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Whispers From The Bamboo Grove, Amida News #42

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      Amida News from the UK and Delhi

      We are delighted to be able to tell you that Rev Dharmavidya has recovered sufficiently to be able to visit the UK
      He spent Christmas with Acharya Susthama and family in Watford and then went for a few days to Amida Mandala, where there was a surprise party to celebrate his 70th birthday, attended by members of his family, the Shu and the Amida Malvern sangha. He was presented with a robe, sewn by Susthama, which was comprised of many different squares, as they all are – however these squares of fabric had been sent by members of the Order worldwide. Amida-shu members and friends who were unable to attend also sent greetings to be read out during the ceremony. There are some lovely photographs of the occasion :: here
      News from Amida Mandala in Malvern
      Our main offering at Amida Mandala is the Buddhist services we run three times a week (plus a weekly morning meditation session and a listening circle). These are all offered on a donation basis and we don’t turn anyone away. We also offer day retreats, chanting days, and various events which are open to the general public – quiz nights, art sales, cake sales etc. We are involved in promoting a vegan lifestyle in various ways. We offer people volunteering opportunities and we house five residents. We are involved in their training to work within ministry. We minister to our local congregation in a variety of ways. This includes visiting people in hospital, conducting funerals and offering 1:1 mentoring. We also host visits from schools and other local groups. We have also attended and hosted interfaith meetings and gatherings, and inter-Buddhist meetings. Rev Satyavani is the secretary for the Order, and the European Buddhist Union Rep, attending AGM’s and, in the last year, co-organising a European conference on Buddhism. Rev Kaspalita is the Deputy Head of Ministry, and has facilitated meetings & training of our trainee ministers.
      Acharya Modgala’s Interfaith Work
      In 2016 Acharya Modgala Duguid continued to represent Amida Trust in the Network of Buddhist Organisations UK where she is their Interfaith Officer, a member of the NBO executive committee, and represents NBO on the Faith Communities Forum.The Buddhist Organisations in membership of the Interfaith Network UK (IFNUK) asked Acharya Modgala to be the Buddhist Trustee on the board of IFNUK. In October 2016 Acharya Modgala was elected to be chair of the IFNUK membership sub-committee. Acharya Modgala is the Buddhist representative on the committee of the International Association for Religious Freedom.In 2016 Acharya Modgala also made presentations at a variety of conferences and seminars in London and offered workshops at the Science and Faith Conference in Malvern.
      Amida Birmingham
      This year we have had a monthly meeting on the second Saturday of every month. We have had several new members attend – some for just one session and a couple that have returned. We had our first chanting day in January 2016, which was well attended. We also took part in the Moseley festival to raise the profile of the group in the local area.
      ~ Reverend Sanghamitra
      Amida Durham
      Reverend Kuvalaya leads regular meetings for the Amida group in the Durham area, hosting these in her home temple. The sangha continues to have a core group, strong in spirit, and supports members of the public who join occasionally.
      Amida Sheffield
      Revs Bhaktika (Mike Fitter) and Sundari (Gina Clayton) continue to provide weekly lunchtime guided meditation sessions in Sheffield Cathedral, which are now in their 15th year.
      In November, with Buddhist colleagues in Sheffield, they led an offering of a variety of Nembutsu chants at an interfaith event “Sounds of the spirit”.

      Bhaktika is the Buddhist member of Sheffield Faith Together executive group. Through this role he co-chairs Sheffield Cohesion Advisory group and has been active over the past 2 years developing a new Cohesion Strategic Framework for Sheffield. This work is a co-production between Sheffield City Council and the Cohesion Advisory Group.
      Amida Scotland in Perth
      Acharya Sujatin continues to hold monthly Buddhist meetings for the Amida Scotland group at her home temple in Perth. As Head of Ministry, she continues to support members of the Amida Ministry team, the aspirants (trainee ministers) and other people she is mentoring, most of whom she is in regular contact with face-to-face, via email, Skype or telephone. She continues to teach the on-line Introduction to Pureland Buddhism course. She is in the process of setting up a small interfaith group in the city with a Church of Scotland minister. She was invited to attend, as Buddhist representative, the rededication of his church, St Matthew’s Church of Scotland. She has given a presentation on Pureland Buddhism to one of the city’s Rotary clubs.
      Amida Delhi
      This year we have supported the setting up and rental of a building for use as a Dharma centre where Rev Suvidya, the local Amida Minister, can organise English classes, Buddhist services and provide pastoral support to the local community. Jnanamati was funded to visit for the sixth year running to offer ongoing training, provide support to Suvidya and the school members, and to help with community development. The Trust supported Suvidya to attend a professional English language training course. Currently Suvidya offers three English language classes per week, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. After each of the three classes there is a short service for children from Buddhist families or who have permission from parents to attend. All the children learn the five refuges in English, the three refuges in Pali and in Hindi, as well as the Five Precepts, again in English, Pali and Hindi. They also learn some other verses engage in a period of chanting and receive Dharma teaching from Suvidya – usually a story about part of the Buddha’s life or one of his followers. The classes also offer an opportunity to talk about the ethical framework of the precepts. Within this consideration is given to enabling the children to examine kind ways of relating to each other and the meaning of compassion. Classes take place in Laxmi Gardens, at the Dharma Centre, in Jawahar Nagar and Shanti Nagar. Attendance is between 30 and 50 children per class. In addition Suvidya hosts a Sunday morning service at his home and a Tuesday afternoon service at the Dharma Centre. These are aimed at adults from the local community but they are also open to families with children. Between times Suvidya visits local Buddhist families. Suvidya and his wife Suando Skype with Jnanamati every Monday for a half hour service.
      ~ Reverend Jnanamati

      Namo Amida Bu

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