Here is Batty, a Beanie Baby given to me many years ago by a woman in Plymouth. It first inhabited the Bursary office and now hangs on the end of a hand rail in one of the residences. It’s just hanging around.

Last evening after meditation it emerged that there had been a bat flying about in the hall. Yes, it swooped right in front of your row Mugo, didn’t you see it? Err, no!

And then this morning, saying farewell to departing guests, it seems the bat visited them too. Hopefully it has left, or perhaps it is hanging around readying itself for another display of aero-batics!

In Memory of the Leo

The late and lovable Leo, Springer Spaniel from Idaho admiring himself.

One of the monks mentioned I’d not posted any photographs recently and so I’m taking this opportunity to show you this picture of a dog very dear to my heart. Here is an extract from an email I sent to his person today.

I was going to post a photo of Leo the other day. I’d come across a Cocker Spaniel tied up inside the bank. I got so hooked into it sitting there silently whining and then letting go a bit and straining to see her person at the teller, whining a bit like only Spaniels can do. When it came to my turn the teller had to call me three times before I realized it was my turn. I remember you or Linda telling me not to look at Leo or Lilly because then they kinda get you hooked into doing things for them. This dog wasn’t even looking at me, I just wanted it to! (So I’m still a sucker for a Spaniel and apparently still ready to serve.)

This foal popped its head over the wall giving me a pleasant surprise. Talking to a Sangha friend this afternoon she told me she was working towards getting her qualifications for doing Tellington Touch with horses. She already works wonders with camelids. To you and me that means Alpacas and Lamas. We share a love for all matters to do with horses and she already works wonders with horses without certificates.


Here is a response to a comment left on (was that) todays posting by a chap facing the sudden death of his father. Because the subject of grieving comes up a lot I thought I’d answer part of the comment in a posting.

One thing that has particularly troubled me is my lack of grief and it is interesting to read your comment about shock taking its time to work through.

I know it might seem odd however death, even a sudden death, may not be followed by grief. After both my mother and my father died I was surprised I was not finding myself ‘falling apart’. I took council in a senior monk and was told not to expect to grieve and not to be concerned if I didn’t. In addition a friend mentioned that perhaps I’d dealt with that which tied us together and I could simply accept the death and moving on. This lack of grief seemed a bit surreal at the time I must say. So perhaps the answer is to take life as it comes at you. What else is there to do?

Later, while resolving the family home and its contents, I did have loud howling sessions but gradually those spontaneous outbreaks became less. Then perhaps three years after my father died I noticed that the colours in nature where markedly brighter, and illuminated some how. I understood then that my senses had been dampened down somewhat, not depression exactly but close probably.

The compassion scriptures would be the Litany of the Great Compassionate one and the Scripture of Avalokiteshwara Bodhisattva. The words for both scriptures can be found on the Shasta Abbey web site.

An Answer

The following is an extract from a note I sent to a chap in answer to his comment/questions following the sudden death of his father.

Dear Friend,

The very best thing you can do to help your father now is to simply sit when you have the time, and to do your best to keep a bright and positive mind throughout your day. He will be in your heart and since ultimately there is no separation or dividing up of existence, your hearts are identical. If the relationship with him has been troublesome this doesn’t matter, let what ever is there be there without judgements.

You are right, we do not have a specific practice around death, or more correctly meditations focusing on the impermanence of the body. That all is fairly much covered in just sitting.

In terms of your own acceptance of his sudden death you will have to realize that there is a level of shock which will take time to work it’s way through.

As for what you can do at home now. You can put his photograph on your altar and perhaps put some kind of non perishable food/drink which he would have liked there too. You can recite one of the compassion scriptures daily and offer the merit of the recitation for his benefit.

The advice above is fairly standard however it does assume an understanding of the practice of meditation and the Buddhist Precepts.

Drawing Pictures in the Clouds

The monastery is markedly still, yet filled with guests. They are here for a week of intensive practice with much formal meditation. The day itself has felt still, with just a hint of autumn in the air. Already?

By the entrance to the main building I paused to view the bright yellow upturned faces of Nasturtiums amidst the lush green foliage. That would make a great photograph, I was told. But I’ve been busy with other things.

Reflecting on the day, a good practice for anybody who points themselves towards a religious practice, of any faith tradition. I am glad to remember the flowers and while out on a lunch time walk, the wild gooseberry bush beside the road. I’ve been munching on the fruit from that bush for upwards of fifteen years, on and off. What a gift, and so sweet too.

Yes, it is good to take the time to reflect on the day. It helps one to arrive at a more rounded picture. Reflection too helps to soften that which could remain hard. There was the frustrating problem of not being able to get a printer working and the anxiety producing project of investigating my visa application for the US. How easy it is to join up the points in a day and draw a picture which sends one to bed heavy of heart. It’s not necessary.