Dear Father Christmas,

Please can I have a light up Christmas tree and the prettiest baubles in your workshop. Love Selena

My daughter is 5 and loves decorations. She would love to have a garden with lots of flowers and fruit trees and plants but we live in a flat with a balcony so she spends time enjoying other people’s garden whenever she can. So maybe this Christmas we will try and create a mini Pureland garden on our balcony.

This Bodhi retreat she and her younger brother will join the Amida Shu. I have been a member of the Amida Shu since 2003 and was hoping to bring Selena up in the Buddhist community but then ended up moving out of the community and into a flat with my partner in Watford instead. For me, they are Buddhist and so naturally I am excited and thrilled that they will be officially welcomed into the Buddhist faith.

She and Dorian seem to be happy to accept that Father Christmas, God, and everything mythical or magical exists. Nothing is questioned at their age. So they naturally accept the practice of reciting the Nembutsu and she has started asking more interesting questions like ‘Is Buddha our God?’ And Dorian has got into a habit of looking up and yelling, “Hello God!” And then telling God what he is doing. And he is also very good at banging things and hammering away and whenever he does this I usually chant ‘Namo Amida Bu’.

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Comment by Susthama Kim on December 5, 2017 at 22:03

We like Idris the little red dragon in Ivor the Engine. It’s a children’s tv programme that was on when Damian was growing up. Really sweet. Damian said he doesn’t know what Idris translates as but the dragon on the Welsh flag kind of looks like Idris in Ivor. 

Who knows .... maybe there are dragons hiding away in those cliffs.

Comment by Sujatin Johnson on December 5, 2017 at 16:32

I'm with Selena - I have 3 small artificial lit trees in the drawing room - and the one in the garden, like me, needs new batteries. Did you know that the unicorn is the national animal of Scotland? I haven't seen one yet though I keep an eye out. And, apparently, there's a dragon that lives in the cliffs just near me. I haven't seen him/her yet either. I'd be more eager if I thought she was the dragon Quan Yin rides!

Comment by Susthama Kim on December 4, 2017 at 22:36

No, don’t be sorry for listening in at all. I think our lives should be shared with a greater community so I am glad that you left a comment. 

London is a rather special place. A global village where almost anything is possible, both good and bad. 

I have also enjoyed reading about your Christmas adventures. Niagara Falls should be cold but stunning if the weather is clear. And if you get the chance to visit Niagara-on-the-lake then do try. I would love to hear what you make of it. I am from Ottawa and have visited the Falls when they were half frozen and was pretty impressed. There is also a huge Chinese Pureland temple there. Enjoy!

Comment by Ryusho Jeffus on December 4, 2017 at 22:12

Apologies for 'listening in' and wanted to say Watford was the first place I stayed on my first trip to the UK. OK that's it, nothing important. I do however wish you all a most delightful Christmas after Bodhi Day. Oh, and so far London is my favorite Christmas city. Japan, not so much, it's just weird. Paris, maybe but Christmas I was there was after the terrorist attack and the city was very much showing it grief, especially at Bataclan. 

Comment by Susthama Kim on December 3, 2017 at 21:45
And it has been lovely catching up with you and spending time together again.

Dorian is a bit lost without you here and sometimes when we first enter the flat he thinks you’re still here and starts shouting out Dharmavidya, Dharmavidya, Dharmavidya....and now whenever Dorian calls out to Selena repeatedly she has now started to answer back with Namo Amida Bu.
Comment by David Brazier on December 3, 2017 at 15:09

It has been a great treat to spend several days with Selena, Dorian, Susthama and Damian in Watford last week. Being in the midst of a happy family is inspiring. Faith works wonders. Namo Amida Bu.

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