I don’t usually move into the territory of the likes of Jay Rayner, but like many people of my age and background I am particularly partial to Indian Food- in the 1970′s in not very affluent areas there were only 3 serious culinary options, Curry, Chow-mein or Chicken in the basket! So I can’t help but alert you to the advent of Namada and Triphal on the old Sarkhels’ site on Replingham Road. Namada only opened last week and boasts the favourite curry chef of the House of Commons, whilst Triphal has one of the chefs that kept the standards so high when Sarkhels was still at its peak. To my own taste Triphal is slightly ahead in terms of delicacy and subtlety of flavour, but both are well worth trying and will add hugely to the Southfields Restaurant stable.
Thanks to those who joined me for the visit to the Thai Buddhist Temple in Wimbledon this afternoon. We were very warmly received and given a gentle and informative introduction to the monastery and its ethos by dhammacaro. The visit reminded me again of the debt, rarely acknowledged, that both faith traditions owe to each other.
Just two examples might suffice. In Europe in the C12th one of the most popular of saints was St Balaam, a man of prayer, simplicity and kindness for all – a kind of proto- St Francis; history has revealed that his story was that of the the Buddha penetrating west.
In the 1950′s and !960′s one of the most influential spiritual writers was the American contemplative monk, Thomas Merton, who from the seclusion of his monastery spread far and wide the notion of socially engaged spirituality, through publications and letters. One of his regular correspondents was a Buddhist monk called Thich Nhat hanh who became one of the foremost exponents of what has been labelled engaged buddhism. A movement which, like the one we see at work in Burma today, did not renounce pacifism but moved beyond passivity into organised resistance to oppression. Nhat hanh was not a follower of Merton, but there is little doubt that he influenced his thinking and strengthened his resolve.
The Inter-faith movement is much more venerable than we sometimes think!