Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Thursday, August 04, 2011
This is a preview video for the full version of thebuddhistcentre.com
from the Triratna Buddhist Community. The first phase is now live!
Big news today on Triratna News - and an invitation to all our readers to check out our new online home! This is Triratna News' last appearance here on Blogger, 1176 posts after launching back in late 2006 - but the birth of a major new website and on-line home for the Triratna Buddhist Community.
Future Triratna News articles WON’T be appearing here, so we’d like to invite you to move over immediately to its new home - thebuddhistcentre.com/news.
Candradasa, the new site’s director and designer, writes - “Welcome to www.thebuddhistcentre.com, a online new home for the Triratna Buddhist Community and a place of practice for all who share our love of the Buddha’s path.
“This is a ‘transition space’ – our first public step towards a comprehensive Dharma site and social network serving Triratna Buddhist communities around the world. We hope you’ll enjoy the glimpses now available of what’s in store – and that you’ll come back again and again. You can help us build a place where we can practise the Dharma and celebrate our inspirations together. We can’t wait to see what you’ll do with the space!
“If you’d like to stay up to date with developments, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, sign up for occasional news from the project, or get in touch. We’ll be testing our social network in October by hosting the 2011 Urban Retreat. You can register interest with us and we’ll contact you nearer the time to help you get started with the online retreat.
"Many people have contributed over the years to the Triratna community’s web presence and to getting our new site off the ground. We’re grateful to them all. Particular thanks are due to the Triratna Development Team from the European Chairs Assembly, to the trustees and team at Dharmachakra, and also to Windhorse:Evolution and the Sangharakshita Land Project. Without their generous support none of this would be possible".
The embedded video shows previews of many aspects of the new website; you'll also find it at vimeo.com/27075476
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Over the next few weeks Indian Order members will be visiting UK Centres and talking about their lives and work. This is a great opportunity to get a different perspective on our Movement and the Dharma.
One of the benefits of experiencing the internationality of our Movement is seeing what of Buddhism is cultural. Throughout it's history the Dharma has adapted as it encounters different situations; so what is central and what varies? It is the recognition that we can take direction of our own lives and through changing how we relate to a situation change the way it unfolds that is the essence of the Dharma. In hearing about our work in India we see that principle played out in a more direct and socio-politically active fashion than we are familiar with in the West; but it is the same Dharma.
To hear more about this work; and especially the work of some of those responsible for training men and women for ordination in the Triratna Buddhist Order the come along to one of the following;
Sunday 28th August - Sheffield Buddhist Centre
Monday 29th August - Bristol Buddhist Centre or the London Buddhist Centre
Tuesday 30th August – Birmingham Buddhist Centre or the West London Buddhist Centre or Norwich Buddhist Centre
Thursday 1st September – Nottingham Buddhist Centre or Colchester Buddhist Centre
Saturday 3rd September – Croydon Buddhist Centre
Monday 5th September – North London Buddhist Centre or Manchester Buddhist Centre
(They haven't achieved the psychic power of being in more than place at once, unfortunately, there's more than one group!)
This tour is being organised by the India Dhamma Trust (indiadhammatrust.org), in association with Golden Rainbow. If you feel inspired to give to either of these causes please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also donate on our website.
"Literary work, old and new, has been the main theme of the last month. Bhante's series of 'Reveries and Reminiscences' is now coming to the end of its fourth instalment (the third appears in this month's Shabda), and the writing, dictating, checking, correcting and revising of this is a daily task. Bhante has had me read to him from quite diverse material related to the writing, either to check some fact, or to stimulate his imagination. Bhante has been pleased to see the new, revised edition of A Guide to the Buddhist Path released at last, and hopes it will see a good circulation.
"He was also pleased to see a review of his Ambedkar and Buddhism by Yoginder Sikand, sent to Bhante by Lokamitra. It was a long review and Bhante thought it did justice to his book.
"Though Bhante has not been listening to many audio books, he has greatly enjoyed hearing a CD of Satyadaka reading his own translation of Heine's The North Sea, and described it as 'an impressive piece of work'. Satyadaka was inspired to attempt translating the poem after reading the first part of Bhante's 'Looking Back' series, published in Shabda last year. In his account of his time with Paramartha in Ipswich searching for traces of his Lingwood ancestors, Bhante mentions his long-standing admiration of Heine's poem in the course of describing the visit they made to Felixstowe, to see the sea after which the poem is named.
"Bhante and I have continued following Sudhana's adventures in the Gandhavhuya Sutra, and as the hero has finally reached Vairocana's tower, there is good reason to think we may finish in the next month. I also read him Sulak Sivaraksa's book The Wisdom of Sustainability: Buddhist Economics for the 21st Century, which he thought an inspired sermon on the need for a society more in accordance with Buddhist ideals."
Kamalamani writes -
“Manjusvara's funeral at Bristol Buddhist Centre was a very rich and fitting celebration of a life well lived. It marked beautifully the moving on of Manjusvara from his current life as a Dharma farer, son, brother, uncle, cousin, friend, ex-husband, lover, musician, poet, writer, fundraiser and world traveller. The funeral services were co-ordinated and led with immense love and care by Harshaprabha, Saddhanandi and Taravajra, following Manjusvara's wishes. There were rejoicings and remembrances from his family and friends (his brother: John Keefe, Meg Moginot, John Crown and Mario Cavalli, John Bloss, Manjuvajra and Samayasri), from poet and 'Wolf at the Door' friends (Dhivan, Larry Butler, Varasahaya), from friends at the Karuna Trust (Jayaraja and Amalavajra), from India (from Padmadhara read by Silajala), and from Bristol sangha friends (Satyalila, Suhada and Jvalamalini). In recent months Achintya has been creating a digital archive of poems by Manjusvara and Ananda, so we were fortunate to hear recordings of Manjusvara read some of those poems - it was incredibly poignant to once again hear his voice.
“The funeral was followed by a smaller service at the North Bristol crematorium with eulogies starting with a pre-Buddhist friend Stephen Hewitt, then his brother John, followed by another 'Scouting friend', Keith, then Harshaprabha and Ananda. Keith named how Manjusvara's funeral was a meeting of 'two gangs': his Buddhist 'gang' and his 'gang' of family and friends, and how moved he was to witness the love and respect for Manjusvara from his Buddhist 'gang' and his considerable achievements as a poet, writer, and fundraiser. The services were followed by feasting and an afternoon of spontaneous offerings for Manjusvara in the form of words, poems, songs and music.
“There was a recurring theme throughout Manjusvara's funeral: that he was a kind and encouraging man who gave so much in the different facets of his life and never wasted a moment. Whilst the funeral physically took place in Bristol, it felt to be an international celebration of him and his life. Indeed, several services and rituals have been held in his honour and memory from the UK to India since his death. The love and respect for Manjusvara was reflected in the diverse richness, love, humour and sobriety of his funeral service. The love of his friends in the local sangha was reflected in the responsiveness of so many Bristol friends in making the practical arrangements, skilfully woven together by Satyalila with the support of Jvalamalini and the centre team.
“In drawing this to a close I am reminded of a line from Manjusvara's poem, 'Writing Poetry at Edinburgh Airport': 'there is only one human story: it ends in leaving'. Whilst still absorbing the shock of the swiftness with which Manjusvara's left this life, we are also fortunate to witness his legacy of connection, kindness, boundless creativity, integrity, magical mischief, and love. May all blessings be yours, Manjusvara, as you journey into the next chapter of your human story”.
Three poems by Manjusvara -
Ghazal – Buddha
Even if we can’t see it,
we bow down in our own perfection.
The world is this mirror: our constant
re-telling of the image before us.
Time only serves the lament of the world.
There can be no shadow without the lust for shadow.
Fire placed on the highest ground. A golden thread
of sympathy connecting us through all darkness.
Surely this is reason enough to smile?
Trust in our goal; let things happen as they should.
Touching On My History
There's a room in my house
where an eagle flies
I hear its wings beating against the walls.
It has the smell of blood on its breath,
that seeps under the doorway.
I go months, even years,
trying not to think about that room.
But the eagle never forgets:
It has set me in its perfect vision.
It knows one day we will meet.
And whether I am ready or not,
it will be ready;
it will be there waiting to take me
Writing Poetry at Edinburgh Airport
Li Po said: 'To read poetry is to be alive twice.’
At the airport it is easier to see how everyone is equal.
There is only one human story: it ends in leaving
Friends in the Bristol sangha have created a blog in honour of Manjusvara, with photographs of his life, accounts of the funeral, his ordination, his Karuna and Wolf at the Door work, and more. It’s at manjusvara.blogspot.com
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Buddhashanti writes from Triratna’s Liverpool Buddhist Centre to say -
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
"The occasion was marked with a certificate ceremony for the students, as depicted in the photograph. There was also time, in the last few days of the course, for plenty of reporting-out, during which it became very apparent how much the students felt they had benefitted from the course. Here is what some of them said about it:
“One of the happiest and most rewarding experiences of my life” (Richard Millington)
“Studying the Dhamma in depth within such a supportive context has positively changed how I view myself and the world” (David Basak)
"The course offered a unique opportunity for students to saturate themselves in the Dharma. The contents were too rich and varied to summarize, but they included an in-depth look at Sangharakshita’s elucidation of the Dharma, and quite a bit on the Pali Canon - as well as three retreats with Subhuti, and a meditation intensive with Kamalashila. All this in the context of living together very closely in a way that fostered strong connections among the students.
"Since the course was so successful there are plans to run another one.
"So, if you are:
- male (the hope is that similar initiatives will be developed for women in the future)
- young(ish) (preferably)
- able to scrape together around £2000
"but most of all
- seriously interested in a Dharma training within the Triratna Community
- free from January to June 2012
"then contact me (Vidyaruchi) on email@example.com, or +44 7982 219505. Please note that the venue of the course will again be Madhyamaloka, Birmingham, although there is an outside chance that the course will be disrupted by the Sangharakshita Land Project’s plans to sell up and relocate to the countryside".
There's a video interview with the students available on Videosangha here or click the embedded player below -
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Ashvajit writes from Birmingham, UK with news of the recent arrival of Dharmachari Anagarika Akashabhadra, an Order Member from India and here to become one of the ordained residents at the Wolverhampton Buddhist Vihara. He says -
“I was approached by six members of the Committee of the Vihara a year or so ago, when they were without a Bhikkhu (their resident Thai Bhikkhu was about to leave) and they asked me if I knew of any Hindi-speaking Dhammachari, preferably robe-wearing, who would be interested in coming over to the UK for six months to be their resident monk. So it was that Akashabhadra came over a month or so ago.
“He’s a very friendly and quite lively 60-year old who I’m sure will benefit very much from more contact with the Order over here - and the Order from his presence too!”
Akashabhadra was ordained in 1993 and has until recently been part of the small Triratna sangha in Agra, north India. The photographs show the Vihara and its shrine room.
Monday, July 25, 2011
|new Mitras in Mexico|
“This June at the Mexico City Buddhist Center we held mitra ceremonies for 18 people; we were fortunate to have the presence of Dh. Anagarika Parami from Spain joining us for this ceremony. This, along with three other ceremonies this year, means we have been joined by 60 new mitras already in 2011.
“These people have been involved here for many years, mostly in the formal study groups we hold, based on the Dharma Training Course for mitras, that have been taking place since a year ago. In conjunction with Triratna’s Buddhist center in Valencia (Spain), we have able to translate much of the Mitra course. And we have already offered about 12 modules of the course to people here, via four different study groups.
“These formal study groups have been very well accepted - we have found that with them people have been able to have continuity in practice and study, and therefore they have helped people to become involved in Buddhism and as well knowing the Triratna Buddhist Order and the thought of Urgyen Sangharakshita and other members of the Order. The modules touch on fundamental issues that help to clarify several Buddhist concepts, practices, teachings and books, finding a systematic and gradual way to learn Buddhism, and understand in this way the Order.
“We hope that all Triratna centers have the same good results. Yours in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, Mario”.
Their extensive library of Spanish Dharma materials is available on-line at www.budismo.org.mx/materiales
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Bodhilocana was diagnosed with ovarian cancer two years ago and ordained a year ago. She lived in Newmarket, New Hampshire.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
“Visible Mantra: Visualising and Writing Buddhist Mantras is a celebration of the visual forms of mantra and other varieties of sacred speech, drawing on Buddhist traditions from India, China, Japan, and Tibet. This was originally envisaged as a reference for Order Members for visualising their mantras and seed-syllables, but grew well beyond the initial idea.
“The book includes all the mantras from my Visible Mantra website (www.visiblemantra.org), plus a few more. Each is presented in four scripts: Siddhaṃ (Bonji 梵字), Lantsa (aka Rañjana), Devanāgarī, and Tibetan (dbu can), plus seed-syllables, dhāraṇī and Pāli chants. All are accompanied by meticulously researched notes and comments, and background reading drawn from my blog. It’s an invaluable resource for Buddhist artists, calligraphers and practitioners”.
The book is available on-line via Jayarava's page on Lulu - www.lulu.com/spotlight/VisibleMantraPress
Jayarava’s previous book, of equal interest to members of the Triratna Buddhist Community, is Nāmapada. Also available from Lulu, this is a guide to Sanskrit and Pali names used in the Triratna Buddhist Order and contains definitions and etymologies for almost 500 words and affixes, background on the Sanskrit and Pali languages, and relevant points of grammar and morphology.
Friday, July 22, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
“what a mind-blowing experience it was to be present at my first and definitely never last Buddhafield. I thank you from the bottom of my being, big love to everyone who worked so hard to create this oasis of real and passionate living....bless you all xxxxxxx”
“Best and most inspiring week of my life”.
“Just back from 5 days of bliss, fun, freedom, beautiful deep connections in the best festival I've ever been to! My heart is overflowing with LOVE and Gratitude. That was my first time at Buddhafield and certainly not my last one!
“Thank you for a truly amazing festival, it was my first time at Buddhafield and I will certainly come back next year. It was full of amazing people and I have returned overwhelmed with inspiration and abundance xxx”
At almost 3,000 people, the Buddhafield Festival is Triratna’s largest annual event and distinctive in the UK’s vibrant festival scene for its clear ‘no drink no drugs’ emphasis. The theme this year was ‘Finding Abundance’; this was reflected throughout the festival and indeed Buddhafield’s whole 2011 program. They write “How important it is in these times to evoke a brimming energy of fulfilment, inner wealth and joy that supports us and overflows outwards towards others. In the light of credit crunches, cuts, peak oil and a general air of belt-tightening and lack, we thought we’d go right the other way... We will be working hard to create a richly adorned beautiful space for you to come to. Bring your jewel hearts!”
This was the 16th Buddhafield Festival with the team celebrating an unbroken run from 1996 - itself a notable achievement in the fluid world of alternative culture.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Saturday, July 09, 2011
Beforehand we were promised a very comfortable place on the floor of the Birmingham Buddhist Centre, but on arrival were very disappointed to be told there was enough room for us all to have a proper bed with a mattress and everything - so much for developing my ascetic qualities!
We arrived to a wonderful supper cooked by the one and only Sanghadeva who selflessly cooked the most delectable cuisine for us all weekend. We then had an introduction to the weekend and each other and a dedication ceremony in the shrine room. Then back to the annexe for us girls, throwing out the boys who were staying there as part of Vidyaruchi's six-month Dharma course (thanks boys!).
Saturday saw a great talk by Vajragupta on the meaning of the New Society and set it in the context of what the Buddha taught on the importance of Sangha to the spiritual life as told through stories from two suttas in the Majjhima Nikaya. This set the tone for us to explore in groups people’s experiences of living together harmoniously or unharmoniously, and the lessons learned.
In the afternoon we had a series of talks (expertly compered byJnanarakshita). Claudine from Lamas Pyjamas in London gave a great talk about setting up a team-based Right Livelihood (TBRL) business, and about the charity shop as a model. I found this really inspiring and it was also very helpful to make contact with Claudine as we have been exploring setting up a TBRL charity shop in Leeds and listening to how easy Claudine found the process made our ideas seem all the more possible.
Arthabandu gave a talk about working for Windhorse : evolution, which I think is the movement's largest and most successful team-based Right Livelihood business, and sounds like the most amazing employer to work for. Then Sanghanatha gave a heart-felt talk about working for the Karuna Trust, and doing Karuna Appeals (and he managed to sign-up at least one person from the weekend to do an appeal, sadhu!)
The evening puja led by Lokabhandu was amazing - it had me quaking in my boots at first but in the end I was really pleased to have done it. At the offerings stage of the puja we each had to go up and select from a number of objects on the shrine: a vajra, a sword, a bell and a flower. We had to take hold of the object that spoke to us most and raise it in the air, turning to the group and declaring "my name is _, and I practice in the world with _". So, for example, I chose the vajra and declared "My name is Debbie and I practice in the world with courage". This seemed to have a really strong effect both for me and everyone else in the room. Each time someone else got up and made their declaration it was celebrated by everyone in the room with claps and cheers. It was really powerful and there was something about being 'seen' that was really effective.
After breakfast on Sunday Lokabhandu gave a talk that launched the guide he and others have recently produced called 'a guide to starting a community'. This looks at many of the practical and spiritual considerations one might make when starting up a Buddhist community.
Talks then followed by Ben Niblock who talked about teaching the Dharma as a younger sangha member, and used a fabulous metaphor about how new ideas and concepts could be seen as magic beans that you are trying to plant in established soil that may upset the turnips around them initially but which could eventually transform everything into something really magical (apologies if I haven't got this quite right - it was slightly surreal and completely enjoyable!). And Sue Susnik then gave an inspirational talk about dana and why she feels so passionately about working in the development team and looking at fundraising strategies in the movement.
The energy from these inspiring talks made us buzz with ideas so the exercise after the tea break was just what was needed. Lokabhandu set up an open space where people who felt moved-to offered ideas they wanted to explore deeper and these ideas became themes for discussion groups for people to drop in and out of. This worked really well in practice and lots of actions have already taken place following the retreat as a result of these discussion groups, including an (already very active) Triratna Arts group on Facebook and an Empowering Dharma Outreach group that is looking at making the Dharma as inclusive and accessible as possible to some of the more vulnerable groups in society, and many more.
As part of the closing ritual we all had to come up with three words that summed up our experience. Mine were INSPIRED, MOVED, EXCITED. That still sums things up really, it was an invaluable experience and I will definitely be going along to the next young Buddhist's event. Many thanks to the organisers and everyone who took part!
Contact the Development Team if you would like to be sent a copy of any of the following three documents: why a charity shop?; guide to starting a young sangha group; guide to starting a community triratnadevelopment.org/contact-us