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The Buddhist principle of not killing any sentient being is all very well, but what do you do when you have a coordinated quadruple invasion of ants, termites, stink bugs and scorpions?

At the port in Lomé looking for second hand cars…

Me: This car has a higher mileage than the other one you just showed me.

Salesman: That’s not a problem, I can easily set it to zero for you.

longgallerylanhydrock162918 I’m not always up a mountain in the north of Togo. Yesterday I played Poulenc’s C major Novelette on the Steinway in the long gallery at Lanhydrock. It’s always good to be back in Cornwall.

Nagoya to Kyoto is the same distance as London to Bristol. The journey by bullet train takes 30 minutes and there’s a departure every ten minutes.

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This retreat has been partly prompted by reading a couple of books about the Life of Tenzin Palmo, the Englishwoman who became a Buddhist nun and spent twelve years as a hermit in a Himalayan cave. Game-changing books that, among many other things, helped me understand that Buddhist meditation techniques do not presuppose any particular belief system.

Tenzin Palmo

 

Writing from Kyoto this time where I’m enjoying 3-day retreat at the Myoshinji Daishin-in Buddhist temple. So much of what goes on here is familiar to me from my experience in Benedictine monasteries: prayer at dawn, sparsely furnished rooms, silent meals, generous hospitality, well-tended gardens, encounters with like-minded guests, space to listen…

Daishin-in

… having crossed the Sahara, the Mediterranean, the Bay of Biscay and the Channel in brilliant sunshine and blue skies, the plane begins its descent into a thick England-shaped cloud that exactly fits the contours of the coastline. Bill Bryson called it our tupperware lid.
But the fields of Sussex are green like nowhere else.

This article accurately describes one aspect of life here in West Africa.

 

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George is three, and is proud of his new responsibility in the Pidassa household. Every evening at sunset, it’s his job, without ever being told, to catch six chickens and put them in the chicken coop. It’s easier for him to do it than anyone else because he’s closer to the ground. It’s great fun racing round the courtyard until all of them are caught. When jobs like that need doing, who needs toys?