I wrote this article for Running Tide back in January but it didnt get published and as Running Tide has only just come out, things had obviously moved on. I'm putting it up here because it seems like a pity to waste a good article - or even a mediocre one!

 

Going Back to Go Forward: The Birth of Tariki Trust

How often do you wish you could go back and start all over? The idea of a clean slate, a return to basics, ideally with the knowledge accumulated through a lifetime of mistakes, and a recovery of the energy which comes from innovation and a fresh start, can sometimes be very appealing, even if at other times we think ‘no way would I go through that again’. In many ways this fresh start is exactly what has happened for me.

Nearly sixteen years ago, in 1996, I was one of the founders of Amida Trust, building a new organisation around an ongoing psychotherapy programme, a meditation group, a retreat centre in France, and a collection of socially engaged projects which had grown out of the context of our Buddhist practice. My then husband, David, and I had for a while felt that our miscellaneous activities needed an umbrella body to pull them together and lift them from being simply our personal interests to being something which others could contribute to. Once founded, the Amida organisation took of a momentum which surprised us more than somewhat, gathering people and procedures, activities and identity as it rolled.

It was not always a smooth journey but it was a creative and exciting one. Within two years of our foundation we were welcoming the first residential members of the Amida community and taking the first rudimentary steps in what was to become the establishment of the Amida order. We cemented our Pureland credentials and set out on a journey of teaching and publication which gained us a reputation for ideas, participation, practicality and edginess. We became the red Buddhists; Buddhists with attitude. 

But life changes, and suddenly I find myself setting the clock back. With the changes which have taken place in the past couple of years, I find myself facing another rather empty page and another fresh start. Now in 2012 I am once more engaged in building a new venture.

The foundations of this project are surprisingly similar. When I read the powers and objects of Amida Trust in order to write the Tariki deed, I realised that, in fact, what they were describing was an organisation much closer to what I was in process of setting up than the form which Amida Trust seemed to have become (though much of the early intent is still there but expressed in different ways). It is not surprising. That trust deed was written in 1996 and things have moved on. Amida Trust has grown and matured. It has developed an Order and spawned projects in India and elsewhere. It has achieved many good things and become established. Tariki on the other hand, despite inheriting many of its attributes, is still young and raw.

At Tariki we start with a Buddhist psychotherapy training programme with a long history, registered students, and a unique approach based on the work which David and I developed together over more than twenty years. We have a centre in France with thirty acres of mixed terrain and a schedule of summer events as well as its programme of ecotherapy training. We have local groups (rather more than in 1996) and a network of people interested in living Buddhism in a variety of socially engaged ways. In particular, we are interested in the environment and arts, chaplaincy and education, and in the social impact of Buddhist ideas.  The difference though, apart from a good number of wrinkles and grey hairs, is that I have been here before. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

The early stages of any group, and particularly of an organisation, are caught up in equal quantities of excitement and anxiety.  Discovering a shared identity and allowing that identity to be plastic enough to accommodate new people as they arrive, whilst firm enough to give confidence and vision, is a central preoccupation. Amida Trust began with the slogan ‘For Buddhists of All Religions’, and Tariki too is attracting a wide sweep of Buddhist and other spiritual interests. The dialogue which comes from interacting viewpoints is rich, but I am well aware from past experience that there is a fine balance between debate and conflict. I am not shy of my own position as a Pureland Buddhist teacher, but as a Pureland Buddhist I know the imperfection of my view and have no illusion of having the last word. I welcome others from different backgrounds to lead retreat days or contribute to our teaching programme. ‘All Buddhism is good’ to quote Vietnamese master Thich Minh Chau, and my experience of hospital chaplaincy, among other things, has given me experience in clarifying and balancing the specific with the generic, or the specific with the other specific. Let’s learn from one another.

More than this, though, I have learned that dialogue founded on collaboration is stronger than that set in abstraction. Positions which apparently oppose can actually turn out to be based on similar qualities whilst near neighbours can be quite incompatible. Holding hands around a candle can be as meaningful as complex ceremonial, but both have their place in the big scheme of things. Issues which divide are often based in placing too much emphasis on creating difference and protocol, but without acknowledgment of our distinct interests and commitments, decision making can become blurred and lead to resentment. Power goes with responsibility and not with ‘rights’. It is often the washing up or cleaning the cat litter which causes more grief in communities than discussion of the nature of enlightenment, and the best way for a leader to create harmony is to share in these tasks.

So Tariki Trust welcomes Buddhists of all religions who are committed to living their faith rather than just talking about it. We sit in a circle and bow to the Buddha, touching the earth and remembering that it is the source of refuge for all of us and so needs care and appreciation like the rest of us. ‘Living is Education’ so we participate. We review our past experiences and choose the best and most effective, whilst letting go things which do not seem to suit the new circumstances. What a roller coaster! 

Our first month has seen an incredible amount of hard work by many people. Having created an organisation with its own board of trustees and constitution, we have given birth to an identity, in good Buddhist tradition forming an illusion of permanence out of the chaos of samsara. We have created web sites, brought together new networks around Buddhist therapy, chaplaincy and ecotherapy, and set up a programme of courses, retreats and events in our centres in Narborough and France. We are talking to artists about exhibiting in the house and those who might lead courses in a variety of interesting but related topics. The universe is sending us body workers and shamans, musicians and gardeners. We are looking for those who can wield a paint brush, push a lawnmower, or set up internet connections. The process is both familiar and innovative.

Above all, though, we are enjoying discovering community once more in all its rainbow moods. Who knows what Tariki will become, but I do feel confident that, second time round, like its predecessor, this baby will also fly.

Find out more www.tarikitrust.org. www.buddhistpsychology.info. www.amidafrance.org

 

Views: 138

Comment by Gina Howard on March 14, 2012 at 19:22

Bravo - great article. Full of energy, insight and forward thinking. Thank you.

Comment by caroline brazier on March 14, 2012 at 21:24

Thank you. Yes as it wasnt being published I thought I'd share it.

Comment by Richard Meyers on March 17, 2012 at 13:22

Glad you posted this Caroline, All best to you and Tariki! I like the welcoming ethos to all people of good will and exhibiting artwork idea.  

Comment by caroline brazier on March 17, 2012 at 14:58

Thanks, yes, it seemed a shame to let it gather cyber-dust in my filing system having written it! I can see why it didnt work for Running Tide any more - the tide has run on some way since January- but things are growing well in Tariki too. We do seem to be managing to hold the space open for different practices and view points and I hope we can keep an inclusive ethos.

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Contact Us

Tariki Trust
The Buddhist House
12 Coventry Rd
Narborough
LE 19 2GR

www.tarikitrust.org
www.buddhistpsychology.info

courses@tarikitrust.org

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TARIKI TRUST IS A REGISTERED CHARITY

If you would like to help support our work, you can do so by donating through paypal or by sending us your donation directly. We really appreciate your support.

Besides offering training and retreats, Tariki Trust is involved in chaplaincy, environmental action and community support. No one in Tariki is salaried and all work including teaching is voluntary or offered at rates which are well below the professional norms.

OBITUARY- PERRY ISODORE IGOE

Friends, family and loved ones: greetings, and thank you for joining us for this celebration of the life of Perry Isadore Igoe.

Though we gather here today, bound by sorrow and loss, we share a precious gift. We were all privileged to live a life that has been touched by Perry. He possessed a number of extraordinary gifts, which he shared with us freely. None of these gifts, however, are more remarkable than his capacity for love in its purest, most sincere, and honest form. Love for his adored wife, his beloved daughters, his precious friends, and for nature that surrounds us all, especially the life breathed into us by the trees.

Perry was born August 1st 1963 and was very premature so spent the first six weeks of his life in an incubator where he captured the hearts of the nurses and midwives with his cuteness. The trademark infectious Perry smile is well known by all his friends and family so without a doubt, even as a baby he could melt hearts.

Growing up, he went to school in Braintree in Essex, where he lived with his mum Carol, his younger sister Tracey, and older brother Wayne.

Perry was severely dyslexic, so, as a young man, in a very lean job market, he looked for a practical career. He joined the RAF at 16 and served with them for 17 years in Biggin Hill, Brize Norton, Germany, and the Falkland islands. Perry was a peace loving soul and had no desire to ever take up arms, harm, or kill anyone. Since however there had been no wars for a long time, it felt like a fairly safe career for a fit young man. It suited Perry who loved to be part of a team.

When he was 23, Perry managed to search for and finally find his father, Isadore Griffin, who was Black American, which led to several visits to his father in the USA.  Sadly his father also died at an early age a few years later. But Perry has continued to keep regularly in touch with the American side of his family – he was always telling Liz that one day soon they would go to visit, what he jokingly called, - ‘the dark side’!

Perry then worked in logistics and stores for the RAF and was promoted to corporal but, as the Cold War ended, promotions in the RAF were increasingly hard to come by. So after 17 years Perry took voluntary redundancy, left the RAF and went to work for Motorola in Swindon. He bought a house with his then wife, Carrie, and lived in it with his two daughters Sian & Kylie and rather a lot of strange pets. 

Perry was a great believer in investing in property and at one point when he found his work hours cut down, he took on two other jobs and bought a house in Avebury, which he rented out for a while. He later moved to Avebury with his wife Antoinette and ran a B&B there. 

Avebury was a spiritual home for Perry – he loved the standing stones and he enjoyed the succession of eccentric, visiting tourists interested in the stone circles as well as the many crop circles that pop up in Wiltshire fields in the spring and summer months. Whilst Perry was there he was a member of a Wiccan coven and later a shamanistic group.

In 2007 Perry decided to train as a counsellor with the Buddhist Organisation, the Amida Trust – now re-named - the Tariki Trust. This was where he met Liz and they became good friends.  In 2009 they both qualified as counsellors. In his usual ‘speedy’ fashion Perry had completed the course in record time – under 2 years. He went on to work for an organisation which helped educate young people with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome. Perry worked as a counsellor for several years before he finally fulfilled a life-long dream of buying a property ‘somewhere warm’.

In 2013 Perry moved again, lock stock and barrel, to the Serra De Estrella Mountains in Portugal where he quickly made a lot of friends among the ex-pats from the UK and Europe, all busy restoring old buildings and farming the land.

Perry and Liz met again accidentally in 2014 at the Buddhist House. They fell in love during a marathon 17.5 hour dinner and talked through the night and most of the following day. Since then Perry and Liz have been busy restoring their house in Portugal, affectionately named ‘The Ranch’ and have gone from having baths by candlelight in the goat shed, to a beautiful home with 3 bathrooms. Perry was never happier than when he was walking around the land working out watering systems and making sure the 150 trees he’d planted were growing well. Indicative of his altruistic personality and philosophy of sustainability, all the trees he planted at ‘The Ranch’ have been selected to provide for the next generations. A fan of tree nursing myself, I would often ask him about his trees and we would share videos and ideas for them. On a specific topic of his latest project, the Pecan trees, he mentioned how the earliest the small, 1-inch saplings would grow to bear fruit in 10 years, and it might be a good 20 before they reach maturity. “Perry,” I said, “that's ...a really long time.” To which he replied: “They aren't for me.”

And this is the type of person Perry was - always thinking of others first. Planning for the long term, working for a sustainable world, a world that works with nature, not against it. To paraphrase an ancient Greek proverb, “a wise man plants trees in whose shade he knows he will never sit.”

Perry had a great love of nature and the natural world, which he attributed to his Native American ancestors. His great love was trees, which he believed really spoke to him. So Perry returned to the Buddhist house to train in eco-therapy and shortly thereafter Perry and Liz started running eco-therapy and tree planting holidays in Portugal. Alongside his projects in Portugal, Perry joined several local eco-projects in Bristol.

On the 10th of July 2016, Perry and Liz married at Tortworth Court in Gloucestershire in a beautiful hand-fasting ceremony with over a 100 family and friends. Neither of them stopped smiling and laughing all day long, and Perry tore up the dance floor in what seemed like a union of John Travolta and Patrick Swayze. Since then they have spent six months of every year at the Ranch in Portugal and have welcomed many family and friends as visitors there.

Perry loved life – he just loved being here on this earth. Many people on this Earth believe in a higher power or greater purpose. Perry was content being himself, in this world, right now, enjoying the greatest and the smallest life has to offer. A true “Zen master”, as I like to describe him to my friends.

Perry was the most gentle and kindest of men – a true gentleman. Perry never had a bad word to say about anyone – not a criticism or judgement ever passed his lips. He didn’t swear, he didn’t argue, and he also didn’t drink alcohol, smoke, or even take tea or coffee. That is one reason why his death has been such a shock for all of us. Perry’s life was about love, acceptance, and working with others as part of a team, and he lived that out with every breath he took.

We have been lucky to know Perry in this life, we regret his passing on so soon, and so young, but his spirit and his legacy will remain among us – youthful, lively, fun, and full of love, and that oh-so-special smile.  We honour him.   

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I wrote this article for Running Tide back in January but it didnt get published and as Running Tide has only just come out, things had obviously moved on. I'm putting it up here because it seems like a pity to waste a good article - or even a mediocre one!

 

Going Back to Go Forward: The Birth of Tariki Trust

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