Category Archives: Teachings

Bodhicitta – Part One

2021jodo-01-2The text below is from the talk given by Rev. Roland, on the 5th December after the Buddha’s Enlightenment Ceremony.

There was a reference in the scripture we chanted during the ceremony this morning to Bodhicitta. This is usually translated as ‘the will to enlightenment’. It is often understood as something we only embark on once we begin Buddhist practice. It is thought of as somewhat idealistic – a lofty aspiration – it sounds as if we’re seeking for something supernatural, or fantastic. And whilst it does have an element of pointing beyond our human experience, it is also essentially not different from the simple wish to be happy. This is of course just our nature. It is not something we acquire or have to cultivate, it is inherent in our being. It’s the same instinct that is behind our wish to find the answer to all the distress we find in life, to solve the problem of suffering – which is the work of a Zen trainee.
Rev. Master Roland.

Note: I was personally touched by this talk and saw the benefits others are likely to derive from visiting Rev. Roland’s words, published here on Jade over several days. Thanks to the Reverend for permission to do this. Listen to the talk.

As an added bonus you can listen to the entire ceremony with a moving dedication, taken from The Light of Asia by Sir Edwin Arnold.

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Before, During and After Storm Arwen!

A tree came down during the storm blocking the lane up to the monastery main buildings.

Enough to say we have ‘weathered the storm‘ and the monastery is now back up and running with full power and internet.  The widespread damage done to the electricity grid infrastructure by the high winds and frigid temperatures, caused by Storm Arwen, had quite an impact on the functioning of the monastery. I believe there are still homes in the North East not yet connected to power and one’s heart can’t help but go out to those who rely totally on electricity.

Our internet connection joined us sometime on Monday morning as well as the electricity supply to the Myrtle Bank buildings. We were without power for about 7 days although a generator was hooked up around day 5 to keep the freezers going and provide light in the kitchen and heat in the lay common room. A welcomed warm refuge. You will be glad to know we were able to cook using LPG (gas), and to heat water for washing up, filling Thermos flasks and…hot water bottles!

Much has happened since the last post here. Just in the last ten days, I’ve driven to the Scottish Border country twice. One trip to pick up a ‘crown’ of red rhubarb ( Fulton’s Strawberry Surprise) and the other trip to pick up a car. Also Red! And there have been a number of excursions locally for supplies and to get essential laundry washed.

For the funeral, the coffin is placed on the main altar and covered with a specially made kesa.

Rev. Alexanders death on November 5th has had quite an impact on us both practically and personally. On the 25th of November, his body was returned to the monastery where we held a Vigil (a meditation period with the coffin in the middle of the room) followed by Rev. Alexander’s funeral.   Later that same day his body was driven in a hearse to the crematorium near Consett – several of us attended a short, lived streamed, cremation ceremony there. Sometime last week we were joined by quite a number of Rev. Alexander’s relatives for the Interment Ceremony for his cremated remains. Memories of last August passed before me as we processed to the monks’ cemetery for the burial.

Rev. Berwyn wrote an article that can be either downloaded as a .pdf or read online. So touching. Reverend Master Alexander – learning from a friend. 

There are very many comments attached to the Throssel blog posts linked to above. Please do add your own comment if moved to do so. Doing so helps us all to honour and remember this monk and for his family to know how much his life as a monk was appreciated.


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Memorial for Jademountains Reader

Ian Pearson, RIP.

This afternoon; a perfect autumn day for a Memorial and Interment of Ashes here at Throssel. I really only knew Ian via his comments left here on Jade. He died in October in Ireland and his wish was to be buried here at Throssel.

Rest now in your true home, in the deepest sense you never left, even though it’s nearly 40 years since you joined the community, briefly, as a postulant. You were highly thought of by both the lay and monastic communities. And Richard Branson apparently, but that’s another story.


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Hello Friend – Rev. Master Alexander Remembered

Around 2000 in Telford in celebratory attire. Possibly his Induction Ceremony

The first thing I remember Rev. Master Jiyu saying to me was ‘Hello Friend’! It was an open and expansive greeting to a total stranger, as I was at the time. That first personal, and fleeting encounter left a deep impression. Rev. Alexander was such a one, a true friend to many who has touched countless lives. Rev. Berwyn has written a piece titled Rev. Master Alexander – learning from a friend. You can download it as a .pdf here:

There is a blog post with the date and details of Rev. Alexanders upcoming funeral on November 25th which will be live-streamed. Click here for the post.

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Islands of Hope

church-in-the-forestCliff sent me a link to a Guardian article that captured my imagination. These small forested islands dotted in the farmed landscape in Ethiopia, each one encircling a church, show what faith and dedication can achieve. Islands of hope.

South of the Sahara, and just north of the Great Rift Valley in landlocked Ethiopia, the Blue Nile flows from Lake Tana, the largest lake in the country. Radiating out from the sacred source is a scattering of forest islands, strewn across the dry highlands like a handful of emeralds. At the heart of each circle of forest, hunkered down under the ancient canopy and wrapped in lush vegetation, are saucer-shaped churches – otherworldly structures that almost seem to emit a life force. And in a sense they do.

….Over the past century, 90% of Ethiopia’s forests have been lost. In Amhara province, the only remaining native forests are those that surround the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church buildings. More:

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