Sunday 29 June 2008

British Tennis Champion Supports Drala Jong

Update 27/7/8 - Yesterday Richard presented the Drala Jong Appeal with £333, including his £100 prize and over £200 of sponsorship money. Way to go, Richard!

I'm delighted to announce that a Brit (more particularly, a Welshman) has won Wimbledon - or rather Wiimbledon. Richard O'Donovan has come out on top in the Cardiff Wiimbledon championships, and has nominated the Drala Jong appeal to be the recipient of his sponsorship money and the prize money for the victory.

Our deep gratitude and admiration go out to Richard, who has won something that Henman, Rusedski, and (to date) Murray have not managed - a British tennis championship.

Wednesday 25 June 2008

Pride and Prejudice

Some folk who hear about Drala Jong assume all the art that will be created and performed there will be from an unfamiliar cultural context - either obviously overtly Buddhist, or inspired by Asian and Oriental influences. This pre judgement leads to the conclusion that somehow Drala Jong won't be accessible to everyone, but just those who want to explore Buddhist practice.

In actuality, we're proud that in fact Drala Jong will be about exploring and expanding all the senses and sense fields, and engaging with art in every way it might manifest. Our intention is to make the centre relevant to anyone who enjoys art, craft, or the simple joy of living - whether inspired by East or West, whether modern, or traditional. An example of this is embracing classical forms of dance, in particular 18th century dance.

I was fortunate enough to watch a performance by The Renaissance Historical Dance Society whilst on holiday recently. Some of the performers are shown here. Drala Jong will provide a venue where we can invite a myriad of artists, crafts people and living history enthusiasts to share their passions.

This is not a mere whimsy on our part. Buddhist practice is not about the stereotypes of 'vegetarianism' or 'being terribly nice to people'. It is about a myriad of human qualities, including dealing with people and the world at large in a genuine, authentic way; about poise, and grace, dignity and respect; courtesy and generosity of spirit. These qualities can be found in a host of forms within modern secular life, as well as within Buddhism (witness the teachings of Trungpa Rinpoche's Shambhala lineage). These qualities can also be found within 18th century English dance.

Saturday 21 June 2008

Fund Raising at Wiimbeldon

Adding to the list of unusual ways of raising funds for the appeal, Richard O'Donovan of Whitchurch, Cardiff is playing at Wiimbledon this year. No ... not Wimbledon ... Wiimbledon. This is a tournament of tennis played on the Wii games console which is taking place at the end of June in Cardiff. The requirement for entry is a 'pro' status of 1000. Richard's status is currently 2096 playing right handed and 2008 playing left handed, so he stands a good chance of doing well. The prize for winning is a cheque for £250 for his chosen charity, and his chosen charity is - yes you guessed it - Sang-ngak-chö-dzong, specifically the Drala Jong appeal. The organisers also suggest players seek sponsorship and if anyone would care to sponsor him via this blog please let me know if you would like to sponsor him and I'll put you in touch. So far there is £100 pledged by his sponsors and we'd love to help him improve on that.

For more information about the tournament in general please go to the Wiimbledon web site:

Check back in with the blog in a few weeks time, and I'll let you know how Richard performed. There's no Henman Hill at Wiimbledon, but maybe we can set up an O'Donovan Den in the competition venue, with Strawberries and Cream all round.