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FEBRUARY 2018 Bridport Sangha Welcome This month we offer a fascinating article on Zen and
FEBRUARY
2018
Bridport Sangha
Welcome
This month we offer a
fascinating article on Zen and
Quaker practice, by Lesley
Collington and Harry
Bradshaw. It starts on page
2.
Quote by Thich Nhat Hanh
There are some wonderful retreats coming up, and also a call for help at the
There are some wonderful
retreats coming up, and also a
call for help at the retreat at
“ We talk about social service, service to the people, service to
humanity, service to others who are far away, helping to bring
Stourbridge this August.
There is the arrival of the
film ‘Walk With Me. This
is
peace to the world - but often we forget that it is the very people
around us that we must live for first of all. If you cannot serve
your wife or husband or child or parent - how are you going to
serve society? If you cannot make your own child happy, how do
you expect to be able to make anyone else happy? If all our
friends in the peace movement or of service communities of any
a film about mindfulness in
the Plum Village tradition,
and it is narrated by
Benedict Cumberbatch. COI
have asked for some
assistance with this, and
their letter is attached below,
on page 9.
kind do not love and help each other, whom can we love and
help? ”

Save the Date!

The Art of Grounding

14 th 16 th March

Page 6
Page 6

Mindfully

Together

26 th – 31 st August

Page 7

Project Manager needed at Stourbridge. Page 8
Project Manager
needed at
Stourbridge.
Page 8
BRIDPORT SANGHA FEBRUARY 2018 Zen and Quaker practice: a sharing of spiritual paths and friendship
BRIDPORT SANGHA
FEBRUARY 2018
Zen and Quaker practice: a sharing of
spiritual paths and friendship
Introduction
This article explores some of the background to Zen and Quaker traditions, annually
brought together in the wonderful ‘Mindfully Together’ joint Zen-Quaker retreat, now in
its twelfth year. In 2018 the retreat will, once again, be held at the Quaker Study Centre
at Woodbrooke near Birmingham from 26 th to 31 st August, providing a wonderful
opportunity for the Community of Interbeing (i.e. the followers of Zen Master Thich Nhat
Hanh) to come together with Quaker Friends in a complementary sharing of our
spiritual journeys to nourish mutual understanding and shared insights.
Two Reforming Teachers: two traditions
The founder of the Order of Interbeing is Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (b. 1926,
affectionately known as ‘Thay’ i.e. teacher), a great reforming teacher for modern times
who has translated many Zen (Buddhist) teachings into highly accessible (western)
forms. So determined was Thay to live in accordance with the ethical guidance and
spiritual understanding of the Buddha (i.e. the ‘Awakened One’) that he came to the
west on a mission for peace to try and halt the war in his home country of Vietnam.
Unexpectedly forced into exile, he founded a thriving Monastic Centre called ‘Plum
Village,’ in Southern France. This kernel has now grown into a large global community
with followers, lay and monastic practitioners, and other monastic centres, across the
world.
The founder of the ‘Society of Friends,’ also known as ‘Quakers,’ was George Fox
(1624-1691), a great reforming figure of the 17th century. The Society arose in a
Christian context and drew from that Christian heritage and the teachings of Christ (i.e.
‘the Anointed One’). However, so determined was George Fox to explore his own
spiritual vocation and understanding of God free from the constraints of traditional
Christian forms that he was viewed as a threat to the religious and political authorities
at the time and was imprisoned on many occasions. In the present situation of interfaith
dialogue and understanding, many ‘Friends’ draw on ethical guidance and meaning
from other faiths.
These great reforming teachers share an unwavering service to their respective
spiritual paths.
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BRIDPORT SANGHA FEBRUARY 2018 The two teachings ‘in practice’ In ‘Zen Practice’ practitioners gather in
BRIDPORT SANGHA
FEBRUARY 2018
The two teachings ‘in practice’
In ‘Zen Practice’ practitioners gather in a group to sit either on a meditation cushion or
on a chair (sometimes also to walk) in silence while supported by the gentle sound of a
bell to ‘mindfully’ meditate, follow their own breathing and ‘dwell in the present
moment.’ The practice of ‘mindfulness meditation,’ available to everyone, allows the
‘transformation’ of an individual’s suffering (under the practitioner’s own volition) and an
‘opening of the heart’ to love and compassion in the service of others. There is no God
in Buddhism: the historical Buddha (the ‘Awakened One’) was a man called Siddhartha
Gautama (c. 6 th century BCE) who left us the Dharma (i.e. teachings). Understanding
of the Dharma based on individual experience may be voiced (or not) in a ‘Dharma
Sharing’ group. In order for the practice to be authentic, integral and engaged, the fruits
of meditation need to be applied in daily life, in thoughts, speech and action.
‘Quaker Worship’ may vary from this in ‘form’ but Friends also gather in a group to sit
on chairs in a comfortable room in silence. An individual’s understanding rests on the
experience that a ‘seed’ of the holy, of God, rests in every person while they look to
allow life to be guided by their own experience of the light of God. An opening to God
can be discovered without a priest and the light of the Kingdom of Heaven is available
‘now’ in this world. Friends sit in gathered silence until ‘called’ by God to share (or not).
‘Ministry’ may come from anyone during worship so any member of the group may
stand and speak. Sometimes no one speaks; a deep and profound silence can
develop. There are many views of God amongst Friends, expressed in numerous ways
while ‘God is love’ sits at the centre of understanding with an emphasis on humility and
listening to others. Since infinite truths cannot be contained in finite words there are no
creeds and a commitment to be honest at all times means that Quakers do not take
oaths (which carry the implication that there may be times when lying is acceptable).
The practices of the two traditions share key features in common e.g. silent practice,
respect for one’s own experience as well as that of others, equality of all, peace, social
justice, community life and freedom of conscience. The natural environment is also
hugely important with emphasis on simple living to minimise any impact on the world.
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BRIDPORT SANGHA FEBRUARY 2018 On Zen and Quaker writings A series of writings underpin both
BRIDPORT SANGHA
FEBRUARY 2018
On Zen and Quaker writings
A
series of writings underpin both traditions, which also have features in common.
In Zen, practitioners see the Dharma (the teachings of the Buddha) as deeply
inspirational and a key to understanding (and therefore study the Dharma, attend
Dharma talks and engage in Dharma Sharing) but may also read many other books
including the Bible as a guide to their life and spiritual path. Meanwhile, underpinning
Zen teachings are the ‘Five Mindfulness Trainings’ (i.e. precepts) taken by
practitioners in support of their practice (common to all Buddhist paths) and provide
an ethical basis for living life. These are to refrain from: harming living things, taking
what is not given, sexual misconduct, lying or gossiping, and ingesting intoxicants.
Friends (Quakers) reflect their understandings in their main book ‘Quaker Faith and
Practice,’ writings accumulated over almost four centuries that sit alongside the Bible
and which are regularly revised to reflect new insights. ‘Quaker Testimonies’ are the
forms of witness that have emerged from seeking to be open to the Spirit of God at all
times. This has led them to emphasise: the adherence to truth (i.e. no lying); the
principle of equality while embracing care for the whole of planet Earth (with all given
respect and justice); simplicity of living (and rejection of greed); an embrace of peace
(and rejection of killing) with action towards conflict resolution. Friends also have a
tradition of literature known as ‘Advices and Queries,’ a short reminder of the insights
of their Society, which each individual may personally consider particularly in relation
to service. They regard the Bible as a deeply inspirational book but may also read
many other sources and religious texts including Buddhist ones.
So striking has been the ethical and practice ‘overlap’ of the central Buddhist
teachings of the Five Mindfulness Trainings with the Quaker Testimonies, as reflected
in
aspects of ‘Advices and Queries,’ that Audrey Urry (Quaker) and Lesley Collington
(Zen Practitioner) have jointly produced a helpful booklet entitled ‘A Contemplation of
Shared Insights: the Five mindfulness Trainings and Advices and Queries,’ which
beautifully highlights the similarities of the two ethical approaches.
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BRIDPORT SANGHA FEBRUARY 2018 Observation from personal experience In 2017, I (Harry) had the good
BRIDPORT SANGHA
FEBRUARY 2018
Observation from personal experience
In 2017, I (Harry) had the good fortune to attend this inspiring Zen-Quaker retreat. As a
Practitioner in Thay’s Zen tradition but raised in the west within the Anglican Christian
tradition, I found the more theistic language of Quaker Worship natural, meaningful and
enriching while engagement with Quaker practices themselves resulted in fresh
insights. During the course of the retreat, the notion of ‘two separate traditions’
gradually grew less apparent with a sense that exposure to the two ‘forms’ of spiritual
practice can result in a deep complementary enrichment. I even speculated that if
George Fox had perhaps been surrounded by the tradition of Buddhism (which in the
seventeenth century was only known in the east) he may have been recognised as a
Buddha and would not have found himself so much at odds with the morays of his time
and place (bearing in mind that since the time of the ‘historical’ Buddha mentioned
above, other individuals have also been recognised as Buddhas).
An invitation to practise together
The retreat is to be led by Sister True Virtue (Annabel), Head of Practice at the
European Institute for Applied Buddhism in Germany, and will benefit greatly from her
series of Dharma talks. She will be supported by both Zen monastics from Plum
Village, Southern France and the Lay Order. Integrated into the retreat schedule,
Quaker practices will include a daily morning ‘Meeting for Worship’ and (what is called)
an evening ‘epilogue’ while a talk on Quaker practice will also be offered.
Finally, I can also report that the Quaker Study Centre at Woodbrooke is a beautiful
venue, full of energy born of countless spiritual practitioners over many generations
and provides comfortable accommodation, extensive gardens, a library, excellent food
and a long-established tradition of welcome and service.
Overall, the retreat is a wonderful opportunity for us to come together, practise
mindfully and engage in deep listening in our aspiration to ‘go as a river’ in relationship
with others.
Article by Harry Bradshaw (Dharma name: ‘Joyful Simplicity of the Heart’) and Lesley
Collington (Dharma name: ‘True Lotus of Joy’) Zen practitioners and students of Zen
Master Thich Nhat Hanh.
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BRIDPORT SANGHA FEBRUARY 2018
BRIDPORT SANGHA
FEBRUARY 2018
The Art of Grounding A retreat led by Lesley Collington Friday 14 th – Sunday
The Art of Grounding
A retreat led by Lesley Collington
Friday 14 th – Sunday 16 th March 2018
At Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, Selly Oak
In cultivating the art of grounding, in our body and mind, we’ll follow a
gentle programme of sitting and walking meditation, and the graceful
moving meditation of Qi Gong. To nourish our stability and nurture a
peaceful, open heart, the retreat offers a slowing down, periods of
companionable silence, deep relaxation and the practice of Earth
Touching. We will walk in the beautiful gardens. There is the invitation to
take our meals in silence, to experience eating as a meditation
To book a place phone 0121 472 5171 or email www.woodbrooke.org.uk
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BRIDPORT SANGHA FEBRUARY 2018 Mindfully Together With Sister True Virtue (Sister Annabel) and monastics from
BRIDPORT SANGHA
FEBRUARY 2018
Mindfully
Together
With Sister True Virtue (Sister Annabel) and monastics from
Plum Village
At Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, Selly Oak,
Birmingham
Sunday 26 th – Friday 31st August 2018
This wonderful annual retreat is now in its 12 th year. It offers a
remarkable opportunity for all practitioners in the Community of
Interbeing to come together, to enjoy being together and practise
alongside Quaker Friends. Holding up a mirror to each other’s tradition
has always led to deep insights and understanding through our shared
practice and experience. The venue is the beautiful Woodbrooke where
we are kindly and warmly held by our Quaker Friends.
We offer some reflections below, which explore the history and
background of Quaker and Zen traditions.
An early booking is recommended for this retreat. To reserve your place please
contact
Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre 0121 4725171 for a booking form
or book online www.woodbrooke.org.uk
(we are currently looking at ways to offer bursaries)
With love from Lesley & Barbara - Mindfully Together retreat co-ordinators
Lesley Collington lesleycollington88@gmail.com
barbara.hickling@talktalk.net
Barbara Hickling
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BRIDPORT SANGHA FEBRUARY 2018 Project Manager Needed for All-Age Retreat at Stourbridge; 7 - 12
BRIDPORT SANGHA
FEBRUARY 2018
Project Manager Needed for All-Age Retreat at Stourbridge;
7 - 12 August
Dear Sangha Friends,
For many years we have held an annual retreat open to families and
children, sometimes with monastics to lead, often as a lay project. This
year Plum Village are unable to send us a monastic team, but there is a
strong intention on the part of last year's retreat organising team to offer
an all-age retreat at our familiar venue in Stourbridge.
Despite everything else now in place; venue, lay Dharma Teachers,
Children's Programme staff, Bookings person etc. we cannot go ahead and
offer this retreat until we have a project manager (s) to coordinate
everything and work with our Miracle team to make it happen smoothly.
The person (s) needs to be organised, a clear communicator, a strong
practitioner and ideally have some experience of organising similar
activities.
We estimate that the time needed is ca 1-2 days a month prior to the
retreat and then attending the retreat. It maybe that two friends on the
path might want to work on this together. Our project manager from last
year is happy to provide guidance and a full briefing.
If we do not have this last requirement in place by the 26th of this
month, we will have to, with regret, cancel our reservation at Stourbridge,
and let go of our strong intention to continue to offer an annual retreat
open to families and children.
Please contact Vari at vari.mcluskie@verveconsulting.co.uk for
further information.
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BRIDPORT SANGHA FEBRUARY 2018 Dear Friends, Many of you will be aware of the release
BRIDPORT SANGHA
FEBRUARY 2018
Dear Friends,
Many of you will be aware of the release this month of the wonderful film ‘Walk with Me’. The film is
about mindfulness in the Plum Village tradition. It features Thich Nhat Hanh, as well as many of the
monks and nuns of Plum Village and narration by Benedict Cumberbatch. The film is in UK cinemas
this month and next.
We hope that many of you will be happy to reach out to connect with other viewers to let them know
about the COI and what we have to offer. The COI is often a ‘best kept secret’ in the mindfulness
world and it would be lovely to be able to provide relevant information to film viewers. We hope you
can support us!
It takes a bit of preparation and we have a central administrator who is able to help in doing this.
Listed here are suggested actions and how we can support you to spread the word. It is wonderful to
be able to offer others the benefits of being part of our sangha, courses or retreats.
Before the film
• make sure your sangha knows about the film and when it is showing in your area. It
is a lovely opportunity for a social outing together.
• prepare and print out a short flyer with details of local sanghas and Be Calm Be
Happy courses (our administrator can help produce a flyer for you to print out
admin@coiuk.org). We have 13 Be Calm Be Happy courses starting soon all
around the country – for details of all of these click here.
• get hold of COI postcards to hand out – these have a lovely calligraphy on one side
and details of what we do and our online addresses on the reverse (contact our
admin admin@coiuk.org to send you some)
• send a Press release to local papers ahead of time (contact our
admin admin@coiuk.org to send you a standard press release)
• contact the cinema and offer to provide an introduction or Q and A afterwards.
At the showing
• hand out flyers and postcards - be available to speak to interested people
• offer intro or Q & A to film if allowed.
Afterwards
please let us know what you thought of the film on our facebook page at
• https://www.facebook.com/COIUKORG/
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BRIDPORT SANGHA FEBRUARY 2018 Gatha
BRIDPORT SANGHA
FEBRUARY 2018
Gatha

You may control a mad elephant; You may shut the mouth of the bear and the tiger;

Ride the lion and play with the cobra; By alchemy you may learn your livelihood;
Ride the lion and play with the cobra;
By alchemy you may learn your livelihood;
You may wander through the universe incognito;
Make vassals of the gods; be ever youthful;
You may walk in water and live in fire;
But control of the mind is better and more difficult.

Bridport Sangha – practising in the tradition of Thick Nhat Hanh

Affilated with the Community of Interbeing UK (registered charity number

1096680)

Contact: David Will Tel: 0795 095 9572 Email: d.h.will@me.com

Bridport Sangha sits every Tuesday evening from 7.30pm to 9.00pm at the Quaker Meeting House, 95, South St, Bridport DT6 3NZ.

You are most welcome.