Dear friends, Like many in our community, we are saddened by the sudden death on the 3rd of March of Rev. Saidō Kennaway, our beloved friend and teacher and the prior of Telford Buddhist Priory. Today it is Rev. Saidō’s 73rd birthday and we like to take the opportunity to pay tribute and express our gratitude.
The greatest teaching of Rev. Saidō has been by example. He was the embodiment of kindness, compassion, generosity and wisdom in all his dealings with others, regardless of status or rank. His lightheartedness and quite joy was infectious. Speaking to him would always lighten your mood, even if your burdens remained. Rev. Saidō was a truly humble human being. He deserves recognition for everything he has done for the Throssel and Telford community, for the sangha at large, for his interfaith work as committee member of the Network of Buddhist Organisations and for his work during many decades with Angulimala, the Buddhist Prison Chaplaincy.
Dear Rev. Saidō, our heartfelt gratitude and thank you for the light of wisdom you’ve shared, the difference you have made for so many of us and for the inspiring example you have set in our community and in the world at large. The soft spoken voice, the chuckle, the twinkle in the eye, it will be much missed and held in loving memory.
“When we think sincerely we find that birth and death are cyclic as are cold and heat” – From the Buddhist funeral ceremony
A small anecdote about Rev Saidō I will always remember. My first stay at Throssel Abbey was as a teenager in the early eighties. One afternoon, I had collected my dried laundry in a basked, before I could process it any further in the old laundry room, I left it there as I apparently needed to do some other errand first. Upon my return, someone had used the same basked – baskets being in short supply – to collect wet laundry out of the washing machine to free it up for the next load. As I stood for a moment looking at the basked with the mix of wet and dry laundry, wondering what to do, I heard the monk, also present in the laundry room, say: “Oh dear! I am sorry!” He quickly came over to remove the wet stuff out of the basked to prevent my dry laundry getting damp. I remember being quite surprised that, first of all, this monk would notice and get the situation without me having said anything, then he would actually apologize to me, a foreigner and a youngster, and he would make the effort to correct the situation. The small interaction seems insignificant but to be attuned and accountable, to be decent and kind without there being onlookers, without a spotlight, and regardless of rank or status, is the hallmark of true empathy and humbleness. My young self may not have been able to articulate all this but I understood and it left a lasting impression.