December 25, 2017

I’m taking a break until the 9th of Jan, but that doesn’t stop me from wishing you a lovely day, whatever you’re doing. Here’s the handmade Christmas card I sent out (hopefully you can see the glitters) and the poems I included with it. Thank you for reading my blog this year – enjoy your rest. Namo Amida Bu. * Of Rain and Air All day I have been closed up inside rooms, speaking of trivial matters. Now at last... Read more

December 22, 2017

I’m feeling naked this morning, as my new novel ‘Some Kind of Freak’ has just gone out into the world without me. This is my sixth novel, and my eight book, and so it’s a familiar feeling. When I first starting writing, I thought the whole process would get easier as time went on. Once I’d finished my first novel and people had enjoyed reading it, surely I’d feel less insecure as I wrote the second? As I became familiar... Read more

December 20, 2017

Should I be training others? This is the question I’m asking myself as I study this text: One should do what one teaches others to do; if one would train others, one should be well controlled oneself. Difficult, indeed, is self-control. Dhammapada 12.159 (Listen to the Pali here). If one would train others, one should be well controlled oneself. Well, how well controlled is it necessary for me to be, before I’m ‘qualified’ to train others? Can I give people advice about... Read more

December 18, 2017

I had a heated argument with myself this morning. This is our first free weekend in a very long time. I had the idea that I might like to do some writing. Well, one part of me wanted to do some writing. I think. It was hard to tell, because as soon as it had the idea, another part shouted ‘No! I don’t want to write blogs, just because I have to. It’s my day off! Don’t make me!’ This... Read more

December 14, 2017

Just now I snapped off a square of dark coffee chocolate and savoured the sweet creaminess as it melted on my tongue. Luxury. I am getting over a virus. Last night I was able to breathe clearly for the first time in days, and swallow without pain. I slept long and deep. Luxury. I have an hour before my next appointment, fairy lights are twinkling in the fireplace, and Tsuki cat is perched on the back of my chair and purring. Perfect... Read more

December 13, 2017

This time last week, the temple was full of people for our annual Bodhi retreat. Maitrisimha and Annetta came from Holland, Vajrapala and Daniel from Belgium, Susthama and her two children from Watford… I’ve known these people for many years now, and we’ve been through a lot together. They are deeply important to me. They’ve become like family. And, just like with family, I get into all sorts of horrible tangles with them. These tangles start before anyone arrives, when... Read more

December 12, 2017

This Dharma talk features Dharmavidya, the Head of the Order of Amida Buddha, with a ‘radiant face, lit up like a mountain peak’ in the morning sun.   It also includes me doing the wrong mudra for the touching the earth Buddha, a controversial new interpretation of the morning star on the morning of the Buddha’s enlightenment, and plenty of wisdom and inspiration for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike.   Worth a watch – put some time aside. It all comes... Read more

December 8, 2017

“I want you to stop running from thing to thing to thing, and to sit down at the table, to offer the people you love something humble and nourishing, like soup and bread, like a story, like a hand holding another hand while you pray. We live in a world that values us for how fast we go, for how much we accomplish, for how much life we can pack into one day. But I’m coming to believe it’s in... Read more

December 6, 2017

Last night I went bowling. I only managed to knock over 35 pins with my 20 balls, but that’s another story. Today’s story is that I dithered for a long time about whether or not I would go, as tomorrow is the start of our big retreat. As a consequence I feel stretched like an overblown balloon. I have been exceedingly busy seeing all the psychotherapy clients I’d usually see later in the week, getting the temple ready for 8 extra house... Read more

December 4, 2017

This morning our copy of Tricycle arrived – the Buddhist equivalent of Vogue. In it are glossy photos of Buddhas and mandalas, adverts for zafus and malas, and lots and lots of names of famous Dharma teachers – doing talks, writing books, and generally being inspirational and awesome. This magazine often invites my jealousy out to play. I flip between feeling outraged that I’m not already in the magazine myself (with a regular three page feature), to feeling despair at the... Read more

Browse Our Archives