In the spring of 2019 I met, for the first time, with a small group of fellow Buddhists who were administrators of a website called Bright Moon, which was a platform for practitioners of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives to come together and to share their practice through discussion forums, articles of interest and book reviews. It was an ambitious enterprise, which was welcomed by many, disapproved of by some and, at that time, had a dwindling number of regular users. So, the administrators put out a request for ideas on how to make it more relevant. I had some thoughts, which I shared, and was asked to attend one of their regular meetings to discuss them.
I found that I had an immediate connection with the three remaining members of the group: Mo, Chris and Ayse. We had trained together on retreats at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey in the past and I felt that their goodhearted intentions, in trying to provide a way for the lay sangha to communicate with one another, was definitely something that I could get on board with. I attended several meetings and helped with some of their ‘last ditch’ attempts to save Bright Moon. Finally, however, despite their best efforts, the decision was made to close down the website.
I remember well the morning that the decision was made, sitting in my conservatory on the Skype call – we hadn’t even heard of Zoom, then – a polite, slightly forlorn silence descended on the meeting. Having only been with the group for a short period of time, I perhaps didn’t feel the loss of Bright Moon as deeply as the others, but I certainly felt their disappointment.
Then, I remembered something? Would it help? I wasn’t sure but decided to speak, anyway.
Some years previously, I had been out walking my dogs on some communal land, at the back of Telford Buddhist Priory. It was one of those lovely autumn mornings, full of mist and mystery, and low-lying light. As the sun broke through the cloud, it lit up the dew on the grass, so that the droplets hung like jewels. I took a photograph.
Dogen’s words, from Rules for Meditation, came into my head: “This body is as transient as dew on the grass”. “Dew on the Grass, what a great title for a blog”. It was a random thought but one that was worth nurturing. I went home, searched the internet for an available domain name that contained the title (originally dewonthegrass.co.uk ) and bought the rights to it. But that’s all I did. Year by year, the domain would come up for renewal. I would renew it and think no more about it. At the time, I didn’t have the wherewithal to begin the venture on my own.
But then, on that morning in my conservatory, I put it before the others as a way of going on and doing something new and different. They accepted!
Anna Ayse set about putting her artistic flair and technical wizardry to work and designed the website. We loved it! Chris was first out of the traps and produced our very first post, Toad Watch. Then Mo and I ‘put our toe into the water’. We were delighted to receive some fine ‘guest posts’ too. And so, Dew on the Grass was born.
We have always felt that the blog is an offering. Through it, we first help ourselves. We all agree that each time we contribute a post, it is both a searching and an opening of the heart, which we then share with others if they wish to read or view it. We don’t purport to be teachers of the Dharma but to share our experiences of training in Buddhism. We don’t necessarily have any answers, not even to our own questions. We simply hold them up and let them be seen.
This year, we have begun to write, photograph and provide artwork to a theme or topic. There is a discipline to this and it has helped us to move on from posting only occasionally, when the mood takes us, to become more committed and, as a consequence, developing our relationship with each other and growing our readership.
Speaking for myself, within the parameters of attempting to write in ‘Good English’, I write as if no one is ever going to read it. I yield to that which wants to be written.
The second part of the process is publishing the finished piece. It can be quite scary “putting yourself out there”, but each time I do, I know that something shifts in me, I become more honest with myself – more authentic. I think Mo, Chris and Anna feel similarly.
We welcome others to post, too! In fact, we encourage it! We have a few guidelines (which we are currently revising). This is so that the spirit and integrity of the website are upheld. Beyond that, we are open to a wide range of contributions. If you would like to know more, please feel free to leave a comment or message us privately, by email or through our Facebook page. We hope you enjoy your visit.