Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Arts events across the FWBO

A dancer practices at the FWBO's London Buddhist Arts Centre in East LondonA few days ago FWBO News reported on the upcoming ‘Buddhism and Creativity’ conference in which FWBO artists will be taking part.

Arts have always been an integral part of the FWBO, being highlighted by Sangharakshita as one of the six ‘distinctive emphases’ of the FWBO.  His talk exploring this is on FreeBuddhistAudio.

A recent survey conducted on the FWBO’s European Chairs Assembly illustrated the variety of arts events being held across the movement.  We reproduce it here for readers’ interest. 

Berlin Buddhist Centre choir
Weekend workshop on the arts including a gallery visit.
Two 2-day workshops including public talks, on ‘Aesthetic appreciation and the spiritual life’, including visits to art exhibitions
Film nights including talk on the evening’s film
Weekend retreat and Friends’ Night on ‘Art and the Spiritual Life’
Policy of using FWBO artists’ work on their book covers.
London Buddhist Centre
Major commissions of painting by Aloka, also sculpture
Art shows at Wild Cherry
Poetry used in Dharma teaching
Film showings
The much-loved Buddhafield Festival is full of arts events – music, film, dance, drama, large-scale rituals…
Buddhafield has a long tradition of musical accompaniments to mantras
And many opportunities for musicians etc to perform.
Major commission of new FWBO Refuge Tree painting by Chintamani
Visits to CBSO concerts
Arts soirees
Five-day thanka painting workshop
Amsterdam Buddhist Centre Choir (meets fortnightly)
Plans for monthly film night
Creative writing weekend workshop
Dharmapala College
Seminars on Shakespeare’s ‘Tempest’; Mahler’s Third Symphony, and Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’.
Two arts exhibitions by sangha members
Poetry and music evenings
Regular poetry group
Theatre group (including visits to local productions/concerts)
Music-making and mantra-developing workshops
Seeking funding for arts project (audio-visual equipment and picture-hanging system)
Purchase of painting by Aloka
Donation of Tara painting by Sangha member
Film nights showing ‘Art-house’ movies, including Indian movies
Creative writing events
Exhibitions of work by local artists and Buddhist artists
Sangha visits to local exhibitions, concerts, poetry – and publicity for local arts events at the Centre
Lots of talk in the Centre about the arts!
Centre ‘open-mike’ nights encouraging sangha musicians to ‘do a turn’.
North London
Annual ‘Wolf at the Door’ creative writing weekend
Sangha writers group.
‘Making Art’ day focussing on the Dakini
Sangha ‘Cabaret’ evenings with music, poetry, open mike
Idea for local film club
Idea for ‘Arts Sangha’ evenings
Lights in the Sky movies shown
Cultural soiree evenings with music, dance, photos, poetry…
A program of ‘Awakening Through Art’ events
Film club at Buddhist Centre
Participation in Brighton Festival with, eg stand-up comics, music (Jazz and Chopin), and arts exhibition
Also participation in Brighton Carnival and Winter Solstice event
Major commission of painting by Aloka
Monthly ‘Dharma Eye into the World’ events – including singing/debate/film/astronomy
Occasional music events
Sangha creative writing group
Brighton Centre choir
Art exhibition planned for Centre in 2009
The Windhorse pantomime!  Check last year’s on YouTube.
Art exhibitions in Centre foyer
Japanese monks visiting and chanting
Sangha Poetry group
Sangha Writers’ group
Sangha Singing group
Sangha Music group
Wolf at the Door creative writing weekends
Five or six weeks worth of retreats on arts themes each year – including the ground-breaking ‘Clowning and Insight’.
Print media
The long-running Urthona arts magazine is at
Videosangha has a special section for FWBO Arts movie clips
Visible Mantra, at  is an extraordinary resource for those interested in the art of mantra
On FWBO Photos there’s collections of some FWBO artists’ work – and of some of the stupas that have been created around the FWBO. 
There’s an FWBO Arts community page on the Free Buddhist Audio site.
The new website will be building in slots for FWBO artists’ work.
And finally – there’s a variety of personal sites by FWBO artists, teachers, and performers –
Wolf at the Door have for many years run creative writing weekends.
Achalabodhi  is a well-known woodcarver and teacher -
Aloka is perhaps the Order’s most prolific artist, and his large paintings of the Buddha grace at least five FWBO Centre shrines.  A proper website for him is long overdue but you can see some of his work at
Amitajyoti, painter, is at
Jayacitta and Red Noses Unlimited (Clowning)
Jayarava, prolific writer, calligrapher, painter, sculptor, musician and essayist. See  for his art, for his music.
Lilavati runs a Painting School at
Padmavijaya is a well-established painter based in Sweden
Padmayogini, painter and photographer, is at
Vajradaka, meditation teacher offers mentoring in creativity.
Visuddhimati runs ‘Buddhist Pictures’, a personal site showcasing her work.

And Alokavira (aka Timm Sonnenschein)is a Professional Photographer, with wide ranging reportage and commissioned work. On his website you can see fine art pinhole photography from Guhyaloka as well as recent photographs of Bhante Sangharakshita.

And last but by no means least, Sangharakshita himself is a poet, and his Collected Works are now available for free download on-line on his personal website -

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