Thursday, March 31, 2011

Barcelona sees first Triratna community

Rijumati writes from Barcelona with news of the first Triratna community there. He says - "Dear Friends, no bed, no tables, no pots, no spoons ... empty and rather zen. Sinhendra, Bernard and I just signed the contract for a lovely "piso" (apartment) in Barcelona. The first Triratna Buddhist community in the city. Wow, it's a new beginning for us.

“It’s a wonderful apartment on the Calle Tapioles in the Poble Sec district of Barcelona - between the Montjuic mount, the harbour and the old city. Check it out on Google Maps! As you can see the flat is unfurnished, in an elegant art nouveau style, built about 1902. We haven't yet got a landline there. I hope you will come and visit, please bring your own bed!

“Lots of love, Rijumati

The new community is part of a wider plan to develop Triratna Buddhist activities in the city, building on the classes established some years ago by Order Members commuting from Valencia. Rijumati explains - “First off we plan to establish a regulars group in addition to the beginners drop-in so that we can build more depth with the existing Sangha. We don't think of trying to get a Centre at first, but rather to build up a series of classes all around the different barrios many of which have quite different cultures. Perhaps we would also do an english language dharma class since there are many foreigners living and working in Barcelona. We also intend to set up frequent (perhaps monthly) weekend retreats to help build sangha and because apparently the Catalans love getting away on weekend workshops”.

They’ve already got a spanish-language website - - and a fundraising page, where they’re appealing for donations to support the new community and their activities as they get established. You’ll find it at

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stupa takes form at Vimaladhatu retreat centre

Jnanacandra writes from Germany with news of the Stupa now rapidly taking its final form at Triratna’s Vimaladhatu retreat centre near Essen. She says -

“I'd like to update you on a wonderful project that has been happening at our retreat centre Vimaladhatu (in Germany) over the last 18 months. You might remember that we are building a Stupa that will contain a portion of Dhardo Rimpoche's relics. He was one of Sangharakshita's eight principle teachers and we're delighted to be able to remember him in this way.  It's an ambitious project and has - as those things do in Triratna - continuously grown in size while evolving. It's happening simultaneously in three locations - England, Essen and Vimaladhatu itself...

“Rupadarshin - the creator of the Stupas in Padmaloka, Tiratanaloka and Windhorse - is our most wonderful stone-mason who has been working away in a Buddhafield-style tent-workshop in his garden in Devon/England. The stone he's working on comes from a quarry near Vimaladhatu - Bhante had recommended that we build the Stupa from local stone. This Anröchter Stone has proved very hard and tricky to work. It contains a lot of fossils that look beautiful but have caused Rupadarshin some stress as they make the stone pretty unpredictable.

“At present Rupadarshin is working on the very last stone, the conical top section representing the element fire. It's a labour of love and Rupadarshin is incredibly generous (he's working on a basic support level) and devoted to the project. It's been a joy remaining in contact with him throughout the year via email and following the developments in Devon through the photos he keeps posting on Facebook . I have only met him once but feel quite a connection can build up through sharing in a common project of devotion.

“Meanwhile in Vimaladhatu Bodhimitra has been working wonders. In order to create a dignified setting for the Stupa we embarked on a major landscaping venture. The wonderful Sanghadeva came over from Madhyamaloka twice to help us create a vision for this land in cooperation with Amritavacha who finalized the plans and the Essen centre-team who were invited to formulate their dreams in the first place. Vimaladhatu lies on a steep hillside in the woods and the lower part of our land had been unused, overgrown with a slightly sombre feel to it. Now the land has been terraced and partly cleared which creates wide views into the valley and a sense of space and openness. Two diggers spent a week moving great quantities of earth and solid rock last August. Since then Bodhimitra (who lives at Vimaladhatu) and helpers from the Sangha have transformed the hillside into something stunningly different - a sacred space.

“In Essen (2 hours drive from Vimaladhatu) the Sangha has been following the creation of the Stupa and its sacred space attentively. Vimaladhatu belongs to the Essen Sangha and it looks like almost the full costs of the Stupa will be covered by donations from the Sangha. It's inspiring to let energies and funds (crystallized energy) flow freely towards an object of devotion - creating a symbol of Awakening that will last for generations after us...

“Claudia Krüger, a Mitra, created a beautiful full-size Light Stupa for Essen to keep the project present in everybody's minds. Rupadarshin commented that he had seen such things made from bamboo/willow and rice paper before - but never one welded in metal and covered with fabric. We celebrated full-moon Pujas around this Light Stupa in the Centre courtyard in Essen under the starlit sky when it was still warm enough which I found very moving indeed.

“Meanwhile most of the Stupa-stones have arrived in Vimaladhatu and the Stupa has been built up to the water-element-section. This is how it will remain until the inauguration ceremony on 22. May, when Dhardo’s relics will be placed in the relic chamber and then the last stone topped by Chintamani’s beautiful finial will be put in place.

"Take a look at our photos of the project at or visit our Vimaladhatu group on Facebook!

With metta,

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

16 Vajrasattvas seek homes throughout the world

Samudradaka writes from his home in Saudi Arabia with news of a fund-raising appeal he's initiated for Sahaja, an Order Member and artist from the North of England - well-known up there for his bold welded sculptures at Padmaloka, Birmingham and Manchester, among other places. He says -

"You may already know who Sahaja is, as for many years he created powerful and dramatic sculptures from scrap metal, some of which live in Triratna centres such as the Manchester Buddhist Centre.  Recently he's begun painting vibrant and expressive paintings including a new series of 16 Vajrasattvas – one for each of the 16 lines of the Vajrasattva mantra that he chants as part of his Buddhist practice.

"Sahaja is currently in a very difficult financial situation and to help him these 16 paintings are for sale as part of a fund-raising appeal.  The appeal target is to raise £7000. You can buy one of these paintings for £432 – but please consider paying more!

"This is a unique opportunity for you to buy one of these exciting new paintings and to give a home to one or more of this unique family of Vajrasattvas.

For more info and to buy visit:  And here's the Vajrasattva Mantra itself -

om vajrasattva samaya
dṛḍho me bhava
sutoṣyo me bhava
supoṣyo me bhava
anurakto me bhava
sarva siddhiṃ me prayaccha
sarvakarmasu ca me
cittaṃ śreyaḥ kuru hūṃ
ha ha ha ha hoḥ
bhagavan sarvatathāgata
vajra mā me muñca
vajrī bhava
āḥ hum phat!

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

West London Buddhist Centre hosts exhibition of Mongolian Paintings and Calligraphy

News is just in that Triratna’s West London Buddhist Centre is hosting an exhibition on Mongolian Paintings and Calligraphy. Entitled ‘Windhorse’, it’s a solo exhibition by award-winning artist and calligrapher Sukhbaatar Davaakhuu at the Centre, 18-25 March 2011, between 2-6pm.

On Saturday 26 March there’s a talk and workshop ‘Mongolian Script and Calligraphy: the literate nomads’ given by Sukhbaatar Davaakhuu. The talk is free and at 1pm; the workshop is £15 and runs from 2-6pm - they ask people to book for the workshop.

They say - "In his talk, Sukhbaatar Davaakhuu will explain the various scripts that the Mongol nomads use, and emphasise the significance and viability of the Mongolian script. The script represents an artistic creation in its own right, which he will demonstrate in the brush-writing calligraphy workshop, so do come along and have a go. There will be an opportunity for you to have your name or message written in Mongolian script by Sukhbaatar or by yourself. Families are welcome."

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New premises for Triratna in Portland, Maine

Dharmasuri writes from Triratna’s Nagaloka Buddhist Center in Portland, Maine - wherer they’ve just doubled the size of their Centre! She says -

“ Nagaloka Buddhist Center in Portland, Maine, USA, moved into our new spacious location on January 15, 2011. We are now located at 54 York Street, which is much closer to the Portland waterfront (Atlantic Ocean). Our new rental space is much larger. We doubled in size from a downtown storefront location to our current space with many windows allowing more natural sunlight. In addition, we have a kitchen, separate room for our bookstore, and common bathrooms for ladies and men. This enables us to offer weekend day-long retreats including a healthy vegetarian lunch made from our kitchen.

“Nagaloka continues to grow and develop in Portland increasing the number of individuals who walk through its door. We currently have a very delightful, lively group of individuals who are very enthusiastic in supporting our little Center. Currently our mitra count is 11 with interest from others. We are very grateful that so many individuals have exemplified Sangha, especially in making our move happen. Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

“Bodhipaksa thought since we were moving into new, sunny, freshly painted space, we should update our website too. So, thanks to him, we have a fresh new updated website at Take a look!”

Dharmacharini Dharmasuri

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Do you have 6 weeks to spare this Spring?

 Andrea writes from Triratna’s Karuna Trust (, where she works as Communications Officer. Karuna raise and send well over £1million a year to India for social and Dhamma projects - most of which is raised by volunteer fundraisers from the Triratna Buddhist Community. And they’d love to hear from you! She says -

"Hello readers of Triratna News

"Do you have 6 weeks to spare this spring?
In addition to our legendary door-to-door appeals, Karuna are now running Telephone Fundraising Campaigns. This is when a team of Sangha fundraisers come together in the afternoons and evenings over a 6-week period to phone Karuna supporters. The task is to ask them if they’d consider increasing their donation to fund projects supporting the Dalit community in India.

• You’ll need to be available full-time from 30 May to 8 July
• Phone campaigns are non-residential
• You’ll be based in the Karuna offices in North London
• Training is from 3pm and then calling Karuna donors until 9.30pm
• Financial support is offered

The experience is less challenging than cold calling people on the doorstep - existing or former donors almost universally have a positive response to the charity. However, you will still have the challenge of re-connecting them to their heart response to the Dalit cause in the midst of their busy lives, and of course the challenge of asking them for money!

Karuna was formed in 1980 in response to the suffering of India’s Dalit community. For 30-years Karuna has worked with some of India’s most disadvantaged people. We send over £1million every to year supporting hundreds of thousands of men, women and children through projects that build dignity and challenge discrimination.

Investing in education
Dalit children often experience shame from being made to sit separately in class and during mealtimes for fear of polluting higher caste children. Many suffer the humiliation of having to carry out their ‘caste duty’ of cleaning school toilets. Girls in particular may not be considered worthy of an education or extreme poverty forces their parents to put them to work. Dalit girls often don’t even make it to school, and over 83% drop out before they complete their secondary education. Yet a girl with 7 years or more of education will have fewer & healthier children and contribute more money to her household.

Karuna is investing in girls’ futures through an organization called Nishta, which is working with 250 low-caste girls living in villages near Kolkatta. Through posters & door-to-door awareness work they are encouraging parents to keep their daughters in schools. Sumita is one girl who has stayed in school. She says, “My mother is striving hard to keep the family. Often we have to manage without two meals. But with the support of Nishta, I have been going to school regularly.”

A positive challenge
On a phone campaign you’ll be asked to bring a story like Sumita’s alive to our supporters. Leigh Smith, a mitra from the Croydon Sangha who fundraised on a telephone campaign last year says, “I found fundraising for Karuna an engaging, effective and highly beneficial practice; it was a positive challenge, a wonderful way to practice and refine skillful communication.”

If you feel inspired by Karuna’s work in Asia, would like to put your practice to the test over the telephone, and have 6-weeks spare this spring, please get in touch with Jo Goldsmid who will be leading the spring campaign. Phone 0207 700 3434 or email

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dhivan publishes second novel, 'Eglantine Dream'

 Dhivan writes from Cambridge UK with news of the publication of his second novel, saying - “Hello, having self-published my first novel, Green Eros, in 2008, I've felt emboldened to complete and publish another - eglantine dream.

“Whereas my first novel dealt with the challenges of love and philosophy in fictionalised north Lancashire, the new one is set in an entirely imaginary world rather different from ours. It's an adventure story, of a sort, set in a vividly realised other world”. 

On the back-cover we learn Gerald Garposier is a master of the Academy, an institution of the proud and ambitious people who call themselves the Hens. But when he decides to investigate the Haeras – who are everywhere among the Hens but completely ignored – he finds himself cast out of the Academy and alienated from his people. Meanwhile Kala, a woman of the Haera people, is looking for him, and when she finds him, they begin an adventure together that will change everyone’s lives, travelling beyond the borders of their land to a hidden tower of the Eglantine...

Both books are available via Dhivan’s publishing site apus press

Dhivan is a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order and author of a recently-published book on the Buddha’s Teaching on Conditionality: ‘This Being, That Becomes’, available from Windhorse Publications.  

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Maitreyabandhu writes from the London Buddhist Centre to say “I'm delighted to hear I’m one of the four winners of the annual Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet Competition. The prize is £500 plus a pamphlet of twenty-four  of my poems published in May this year by Smiths/Doorstep.  This will be my first pamphlet so I am especially pleased. It is  a well known competition, so the pamphlets often get reviewed in the poetry press.
“The judge, Simon Armitage, said my collection was ‘Nostalgic, but not sentimental or wistful, the poems have a real sense of the here and now. They strike home.’  My collection is called The Bond, and one of the poems, Retrospect,  is copied below.

“Also I'm publishing a 10 page article called The Provenance of Pleasure in the next (Spring) issue of Poetry Review.  It’s based on the Honeyball Sutta, from the Majjhima Nikaya, which I’m applying to poetry”. 

Several talks on the Honeyball Sutta are available from Triratna’s FreeBuddhistAudio, including several by Subhuti.  It's a classic text which plays a central role in the early Buddhist analysis of conflict. Click here to download.  


In my story, you walked to school that day,
left the moped in the garage with your
gauntlets on the seat, caught up with me,
suggested we should meet back at your house,
your brother still at work. I tell myself
we carry on from there, off and on
until I move away. Now you’re twenty-five
and have learnt the art of smiling. We talk
about that time you waited in the bath
next to your parents’ kitchen after school.
But the story won’t make sense, the facts
you left too small to be given consequence.
I can’t put explanations in your mouth.
You just stand there in the kitchen doorway,
pencil-slim and pale and carrying a helmet.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Inauguration of Dhammavijay Retreat Centre in India

Jnanaratna writes with news of the upcoming inauguration of Dhammavijay, the new Triratna retreat centre located on the border of the Melghat Tiger Reserve some 100 miles west of Nagpur. He’s an Indian member of the Triratna Buddhist Order based in nearby Amaravati, and says -

“Dear Brothers / Sisters, We invite you to attend the auspicious occasion of the opening ceremony of our Dhammavijay Retreat Center. The first phase of the work was completed and Dhammachari Chandrasheel will perform the Inauguration with chief guest Mr. Dinesh Khonde. Our president Dhammachari Manayu will preside and the date is 23rd March 2011 at 3pm.

“The Venue is the Dhammavijay Retreat Center, at Bihali, Chikhaldara, Amravati, Maharashtra, India”.

There’s photographs of the project and construction work available on Flickr; and their fundraising page is still welcoming donations at

Achalabhumi joins Bhaja, Bor Dharan, and the Urgyen Sangharakshita Meditation Centre, the Triratna Buddhist Community's three other retreat centres in India.


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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Two deaths in the Order - correction

Vijayatara from London
There have been two recent deaths in the Order. From London, Dhammadinna writes with news of Vijayatara, saying “Dear friends, this is to let you know that our dear friend, Vijayatara, died at about 8.45 a.m. Sunday morning, in St. Joseph's Hospice, London. Savi, her long time partner, and Savi's sister Rohini and a nurse were with her. I arrived just after the last breath. Later other friends arrived and also Atula, Santva, and Muditasri. We were allowed to be with her for about four hours, and read to her from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, recited a three-fold puja - which she loved - chanted the Tara mantra and the blessings. Later I chanted the Vajrasattva Mantra with her. With love, Dhammadinna”

Vijayatara was 49 when she died. She was associated with the London Buddhist Centre and was ordained in August 2003 at Tiratanaloka; her private preceptor was Dhammadinna and her public preceptor Ratnadharini. The practice she took at ordination was Green Tara. Munisha adds - “Here is a link to a talk on Videosangha which  Vijayatara gave to the women's National order Weekend last December, in which she shares her reflections on her Order chapter in London. May she be well and happy. With love, Munisha”

Khemapala from Auckland
And from Auckland New Zealand, Purna writes - “It is with sadness that I am letting you know Dharmachari Khemapala died on Saturday 12 March at 3:10 pm local time. Nityajyoti was able to be with him as he passed away, as were Khemapala’s sister Sandra, his son Ari and his daughter Rochelle. There will be a funeral service at the Chandrakirti Buddhist Meditation Centre near Nelson in New Zealand, on Tuesday 15 March followed by a cremation. I received a lot of emails from Order members expressing their best wishes, love for and appreciation of Khemapala. Unfortunately we were not able to pass these on while he was still conscious. I read the names of all these Order members to Nityajyoti who has written them into a book of condolences for Khemapala’s family. With metta, Purna”

Khemapala was ordained by Sangharakshita in 1982 and took the Amitabha sadhana. Our apologies for wrongly stating yesterday that Khemapala was ordained in 1975 and took the Green Tara sadhana.

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Aryaloka Featured on Local Television Program

On a cold, sunny day in February, Triratna's Aryaloka Buddhist Center in Newmarket, New Hampshire, USA was visited by a crew from local television station WMUR Channel 9. Aryaloka was selected as a feature in the popular New Hampshire Chronicle, a half-hour weekday show that highlights interesting people and places around the state.

Meditations, classes and a lively tea break were set up for sangha members to participate in while interviews and filming of activities took place. Many thanks to producer Jen Crompton and videographer Jason Modeski who spent four hours at Aryaloka that day. The six-minute, finished segment includes conversations with Bodhipaksa, Amala, and mitras Marcus and Jen, as well as glimpses of sangha members meditating, chanting, participating in a Dharma class, and gathering together in spiritual friendship.

Aryaloka's NH Chronicle segment is now available through Video Sangha, and can also be viewed on the local WMUR television station's website. Many thanks to all the sangha members who participated and to WMUR for introducing Aryaloka to a wider New England audience.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Punjabi Mitra Ceremony in Birmingham

Ashvajit writes with news of a slightly unusual and very positive mitra ceremony at Triratna’s Birmingham Buddhist Centre.  He says - “Namo Buddhaya and Jai Bhim!  Just over a month ago we held a Mitra Ceremony during which three men joined the world-wide Triratna Mitra Sangha - two Westerners and one of Indian origin, Devinder Chander.  The Centre shrine was beautifully decorated, mainly in white to symbolise the path of purification, and the ceremony was led with skill and confidence by Dharmachari Saraha, the Mitra Convenor for the Birmingham area (shown left).

“Thinking over the event now a month later, and not least because Devinder is a friend well known to me, I would like to say something more about him, and not let the event go unmarked by the wider Sangha. We know, of course, that although a person becomes a Mitra through a particular ‘doorway’ – a particular Buddhist Centre - they are not Mitras of that Centre exclusively, but Mitras of the whole world-wideTriratna Buddhist Community, and will be happily accepted as such wherever they go. In so thinking, however, we can easily lose sight of the uniqueness of the particular individual or individuals involved.

“In Devinder’s case, it is not difficult to see some aspects at least of his uniqueness. First of all, it is unusual, though not I think unprecedented, for an Indian or a man of Indian origin – because Devinder has been living in the UK for many many years – to enter the Mitra Sangha actually in the UK rather than in India itself, where there are already a very large number of Mitras, or Dhamma Mitras as they are called there. 

"Secondly, Devinder is a Punjabi, his ancestral home being the village of Nakodar, which lies some 25 km south of Jalandhar, a large city about 150 km northwest of Chandigarh, state capital of the Punjab. Thirdly, not only is Devinder a Punjabi, he is also a staunch Ambedkarite. And fourthly, he is not only an active member of the Birmingham Ambedkarite community, but one of the leading lights at the Vaishali Buddhist Centre in Handsworth, North Birmingham. 

"It therefore seems to me highly significant that such an active and influential man, a man of Punjabi descent, currently domiciled in the UK, should dedicate himself to deepening his Going for Refuge to Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, and to working for the spread of the Dhamma in the context of the Triratna Buddhist Community. I heartily congratulate him on his decision to do so, and, of course, felicitate the Birmingham Buddhist Centre for accepting him.

“I am sure that Devinder will be an asset to the Birmingham Buddhist Centre – he has already shown himself to be an exceptionally generous man with his donations of food to Centre events, and also by contributions to the work of the Triratna Buddhist Order in the Punjab and to Nagaloka, our big training centre in Maharashtra. He is already a great asset to the Vaishali Buddhist Centre in Handsworth, and I suspect that he will increasingly be an asset to the spread of the Buddha-Dhamma in the Punjab.

“I wish him, his wife Devi, his family members in the UK and in India all the very best, and look forward to him making, under the auspices of the Triratna Buddhist Order, stronger and stronger connections with the Ambedkarite Buddhists of the Punjab, with those Dalits not already Ambedkarites or Buddhists, and thereby spreading the Dhamma more and more effectively there. I am sure he will join the ever-increasing number of people working throughout the world to unite the tremendous diversity and increasing numbers of spiritual aspirants under a single banner – the banner of Buddhism, the Enlightening banner of Sakyamuni the Buddha.

“Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu!"

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Street meditations in San Francisco

We can’t resist reposting this story from Wildmind, Triratna’s meditation teaching site based in New Hampshire, USA. Bodhipaksa, its founder and director, writes  - “That’s two friends of mine, Mike and Suvarnaprabha (also known as our very own Auntie Suvanna) meditating in a shop window on San Francisco’s bustling Valencia St.

“They were just two of thirty-two people from the San Francisco Buddhist Center and the wider Buddhist community who spent a couple of weekends last month meditating in public.
Suvarnaprabha said, “For me, the experience of sitting was completely different than I thought it would be. That is, I thought the ‘being looked at’ part would be more prominent. I became deeply absorbed, just hearing the sounds of the city–cars passing, high heels clicking, dogs barking, conversations… and noticing the response in my body. There was incredible peace sitting in that window, somehow interspersed with moments of fear and wonder.”

“She was also surprised by how many people thought they were statues! Check out Suvarnaprabha blog for some of the hilarious comments made by passers-by. My favorite?

“Is she breathing?”
“No, people don’t breathe when they meditate.”

Click here for Bodhipaksa's blog 'On Practice'.

San Francisco’s Daily Kos ran a story on the event entitled ‘How sitting in windows is making the planet cooler’, which ended with a beautiful poem, Keeping Quiet by Pablo Neruda. It begins -

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.

This one time upon the earth,
let's not speak any language,
let's stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be a delicious moment,
without hurry, without locomotives,
all of us would be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Find it in full on the Daily Kos blog.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Wildmind on Meditation

Every month Wildmind, Triratna’s meditation teaching website based in New Hampshire, USA, publish a collection of articles in their blog ‘On Practice.  Written mostly by members of the Triratna Buddhist Order, they relate to all aspects of life, the world, meditation and practice.  We aim to feature them here, but we’re way behind - so today we bring you a selection from the past few months. 
Under every episode of anger - 
from mild irritation to outright rage - 
is a feeling of hurt or fear, 
Bodhipaksa says. 
By finding the hurt that gives rise to anger, 
and embracing it in a mind of compassion, 
we can prevent rage from taking root.
We all want to be happy. 
Book stores have aisles and aisles of self-help books, 
many of which include chapters 
on how to be happy. 
But happiness still remains elusive. 
Here are four lessons Saddhamala has learned 
that she's found bring happiness.

You committed to yourself that you'll meditate. 
And you do, for a few days or weeks. 
But then something happens. 
You miss one day. Then another. 
And before you know it, you've stopped entirely. 
Hmmmm... What happened? 
And what can you do about it!?

Sunada recently found a beautiful article by Jack Kornfield, 
which begins with the question, 
“Is enlightenment just a myth?” 
There are so many different descriptions of what enlightenment is like, 
we might begin to wonder 
whether it’s all made up, she says.
Bodhipaksa points out that meditation offers us a powerful paradox - 
that becoming more mindful of our pain 
reduces the amount of pain we experience - 
and highlights research showing that meditation 
does in fact reduce the amount of pain we feel.

For many, many more articles, check their archives - or even better, subscribe to their free newsletter. 

Sacred SoundEver been curious about the meaning of mantras like Om Mani Padme Hum?   They’ve also got a new double CD out on Mantra Chanting and Sacred Sound, linked to Bodhipaksa and Sunada's audio course of the same name.  On it they take you through the origins of mantra meditation, explain how mantras can be both a mindfulness practice and a devotional practice that calls forth inner wisdom, and give you tools to help free your voice and connect with your creativity.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Upcoming free conference on Buddhists and Schools in Birmingham

Munisha writes from Triratna’s ClearVision audio-visual media project with news of an upcoming free conference they’re organising.  The theme is Buddhists and Schools and it'll be at the Birmingham Buddhist Centre on Saturday 26th March, from 10am-4pm.  It's intended for Buddhists of all traditions who work with schools, either independently or on behalf of Buddhist charities or places of worship. 

She says - “This is a Buddhist community event: Buddhist speakers from a range of traditions will volunteer talks and workshops sharing their experience for the benefit of all.  British Buddhists of many traditions contribute a great deal to pupils' understanding of Buddhism as part of Religious Education in schools.  

“Whether you are experienced in working with schools, or thinking about it, we'd love to see you there!  It’s a great opportunity for training, networking and sharing skills and experience.

For more details or to book, email or phone 0161 839 9579

The event is part of Celebrating RE month, and is organised by the Clear Vision Trust and hosted by
Birmingham Buddhist Centre, in association with the Network of Buddhist Organisations UK.  More details at -

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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

New Chair for Bristol Buddhist Centre

Kamalamani writes from Triratna’s Bristol Buddhist Centre with news of the celebrations surrounding the inauguration of their new Chairwoman, Jvalamalini. She says - “Dharmacharini Jvalamalini was inaugurated as Chairwoman of the Bristol Buddhist Centre on 21 February 2011. The evening was a landmark in the history of the Bristol Buddhist Centre, partly because Jvalamalini is the first female Chair and partly because there has been an interregnum of two and a half years with no Chair. The evening was extremely well-attended, with nearly 50 members of the sangha, including 25 Dharmacharinis and Dharmacharis - ordained members of the Triratna Buddhist Order - some travelling quite a distance to witness the event.

“The evening started with a short meditation, with Manjuvajra (Bristol's President) then exploring what it means to be the Chair of a Centre; what it means in this context and how it differs from other forms of leadership. We were then invited to reflect on the Bristol Chair past, present and future. Chittamani provided a brief yet colourful overview of the previous 30 years of the Bristol Buddhist Centre in three locations across Bristol. In particular, he rejoiced in the very different character and styles of the four previous Chairs: Tejananda, Achalavajra, Prajnananda and Amaraketu. I appreciated hearing this from Chittamani, given that he has witnessed much of this history first-hand, as a long-standing practitioner based in Bristol.

“Satyalila, Co-Manager of the Bristol Buddhist Centre team, then provided a lively and animated account of the recent past 'from the basement (!)' i.e. the experience of the Centre team through the period of interregnum. After this, her co-manager, Amaladevi, placed the symbol of the 'vishvavajra' or double vajra on the shrine, ready for Jvalamalini to take up during her simple inauguration ceremony. A vajra is the Buddhist symbol of a 'diamond thunderbolt', cutting through the three 'poisons' of greed, hated and delusion and bringing clarity and wisdom. Each chair of Bristol (or at least the past three, as far as we know!) has 'held' this double vajra during their time as Chair.

“Jvalamalini then shared her thoughts about the future and her vision as incoming Chair. She talked movingly of her practice over the past 17 years, her inspirations, the support of friends, and her struggles. She emphasised the importance for her of sangha - one of the 'three jewels' of Buddhism (Buddha and Dharma being the two other jewels) - and her intention that 'vision' is the overarching theme for the regular's class this year. She was formally inaugurated in the context of a seven fold puja, a traditional form of devotional practice consisting of verses, chanting, readings, and, in this puja, rejoicings in Jvalamalini's merits.

“At the beginning of each stage of the seven fold puja Manjuvajra said a little bit about each of the stages which served as a really useful and timely reminder of what the practise of puja is about. He did this beautifully, adding to the atmosphere of gravitas and celebration. There were rejoicings from Satyalila, Simhanada and myself in the 'rejoicings' section of the puja. It was a delight to witness these rejoicings and to offer my own rejoicings to my friend. During the penultimate stage of the puja Jvalamalini was inaugurated through a simple ceremony of making traditional offerings at the shrine (a flower, candle, and incense) and then taking up the double vajra. She was celebrated with three mighty 'sadhus' as she returned to her seat. The puja concluded with offerings and the night ended with celebrations and an impressive array of cake, in true Bristol Buddhist Centre style.

“I would personally like to thank everyone present for such a memorable and momentous evening. And thanks to all those past and present (right back to the Buddha and beyond) for their part in setting up the conditions for the existence of the Bristol Buddhist Centre and sangha. In addition to the former Chairs, Vessantara, our former President, has been in my mind this week, in particular, his care and support for the Bristol sangha. During Jvalamalini's inauguration I also remembered fondly the late Amrtadevi, the first Dharmacharini to come to Bristol to support women in the ordination process. I feel sure she would have been absolutely thrilled to have seen Jvalamalini take up the vishvavajra! In the present day I appreciate greatly Manjuvajra being our President. I personally don't know him that well, but so far appreciate his presence and awesome and beautifully-crafted Dharma talks. I would particularly like to thank Jvalamalini for her enthusiasm and tenacity in taking up the Chair. I am moved to see my longest-standing friend in the sangha move into this new role. May all blessings be hers and may the sangha thrive”.



Tuesday, March 08, 2011

New Right Livelihood Letting Business in Cambridge

News is just in  of a new Buddhist Right Livelihood Business in Cambridge, England. It is called New View Residential and is owned by the Windhorse Trust, windhorse:evolution's parent charity.

The man behind the business is Jayasiddhi, who started work on the project in October last year. Jayasiddhi told us:

“I used to work in the property letting industry in Cambridge before joining windhorse:evolution in 2001.  In fact, that’s how I became involved in Buddhism, by renting a house to Windhorse for use as a community. I was fascinated by the sight of their shrine room and started going along to the Cambridge Buddhist Centre a couple of months later”

“I first had the idea for a Buddhist ethical Letting Agency back in 2005, shortly after my ordination. It has taken me a while to get around to it, but with the encouragement of Achara and Keturaja it started to take on a life of its own. Before I knew it I had my first landlords, Sujiva and his wife Meera, who needed to rent their house while exploring life in New Zealand. The business naturally unfolded from there.”

The Cambridge based residential letting agency acts on behalf of local landlords who wish to rent their property out. New View Residential advertises their property to help them find tenants, takes references and collect rent, deposits and so on. They also act as an agent for Letsure, who provide insurance to landlords and tenants.

New View Residential is a not-for-profit organisation meaning that it distributes its profits to charity. Half of the profits will go to Triratna Buddhist projects and the other half to charities nominated by their landlords. Jayasiddhi says “We have given our landlords a choice of five local charities to sponsor. We have also included the Karuna Trust as an option for our Buddhist landlords.

"The name “New View” carries three associations. Firstly, the Buddha’s Middle Way is a New View. Secondly, a letting agent dedicated to raising money for charity rather than profit is a New View. Thirdly, when you move home you get a New View.

“I have received a lot of help and encouragement from Keturaja, Maitridevi, Vidyavajra and Jnanasalin to name but a few. Vidyavajra has done an excellent job designing the logo and property boards. It’s been a real team effort.”

Jayasiddhi concludes by saying “I hope this new venture is successful in raising much needed funds both for Triratna Buddhism and for local charities. But, in addition to that, I really hope that we can help to raise the profile of Buddhism in the broader community. You never know how people will become involved, just look at me!”

New View Residential had their Cambridge Lettings website developed by Virya Technologies, an ethical business run by mitra Ruth Cheesely in Ipswich. Please have a look at the website and let Jayasiddhi know what you think.

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Monday, March 07, 2011

Vishvapani, member of the Triratna Buddhist Order and a regular on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Thought for the Day’, writes to say - “I've had a little spate of broadcasting recently. On Friday I did another Thought for the Day, which is available here:  

"I'll be doing another one on Friday 11 March at 7.45-7.50 am on BBC Radio 4.

"And on Sunday 6 March I was a panellist on discussion programme on BBC1 called The Big Questions, which is available here:

Meanwhile his  new book, ‘Gautama Buddha: The Life and Teachings of the Awakened One’ has been appearing on bookshop shelves around the Triratna Buddhist Community.  It’s been attracting some great reviews, for instance this by Dorothy Rowe, Psychologist and author of Beyond Fear, who says -  ‘Master of clarity and simplicity, Vishvapani presents, through the life of Buddha, an understanding of Buddhism of immense relevance to the way we live now’.

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Saturday, March 05, 2011

The Triratna Buddhist Community on Film

Maitreyaraja writes from Triratna's London Buddhist Centre with news of their upcoming day “The Triratna Buddhist Community on Film”. He says - “On Saturday 19 March Subhuti and Suryaprabha are hosting ‘Earth Rising Heaven Descending’ at the LBC. This is a real opportunity to see the story of Triratna told on film in the presence of both Suryaprabha - the films’ director - and Subhuti - one of Triratna’s principle pioneers, innovators, and teachers.

“There’s four separate films - Background, Once Free, Recurring Dream, and The Rainbow - which between them cross four continents capturing something of the essence of Triratna by showing how it as a spiritual community is evolving and changing in the twenty-first century.

“Besides the films themselves, there’ll be plenty of time to discuss them and ask Subhuti and Suryaprabha questions throughout the day. The day will be hosted by Subhuti.

“Details are: Venue - the London Buddhist Centre, (51 Roman Rd, London, E2); doors open 9.30am. First film at 10.00am, finish at 5.30pm. Bring a vegetarian lunch to share. Cost £25/20. Click here to book, or  for more information phone 020 8981 1225.

Earth Rising Heaven Descending
Saturday 19 March
The Triratna Buddhist Community on Film.

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Friday, March 04, 2011

First mitra ceremonies and festival day for Triratna Leicester Group

The Leicester Triratna group held its first festival and mitra ceremonies recently. The group has been going for a couple of years, and is currently run by Alobhin, Vidyasara and Sanghaketu.
On Saturday 12th February, friends, regulars and visitors gathered at the Friends' Meeting House on Queens Road (the regular venue for Triratna Leicester's activities). There was a programme to mark Parinirvana Day, the festival of the Buddha's final passing away into 'Enlightenment without remainder'. After a short meditation, Jnanarakshita (visiting from Birmingham) told the story of the Mahaparinibbana Sutta. Other visitors included Sobhana and Srivajri (both from Nottingham). Amitajyoti (from London) was also there to see her mum, Kath Barton-Harvey (along with another regular at the group, Andrew Cheffings), become a mitra in the context of a festive puja, to much hearty rejoicing. Sadhu to all concerned!

Left to right are: Alobhin, Sanghaketu, Amitajyoti, Mr Barton-Harvey, Kath Barton-Harvey, Andrew Cheffings

This was the biggest event that the Leicester group has marked so far. A special mention of thanks was made on the day to Dhammamitra Lynne Randle who has been a key support to the group over the past few years, and who worked very hard behind the scenes to make the festival day the great success it was.

For more details of Triratna activities in Leicester, contact Alobhin on 0784 511 5911.


Thursday, March 03, 2011

Sangharakshita Land Project - your questions answered

Mokshapriya writes from the Sangharakshita Land Project Development Team: 

"I thought it might be helpful to attempt to answer some suggested questions in a list. No doubt some of my answers are inadequate. There are certainly elements of this project that are clearly ‘work in progress’ and only as more and more people get involved to help develop the vision and help work through the countless challenges will more answers be found. Personally I do not believe we should try to have this project all neatly sewn up before we even have a site. It is a new venture with new obstacles to be overcome as it unfolds. Having said that we need to be confident that it is achievable and exploring searching questions are essential. Other questions, other answers and fresh ideas are always very welcome. I hope this helps you engage more deeply with the project."

The following questions (and more) are answered in a recent posting at

Will the Sangharakshita Land Project 'join up' the movement in the way that people wish? From some points of view it just seems like another retreat centre which will bite into the income of the existing retreat centres and not really give more focus to the Triratna Community.

Are Bhante’s wish to house his library in a rural setting, and Subhuti’s desire for a new study centre the main things driving this project?

Dharmapala College has not been attracting large numbers of people to seminars exploring key elements of Bhante’s teaching – why will the new Dharma Training Centre be any different?

Is this another way of centralising things? 

Is it wise to invest a large amount of resources in these at the present time?

How would it be funded? There are already so many projects looking for funding in the movement.

Will the project start off as a 'mixed project' and then become a men's project?

With so many different activities planned for the land, will it really be possible to create self-contained single-sex contexts? 

Does the Sangharakshita Land Project have widespread support in the movement and Order?