Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dr. Michael Nobel's commendation of inner peace at Wat Phra Dhammakaya

Last Friday, 10th October 2008, I travelled down to the temple in Woking to join a special ceremony to commemorate the founder of the Dhammakaya tradition, the late Chao Khun Phra Mongkol Thepmuni, or Luang Pu Sodh, Abbot of Wat Paknam. The main ceremony was actually taking place at Wat Phra Dhammakaya in Thailand and marked by a ceremony to cast a statue in solid gold. This statue will be placed in his Memorial Hall, which I've had the good fortune to visit - it's designed in a way that can really help focus the mind on meditation. Nowadays technology makes live broadcasts/webcasts quite normal, so we could join in ... starting at 3.30am. :-)

In the afternoon (Thai time) I was delighted to see an appearance made by Dr. Michael Nobel, a great grand nephew of Alfred Nobel, who inaugurated the Nobel Foundation. He didn't just smile to the cameras, but proceeded to deliver a considerable speech strongly commending the universal value of meditation, praising especially the work of Ven. Dhammajayo Bhikkhu in promoting world peace through inner peace. It really was a wonderful speech and it gives me cause for great optimism. Please see the endorsement from his Peace for Africa site.

[13 July 2009]

Since writing the post, the following video of Dr. Nobel's speech has been released a Google video (The Endorsement of "World Peace through Inner Peace"):

Stepping into student life

This morning I tasted student life proper as I attended some lectures in Oxford's Examination Schools (simply 'Schools' for short). Compared with lecture theatres and classrooms I've sat in at other places, this Victorian complex of rooms is distinctly grand - my first lecture was held in Room 1, up the stairs and in an imposing room with a high ceiling. The topic seemed fitting: A Christian Vision of Moral Life: its Elements and Architecture delivered by Prof. Nigel Biggar. This was followed by lectures in the Development of Christian Life and Thought and Introduction to Christian Doctrine.

I had subsequently had lunch with veteran interfaith friends, Sandy and David, in Vaults & Garden, sitting outside (somewhat cool now summer has gone!) I gazed towards the Radcliffe Camera and had a new feeling of connection, which surprised me. It seems I had finally made contact with the University in a way I never had previously whilst serving many academics and students in IT services. Indeed, in the last 2-3 weeks like thousands of other students, I have been engrossed in various inductions and many other activities that really are new experiences, though some experiences are echoes of earlier days - especially conversations at dining room tables!

It feels a great privilege.