Sandokai – Study References

Talk on the Sandokai, a profound religious poem by Sekito Kisen one of the great masters of the Soto Zen Tradition. The talk was given formally in the meditation Hall for people familiar with the text, which is recited regularly.

From the Telford Buddhist Priory website. Click on the Talks link on the left side of the page to find the mp3 file to download.

There are a number of translations of the Sandokai, the one we use in our Order can be found on the Shasta Abbey website. Also find a series of lectures (to download) on the Sandokai given during a retreat at Shasta Abbey in 2006.

Our Winter Monastic Sangha Retreat ended to-day. It has been an opportunity for much reading, study and meditation. I hope you have an opportunity to study the Sandokai and that the links in this post help. More than that I encourage the practice of formal meditation.

A Day To Remember

Nine years ago to-day my father died. Here is an extract from a posting written in 2005 while I was travelling past the site of his death.

…now on my return journey to Cornwall in what is called the West Country, the train passes through Taunton in Somerset. It is a special place of remembrance since my father died on the platform just before he was due to meet me off a train in January 2000. At that time, as my trained pulled out of the station, I was silent witness to a touching scene. I observed from across several tracks the paramedics arrive and attempt to revive a gentleman, unknown to me at the time. Considering the odds of being present at the time of my father’s death I am always so grateful for what happened in Taunton since I was able to be there for him. Present at the time of his death, even though I didn’t realize it at the time! I was also conveniently placed to attend to all that follows the death, identifying the body followed by funeral arrangements.

Each time I pass through Taunton on the train, as I have just done, I remember my father with great gratitude. I also remember with a smile, at the circumstances of his death, he would have smiled too!

29th January is always a special day of rememberence for me and as it happened we had a rather memorable menu posted to day, all in French. A bit of fun, and wonderful food too.

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Thanks and happy birthday to to-day’s cook.

Year of Stability, Harmony and Balance

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Year of the OX ornament from Japan

Over the years I’ve been given a number of these Japanese style porcelain bells depicting the animal associated with the lunisolar calender. Year of the OX started on 26th January and the bell arrived on the 27th. Good timing. Receiving a package in the mail is always an unexpected pleasure, and sometimes receiving a present becomes a shared pleasure.

Pulling open the package in the yard with expectant faces gathered around. The package tinkles. What is it we wonder aloud. I already know what it is. The object nestles in tissue paper. It emerges gradually and we guess. It’s, it’s the year of the…camel? No. The year of the pig? No. Then one of the monks spotted the twirling horns. Yes! The year of the buffalo! Close.

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Commemorative stamp issued by Canada Post for the Year of the OX

It’s also a special time for Canada Post, …This year, we honour the Year of the Ox: a time of stability, harmony and balance. The issue will be the first release in a new 12-year Lunar New Year series.

Thanks Canada Post, you are the jewel in the crown of stamp design worldwide.

See previous posting on the Year of the Pig.

Unlike Us

The Bonobo is a species formerly known as the pygmy chimpanzee.

Their varied diet includes both vegetation, fruit, nuts and seeds, and also small mammals, honey and eggs.

Ah, mammal, eggs and….honey?

Thanks to Jack for the link to this touching news item about Bili, a three month old male Bonobo, being flown economy class to Germany to link up with a foster mother.

There is something so endearing about these little critters, perhaps because they look and behave so like us… At one time they were thought to have 95% similar DNA to humans, but that analysis has been disputed. Looks like they are all but extinct. A thought for them….

Animal News

From a note received recently…

Our beloved dog died unexpectedly in December. She was always very religious, loved to meditate and often tried to eat Buddhist books, incense etc.!

The note, on yellow paper, really cheered me up. Thank you.

While on the subject of animals and moving on I’d like to report on Suzy, the veteran traveller from Florida. She has landed on her paws and is happily settled with an adopting family on the West coast. And her person has settled too. Both starting new lives. Good fortune.