Making Offerings

We pray you may receive our offerings....
We pray you may receive our offerings….

Today, this afternoon. Jill’s Funeral. And then the interment of a portion of her cremated remains. It is hard to let go of good friends, a good sangha friend. Attaching and detaching flow together through out our entire life. (Quote attributed to Zen Master Dogen). Knowing this to be true does not make living it any easier. It does show that we are human.
Here words at the end of the interment of the ashes spoken on a windy hillside in Northumberland.

We pray that the Pure Mirror of Wisdom will share its light with you and that the True Wind will cover you with the coloured halo so that you can be enlightened in the Garden of the Bodhisattvas and work in the Waveless Sea that is Immaculacy Itself. We pray that you may receive our offerings as we say farewell to you, Jill, within the clouds that hide the heavens from our sight. We bow before the Holy Bodhisattvas and we offer incense to them.

Looking up. Pointing to faith. Bowing to the Bodhisattvas. Grateful that the rain held off long enough for us to all get indoors and have a cup of hot tea. And chat. This is all letting go, moving on.

Always an honour to officiate on such occasions.


Productive of beauty, bringers of joy.
Productive of beauty, bringers of joy.

The plumber came early this morning, his second or possibly third visit to fix a boiler problem. A recent visitor diagnosed the problem and left me with a drawing and the magic words – pressure chamber. But somehow it didn’t seem right to be telling a professional how to do his job. But as it turned out, and with a number pointed questions from me after he’d failed first time around, my visitor had correctly diagnosed the problem. Nothing’s terminal the plumber said as he good-naturedly set to work on that – pressure chamber!

So a successful outcome. Problem fixed. But from past experience that which seems fixed doesn’t stay fixed. Which phone number do you prefer me to use, I asked as he was packing up, just in case err…the problem comes back again. You can have faith in it Reverend, he said. Then he left. Out into the pouring rain to his next job. So I guess we learnt something from each other today.

And the photograph of the daffodils? They reminded me of a much valued aspect of our lives – productivity. Producing goods and services to create wealth. With warmth and all this rain the land is once again growing green. It is becoming productive. Indeed being productive. The lambs are avariciously eating grass. They grow rounder and less bouncy by the day. Soon they will go to the market, get sold and then…eaten! Some may live on to have their own lambs next year. And so the process goes on. Thinking about it I believe I appreciate the flowers and the lambs in equal measure. I’d hope we can appreciate all beings that way, productive or not.

Plumbers, I have to say, hold a special place in my heart.

A Different Perspective

View from above the Pembrokeshire Coast
View from above the Pembrokeshire Coast

The Pembrokeshire Coast Path, viewed with Google Earth is a doddle. Flying above the land, seeing remnants of an old air field, as in this image, brings a new perspective. And so it is with life circumstances some times. To fly above, to zoom out, to take the long view can help troubled times take on a three dimensional quality. And perhaps in doing that troubled times are seen with fresh insight.

I hope when Adrienne is lifting her boot on this stretch of coast I’ll be walking behind her, one step at a time.

Sustained Intention

High above the Eden Valley, Eastern Cumbria
Looking across the Eden Valley, Eastern Cumbria.

What does it mean to commit oneself? To avow? To promise? To throw ones heart and soul into something or someone? To commit to a future outcome? To see something through, no matter what that might involve? Commitment is about sustained intention. Steadfastness. Boldly going on!

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor (sic) all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it! From William Hutchinson Murray’s (1913-1996) 1951 book The Scottish Himalayan Expedition.

But this not any old passing thought. My thinking about commitment is linked to a chap I heard about recently who is writing a blog called Future Health 2020 (adventures with cytotoxic chemicals). Here he is introducing himself, Hi, I’m Lee. I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma on 26 February 2013. This blog charts my journey to future health. Here is a man who has definitely committed himself. I bow to you and may providence flow through and into your life – I guess we would call that spiritual merit.

There is a lesson here for all of us. About commitment to life, the living of it wholeheartedly, no matter what comes.

Read Lee’s post of April 15th where the above quote comes from.