Happy Lammas everyone.
I'd like to say a few words about this festival, and then I've an important announcement later, as well as a few dates for your diary.
Lammas is the old first-harvest festival traditionally celebrated on the 1st of August. This is when bread would be baked from the first wheat harvest of the year - a time for celebration.
When sowing wheat, we make sure the conditions are right for a good crop. We can influence some of these conditions, helping the soil become better, taking out the weeds and so on. But some of these conditions are outside our control. The weather, the history of the seeds and goodness knows what else.
Throughout the year we take care of the wheat as best we can, and providing all the conditions are right, we get a good crop and celebrate with a wonderful loaf of bread to share with our friends and neighbours.
Spiritual practice is like this too. There are some conditions we can control, (or at least, have the illusion of controlling) going to services, practicing at home, reflecting on our life and so on. There are some things outside our control, our karmic history, the dukkha that we will inevitably meet and even exactly when grace comes to us.
If we take care of our life as best we can, we will be able to collect the fruits of our harvest. We feel touched by grace, or celebrate our practice in particular ways.
This harvest is important. The loaves of bread give sustenance to the farmers and allows them to keep sowing new seeds, to keep taking care of the earth, to practice in the best way they can. From a spiritual point of view, it's good to celebrate the loaf of bread, but what's really important is how we are in the world right now. How we face the conditions in our life today.
If we do this properly, it may or may not lead to a fantastic loaf of bread (although it probably will, someday) but we will discover the real rewards of the spiritual life are in the practice itself, right now.
Taking refuge is both a taking care of the conditions, and a fruit of practice at the same time. It is a celebration of ones confidence in the Buddhist path and a commitment to that path. It is the culmination os a set of conditions, and of past practice, and it is the foundation for going forwards.
On Wednesday 8th August Dawn Griffiths will be taking refuge in the five Pureland jewels. This will be part of our evening service at 7.30pm at The Wheel of Life.
It would be great to see you there.
Buddhist Study Morning
On 26th August we'll host a dharma study morning at our house, do reply to this email for more details or see our facebook event.
Retreat Day in Malvern
This will be on Saturday 8th September, a day of reflection and practice. Do reply to this email or see ourfacebook page.
Before I sign off, I wanted to point you to the Amida Trust Youtube page. There's a video of a recent talk by my teacher, Dharmavida here, as well as Susthama chanting the four tone nembutsu.
Thank for reading, and Namo Amida Bu