I have just been writing this article for a news letter but I share it here as it seems like a good starting place for this site. In some senses Tariki Trust feels to have gone public today even though it has existed for six weeks and had its own web site for nearly as long... Still, I offer this as a marker and an explanation.

Tariki: finding new ground

Some things in life we intend to do, others seem to come upon us unexpectedly, and yet, with their arrival, challenge and transform our lives, leading us to develop in exciting new ways which we never thought possible.

In December 2011 a new organisation came into being: Tariki Trust grew out of my former involvement with Amida Trust and the Amida Order, the end point in a long process of change in that group. A rainbow coloured offspring, it immediately become a federation of Buddhists interested in living their Buddhism in practical ways, with a diversity of outlooks but a commonality of heart.

Tariki Trust inherits a number of longstanding features. The Amida Psychotherapy Training Programme in Other-Centred Approach has been established in its present form since 1995 and goes back more than a decade before that. The centre in France has been running continuously since 1993 offering summer retreats, arts events, and, more recently, the Ten Directions training in environmental therapy. The Buddhist House community has changed its character somewhat with the departure of some of its previous members, as the Amida Order moved its headquarters to London, but remains the focus for regular practice, community living and its weekly classes, and the base for chaplaincy work in Leicester hospitals and colleges.

Some areas of activity are expanding. This spring will see a women’s retreat and the first part of an Introduction to Chaplaincy course.  We are looking for artists who want to display their work on our walls as part of a rolling exhibition of spiritually inspired art. We hope to offer training events focused on non-violence and ethical living. We are having conversations about new models of offering therapy within the Other-Centred modality and about new structures for delivering it which might involve students and other volunteers. With new contributors to our programmes, we are expanding our range of events to include weeks in France on body work and yoga, and we are running a wider variety of retreat days in Narborough. We are encouraging debate with a new series of Buddhist therapist forums and invited speakers on socially relevant topics.

The most interesting aspect of Tariki, however, is the growing sense of community among those who have become involved, and the ongoing question of how people who want to seriously commit their lives to the Buddhist path can do so whilst still embracing a variety of lifestyles in a spirit of peer support and challenge. We want to find ways to balance outward signs of commitment with inclusiveness and formal practice with informal exploration of the spiritual.

Tariki means other-power and as such the name is both an inspiration and reminder to us. Other-power, with which Pureland Buddhism is most strongly identified, is based on the notions of non-self and refuge. According to the Pureland patriarchs, Honen and Shinran, true salvation came from the measureless quality of Buddha, rather than the finite efforts of ego. We should not rely on our individual effort, but, rather, regard our attempts at self-sufficiency with scepticism. Our karma is always an obscuration, liable to trip us up when we least expect it.

This tariki doctrine points us to the collective. Rather than thinking that our individual efforts to control and shape outcomes will bring solutions, it steers us towards a reliance on the unfolding of an unseen enlightened process which can be intuited and trusted but not defined. In organisational terms, having set our vision in the direction of a better more Buddhistic world, a Pure Land maybe, this means allowing a diversity of interest groups to come together, interact and find surprising synergies.  This in itself encourages us to think in terms both of offering particular space to Pureland practitioners and general space to Buddhists of all religions. Not an easy balance to achieve.

The Pureland inheritance also means being inspired by the Pureland masters’ own lives, which were lived amongst ordinary people, eschewing rank and aristocratic patronage in favour of social projects and a mission to the poor and oppressed members of their society. Like the later non-conformist preachers of Europe, they spoke out for those whose voices were silenced, and led reform movements which attracted large numbers, and were exiled as a result of their political stances. They broke the dictates of tradition and created new structures and lifestyles, leaving the monastic ideal, in Shinran’s case, for a mission undertaken from the householder lifestyle.

So Tariki Trust is an enthusiastic seedbed for change. We do not know where the flow of events will take us next. Our interest in relating to the natural world is one strand for many of us. Some discuss possibilities for developing outdoor activities in Wales. Others are looking at horticultural therapies. With Amida France as one of our bases, we continue to develop the use of the outdoors for retreat and spiritual practice.  At the same time, the other-centred model gives us both psychological understanding relevant to therapeutic work and a framework for approaching socially engaged programmes. It leads us to critique and re-frame common Western perspectives on therapy and education and innovate in these fields. We are working within the system to bring multi-faith perspectives to areas such as hospital chaplaincy, and outside it to create alternative models of lifestyle and learning. For the future, much will depend on who gets involved. We have scope to expand in many directions and a fresh canvass on which to paint.

Tariki activities can be found on our web sites at www.tarikitrust.org, www.buddhistpsychology.info and www.amidafrance.org

 

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Comment by Gina Howard on February 7, 2012 at 22:42

One thing that really interests me Caroline is the multifaith aspect you mention.

As you know my foundation is Christianity. However after a life time of dissapointment and really not getting point, I litterally landed via a convoluted path, in a Christian meditation retreat, for 9 days, being given my Mary Jo Meadows in May 2010. She is an American psychologist and affiliated to the Carmalite order. She did a 3 month retreat with Joseph Goldstein and Sayadaw U Pandita many years ago and has been teaching Christian Insight meditation since 1987 to Christians around the world. 

She and other Christians of the Carmalite order got together to discover that their practice of spirituality and meditation/prayer was very similar. They teach together from the different disciplines offering insight (vipassana) meditation as a tool to taking prayer life beyond the discursive, petition and thinking orientation. For the first time in my life there was a bridge between my self/ego and the desire to seek the other, and in fact found the emptiness of self that disposes me better for other to enter. This seems so apposite for Tariki. Would there be a place for Tariki to be involved in Christianity, particularly the insight meditation method that I believe would appeal to many Christians who are looking for more in their spiritual life?

I will send you the book "Christian Insight Meditation" by Mary Jo Meadows, with Fr Kevin Culligan and Daniel Chowning, if you would like to read it.

Kind wishes. Gina 

Comment by caroline brazier on February 7, 2012 at 23:02

Dear Gina, thank you. This sounds very interesting. I am sure you will find some others who cross the bridge between Christianity and Pureland (as well as some who dont). Maybe we should start a group on that theme. I remember Richard myers (also on this site) writing some interesting stuff. It might also be good to think about a Pureland Christian retreat sometime. Id be interested in taking part/helping lead if there were someone Christian to work with (might you do that sort of thing?). Just a thought...

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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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