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

 

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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.

 

IMG_0014

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?

Green wood hoopoe

A clear but all too brief sighting of a green wood hoopoe today.

Wikipedia 1000 articles
Celebrations! Today we’ve reached the target we set almost exactly three years ago. The Kabiye Wikipedia now has over 1000 articles in it. Recent additions include Stephen Spielberg, Tornado, Proton, Brain, Neptune, Gupta dynasty. Kabiye Wikipedia has also recently been approved for transfer from the Incubator to the real Wikipedia platform, but please would we translate 100 more interface messages first…

Want to wake up REALLY fast at 5.30 am? Try a scorpion sting. I guess I always knew it would happen eventually. It’s scorpion season here, the first rains send them scurrying indoors. We’ve killed ten in a week, but number 8 got me first. That puts paid to all my plans for today.

Just took the Wikipediholism test and scored 277 which I thought was quite modest given that the top score is 5000. But apparently it means I’m “a Pro”, which is one step further on from being “an Addict”, which is weird.

Omniglot is a treasure trove. It’s an encyclopedia of writing systems and languages. You can use it to learn about languages, to learn alphabets and other writing systems, and to learn phrases in many languages. There is also advice on how to learn languages.