The Japanese Buddhist poet Issa once captured the sublime vision of Buddhism in thirteen monosyllables:
The world of dew
is the world of dew.
And yet, and yet…
It’s a vision that knows the impermanence of things, while sensing the possibility of something beyond. Issa wrote those lines following the death of his infant daughter.
For thousands of years now the Buddhist vision has spread across the globe, flourishing in a myriad of cultures. It took root here in Bethnal Green back in 1978, making the London Buddhist Centre now officially ‘XL’ (as the Romans would say). The place is busier than ever, with buds of a new Buddhist culture appearing all around.
Our magazine this season echoes the perennial fascination with beauty and impermanence. We meet the sculptor Antony Gormley as he discusses capturing a moment of lived time, a ‘three-dimensional shadow’, as well as the changing cultures that have made his art possible. Aryapala dons the pilgrim’s ‘coffin’ hat as he travels to Japan in the footsteps of Master Kukai, while closer to home, Vishvantara delights in the poetry of a contemporary western Buddhist teacher – Sangharakshita. Illustrator Matthew Daniel brings in a touch of British humour with his ‘Haiku’s from Tower Hamlets’ and with this season’s diary piece, we meet Dhammadinna, who picks up Issa’s haunting words as she reflects on the changing face of friends, London, the Buddhist Centre, and her own body.
In a world that sometimes seems to be changing faster than ever, we hope that our latest spring programme of events will help you face the changes in your world with ever more wisdom and compassion.