All posts by Mugo

Share-a-Merit Bench

early yesterday morning

sitting on an old wooden bench
by the river bank at Kirkstall Abbey
feeling the water of compassion
flowing
everywhere

And
all around
nature’s awakening
from
winters of deep sleep

Thank you, dear reader, in Leeds Yorkshire.

All Together Now

What a rash of creative activity hitting our locked-in lives and the monastery is not lagging behind either.

Today we recorded and posted a video of Morning Service on the Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey website. It lasts a fraction under 20 mins and for those who are familiar with this ceremony I hope you will sing and bow along with the community. Regularly.

This evening as I took a brief walk I pondered on how ‘we all’ are responding to being confined. Of course it’s not all singing and jolly creative fun. Homes and households are getting seriously frayed. Lives lost and physical damage to persons and property is happening. Tragically.

Let our hearts break with the ‘Enormousness’ and move on through this to touch and know that which our heart desires. I’ll leave that thought with you. Creatively.

Merit Bench


Here is a stone seat at the top of the field put together by somebody in memory of their mother. A merit bench.

This lunch time I sat up there looking out across the valley. Warm enough to go without hat and coat, sun shining. How fortunate to have open space.

I like to think sitting quietly on this bench invites merit, spiritual merit, to circulate in the world.

Maybe you have a ‘merit bench’; in a park, woodland, bus stop, at home?

“And The People Stayed Home”

Here is a piece by Kitty O’Meara. I thought now is the right time and day to publish here. Many of you may have read this already as I understand it has been circulated widely over the last days and weeks.

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still.

And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows.

And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.

Very many thanks to Julius for sending me the link to this.

When Mountains are Not Mountains

It can be said, in fact, that the Mountains and Rivers Sutra is not about mountains and rivers at all, but that the mountains and rivers themselves are the sutra, the true buddhadharma.

These clouds appeared this morning looking for all the world like mountains rising from behind our plain old Northumberland moorland. They spoke of illusion, how easily we can become fooled by what we see, hear, smell, touch, taste. How we can be fooled by our own minds. To believe something is true simply because we want it to be true. I call that delusion coming to the aid of desire.

If you want poetry, take a look at the Mountains and Rivers Sutra by Zen Master Dogen. However to fully appreciate what is spoken there one has forget everything one thinks one knows. Not easy. Not a bad plan, sometimes one sees mountains and sometimes clouds. And sometimes one just sees. End of.