Brighton的二三事 – 千年教堂與意識的覺知 (Life in Brighton – Ancient Church & Awareness to Consciousness)

幾個禮拜前,我參加了一個冥想活動,結束前其中一個成員提到他八月中會舉辦一個討論會,讓大家看了Eckhart Tolle (當下的力量之作者)的部分片段後,做個簡單的討論。事隔兩周,一直猶豫要不要去參加,但早上抽到了Spiritual Understanding…嗯…好像沒什麼藉口不去了…

I went to a meditation two weeks ago, and at the end of the session, one of the members said he was going to hold a gathering to discuss the talks by Eckhart Tolle (the author of the book “The Power of Now"). I’ve been hesitating if I should go for weeks. However, I drew the card “Spiritual Understanding" this morning…well…I think it was definitely a sign to go.

中午在佛教中心靜坐完後,跟Nancy還有她同學Lucy一起再次重返Rotingdean。上次到那邊傻傻的什麼都不知道,這次可是有任務在身 – 參觀教堂還有喝cream tea。

After my weekly meditation at Brighton Buddhist Centre at noon, I went to Rottingdean again with Nancy and her classmate, Lucy. I didn’t really see anything there last time, but this time our targets were visiting the ancient church and having a cream tea.

St. Margret教堂乍看之下並不是什麼很雄偉壯觀的教堂,也許因為這樣,上次我根本懶得注意它。在裡頭繞了一圈,也不覺得有什麼特別,直到我看到一個教堂的平面圖…才發現這教堂大有來頭阿!!

St. Margaret’s Church was not magnificent judging by its exterior, and that’s why I didn’t even notice it the last time I came. I still didn’t feel anything special about this church after walking into it until I accidentally saw its plan.

最裡頭,掛有三位大天使(Raphael, Michael, Gabriel)彩繪玻璃的小房間是一切的起點,這個小房間是西元1000年左右建造的,西元1200、1500、1800年左右又分別擴建,才變成現今看到的教堂…霎那間,這充滿歷史古蹟的教堂突然變的偉大神聖起來…果然還是要了解背後的故事後才能看到它的美阿!

Everything began with the innermost chapel with colourful glass painted with 3 archangels (Raphael, Michael, and Gabriel). The chapel was built around 1000 AD. And the church was extended around 1200, 1500 and 1800 AD again to form the historic church today. After reading the plan, the church seemed great and holy to me suddenly…well, you can only see its beauty after you know the story.

之後我們又逛了另一座教堂,然後去喝下午茶…這次的cream tea比上次的稀,scone也比上次小…所以就不多講了。

We visited another church later, and went to have a cup of tea then. The cream tea this time was not as thick as that from Mock Turtle, and the scone was smaller…so I won’t say another word about it.


After having our scones, we walked from the beach in Rottingdean to the Marina, enjoying the beautiful sunshine in the late afternoon. Life here is really relaxing; it will be wonderful if my life can be kept this way~

回到Brighton後,懷著忐忑的心情進入房間,參加的人約十人左右,大家一起看了段Eckhart Tolle講述 awareness(覺知), consciousness(意識), being(存在)等東東,雖然沒讀過他的書,但學光的課程那麼多年,對相關概念已經非常清晰,所以幾乎毫無障礙的看完影片。

I walked into the room for the gathering nervously after coming back to Brighton. There were about 10 people in the room, and we watched a clip of Eckhart Tolle talking about awareness, consciousness, being and so on. I’m familiar with the concept after reading “A Course in Light" for years, although I haven’t read Eckhart’s book yet; thus I could understand the video without too much effort.


The real challenge to me was the discussion time when participants talked about their thoughts after watching the film. I was dying to join the conversation, but it took too much time for me to absorb what they said, think about my response, and then translate to English. The topic had moved on when I came up with something to say; therefore I could only sit quietly, listening to the debate between them, in which I already knew what the differences of the opinion were.


However, with the energy accumulating, I could finally say my piece when a lady just couldn’t get over this topic about “living in this world is all about suffering." I told everyone that suffering is just a feeling. If you don’t feel suffering when you listen to the endless complaints from your friends or when you meet some bad things/people, you’re not suffering. Suffering arises from judgment. Anything happening in the outer world is just an experience or a lesson we can learn from; it has nothing to do with suffering. Suffering is just a subjective feeling, not the truth.

後來另一位男士(其實他就是上次我去參加的冥想之主持人,但他沒認出我來 :P)補充,suffer是因為覺得 “當下"不是它本來該是的樣子,因而產生了不滿意而造成了受苦的意象…簡單來說就是沒有活在當下,無法接受it’s just the way it is而造成苦難。

Another man (actually he was the host of the meditation I went to two weeks ago, but he didn’t recognize me :P) added that suffering comes from the fact that you think “the moment" is not the way it’s supposed to be, and you’re not happy about it. In other words, you don’t live in “the moment", and can’t accept that “now" is just the way it is.


In addition, the men siad that the awareness to consciousness (the essence of our beings), or enlightenment, is just a choice. On some level, everyone has been awakening, but some of us are not ready, and have chosen to to “fall asleep". Once we are ready, we can “choose" to open our awareness to consciousness and let go all the suffering. It’s simply a choice, thus awakening can happen right here, right now. But some of the people in the room couldn’t understand the words, and continued to see “awakening" as a process, in which we use meditation or other practices to help us to “achieve" awareness.

於是我也補充自己的看法,表達開悟的確只是一種選擇,只是我們的小我(ego)尚未做好準備,因此不願意去覺知自己的意識,寧願選擇繼續受苦。正所謂 “放下屠刀,立地成佛",覺醒是可以立即發生的;平日練習或實踐只是協助小我做好準備的手段…因為重點在於,除非小我心甘情願的自己選擇覺醒,不然開悟/解脫永遠不會發生。

Then I supplemented my comment by saying that enlightenment is indeed a choice. It’s me, the ego, who is not ready yet, and has chosen to keep suffering rather than accepting the awareness to consciousness. Just like a Chinese saying that goes: “A killer may turn into a Buddha the moment he stops killing." Awakening can happen in a split second, and the practice is just one way to help the ego to get ready. The point is, there’s no enlightenment nor salvation unless the ego chooses awareness to consciousness willingly.


I said so because I had a similar experience, and I suffered a lot till I decided that I didn’t want to suffer anymore.


Of course, my expression was imperfect, and my intonation was rather strong. But I was so excited to join this discussion. This was the first gathering which made me feel joyful and delighted after joining several similar activities, not just because of the profound things we were talking about, but also because I can finally talk about this kind of mind-body-spirit topic in English.

希望未來還有更多機會可以參加類似的聚會與討論。今天的Spiritual Understanding成功~

Hope I can have more opportunities to participate in meetings/discussions similar to this one today. It really brought me huge “Spiritual Understanding"!!

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