It is now December, the time of the winter festival. A festival that has been appropriated by many religions but comes from simpler, ancient times to mark the turning point from long winter nights to the promise of long summer days to come.
Mostly, these days, we seem to mark this festival by a vast spending spree, egged on by clever advertising selling us a ‘better life’ but we know, as Buddhists, that this is not true, more things just lead to greater attachment and its resultant Dukkha or unsatisfactoriness. So why would we add to another’s suffering in this way? In this time of increasing awareness of the Eco-Emergency we are all facing, the Buddha’s message of renunciation and living a simpler life shines out as a way forward. Maybe, instead of rushing around with ‘xmas lists’ of things to buy (made out of the earth’s precious resources) for family and friends, we should consider offering, as a gift, what we could personally give up to help us live a simpler life and thereby improve the lives and future for all that live on this planet.
Or we could offer the gift of friendship, which may one day blossom into becoming Kalyana-mitrata, spiritual friendship, the greatest gift any one and especially a Buddhist can give. This edition of the Buddhist Centre newsletter contains many opportunities for you to give the gift of friendship by coming along to the Centre and supporting our classes and events where there are people who will be pleased to accept your gift of friendship.
Bodhivamsa, Chair of Ipswich Buddhist Centre