The Orchard Sangha Newsletter elcome to the first Orchard Newsletter. A new year and new beginnings. The sangha meeting in October gathered at The Orchard in a spirit of openness that facilitated much discussion. This newsletter is one very small result of that discussion. It is hoped the newsletter will form a bridge between The Orchard and the wider sangha bringing news, information, inspiration and requests for help. It will not replace Ad and Sonia’s newsletters / programmes, they will still come to you as usual. This one is for sangha, by sangha. That’s you! So as well as reading this you are invited to contribute – suggestions, humour, anecdotes. We look forward to hearing from you.
After a few months of planning the first Orchard Autumn Fayre took place at the Orchard on Saturday 23rd November. About eight students met together the day before the event to help prepare the zendo and to set out the goods that had been gathered for the sale. There were statues of the Buddha and shawls donated by Sonia and Ad, plants that had graced the Sadhana shrines, homemade soaps, cards, jams, cakes, photographs, books, jewellery, clothes and many other items presented on tables around the zendo. There was a quiet stream of visitors throughout the morning and early afternoon. After browsing over and buying goods they were invited down to Maitreya House for hot drinks and mince pies. Later on in the afternoon the Fayre was dismantled and the zendo was returned to its former glory. In the early evening we all met together with Sonia and Ad for more tea and cake and to share our experiences of the day.
A reminder of sitting times at the zendo: 7.30am
Again, we would like to extend an invitation to you to “link in” to The Orchard at any of these times.
Everyone agreed how smoothly and evenly the event had run, full of quiet socialising and gentle humour. The proceeds of the Fayre were added up and we were delighted to hear that about £1,100 had been raised.
On Wednesday evenings Ad takes T’ai-Ji in the zendo – a moving meditation – and a lovely way for us to join with the flow and harmony of this beautiful practice.
A big ‘Thank You’ to everyone involved and to all who gave so generously in many ways.
Ad and Sonia have worked tirelessly over the years to create a space conducive to their students’ exploration and growth. It is hoped that they, and the resident sangha, will derive much benefit and nourishment from this connection.
Eleri December 2007
“The earth is a place of loving kindness” I sat on the cushion with awareness of the inner posture, watching from a place of being upright – gentle and tender, the movements of the belly as I breathed in and out. Space upon space began to open up, at the same time in my head there was the feeling of the thinking mind: not following the contents of the thinking mind, only the feeling of its texture. At that moment I experienced: the thinking mind thinks. It is its nature, its gift, its movement. Each contact of the senses, each movement of the thinking mind creates thousands of new movements in the thinking mind. It is interesting to watch it from the safe place of resting, in the space of watching the belly. Nothing can stop these movements of the thinking mind; it is not even necessary to stop them. With this realisation, at that moment, all began to disappear. Through this emptiness Sonia’s voice, asking us to visualize and to feel in the belly the embers and with each outbreath softly and carefully to warm them. It was the hearing of words themselves, they warmed the belly softly and allowed the warmth to grow through the whole body, in each cell and very strongly in the heart. From there, the warmth did flow, dancing everywhere, to the people in the room, to the Orchard place, further and further, over lands and mountains, over seas and seas, over the earth, over stars and stars, endlessly. Heart warmth, soft warmth to everything and to everyone. Then in my being arose the experience: “The Earth is a place of loving kindness”. Again, Sonia’s voice, asking us to look with our mind’s eyes into our hands. There was nothing and at the same time there was all. Metta everywhere. Thank you, Sonia, for having the possibility to be your student and to learn the way of opening the heart. Amarana Spaeti December 2007
One day a young student at the Buddhist monastery goes to meditate with two monks as part of his education. They go to the opposite side of the lake from the monastery and are about to start their morning meditation when the first monk says, “oh, I forgot my mat”, so he walks up to the lake and walks calmly across the surface of the water to the monastery and returns with his mat. Suddenly the second monk says, “oh no, I’ve forgotten my sun hat” so he runs across the surface of the water to the monastery and returns with a straw hat. The student is astounded by this and at the end of the meditation he tries to walk across the water. He falls straight in and emerges soaking wet, the two monks look on and after watching his failed attempts for a while the first monk says to the second “do you think we should tell him where the stones are!”
The garden is fairly quiet at this time of year but there is always something that needs doing. Kitchen There are even tasks that don’t require a physical presence at the Orchard! New cushions are needed for the kitchen – Gill would be delighted to hear from anyone who feels they can offer their skills to help with the kitchen update (see contact details). And if anyone is skilled in making window blinds ………… we’d love to hear from you.
Questionnaire Comprehensive folders are being lovingly prepared and preliminary copies are now available in The Orchard kitchen. These cover all aspects of life at The Orchard and should prove invaluable. Short, basic guides are also being prepared which will cover initial, essential information – e.g. the difficulty in using the oven and hob together on the cooker in Maitreya House.
By now it is hoped you will also have received the questionnaire from Steve Felgate and Sarah Hill. It would be wonderful to have as many Sangha members as possible sharing their views, hopes and thoughts. So, this is a gentle reminder that the questionnaire needs to be returned by 31 January 2008. If you have not received a copy of the questionnaire and would like one please contact Sarah on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sauerkraut Green Rolls
Spring greens or a big green leafy cabbage 1 Jar of sauerkraut A sushi mat
1. Carefully wash the green leaves, cut out any thick stems, then steam until tender, about 4-6 minutes. 2. Lay several layers of leaves on a sushi mat, add a line of sauerkraut down the middle, and wrap the greens around the sauerkraut. 3. Gently but firmly squeeze the roll in the sushi mat, then take it out and slice into bite sized pieces. From Oliver Cowmeadow’s Fundamentals of Healthy Eating
Establishing a spiritual homeland Each of us needs to belong to a place, such as retreat centre or a monastery, where each feature of the landscape, the sounds of the bell, and even the buildings are designed to remind us to return to awareness. It is helpful to go there from time to time for several days or several weeks to renew ourselves.
Even when we cannot actually go there, we only need to think of it, and we can feel ourselves smile and become peaceful and happy. Thich Nhat Hanh
Gill - for offers of assistance â€“ at email@example.com or on 01981 241315 Sandra - for newsletter comments and contributions â€“ at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 013873 70787 (and if there is anyone out there with DTP skills who would like to offer their services to the newsletter, please do get in touch!)