Thursday, August 04, 2011

Triratna News is moving - and thebuddhistcentre launches

Preview of from thebuddhistcentre on Vimeo.
This is a preview video for the full version of 
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  -

Candradasa, the new site’s director and designer, writes - “Welcome to, 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 Twittersign 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

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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Would you like to hear more about our Movement in India?

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 (, in association with Golden Rainbow. If you feel inspired to give to either of these causes please contact You can also donate on our website.

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Sangharakshita's Diary August 2011

Vidyaruchi, Sangharakshita's secretary, writes with his usual update on Bhante's activities over the past month.  He says -

"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."


Manjusvara - Three Poems and a Funeral

July 6th saw Triratna’s Bristol sangha celebrating the funeral of Manjusvara, who died leading a retreat at Dhanakosa. Kamalamani has sent us an account of the day, and we’ve discovered three poems by Manjusvara in the latest edition of the Bristol Buddhist Centre’s on-line newsletter, which we reproduce below. Bristol’s Newsletter contains a moving ‘Rejoicing In Manjusvara’ by Ananda, his friend and colleague for many many years, during which he describes his friend as “the most generous person I ever knew”. Click here to read it.

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

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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

New home for Triratna’s Liverpool Buddhist Centre

Buddhashanti writes from Triratna’s Liverpool Buddhist Centre to say -

“Dear Friends, this to let you know that we moved on Sunday 10 July to a new home in Rodney Street.  Five of us - Mary, Jose, Antoinette, Lindsey and I processed up Duke Street to Rodney Street carrying our small Buddha rupa and thanka and chanting the Shakyamuni mantra.  This was a good if unusual thing to do and I felt it added significance to our move rather than just walking up the hill to a higher place in Liverpool.  Shaun very kindly and generously lent the van and Ian did the driving.

“Rodney Street is a very attractive and quiet location and will suit us very well.  It’s located close to the city centre.  It was a very busy weekend with preparing and decorating the room on Saturday and then doing the move on Sunday.  We had a great time, and a long day, in getting most of the painting done and transforming the room to our needs. It does look lovely now.  Everybody there really threw themselves in to the work and I want to thank everyone involved.  Our new address is Liverpool Buddhist Centre, 66 Rodney Street, Liverpool, L1 9AF

“We have a great Sangha in Liverpool. 

“With metta,


Find them on Facebook or at


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Kavyasiddhi Pauses for Thought on BBC Radio 2

Kavyasiddhi, a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order and regular contributor to BBC Radio 2’s ‘Pause for Thought’, writes from her home in Manchester, UK, with some reflections on her latest series. She says -
'You sound too meditative - think of the Lady Gaga track following you!' 
“This feedback came from the BBC producer editing my overnight Pause for Thoughts. He has a point; most people tune to Radio 2 in the middle of the night to stay awake, not to be lulled to sleep. We spoke as I recorded six spots, the last of which go out this weekend, July 30/31st, during Richard Allinson at approx 0420, repeated on Zoe Ball at approx 0620. If you're going to a car boot sale, you might hear them as you drive. They're also available for a week on BBC i-player. 
“I've written and recorded almost 90 overnight Pause for Thoughts since 2005; I write 5 or 6 at a time, upbeat but not inane, jargon free but not banal. They want a Buddhist take on a topical theme for people who aren't particularly religious, let alone Buddhist, and it can be hard to get the right tone: one week, I went from a kitten at Buddhafield to the repatriation of the alleged Lockerbie bomber, which I felt covered a sufficient range of human experience - even at 2 o'clock in the morning. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Triratna Training Course ends; another one planned for 2012

Vidyaruci writes from Birmingham UK with news of the end of the first Triratna Training Course - and plans for another one! He says - “24th June saw end of the Triratna Training Course, a six-month, full-time, intensive Dharma training course for men, based at Madhyamaloka, Birmingham.

"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, 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 -

Student interviews from the Triratna Dharma training course at Madhyamaloka from Triratna Buddhist Community on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Akasabhadra arrives in Wolverhampton

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.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

60 new Mitras at the Mexico City Buddhist Center

new Mitras in Mexico
Mario Peña writes from Triratna’s Mexico City Buddhist Centre with news of no less than 60 mitra ceremonies held there so far this year! He says -

“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.

“During her visit Parami gave a talk to 70 people on "What is the Triratna Buddhist Order/Community?" about the history of the Order. It was very helpful to listen the history by a woman who was present in the first years of 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


Sunday, July 24, 2011

A death in the Order

Saricitta, who has been in close contact with Bodhilocana writes from the US to say - 'It is with great sadness that I am letting you know that Dharmacharini Bodhilocana passed away last Sunday July 17th. She slipped into a coma around 3:00 PM and left her body at 5:30 PM. Her partner and her sister were with her. Several Order Members gathered to chant the White Tara mantra. Her departure was as lovely as her presence...with strength, peace and great beauty. She suffered no pain and had absolutely no fear. Her greatest concern was for those she was leaving behind'.

Bodhilocana was diagnosed with ovarian cancer two years ago and ordained a year ago. She lived in Newmarket, New Hampshire.

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Visible Mantra book now available: Visualising & Writing Buddhist Mantras

Jayarava, an Order Member based in Cambridge UK, creator of the Triratna News blog and prolific blogger, writes with news of his third book. He says - “I have now published another book - the book of my mantra website.

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 (, 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 -

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.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Sangharakshita's Diary, July 2011

Vidyaruchi writes with news of some of the highlights of Sangharakshita's diary during the past month, saying -

“The last month has seen Bhante engage in a number of encounters that are somewhat unusual. The first was with Maitrivir-Nargarjuna, an Indian Dhammachari based in Hyderabad, who came to England for a month or so. Over three days he interviewed Bhante for 'Lord Buddha TV', a Buddhist cable channel in Maharashtra, on various topics, such as his impressions of Dr Ambedkar, Buddhist art and iconography, and the challenge of effectively communicating the Dhamma in modern India. The interview is a significant one, not least because when it is eventually broadcast it may potentially be seen by several million people. 

"On another occasion Bhante fielded questions in a context with perhaps less far-reaching implications, though it was nonetheless appreciated by the participants. I refer to a Q&A he conducted with the students of the Triratna Training Course, then in its penultimate week. Topics ranged from the meaning of anatta and transcendental insight, through the relationship between time and pratitya samutpada, to sex and relationships. 

"Bhante has met with some luminaries from the wider Buddhist world. About a dozen members of Byoma Kusuma came to visit, including Ven. Narayan Prasad Rijal, one of their senior teachers. Byoma Kusuma is a Nepal-based Buddhist group, some English members of which visited Bhante last year. This time, he first met with the whole group, and spoke a little about the structure of the Sevenfold Puja, and then he and Ven. Narayan were left to discuss together alone, while Paramartha and I served tea and chatted with the other members of the party. Their teacher, Ven. Ratnashri, has written many essays, a few of which I read to Bhante, who was impressed by the clarity about the Dharma that they evince. To celebrate Ven. Ratnashri's birthday Byoma Kusuma are planning to produce a magazine, and they have asked Bhante's permission to publish one of his articles in it. He has, of course, given his permission, and the article they have chosen is 'The 'Problem' of Ahimsa' from Crossing the Stream. It will be translated into Nepali by Ven. Narayan himself. 

"Then there was David Loy, who came to Madhyamaloka for a visit. His main objective in doing so was to meet with Bhante, though he also spent time with the students on the course, talking about Buddhism and the modern world. Bhante has been recommending David's book, Money Sex War Karma, after having had it read to him last year.

“Other than these interesting and pleasant diversions, and the usual round of visitors and daily walks, Bhante has continued his current piece of writing, 'Reveries and Reminiscences' - the second installment of which appears in the July issue of Shabda - with help from Nityabandhu, whose knowledge and recollection of certain details has been called upon several times. 

!Bhante has found time to enjoy some audio books, including Marlborough, England's Greatest General by Richard Holmes; and a CD of Philip Larkin reading his own verse. He has also had me read to him from a number of sources, including Sulak Sivaraksha's new book (a gift from the same) The Wisdom of Sustainability; a special issue of Contemporary Buddhism, focusing on U Dhammaloka, one of the first Westerners to ordain as a Buddhist, whose life demonstrates a different kind of Western monk to the scholarly types, such as Ananda Metteya, previously thought to be the earliest Western converts to Buddhism; and some chapters from God: Being an Introduction to the Science of Metabiology by John Middleton Murry, which is interesting to Bhante insofar as it touches on ideas similar to his 'Evolution, Higher and Lower'.



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

16th Buddhafield Festival closes to rave reviews

The annual Buddhafield Festival, held in the beautiful Blackdown Hills of Somerset UK, drew to a close early this week to rave reviews. We’re delighted to post a few below, drawn at random from Buddhafield’s Facebook page -

“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.

Sadhu Buddhafield!


Monday, July 18, 2011

Ordination in Missoula, Montana

Tom Allyn had his public ordination on 16 July.

Dhammarati writes from America’s Rocky Mountains:
"Tom is now Sthiradasa, 'He who is in service of that which is steadfast and true'.
Saramati was the private preceptor, and the public preceptor was Dhammarati."



Sunday, July 17, 2011

Building work starts with celebrations and rituals at Metta Vihara

Parina writes from Holland with the excellent news that building work has finally begun at Metta Vihara, Triratna’s new Retreat Centre in the Low Countries. She says -

“From all over the Netherlands and Belgium about 75 friends of the Triratna Buddhist Community came on Sunday June 19th to celebrate the ‘Laying of the First Brick’ of our brand new Retreat Centre. Three friends from the Paris Triratna Centre joined us, as well as several locals from the tiny Hengstdijk village just along the road. Coffee, tea and cake were served in the village hall. Then we walked the ten minutes to the building site which was covered with a sea of camomile and poppy flowers, swept by the vivid south-western wind which is ever-present in the area.

"On the site five shrines were improvised from building materials, sticks and various odds and ends, representing the Mandala of the Five Buddhas, with the Buddha Shakyamuni in the centre. We dedicated the site to the practice of tranquillity, generosity, meditation, compassion, wisdom and fearlessness, for the happiness and welfare of all beings.

"The next day, Monday June 20th, the building work actually started. As you will see from the photograph, already the outline of the building has become apparent!
There’s pictures of the ritual and the festival on the Metta Vihara website:

With metta,


Thursday, July 14, 2011

German tour raises 1,000€ for Bodh Gaya centre development

Sraddhabandhu writes from Dusseldorf with news of the very successful collaboration between Triratna centres in Germany and our small outpost in Bodh Gaya, in far north-eastern India but the place of the Buddha’s Enlightenment and as such a central place in the Buddhist world.

He says - "When I was a the 2009 International Order Convention in Bodh Gaya, I learned (among many things) about our plans to have a centre there. This struck me as amazingly sensible, because so many schools of Buddhism have a temple, a centre or a school in Bodh Gaya, the most holy place for pilgrims. So why not us?

“During the Convention Amitashuri, a Dharmacharini from the UK, gave a presentation, distributed leaflets about the land we have there and Bhante’s vision for it. She was also available for all sorts of questions. I have met her before, when she was in Germany, so l asked her if she was willing to do another tour in Germany, this time to present the Bodh Gaya centre project.

“We didn’t know then that the very next day Bhante was to going to give the Centre the name The Three Jewels Centre through a video message broadcast from the UK.

“I translated the leaflet, began organizing her trip to Germany (we had a few phone calls and more communication on Facebook), and suddenly there she was: giving talks in Berlin, Düsseldorf and Essen between 17th and 24th May, all of which were very well received.

“And as a result, Buddha e.V., the charity which hosts the activities of Triratna Düsseldorf, was able to give her no less than 1,000€ (£870 pounds sterling or 63,000 Rupees) for the development of the Centre in Bodh Gaya.”

You can read more about the vision for the land and new Centre on its website There is also a page for online donations at

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Buddhist yoga teacher-training course developed in Spain

Sadhita writes from Triratna’s Centre in Barcelona with news of a new type of yoga teacher-training course based specifically upon Buddhist principles which he is developing with his co-worker and friend Sudaka.

He says - “The initiative to launch a yoga teacher-training school based upon Buddhist principles has arisen out of a process of working with Sudaka over a period of six years. We have discussed on numerous occasions the idea of bringing together Hatha Yoga, Buddhism and meditation as an integral system. With it, we hope to offer a course that interests Buddhists who want to train as yoga teachers as well as people seeking to deepen their own experience of meditation and yoga as a system of practice.

“Importantly, the school won't teach from a philosophical backdrop of Vedanta or any other branch of Hinduism. Nor will our teaching focus only on the physical and energetic aspects or asanas. We are hoping to do something a bit more unique in the yoga world. We aim to offer a course built on a solid foundation of the Buddha's teachings.

"Along with writing the course, we need to affiliate ourselves with a recognised body. We have chosen one known as the IYN (Independent Yoga Network Among other things it actively lobbies to prevent yoga becoming legislated by British government or what used to be the Sports Council. We therefore feel more of an alignment with it as being more in keeping with the direction we've taken as Buddhists."
“We are both busy writing the course which will comprise of around 500+ hours teaching time. We aim to launch our first course in Spain in September 2012. All being well, we will gain many students and offer something a bit different in the yoga world.

"For more information about the course please see our web site: "

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ordination in San Francisco

Dhammarati writes from America’s West Coast:
“I’m pleased to announce that Doug Chan was publicly ordained on Saturday, June 18. He becomes DANADASA, ‘Servant Of Generosity’. Viradhamma was the private preceptor, and the public preceptor was Dhammarati. There’s long first and third ‘a’s; the Westernised spelling is ‘Danadasa’.

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Saturday, July 09, 2011

Report on Young Buddhists' weekend: The New Society in Principle and Practice

Debbie Purdon from Leeds writes:
Friday 17 June 2011 saw the gathering of a group of wild young things who had come to gather for a common purpose, to explore The New Society in Principle and Practice. It was the Triratna Young Buddhist’s weekend in Birmingham and with such a title it was never going to be a passive affair - there was a feeling of revolution in the air!

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

Friday, July 08, 2011

Sangharakshita Land Project: the search goes on...

Mokshapriya writes:

You’d be forgiven for assuming little had been done in the last three months given my sluggish blog but don’t be deceived. One of the challenges of keeping you up to date via this means of communication is the fact that whatever I write about recent property visits might also be read by the estate agents involved. Paranoia you cry! Well we know that one agent at least did check the blog out so, given the delicate nature of property purchase negotiations, I must continue to be cautious. Sometimes a property is almost good enough but doesn’t quite fit the bill so we inform the agent that we are not pursuing it and move on but nonetheless keep it in the background just in case our brief changes or we run out of options.

Over the past three months we’ve visited a number of possible sites including country estates, farms, priories, hotels and a retreat centre. Sometimes there’s just not enough space or potential footprint,  sometimes the land is not private enough or well ‘ringfenced’, sometimes the road noise is too intrusive or the main building is too close to neighbouring properties, sometimes the public transport links are non-existent or the journey times too great from some parts of the UK. These are all problems we’ve encountered and usually it takes a site visit to know.

The word ‘compromise’ can be increasingly heard in our discussions. The phrase ‘something has to give’ is not far behind. Occasionally Karunika, Vajrasadhu, Sanghadeva, Dhammarati and I have met at Madhyamaloka in Birmingham to discuss the current options and to review procedure and progress. Invaluable though those meetings are there is an inevitable sense of frustration and concern particularly as we bear the eldest resident of Madhyamaloka (Bhante) in mind. We want to ensure that Bhante can enjoy a new base and witness the establishment of the new Dharma Training Centre and Library while his health permits such a move.

At the end of May Vajrasadhu stepped down from heading the search and I’ve taken it on. The brief we’ve presented to estate and land agents is 100-300 acres, a build footprint of at least 20,000 sq ft (with further potential), quiet rural location, costing up to £2.5 million, as UK central a location as possible. We are registered with all the major agents and I spend endless hours each week scouring the web but we welcome help! If you can find any leads - properties not yet advertised or perhaps listed with a small independent agent then do get in touch.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Significance of the Buddhist Gate

Amogharatna writes from Berlin: 
Thirteen years ago Sangharakshita opened the Triratna centre in Berlin. He gave a short talk about the significance of the centre's name 'the Buddhist Gate'. This talk has now been published in order to help raise funds for the renovation of the recently purchased new Buddhist Gate. While referring specifically to the name of the Berlin centre, the talk is of universal relevance as it relates to the significance of Buddhist centres everywhere.
We are very grateful to Sangharakshita for his permission to publish his talk, and to Cornelia Siemens and Harald Eckhoff for their work in transcribing and translating the talk for publication. The bilingual booklet is available on a donation basis from Buddhistisches Tor Berlin (info [at] buddhistisches-tor-berlin [dot] de ). Enquiries from bookshops are also welcome.

After many months of planning and negotiations building work on the new centre is due to begin around the middle of July and will hopefully be completed by this time next year. The project's progress can be followed at 

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Day with Dhammarati for designers in the Triratna Buddhist Community

Jnanarakshita from the Triratna Development Team writes with news of an event for anyone currently working in print or web design within the Triratna Buddhist Community. It's a very rare opportunity to gain from Dhammarati's considerable experience in visual communication.
A day exploring how to make your design look and work better. Bring along a sample of your work for discussion. Learn from other designers in the movement how your work could improve.
Saturday 8 October, 10.00am - 5.00pm, Madhyamaloka, 30 Chantry Rd, Birmingham. Cost: by donation

For further info & to book, please email jnanarakshita [at]

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Vishvapani and Dorothy Rowe Discuss Buddhism, Science and Reality at the North London Buddhist Centre

Vishavapani writes:
On April 11 I took part in a special event at the North London Buddhist Centre: a dialogue between myself and Dorothy Rowe, a well known psychologist and author. She writes accessible but intelligent books on emotions and psychology with a somewhat subversive slant, the best known being Beyond Fear and Depression: the Way out of your Prison. Now in her 80s, Dorothy Rowe is a respected broadcaster and commentator with an impressive ability to write about common experiences with depth and honesty and express profound ideas with great lucidity.

Our connection started when Dorothy wrote appreciatively on her blog about one of my Thought for the Day broadcasts. I proudly put a quote on my website and eventually we got into dialogue. When I came to plan events to launch my book, Gautama Buddha: the Life and Teachings of the Awakened One, wanted to do more than just giving straight talks or Q&A, so I proposed a joint event. As Dorothy lives near the North London Buddhist Centre, where I am the President, I proposed an event there.

Interest was so strong that we did relatively little publicity, relying on local interest and personal invitations. Around 80 people came on the night, many of them friends and contacts from the worlds of British Buddhism, Interfaith, the media and psychotherapy as well as members of the NLBC Sangha and others from Triratna in London. The theme of the evening was focused by Dorothy's most recent book, Why We Lie? She argues that we lie to protect ourselves and that the ultimate reason we need this protection is that our sense of ourselves as fixed, enduring subjects who know for sure what is real is an illusion.

Paramabandhu, a London-based psychiatrist and Order member, chaired the evening. I spoke first, describing the Buddha’s journey to enlightenment and discussing his teachings in terms of truth and lies. I connected Dorothy’s discussion of lies with the Buddhist notion of delusion and suggested that the Buddha spoke of the ‘three great lies’ we tell ourselves: that the elements of our experience are permanent when they are actually impermanent; that they are solid and knowable when they are insubstantial; and that they we can rely on them to make us happy when they are bound up with suffering and unsatisfactoriness.

Dorothy started her talk by saying that "Buddhism is the only set of beliefs that have been proved right by science and have a scientific support." She was thinking of the Buddhist account of the self and approached her understanding of this by discussing the view of human identity that is being revealed by neuroscience She said:

"Our brain constructs things and creates fiction: a picture of the world. That picture is inside my head, but the brain persuades me that it is outside. We see the world as we have learned to see it, not as it is, and we are incapable of seeing reality directly. Some of the ideas the brain creates out of our experience become our sense of being a person. But these ideas are constantly being invalidated, and so we feel anxious and insecure."

Our discussion and the questions we were asked ranged over many topics, and I found the evening stimulating and enjoyable. I was struck that Dorothy’s main topic was, in effect, anatta – the Buddhist teaching that we lack a fixed self and I reflected that the Buddhists I know tend to shy away from this subject, or the connected topic of sunyata, perhaps thinking that it is beyond the level of beginners and perhaps prone to misunderstanding. It was bracing to hear it expressed as a vital truth and one that is confirmed by scientific observation.

I also reflected on how fresh and stimulating it felt to engage in dialogue with a thoughtful and sympathetic non-Buddhist. At times it seemed that the insights of psychotherapy and neuroscience into the human condition were interacting with the Dharma and each was casting fresh light on the another.

You can listen to the dialogue here:

Vishvapani is starting a blog at