Another interesting outburst from the President of the Philippines
Another interesting outburst from the President of the Philippines
Entering a second week of chaos as a victim of the TSB fraud. The fraud is bad enough but the contempt of the TSB call centres is astonishing. This morning I was finally called back by the fraud team, but the agent who spoke to me was from the internet fraud department and she felt it was better to speak to the debit card fraud department. I finally got through to Mike this evening (“We do not use surnames”). He had a quick check and then decided I should be dealt with by the internet fraud team after all, and transferred me. Back in a queue on hold and now in the knowledge that the fraud office closes any minute. It is absurd.
Earlier, Dr Paul Pester was criticised by The Treasury Select Committee for failing to realise the scale of the problem.
here is a screen capture of the background to the song “there was a young person of Smyrna” which I have been working on for the last week or so.
the song begins with Lear singing in the wings and then moves to a full stage show with a chorus of cats and a lady with a purple handbag…the background should give the impression of Lear walking from backstage on to the stage itself.
Here are some recent pictures, the first of which is of the cleric who read prayers for Harry and Megan. I rather hope that my former students will have recognised him!
The archbishop was enthroned in November last year. He is the first Coptic Archbishop of London.
just working on a sequence where a map-books opens and Edward Lear walks across it. Here is the first map based on a map drawn in 1870 so slightly after the time but it still works quite well.
and here are my latest Lear designs
Here is what the sequence might look like…
and an early version
here are some shots of the pages…
Here are some notes which were prepared for a school…do feel free to borrow as you wish.
the illustrations are fun
In Japan, in Buddhist temples you will sometimes see a basin called a “tsukubai” which is used for washing before ceremonies. It is also used in the tea ceremony People wash their hands or mouth at the “tsukubai”. It is on the ground so you must crouch. The word “tsukubai” means “to bow down” or “to crouch”
The tsukubai are made of stone and have a small spoon to scoop out water and pour it on your hands etc. both the person giving and the person receiving HOSPITALITY plays an important role in the ceremony.
The Japanese tea ceremony is part of this image of pure water Note the kanji (special ceremonial/religious writing) from the first picture and the translation below. Everything has a meaning
The tea ceremony (Cha-e 茶会) involves waiting. Guests come into the tea garden from an outer garden called the Yoritsuki. They wait in the KOSHIKAKE MACHIAI before they are invited into the teahouse.
They walk down the garden path (ROJI) and they are made to feel they are entering a different world. Time is slower.
The Teishu opens a sliding door to the teahouse (Chasitsu: 茶室) to greet the guests
Guests begin the ceremony by washing their hands at the Tsukubai
The floor of the teahouse is covered with Enza (special mats)
People kneel on the floor
They are given tea by the TEISHU (tea maker/ host)
They eat WAGASHI (sweets) and drink tea.
THINKING ABOUT WHAT WE ARE DOING
The tea ceremony is about doing something very simple in a perfect way. It is about hospitality and it is about making simple things beautiful.
It is about THINKING about what you are doing.
Most of the time, we do not think about what we are doing. We listen to music. We talk. We think about OTHER things.
The tea ceremony shows us about conscious learning.
This is something that we practice in mediation.
Forms of meditation exist in all the main religious traditions.
Brahmins follow the strictest idea of ceremonial washing.
Many Brahmin wash in the holy river Ganges.
(the man in the picture is wearing the “sacred thread” or UPAVITA which shows he is following a guru or teacher. The sacred thread is won in the same way -over the left shoulder- that a woman will wear a sari)
Every year, up to 40 million people travel to the river Ganges to wash. (Pilgrimage)
A Pilgrimage is a journey where people feel they are doing something to get closer to God. Pilgrimage happens in all the main religions.
Hindus try to make one pilgrimage in their lifetime. The river Ganges is a favourite place of pilgrimage. It is sacred to the Goddess GANGA. Bathing in the river washes people of their sins and helps people to MOKSHA (Release from death as well or “awakening” and it also leads to a greater knowledge of themselves)But many people also travel to sacred mountains and temples linked to particular gods and goddesses
Some people believe in achamana which is drinking and touching pure water from the palm of the hand (this is an important p[art of Brahmin rituals but actually any Hindu can perform this ritual) when reciting special prayers called Mantras
It also involves putting a tilaka on your forehead
Special washing ceremonies called Punyahavachanam are used before marriage, Homa. Water is generally sprinked on people (ASPERGES)
Traditionally, the bride’s parents wash the feet of the groom before the wedding.
Abhisheka: a deity’s murti or image is washed in water, milk, yoghurt ghee, rosewater
It is an important part of the ritual of a coronation (does not happen very often now!)
When a death happens, Hindus may take a bath to clean themselves
Women often take a bath after they have a period.
Many of these traditions are shared across the various faiths.
Before praying, Muslims wash: they wash hands, mouth, nostrils, arms, feet and head It is called “al WUDU” الوضو In Turkish and Albanian, this is known as “abdest”, and in Persian as “dast-Namaz” (literally means: “Before praying” The word Namaz in Punjabi/Sanskrit/Persian means “Prayer”)
1) After receiving the bread and wine, a priest washes his/her hands in the Anglican/Catholic/Orthodox Church
2) On Ash Wednesday a mark is made with ashes on people’s foreheads. What do you think this symbolizes?
3) Catholics believe that Baptism washes away people’s “original sin”
4) Baptism is a form of “initiation” (Beginning)
Initiation: an important word. Do you remember we talked about the way we “initiate” a class- how does a class begin? When does a class begin?
5) In Judaism people often visit the MIKVEH if they are “unclean”, that is if they have been in contact with dead people, blood –
6) Many people in Christianity make pilgrimages to Rome, Jerusalem (2 million tourists a year), and in the middle ages, people famously travelled from across the kingdom to Canterbury where ArchBishop Thomas a Becket had died. A famous book called “the Canterbury Tales” was written about the journey and the stories people told to each other. Some of the stories are serious and some are very funny. The book is one of the first great bits of English writing by Geoffrey Chaucer.
Sikhs may visit the golden temple of Amritsar. Hindus may visit the Vaishno Devi Temple in the mountains of Kashmir. Buddhists may visit the Bodhi tree or life tree where Gautama meditated for 49 days before his enlightenment. 13 million Muslims visit Mecca every year. In Mexico, 10 million Catholics visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
7) Meditation. There are many forms of meditation in Christianity. In Catholicism, some people say the ROSARY (a series of prayers based on a string of 50 beads), some Orthodox Christians recite the “Jesus Prayer”, some Christians believe in silent prayer. There is a tradition in Sufu Islam of dancing (the Whirling dervish). In Hinduism and Buddhism people often use a simple word or mantra repeated over and over again. They feel this is relaxing and brings them closer to God.
Some people practice meditation without religious belief. It can be a very therapeutic exercise (therapeutic/ therapy- from the greek θεραπεύω I serve, cure, heal)
8) Sharing a meal, hospitality. Remember the story of Abraham and the 3 angels. In Christianity, Hospitality might involve “Holy Communion” where Christians celebrate their community together by sharing a simple meal. “Eucharist” simply means “thankyou”.
9) Images and words help us to “enter another world” and to concentrate.
10) Icons, statues and religious pictures are sometimes blessed and washed in Christian ceremonies. On the first sunday of Lent in Orthodox Churches, it is traditional to bring icons to church to bless them and carry them in procession.
The 3 refuges the 3 jewels Tisarana or TRIRATNA (pali)
Intensely practical: The 3 jewels are not just theory (dharma) but also practice (the community/ sangha) and example (the Buddha)
The Buddha (yellow jewel)
I go to the Buddha for refuge (Buddham Saranam gacchami) sarana = refuge
Ie: gain strength (not escape) refresh
Dharma (sanskrit) (blue jewel) Dhamma -pali
Sangha (red jewel)
The Noble ones (arya Sangha) Bodhisattvas: Avalokitesvara (compassion- often shown with 4/8/1000 arms to help all living beings) Manjusri (wisdom- carries a sword to cut ignorance)
These 3 become central principles in life
The importance of the Buddha:
The life story of the Buddha is a hagiography to guide the community
Theravada: the Buddha is human and his actions an example
“work out your own salvation with diligence”
the Buddha has supernatural powers- abhinnas which we can reach too.
Mahayana Buddhism- less interest in the life of Gautama. More about the meaning and activity of the Buddha NOW: the transcendent Buddha with 3 bodies (TRIKAYA)
Heavenly manifestation of the Buddha (sambhogakaya)
Ultimate expression (Dharmakaya)
we can depend on the Buddha as the vehicle of our salvation (he is divine)
In PURE LAND Buddhism the AMIDA Buddha lives in the Buddha universe.
Nembutsu (contemplation of the amida Buddha)
This contemplation is the main practice of pure land buddhism
Zen and Tibetan Buddhism: we must attain our own Buddha nature
Zen and HUA YEN Buddhism think of many Buddhas and Buddha universes- all interconnected
The importance of the Dhamma -pali (Dharma- sanskrit)
This can be confusing** It means different things for each branch of Buddhism
The Buddha constantly reminds people that it is the SPIRIT OF THE RULES that count
1) Teaching- sasana later the pali canon
3 sections: each called pitakas (baskets)
vinaya Pitaka= rules for monks (eg: patimokkha- the oral traditions & texts like: kasyapiya, dharmaguptaka, sarvastivada)
sutta pitaka teachings from the life of Gautama
abhidhamma pitaka- philosophical section
The teachings led to splinter groups forming in Buddhism right from the start
Eg: His brother DEVETTA criticized Gautama and led his own rival group
Many groups sprang up after the death of Gautama
2) Mahayana has a huge collection of texts in Prakit (the original language used by Jains) Sanskrit (the liturgical language of Hinduism), Chinese
3) Tibetan Buddhists (VAJRAYANA- “diamond or thunderbolt vehicle”)
use the Kangyur = “translation of word”(108 volume book- the words of the Buddha) and the Tengyur =“translation of text” (225 volumes)
these include stotras (hymns, tantras = esoteric traditions, word often translated as “practice”)
– the Vajrayana tradition uses the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya which has 253 rules for monks and 364 for nuns
Lankavatara Sutra, esp in Japan, conversation between Gauntama and Haamati (great wisdom) – the importance of consciousness
vimalakirti sutra, instruction or advice- value of silence
avatamsaka sutra, “flower garland sutra”- idea of many Buddha universes/ realms – power of meditation (books 7-12 emphasise the importance of the 4 noble truths (Dukkha, samudaya, Nirodha, magga) as the basis for enlightenment
lotus sutra, first book to use the term Mahayana/ great vehicle. All beings are potential buddhas
platform sutra, Chinese book (8-13th Century)about perceiving our true nature
koan tradition– dialogue The Zen master knows the meaning of all and every koans because (by definition) he’s enlightened. The Zen student has to meditate with hundreds of koans in order to become enlightened himself. Buddhist Koans are summaries of legends about Buddhist monks in China, created, edited and first written down in 11th century
example of koan: “What is the sound of one hand clapping?
here is a short film I made yesterday about bullying and what to do about i
I did a small film over the weekend about Plato and power. It was a bit of a rethink of the “How to Be Boss” film but the principles are the same. At what point is power invested in someone and at what point is someone grabbing at power.
The theatre, politics and education are worlds that attract a lot of aggression. People love to create their own empires without necessarily doing anything of value. Sadly, there are always casualties.