Main image copyright Roberta Mansell. Text copyright Hampshire Buddhist Society unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.
On Saturday 9th April some members of the Zen Group travelled to Fairlight to participate in its 20th anniversary open day. Venerable Sogen gave a talk in the Shrine Room, which included the words used for the inauguration on 8th April 1996. They are reproduced here from the June 1996 edition of Zen Traces:
‘The ceremony started in the grounds. A small altar was set up and Ven. Myokyo-ni asked the continued good will of the local deities who had so supported us from the first day we arrived.
“To you, spirits and deities of the place, we announce that today we are opening on this mountainside a Zen Buddhist Monastery. Aware of your benevolence ever since we arrived here, we reverently ask your continued good will and protection for us and all those who come here seeking the Way of the Buddha.”
‘Then the altar was placed on the threshold and the name giving was performed.
“The Buddha born in far-off lands, his message has reached our shores: There is an end of suffering. May this place serve as does a lamp to light the Buddha’s Ancient Way. Fairlight we call this monastery.”
‘Just stepping in, the now open monastery was dedicated.
“Quiet and caring, in joyful service to all things according to their need, this is the Way of the Zen Monk.”
‘All went into the Buddha-Hall (Shrine Room) and Zendo, filling both rooms and both were inaugurated respectively –
“A new leaf has sprouted on the old Bo-Tree. The same Dharma prevails East and West as the same sun shines and lights our darkness. Serenely on his Lotus Throne sits the Buddha. He is our Guide on the Way.”
“If you wish to walk the Way of the Buddha, just stay here and sit it out! When nothing is left, wide opens the gate and freely the spirit steps forth and benefits all sentient beings.”
‘The Refuges were chanted and a short talk by Ven. Myokyo-ni followed, giving some of the history and stressing the universal value of the Buddha’s Teachings for all times and hoping to make it available in the new monastery. A chanting of the Four Great Vows ended the ceremony.’