BAM for BulgariansOn Wed, 7 June, 2017 - 14:18
We’d agreed that BAM in Ipswich would include weekly outdoor meditations throughout June. Several Sangha people couldn’t make it, and on Sunday I arrived in Christchurch Park with two garden chairs, a portable shrine and no companions.
Undeterred I set up the shrine on a grassy area, put on my kesa and offered Centre leaflets to nearby people. The first man I approached smiled but shook his head in refusal. Others were more receptive, with someone talking about the Buddha figure adorning their garden, another asking about the location of the Ipswich Centre and so on. Then I was delighted to spot Wendy, a mitra I haven’t seen for a while. We caught up a bit, though she was walking a friend’s dog and couldn’t stay.
Returning to the shrine I sat quietly for a time, and now across the way there was a family group of about ten people. In due course a man came over to me, with a young woman and a small girl following behind. He said “She wants to look”, and I offered the woman a chair. Her name is Kem and the family is from Bulgaria. I said something about meditation and the breath, I rang the bell and we took some quiet time. By now the girl had joined us, sitting on the grass. She is Fairuz and is five years of age. Then I introduced the Sakyamuni mantra and launched into it with my favourite tune. Fairuz giggled joyously when I began and seemed fascinated by this, the bell, shrine and all. Not long after the whole family had to go and bade me a warm farewell.
That’s been my BAM highlight so far. Of course it’s premature to get excited about outreach opportunities and the like. After all, my contact was only with three family members. Nonetheless it was a lovely, fleeting encounter, and it is highly unlikely that Kem, Fairuz and the man would ever have crossed the threshold of the Centre. Perhaps I will see them again. As to BAM, the themes of Caring and Generosity link naturally to the truth that the Dharma is the greatest gift, and far too many people live and die without even hearing the name of Sakyamuni. And, misquoting a Hollywood phrase, it may be that if you build a shrine some people will come!
Love to all- Dayasara