The Wish-Fulfilling Jewel – Dharma Talk

The image of the jewel is used in Mahayana Buddhism to illustrate different aspects of our relationship to the Truth. Rev. Berwyn explores some of these facets, showing how, through the practice of meditation, we can come to clarify and fulfil our true wish. We can come to realise that the jewel is found right where we are now, in the circumstances of our lives, and that we do not need to look outside of ourselves for the Truth. By accepting the Truth as it is right now, we can come to know that this is enough and that the treasure house is constantly opening before us.

Find this talk on the Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey site – here.

Cat On The Carpet

He came in the ceremony hall this morning close to the end of morning service. Saw him out of the corner of my eye as his form flitted past the back of the altar. He purred his way loudly up the line of monks then threw himself on the carpet, right beside the celebrants large ceremonial mat. Extended long, from claw to claw, front to back paw. Contented cat, relaxed and happy to be in with his friends.

The ceremony ends with a procession lead by a monk with a small hand gong. Uh, slight kink in the procession to avoid Smudge thus disported. We hold our collective breath. Phew! Nope, Smudge was not in the mood for play, no swiping at robes as they swish by nor a more athletic leap for tassels dangling from a ceremonial item.

They come to teach and test our patience and our ability to remain still in the midst of circumstances, not to mention our inner strength not to laugh during inappropriate moments!

Me And My Bones

Does a newly dead person, or one dead for many years, regard their remains as them? We attach ourselves to our form and then carry that on, in our imaginations at least, into the grave. Are we our form? Dead, or alive? I think not.

Yes, this skull in Manchester has raised some questions and caused me to question my own sensibilities around how I regard human relics. How I regard what’s left behind after my physical death.

See King Milinda’s questions to Nagasena on the nature of self.

Keep That Skull Manchester Hermit

This is part of a comment I’ve submitted to The Manchester Hermit’s blog post You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. In it I make a case for keeping a human skull, and other human bones, in circulation rather disposing of them. If it comes to that, a decent burial I’d have hoped. There’s an interesting exchange of thoughts connected to this post. The tide is turning towards finding the skull a new, and more appropriate home.

Here is the first part of the comment submitted for moderation, and accepted:

As a Buddhist contemplative of some years I find myself joining with the Manchester Hermit and his task and see merit in what is being pointed to through this project. The skull was, in my view, an important first choice. This form brings home, in a disturbing way, the ever present truth of impermanence. A truth we encounter moment to moment yet only when faced with loss, a death perhaps, does it come home to us personally. Bobbing along, as we do, on the river of changeableness there is the ever present matter of choice. On what do we base our choices? Does the contemplation of the crumbling moment show us something helpful about ourselves, and the way we live? Well yes: and then we make wise choices.

I’d like to make a case for keeping the skull, and other human bones in the museum, to be then given into the guardianship of those who have a legitimate claim to their continuing life. A creative impulse has come upon me in the form of a personal letter to the skull. Please understand it’s offered with the greatest reverence and respect.

The letter not published here…yet.