Triratna News

Young People’s Retreat 2011: The Puja

On Sat, 12 November, 2011 - 05:40
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lokabandhu
Triratna News has already reported the recent Young Buddhists weekend, held in late October at Smallwood Manor. But we can’t resist bringing you this account of the Puja, written by Richard Millington from Birmingham. He paints a vivid picture, saying -

“The room is dark and hushed. At the far end, lit up by a handful of flickering candles, is a shrine, with a bronze figure of the Buddha Shakyamuni at the centre. From my cushion, eyes closed, I hear footsteps and the gentle rustling of blankets as people begin to arrive. I listen as the room gradually begins to fill. First, ten people. Then twenty; now thirty. A quiet atmosphere of metta meets them as they enter our devotional space. More footsteps, more arrivals. Fifty people; now sixty; then seventy. The Buddha rupa shimmers in the candlelight. Outside, the moon hangs low in the sky. The darkness of evening descends, embracing us. Eighty people; ninety; one hundred. A tangible sense of energy begins to pulse through the hall: a low voltage hum that gets louder with every passing moment. By the time we stand to salute the shrine, there are one hundred and twenty-three of us.

‘‘Namo Buddhaya,
Namo Dharmaya,
Namo Sanghaya.’’


The hall shakes with our salutation, and a shiver runs down my spine. Almost despite myself, I open my eyes and look around. One hundred and twenty-three young people, all here to revere the Buddha and his Dharma! London. Birmingham. Cardiff. Manchester. Paris. Norwich. Sheffield. Oxford. Dublin. Ghent. The highlands of Scotland. Essen. Leeds. Cambridge. All of us part of that unbroken line, spanning the ages, linking us to the Buddha. Closing my eyes, I vow never to forget this moment. We begin chanting the Shakyamuni mantra, and I imagine the sound flowing through us, becoming infused with our aspirations. As the hall reverberates with the name of Shakyamuni, everything – the mantra, the hall, the people – breaks down into energy. The mantra begins to expand far beyond our little refuge, flowing outwards into the infinite space around us. My heart is connected to the hearts of those around me; somehow, I know we all share the same wish. May our words and actions help to heal this troubled world. May all beings be free from suffering! May all taste Awakening!” Richard Millington

There’s photos of the weekend available here, and a full calendar of upcoming events (and much more) on the new Young Sangha website, www.buddhismtoday.co.uk

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