Last night was an amazing experience. I had two possible options for pujas, one at the Tibetan centre and one at the Triratna centre. As the Triratna puja was a full moon puja, that by definition only occurs once a month, I decided to go to that. I figured that I can go to the Tibetan Chenrezig puja any time, since it usually takes place weekly.
So off I went to the Triratna centre. Now, among the good points of Triratna Buddhism is that there is no discrimination between the sexes, and last night’s puja was led by a female member of the Triratna Buddhist Order.
I won’t go into the entire ritual in detail here, but the focus of the evening, both in meditation and in the puja itself, was generosity and gratitude. The evening began with the reading of a poem on the theme of gratitude. As a poet myself (or at least, as someone who writes poetry – I make no claim to being a great poet) I found that quite relevant.
There were only a few of us there, which made the atmosphere quite intimate. I joined in with all aspects of the ritual, including offering light and incense and making prostrations, and I really felt that I was part of the group. I felt like I belonged. That can only be a good thing.
By the time the evening was over, I don’t think any of us wanted to leave. It was good to spend a bit of time getting to know people a little better.
As I said, the theme of the evening was gratitude. It certainly had an effect on me: I left the Centre with a profound sense of gratitude for all the good things in my life, and towards the many people who have been generous towards me during my forty-two years on this earth. I found the whole experience truly moving.