Friday, April 16, 2010

Exeter FWBO – the story so far

Viramitra writes from Exeter UK, where the FWBO/Triratna have had a presence for the past 14 years. He offers a glimpse into what it takes to start and maintain a group - and news of their new permanent premises. Here's what he says -

“There has been an FWBO presence in Exeter since 1996, beginning with a meditation group run by Amoghavajri (then Linda). A small group met on a weekly basis and numbers ebbed and flowed, as they do. During this time some Order Members, travelled down to lead day retreats with the group. Three of us found the East Down Centre on the edge of Dartmoor which enabled us to invite Order Members down, including Viprassana, to run retreats and this continued until Linda left in 2000.

“I moved to Exeter in late 2000 and continued to run classes, for a while running groups in Bridport, Wellington, Crediton and Exeter. After that I had a two year break when I stepped back to reconsider what it was that I wanted to do – to reconnect internally after going out so much! Exeter is a small city where there is a wide range of Buddhist groups to choose from – I think there are 8 other groups here.

“After my break I began more secular meditation classes in a Community Centre in a busy part of the city. These classes are now more overtly Buddhist-centred and over time a sangha has evolved, which also includes many people outside of Exeter - people come from as far afield as Saltash, North Devon and Taunton.

'Ehipassiko', new home of the Triratna Community in Exeter
“The recent months have borne the fruit of the effort of all those involved with the Exeter situation since its inception 14 years ago. A local mitra has generously allowed the sangha to use a house he owns - we have named it ‘Ehipassiko’, meaning “come and see”, and are still settling into this environment and becoming accustomed to the freedom of our own space.

" There’s work to be done in the garden and other changes will be made gradually, but we can all now share and contribute to this in a way that wasn’t possible in a more public space. I imagine what I’m saying here has been said before by many other Order Members! But it hasn’t stopped there - a sangha member moved in a month ago and will be acting as guardian or pala for the house; we had a small ceremony to mark the beginning of this lineage! This is a huge step forward and will enable us to meet the financial commitments of a permanent base.

“The mitra community here continues to expand, with two more ceremonies taking place last Saturday, adding to the existing 5 who had had their ceremonies in the earlier phase. We’re hoping to resume mitra study now the weather has improved.

“In addition to our programme of practice days, meditation classes and retreats, I am also making links with the Exeter University Meditation Society and have enjoyed being invited to talk to the students and discussing practice with them.

“We also have two websites – one is a NING site that is just open to the local Sangha and is great way to stay in touch for a wide spread community. The second is, where you’ll find our first newsletter.

“Thank you to everyone who has been involved over the years in sowing the seeds of this sangha to bring us to this point”.




Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Viramitra and Sue
I looked up your website for the benefit of someone who, I hope, will contact you. I really like your site and say Sadhu! for all youare doing. How wonderful that Triratna Exeter is thriving. Brilliant that you have mitras, and a permanent base - what a difference that will make. Ilove the name 'Come and see,' just right.
Love from Amoghavajri


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