Thursday, 15 February 2018


Our Tibetan lamas say that doing the three year retreat in the West, where there is no established tradition for it, is much more powerful than doing it in Asia where it is already an established tradition. But doing it in the West is expensive. And the kind of person who is willing to do a three year retreat is generally not the kind of person who has 21,000 pounds at their disposal! But equally, there are many people out there who deeply believe in the goodness of such a retreat but who don't personally have the freedom or confidence to undertake one, yet would love to support such a project. So the natural next step is to try and bring these two groups together.

Here's the link to my page on a crowdfunding site for Buddhist projects. I have five months to raise 21,000 pounds.

And just to be clear: you can support this fundraising project simply by wishing it well. Or mentioning it to others who may be able to help. It doesn't have to be financial. Wishing it well is actually a very powerful contribution.

I've managed to live most of the last 9 years back in the West living on alms. I've stood outside supermarkets in the UK on hundreds of occasions and never gone hungry. In fact alms round practice has been one of the most joyful experiences of my life as a monk. The hitch-hiking to and from towns, the meditative high of just standing still for hours on the high street, the difference between receiving seven pounds or eleven, or thirty, the return to the forest with a bag full of food, the 'no direction home' tenderness of the whole thing. So it feels strange - painful, actually - to suddenly be required to act in a different mode, raising three years worth of support rather than just what I need for the next few days. Especially when most of the people I know personally are people without much money.

But the group in Germany who are hosting the retreat keep telling me not to worry, to just trust in the karma of the situation. And I remember, many years ago, smiling as I read an account of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh talking to his trustees in America, describing his extravagant vision of a new California ashram. After five minutes of descriptions of luxury accomodation blocks, swimming pools and shrines one of the trustees politely asked 'And where is the money going to come from for all this?" Rajneesh replied, with only the tiniest pause, "Well, from wherever it happens to be right now!"  And without even a single Rolls Royce on my wish-list, that's how I feel too - it will come from wherever it happens to be right now. My job is to prepare myself for the cosmonaut role, to step into the deep unknown as confidently as I can when all the conditions are in place, the catalyst for turning specific concrete acts of kindness - twenty one thousand pounds worth of kindness - into a three-year project of immeasurable goodness. And it's a scary role, actually. But that's my job.


  1. Sending blessings from the temple both of us, bunnies, cats & all. I have faith in you/the Buddhas!

    1. Hi Satya
      yes - its all about faith, whether its a single afternoon on some small town high street for ten pounds or sending out electronic beacon flashes for a three year long silence. Thanks for adding your faith.

    2. And -- just checked online -- your support!
      namu amida bu..

  2. Blessings and a place in my heart from Brian at the Amida Mandala Temple in Malvern