|Brighton Buddhist Centre shrine|
“This year’s Buddha day in Brighton was a double celebration – of the Buddha’s Enlightenment, and of the name change of our movement from the FWBO to the Triratna Buddhist Community. The word celebration is used deliberately, not because a name change is, of itself, a reason for celebration, but because it has instigated a period of fruitful recollection of the history of the FWBO, both worldwide and locally, and it seems there is much that is worth celebrating.
“Our weekend started with Sophia March stalwartly climbing a ladder in the rain, hanging prayer flags across the front of the centre. The Friday evening full moon puja was titled ‘Turning Arrows into Flowers’, exemplified by Siddhartha's defeat of Mara; an apt title as it was also the title of the FWBO International Retreat, held the same weekend, and thus made reference to our sense of interconnectedness and deep commitment to Sangha.
““On Saturday, the centre started out buzzing with excitement, children and cakes for the children’s event. Touching quotes from Sangharakshita and others , in the form of large yellow paper Buddha Jewels, were spread through the building reminding us, in our busyness, that ‘No doer of the deed can be found.’
“The talk: ‘The Buddha in the 21st Century’ made it clear that the Triratna Buddhist Community is forward-looking by nature. Perhaps the name change embodies this, with its emphasis on the Three Jewels of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. In our hyper-stimulated culture, where craving, hatred and delusion are still so active, perhaps this re-emphasis on the Three Jewels as our only effective refuge is timely. As Tejamitra said, you can’t rely on things; you can rely on the Three Jewels.
“It was moving to see so many faces from all eras of the Movement. We had someone present who had attended Sangharakshita’s early talks, as well as newcomers who were dipping their toes for the first time into the spiritual waters of our community.
“In some ways, it feels as if the word Triratna completes a timely loop of an upward spiral. Sangharakshita, in that very first gathering in the basement at Monmouth Street, forty-three years ago, dedicated ‘the Triratna Meditation Shrine Room’; and now, here we are, the Triratna Buddhist Community.
“The dedication ceremony for the Order’s new name at the centre in Brighton certainly felt laden with meaning and significance. The chosen version of the Sakyamuni mantra was last chanted in the shrine room when Sangharakshita came to open Aloka’s beautiful triptych painting of the Buddha Sakyamuni meditating peacefully.
|Dublin Buddhist Centre shrine|
“With a day retreat on Sunday, there was a full program of events over the weekend. There was some sadness, with the saying of farewell to the familiar name of the FWBO, but there was also a looking-forward to embracing our global movement, now unified by a common title.
“As Padmavajri, Brighton’s women’s Mitra Convenor, commented: ‘When something has been marked by ritual, who knows what will come out of it? It touches on something mysterious. This is its very nature.’ We await the unfolding of the Triratna Buddhist Community with curiosity and anticipation”.
Meanwhile, over in Dublin, they too were celebrating, and Vajrasura, their Chairman, writes to say “Our Buddha Day was celebrated last Sunday, and there was a ritual in the afternoon to mark the name change. Jnanadhara asked me to send this photo on to you”.