Great Britain is renowned for its rain, but turbulent weather in the midsummer month of June is almost unheard of in Colchester, where we have a European Centre. Even so, under a golden full moon the winds had raged all night long, sending out regular downpours. Were the celestial immortals feeling roused?
It was the night before the enlivening of the new High Shrine at the European Centre in Colchester, the first shrine for the Society in Great Britain and, with the new shrine in Madrid, one of the first two for the European Society as a whole.
The ceremony formed part of a five-day Fung Loy Kok workshop attended by 200 members from 17 different countries, and led by Karen Laughlin, Marsha Eberhardt, Jim Nicholson and Sean Dennison. Also in attendance was Jane Edwards who taught the very first Taoist Tai Chi TM class in Great Britain.
The previous day they took time to prepare members for the proceedings to follow. Jim gave some guidelines about the meaning of the Ten Thousand Buddhas Sutra and took everyone through some practice. Karen led a session with the other workshop leaders, explaining the symbolism and meaning of the Shrine and its various objects. She stressed the rich spiritual foundation on which it is based, with the central concept of the internal as well as the external universe.
Learning how to look after the Shrine is part of our Taoist training, she said, and in the discussion afterwards, members commented one how our beautiful new Shrine adds something very special to our practice hall and our practice.
The next morning the wind still stormed, as members in robes went outside the building to invite the Water from the Dragon King. After the special ceremonies to enliven the Shrine, and while everyone chanted the Ten Thousand Buddhas Sutra together, the rain came down in buckets, and was thrown about by the gusting wind, easing off at the end to allow a little sunshine to find a way through the clouds.
Members of the Board of the Taoist Tai Chi Society of Great Britain wish to thank the Members of the Boards of the International Society and Fung Loy Kok Taoism for entrusting the members of the Society in Great Britain to care for a High Shrine. We recognise that it is both a new stage in our development and at the same time a continuation of the training we have been doing from the beginning.