Last week, we had our annual Midland Area Summer Course. I always look forward to this course. I missed last year’s course as I was away on a very long holiday. So this year, I made sure that I attend the course. We always have the course in the Hinckley Island Hotel in Hinckley, now known as Jurys Inn.
It was a 2-day event. My role was the transport co-ordinator and it ended up that we actually did not fetch anyone at all from the train station except for 2 young men who were originally from Japan. Even then, their friend who invited them, picked them up from the station.
So Sonia and I (Sonia being our WD from Leicestershire area) were actually ‘redundant’. Well, looked like everybody got there on their own so everything went smoothly. This shows that we are well organised as members and believers and we support our comrades in Faith.
The meeting commenced with Sensei’s message and then we had Daimoku led by Giuseppe Romano. The Young Men
Division Area Leader. This was followed by some essential formality like Course Introduction and Inspiration by Annette Rolls, the Women Division Area Leader. All were inspirational and jovial.
Then we have one very inspiring experience from Nivi Morales who spoke about her ‘fight’ to overcome the challenge of losing her sight. She was so inspiring and shows her strength,determination in her daily battle. Brave lady. It helps me more to understand and appreciate my own challenges.
The rest of the day was filled with lectures and more experiences from more members. We had updates on our Mini-meetings in the Midlands Area as well.
Further into the day, we had our Group meetings. We were split into groups and had our own meetings sharing our thoughts and experiences with each other. There was another group meeting on the 2nd day. The meetings were powerful as it was small enough to be personal and yet large enough to encompass all that was discussed in the main meeting. We bore our hearts and some of us ( me especially), did shed a tear or two!!
In the evening we had our Cultural Festival!!
The quality and diversity of the Cultural Festival was awesome!! As Sharon Holding later acknowledge the next day: the festival was like taking a trip around the world. There were dances and songs and music by members from all our divisions: Men, Women, Young Men and Young Women. There were young people, old people, dancers, singers, instrumentalists, a choir, a band, a duet, folk songs, pop songs, free style dance, break dance, line dance, Japanese dance, Indian dance, and a whole lot more of fine entertainment.
We had a good time. The dinner was good. We had a lot of fun and laughter and most importantly, bonding.
The next day was equally great. As usual, breakfast, then we did a glorious gongyo. Then followed by experiences and a Lecture by Justine Marchant, WD National Leader.
We were all shocked by the recent result of the referendum. So the lecture was about reaching out to others based on teaching of Nichiren Daishonin, that is , to respect each and every individual. We all have Buddhahood in us and are worthy of respect.
There were more moving experiences.
During our 2nd Group meeting, we discussed a lot about our views on this referendum. My personal view is that we all voted the way we voted ( in or out) was because we believe we are voting for a better future for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren. So basically, we all want the same thing, ie, peace, prosperity, security, etc, etc. There is so much play on our differences by the media because such things sells. and it increases circulation or views. Actually we all want the same thing and the difference is the way to get to what we want . Each and everyone should start from this common need and work towards the future. There.. all said!!
The Course ended with gongyo and Gohonzon bestowal.
Towards the end of the day, some of us went up stage to state our determinations.
So goodbye for a weekend well spent. Welcome to our recharged Life-Conditions, and go forth in our quest for world peace and personal happiness.
Here are some photo. Enjoy!!
Have you had your summer course yet? If so, do let me know how it went. I would love to hear from you.
This post is a bit late. I had some issues with my computer and my other half was trying to sort it. So please bear with me. I am keeping my routine of posting 3 posts a month.