging Pureland Buddhism, 5 Sep 2007
By Peter M. Schogol (Lexington, KY USA) (from Amazon site)
The number of books written in English on Pure Land Buddhism is steadily increasing, as is the number of translations on the subject from Japanese and other languages. Still, we get the impression that the readership for these books continues to be those already interested in or committed to one or other of the Pure Land schools. For those who've not encountered Pure Land Buddhism, it holds that self-perfectibility through meditation, the keeping of precepts, or tantric practices, is beyond the reach of most ordinary men and women because of our accrued karmic bonds and limitations. Pure Land emphasizes instead the transfer of the vast storehouse of merits accumulated by the Buddhas to the individual to bring her or him to Pure Land, which is -- depending on the interpretation -- either a 'place' where there are no hindrances to enlightenment, or enlightenment itself. It's perhaps inevitable, though a shame nevertheless, that THE OTHER BUDDHISM: AMIDA COMES WEST isn't any more likely to catch the eye of those for whom Buddhism is synonymous with arduous disciplines. This excellent book likely will become known only to a few, but those few may find their previous appreciation of Pure Land Buddhism transformed by it. Caroline Brazier is a psychotherapist, an ordained religious in the Amida Order and a priest in the Amida-shu which is a contemporary presentation in the West of Jodo Buddhism, the oldest Pure Land school in Japan. Centered on nembutsu practice, self-examination and contrition, and social engagement, Amida-shu is -- arguably -- the form of Pure Land Buddhism best integrated with progressive Western religious and social sensibilities. Rev. Brazier makes a compelling and ultimately persuasive case for Amida Pureland Buddhism by rooting its message in a clear Buddhist psychology. While at times chewy, THE OTHER BUDDHISM is never pedantic or erudite for its own sake. On the contrary, Rev. Brazier writes as a poet with an acute sensitivity to the bittersweet quality of the impermanent and interdependent. All in all, a highly recommendable book.


Coming up this weekend, events in London

Monday, September 10, 2007

Hawaii pictures

The summit of Mauna Kea. One of the most amazing places I visited this year.

More photos of our recent visit are on my facebook page


A full weekend, culminating in Sunday service.

I shared the account of Honen's conversion to Pureland, reflected on that alternation of effort and of revelation, or self-power and other-power. Honen was studious and learned. He received accolades from his contemporaries for his prowess, yet he saw the shallowness of such worldly achievement. He abandoned his mountain seat of honour for a more private search, a struggle to break through the received knowledge to something truer, with more integrity. He struggled and strove in his quest for a way. Then the breakthrough came, a simple realisation of the power of faith, of nembutsu.

So often it is only when we have fought with our ambitions and desires, have striven to reach peaks of knowledge and skill that we come to simplicity. We need that struggle in order to let go, just as the muscle is flexed before it can relax. In the end, though, learning comes to us. It surprises us just when we are at the point of breaking in our effort. It comes from the measureless.

Then we can go out. Honen walked out after his breakthrough, going from place to place, evangelising to the ordinary man. open handed he shared his insight through his example and became an inspiration to all.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Autumn Term begins

September, and the time when term starts to get into gear. Autumn in the air the the freshness of early morning as I walk from our sleeping quarters up the road to The Buddhist House. Lots of people. Today, our first weekend of studies, an introductory programme for would-be volunteers and others.

This afternoon the Cosby airshow. Our neighbouring village held its festivities and we were treated to a display of wheeling planes, second world war veterans, propeller driven, skimming the tree tops and wheeling over the roof top, engines whining plaintively. How scary for older people with memories of war, I think. Even though I never experienced such times, I feel my stomach lurching with each turn above the house.

And in the community, the household full, excited, awaiting the new term and Mudita's baby.