Many years ago, when we where a very agrarian society, it was the Spring that signalled the start of new things. In our modern society it seems to be that September and the end of Summer is the time when we think about starting new training or taking up new pastimes. This has a lot to do with our school system as September is when we start school for the first time or change schools as we progress in our learning finally moving to University or College.
This year, for many, the move to University hasn’t gone very smoothly with much controversy and criticism at the government’s handling of the situation. It must have been very hard for those young people, trying to stay calm when their futures appeared to be stolen form them. But major changes in our life’s course are often difficult and cause us pain, which we hope will be worth it when we reach our goal. Maybe some of those affected will have learnt Buddhist meditation or mindfulness whilst at school and these simple techniques, though hard to master, will have helped those few, I am sure.
This is also the time when we at the Buddhist Centre see an increase in the numbers coming along to our classes for the first time. An interest in Buddhism can go right back to our school days, maybe an interest sparked by a class-room visit of a local inspirational Order Member. Yet it may take us many years before we act on that interest. To summon up the energy, and as we would say in Buddhism the spiritual faculty of Virya, to take it further often requires a life changing event. We also see people who have been along before, maybe several years ago, returning now that their lives have changed and there is space, or maybe a greater need, to search for the answers that Buddhism can provide.
One of the great benefits that has come out of the pandemic is that the Ipswich Buddhist Centre has all its classes on line. This makes it very easy to log-on and find out what Buddhism has to offer, without leaving the comfort and security of your own home.
After the success of our July @Home weekend retreat we are holding another at the end of September. It will, I am sure, prove to be equally successful. It will also culminate in a Meditation in the Park session at Christchurch Park on Sunday 27th September.
For the retreat we are picking up the theme that was explored at the recent biennial Triratna Order on-line International Convention. This is the great theme of ‘The Five Spiritual Faculties’. These being Faith, Vigour, Mindfulness, Meditation and Wisdom. These five faculties are the powers or strengths that we need to enable us to overcome that which stops, diverts or hinders us from achieving progression on our individual and collective spiritual path and which help us to a full and deep understanding of the nature of reality and to achieve Enlightenment.