Our Yesterdays Remembered

First published 2009. The ‘time came’ for the chap who sent me this photograph, he died this year. He left many gifts, especially his offering in Edinburgh to the Buddhist Sangha. Rawdon, you will not be forgotten.

West Allen Valley

What might I leave you
as a last gift when my time comes?
Springtime flowers,
the cuckoo singing all summer,
the yellow leaves of autumn.
Zen Master Ryokan, translated by Sam Hamill

In the 1960’s there was a TV programme called ‘All Our Yesterdays’ in which we saw what life was like 25 years previously. Mostly it was black and white newsreel footage from WW2, if I remember correctly.

This picture was taken twenty five years ago in 1982. The priory, as it was then, was switching gears from being a lay retreat center to growing into what it is now, a full training monastery with a continuing guest programme. The chap who sent me the photograph, along with many others who read this, played an important part in the growth and development that has taken place over the years. Here is an opportunity to say thank you.

And the poem? I found it today in the monastic alms box. That’s a place we can put religious items for others to pick up and use, I thought you’d like it.

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4 thoughts on “Our Yesterdays Remembered”

  1. Ryokan’s poem brings to mind Chief Crowfoot’s last words, of the Blackfoot nation.
    “What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”

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