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It was a busy month in Dublin!
In addition to our BAM programme we asked our Sangha to sign up to one of three challenges: going vegan for the month, exploring how to divest from fossil fuels or taking the plastic challenge. Quite a few people took up one (or even two!) of these challenges, with the plastic challenge being by far the most popular. I look forward to hearing how people got on with their pledges for the month.
Here is a short synopsis of the various events held in Dublin over BAM:
BAM Retreat, 2nd to 5th June
On the Bank Holiday weekend, starting on Friday June 2nd and running until Monday June 5th, we kicked off BAM with a retreat in the blooming summer countryside of Co. Cavan led by Jnanadhara and Maitrikaya. It was run on a dana basis and took the title from the main BAM theme, “Connecting with Others; Connecting for Change”. During a weekend of meditation, ritual and study we explored the concept of Sangha and how our engagement with Sangha might change the world for ourselves and others. How our actions and lifestyles affect the lives of other beings near and far away. Also how our practice of ethics might effect a change in our lives and our impact on the lives of others.
‘Nature Walk and Write’, Saturday 3rd June
Author Liz Evers took a group out to the Phoenix park to practice mindful writing in the lovely environs of largest enclosed park in a European city. We learned to really observe what was happening around us in nature and write about what we saw. We were also challenged to use words and expressions that were not our usual ones in describing nature, giving us a chance to really think about what we were observing and seeing it with fresh eyes.
Meditation Practice Morning in The Park, Sunday June 11th
On a bright, blustery Sunday morning Maitrikaya took his regular monthly morning meditation out from the DBC into the world. The weather forecast wasn’t hopeful but being ever optimistic we decided to go ahead regardless. In the beautiful setting of Merrion Square Park we met up under the gaze of a beautiful statue of Oscar Wilde overlooked by his boyhood home. Setting our tarp up on a grassy knoll six brave warriors meditated between 10am and 1pm while Dublin’s natives and tourists perambulated past with a mixture of puzzled and curious looks. The forecasted rain kept away until the last sit although it was a little blustery at times. At the very least we sparked off conversations among those passing by around meditation.
‘Demain’ Film Screening, Friday 16th June
Our BAM film was Demain, a wonderful look at the hopeful signs of people already doing great things to tackle the ecological crisis. The film explores five areas – agriculture, energy, economic models, democracy and education – providing a systemic approach to the subject matter. The film was briefly introduced by Sadayasihi and then an opportunity to reflect was provided afterwards, facilitated by Vajrashura, with attendees committing to what they would like to do as a result.
Another World is Possible – Climate Change workshop, Saturday 17th June
The film screening was followed up with a workshop – providing a chance to explore the film themes further. The morning started with a Metta Bhavana and then a lively discussion ensued around the root causes of the current crisis – largely connected to greed, hatred and delusion. We were encouraged to make a list of all possible actions that could be taken, then circle the ones we are already doing (realising that we are doing more than we think!), crossing off those things we currently aren’t willing or able to do right now, and then looking that those that are remaining and seeing if we could now act on them. A very inspiring morning led by Vajrashura and permaculture expert Gareth Conlon, finishing with a ritual to help inspire us, and remind us, to act.
Sangha Cycle, Sunday 18th June
Cycling aficionado Declan Brennan took a group on a cycle around the Phoenix park where we were treated to the sight of grazing deer, glorious sunshine and a chance to learn some biodiversity facts about the park as well as climb a few trees! It was a playful and fun event.
Summer Solstice Ritual, Tuesday 20th June
Our regular Sangha night was given over to a celebration of the Summer Solstice as part of BAM. Pavara and Maitrikaya led the evening starting with our usual meditation led and introduced by Maitrikaya. We connected with the passing of the seasons by celebrating the Summer Solstice through Buddhist ritual focusing on the rich yellow Buddha Ratnasambhava, the colour of the sun in its zenith, the Buddha of abundance and generosity. The solstice in pagan Ireland was associated with the worship of Bel the sun and was a celebration of its abundance and the abundance to come with the harvest later in the summer. We finished our evening with a puja dedicated to Ratnasambhava led by Pavara.
All Night Meditation, Friday 23rd June 7pm to Saturday 24th June 7am
About 18-20 people started off the night – with 8 stalwarts lasting the entire night/morning. It was a chance to meditate with the conscious intention of transforming our minds for the sake of all living beings. Each hour started with walking meditation and chanting and then a reading from or about Padmasambhava, followed by a second sitting meditation. The event was hosted by the Young Buddhist Group (Kasey Tobin, Kevin Mullaney, Sarah Flynn and Sadayasihi) and comprised 2 tea ceremonies – at 11pm and 4am – as well as a very special and energising puja invoking Padmasambhava to assist us in our endeavours at 2am.
Sangha Hike in the Wicklow Mountains, Sunday 25th June
Our BAM events finished with a Sangha hike in the Wicklow mountains led by the intrepid Vajrashura and Keith (with special guest Jack, Keith’s dog!). A popular event it was a chance to be out in nature with Sangha friends.