Young Buddhists in Valencia chant the Shakyamuni mantra - with special quest Prajnaketu (Young Buddhist Facilitator) from Oxford, UK.
This full moon - the 10th May - we celebrated Wesak (often called Buddha Day). Find out how sanghas around the world marked the occasion - the occasion that unites all of us in our practice as Buddhists, despite the physical distance between us and diverse backgrounds.
Click on the photos to the left to scroll through a lovely slideshow packed full of images of shrines, programmes and people celebrating.
Nagpur, India: Watch several Dharmacharini’s lead a Pali Puja as part of a mitra ceremony held as part of a three day programme.
Sydney, Australia: Watch this wonderful video of Claire introducing the amazingly creative shrine for the day - includes dinosaurs as a representation of fossilised views!
Valencia, Spain: Young Buddhists in Valencia chant the Shakyamuni mantra - with special quest Prajnaketu (Young Buddhist Facilitator) from Oxford, UK.
Listen to inspiring talks
You can find some great talks given as part of the celebrations on Free Buddhist Audio.
Vajrasara guides listeners through 5 coloured windows and 5 questions, to draw out different dimensions of the elusive & ineffable Shakyamuni Buddha.
In What was the Buddha really like? Jayabodhi explores this important question with particular emphasis on how this is related to out own lives and how we may follow in the footsteps of the Buddha ourselves.
Vishvapani also gave his Thought for the Day for BBC Radio.
We love this video of Claire introducing Sydney Buddhist Centre’s shrine for Buddha Day - a collaboration by Young Sydney Buddhists.
This full moon - the 10th May - we celebrated Wesak (often called Buddha Day). In this short video, women in Nagpur, India lead a puja before a mitra ceremony held on the occasion.
(Sound is slightly quiet at the beginning but gets louder)
“We had a three day programme as a celebration with four centres: TBM Mahendranagar North Nagpur, Nagaloka, Mitraloka and Triratna South and West. More than 250 people attended which was very inspiring. I led the mitra ceremony - 11 men and 25 women became mitras - and enjoyed handing over a flower, candle and incense stick to each of them to offer to the shrine.
On the third day we had a cultural evening at Mahendranagar and South and West Triratna Centre which was very exciting and encouraging. There were songs, plays about Kisa Gotami and music - it was wonderful!”
Follow People to People, India for updates on his work.
Could you be part of a new community at Naganaga Vihara, in the Mid North coast of New South Wales, Australia? Many of us in Triratna have wonderful memories of staying there. There is now an exciting opportunity to take on the property, as the current community move to a town nearby.
“Naganaga Vihara is looking for a new community to take over this piece of paradise. After 15 years of creating Naganaga, the current community has come to accept that we are ageing and no longer able to look after this beloved place. We need to move to a smaller property closer to our local town Kempsey and our growing local sangha there.
This provides a golden opportunity to others to make Naganaga their next home to grow and develop as they choose. Have you ever had a vision of living with friends and running a right livelihood project together in the country? A meditation community? A small retreat centre? A place where others can do solitaries? An opportunity to explore sustainable living? This might be your chance!
Dharmamati is interested in being part of creating a new community and would love to hear from anyone who would like to find out more dharmamati [at] gmail.com
He says: “I really want to support Naganaga and help keep it going. I’m always happy when I’m there and would hate to see it lost to the Movement. It is unique and so beneficial to the many people who come there from centres all over Australia, and indeed, the world.”
He envisions a Buddhafield type of approach with either a mixed or single sex community and possibly including couples. The most important criteria for him would be:
- you want to live in a rural, ecologically-minded community
- you are committed to Dharma practice
We would love to see Naganaga stay within Triratna so if you have any interest in finding out more, please contact us at naganagavihara [at] gmail.com or phone +61 2 65671416. You can also look at our blog for more info and lots of pictures.”
Sthanashraddha is Sangharakshita’s secretary. He writes:
“April was certainly a month of growth and birth; it seemed as though every day a new plant or flower was sprouting or coming into bud and blossom. The various nesting ducks have all hatched their ducklings and the swallows and housemartins have returned. Bhante himself seems no less affected or part of this springtime growth, as he has entered into a rich period of writing, going from one set of reflections to the next, addressing one theme after another.
Earlier in the month he finished his piece entitled ‘Living with Carter’, then moved on to his recent piece on the Garava sutta, which he wrote/dictated with Paramartha’s help. And there is another piece on the way which will probably be entitled ’A good friend, the false friend and the spiritual friend’.
While ’writing’ in the evenings has taken up some of his time he has also been going through Advayacitta’s book, again with Paramartha. And for some enjoyment there has been an audio set of short stories by Oscar Wilde.
There has of course been time to meet with various people throughout the month, which included the following from 1st April up to 30th April: Saddhanandi, Tamonuda, Kathy Wu, Karunabala, Sanghadarsini, Sona, Kusaladevi, Saddhaloka, Peter Oswald, Abhayanara, Harshaprabha, Vimalasara, Nagadevi, Dhammarati, Vajratara, Vajrasara, Vidyasri, Taracitta, Maitrivajri, Oliver Fitzgerald, Subhadramati, Richard Penrose, Dirk-Jan Fokkens and Terry Duffy.
Kathy Wu, an old friend from Madhyamaloka and a practitioner of traditional Chinese herbal medicine, visited from the States and very much enjoyed her two weeks here at Adhisthana. She was able to meet with Bhante three times to catch up and impart a wealth of medicinal knowledge to Suvajra and Sanghadasa.
Another guest to mention was Peter Oswald, a well-known playwright, who came to interview Bhante about his meetings with Dr Ambedkar, for a play he is writing looking more at the life of that great man.
During the month Bhante made another trip to Kidderminster for his 16th injection of Lucentis into his left eye, and there was a visit from the local matron towards the end of the month, who was pleased to find Bhante quite well and thought that he would needonly one more visit from her.
Just yesterday Paramartha drove Bhante over to the Adhisthana Library to see the 50th anniversary exhibition. Bhante has been pleased to hear of all the various celebrations around different parts of the Movement celebrating our first 50 years. And of course as some will have seen in a short video clip taken by Suvajra, Bhante indeed made his own surprise appearance at the celebrations here at Adhisthana. So in some small way we were in person able to publicly thank Bhante with some words, flowers and a round of applause.”
Our video today is Vidyadevi’s beautiful talk, ‘Beyond Us, Yet Ourselves’ about her work as editor of Sangharakshita’s Complete Works, given in Adhisthana’s Sangharakshita Library on the Triratna 50th anniversary weekend. (Audio below.)
Giulietta Spudich writes from Windhorse Publications to update us on the the Complete Works project.
“The project was launched successfully last October with four volumes published so far. These volumes include previously out of print material such as What is the Sangha? and never-before published material inlcuding various talks by Sangharakshita in India in the 1980s.
In addition to these important works, much effort has been made by the editorial team to trace the source of original teachings and present them as endnotes. The last volume, the Concordance, will index teachings and themes across all 27 volumes, tying them together. This will be priceless in referring to different talks and commentaries by Sangharakshita on a specific theme across his decades of teaching.
‘Beyond us, yet ourselves’ by Vidyadevi
In her talk, Vidyadevi likens Sangharakshita’s teachings to a cathedral, in an evocative metaphor that conveys the richness and depth of the wisdom and knowledge contained in them.
Some Centres, such as Berlin, Bristol, Cambridge, London Buddhist Centre, Melbourne, Metta Vihara, Paris, and the West London Buddhist Centre have already taken out subscriptions. Sadhu to you!
If you are another Centre we haven’t named or you have taken out an individual subscription, thank you. We hope you benefit from these rich volumes.
Please take out a subscription and help us move ahead more confidently. We need you!”
Take out a subscription.
Phone Windhorse Publications: +44 (0)1223 213300.
+Follow Windhorse Publications on The Buddhist Centre Online.
Buy your Dharma books direct from Windhorse Publications.
This Easter, South America saw its first ever Going for Refuge retreat (for those training to be ordained in Triratna), in the Venezuelan Andes, outside the city of Mérida.
Triratna activities in Venezuela began in the early 1990s although the Centre has received very limited support and input from the wider sangha until quite recently. The Centre currently boasts more than 20 mitras, 13 of whom have asked for ordination.
While six men Mitras were on their first Going for Refuge retreat on home soil, six women were at the same time participating in their first Going for Refuge retreat at Chintamani Retreat Centre in Mexico; a retreat that culminated in the ordinations of 7 Mexican women.
Watch the ordination ceremony.
The men’s retreat was led by Vajranatha, Chair of Venezuela’s Mérida Centre, and Nagapriya, Chair of the Cuernavaca Buddhist Centre in Mexico. Bruno Mendoza, a Mexican mitra, travelled with Nagapriya to attend the retreat and enhanced its international flavour.
The determination and commitment of the Venezuelan mitras was evident throughout a week of intensive practice focusing on ethics, confession and communication. The retreat was held in the beautiful surroundings of a house belonging to Paula Michelangeli - who was away on the retreat in Mexico.
The men and women pursuing their Going for Refuge in Venezuela face some stiff practical challenges, as well as the usual spiritual ones. A good salary is worth the equivalent of perhaps 15 US Dollars per month while the collapse of the currency means that just to buy breakfast can involve handing over more than a 100 banknotes. There are many scarcities - toiletries, tinned goods, and so on - and simply obtaining sufficient food to feed nine men for a week required a huge effort.
The value and impact of the Dharma in Mérida can be illustrated through the example of Fabian Orozco, who arrived at the Centre aged just 15 wanting to learn kung fu in order to survive in his tough neighbourhood. Now 18 and living in the men’s residential community, Fabian sees the Order as his future. Given adecuate training and support, Fabian, along with his brothers and sisters in the Dharma, will carry the Triratna sangha into a bright future in Venezuela and beyond.
Visits from Order members and Mitras from outside Venezuela offer a vital source of inspiration and kalyana mitrata (spiritual friendship). However, given the economic difficulties that currently fetter the country, such exchanges depend on the financial support of Triratna people around the world. Local fundraising ideas include a photography exhibition of the works of Ricardo Rico, who asked for ordination some 18 years ago and still has faith that his dream of becoming a Dharmachari will come true.
To support the Mérida sangha with money, or if you want to know more, vayira [at] gmail.com (email Vajranatha.)
We’re delighted to announce that 16 sixteen new Dharmacharis were publicly ordained on 1st May at Guhyaloka Retreat Centre.
Public preceptor: Maitreyabandhu
Kevin Croke becomes Amalayodhin
A Sanskrit name meaning “He who is a warrior whose aim is purity”
(Westernised spelling Amalayodhin)
Private Preceptor: Paramabandhu
Public preceptor: Amogharatna
Ralf Scholle becomes Ṛjubandhu
A Sanskrit name meaning “Upright friend”
(Westernised spelling Rijubandhu)
Private preceptor: Nirmala
Sven Lohrey becomes Satyadhara
A Sanskrit name meaning “He who is a bearer of truth”
(Westernised spelling Satyadhara)
Private preceptor: Jnanaketu
Roman Krebs becomes Saddhācārin
A Pali name meaning “He who is living in faith”
(Westernised spelling Saddhacharin)
Private preceptor: Nirmala
Public preceptor Surata
Drew Bird becomes Bodhinaya
A Sanskrit name meaning “Wise conduct”
(Westernised spelling Bodhinaya)
Private Preceptor: Achara
Mark Rehrl becomes Bodhijina
A Sanskrit name meaning “Victor of enlightenment”
(Westernised spelling Bodhijina)
Private preceptor: Amogharatna
Ollie Brock becomes Prajñāmanas
A Sanskrit name meaning “He whose Mind is Wise”
(Westernised spelling Prajnamanas)
Private Preceptor: Maitreyabandhu.
Greg Kelly becomes Aryanaga
A Sanskrit name meaning “The Noble Serpent”
(Westernised spelling Aryanaga)
Private preceptor: Pramudita
David Whipp becomes Karuṇāmaṇi
A Sanskrit or Pali name meaning “He who is a jewel of compassion”
(Westernised spelling Karunamani)
Private preceptor: Shuddkakirti
Dave Cooke becomes Aryadasa
A Sanskrit name meaning “Servant of that which is holy”
(Westernised spelling Aryadasa)
Private preceptor: Vadanya
Richard Dawson becomes Nāgamaṇi
A Sanskrit name meaning “Jewel of the nagas”
(Westernised spelling Nagamani)
Private preceptor: Vajragupta
Viktor Backström-Cook becomes Śraddhamanas
A Sanskrit name meaning “He whose mind is faithful”
(Westernised spelling Shraddhamanas)
Private preceptor: Viryabodhi
Sam Farquharson becomes Maitrinara
A Sanskrit name meaning “Man of loving kindness”
(Westernised spelling Maitrinara)
Private preceptor: Maitreyabandhu
Nick Holloway becomes Vidyāketu
A Sanskrit name meaning “He whose Knowledge is like a Flame”
(Westernised spelling Vidyaketu)
Private preceptor: Vajrasiddhi
David Ford becomes Jñānadaya
A Sanskrit name meaning “He whose kindness is wise”
(Westernised spelling Jnanadaya)
Private preceptor: Maitreyabandhu
Tansel Konar becomes Maitrīvāsin
A Sanskrit name meaning “Perfumed with loving kindness”
(Westernised spelling Maitrivasin)
Private Preceptor: Amoghavamsa
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
Vishvapani lives in Cardiff, Wales and is the regular Buddhist contributor to BBC Radio 4’s ‘Thought for the Day’ slot on the morning news programme ’Today’. ‘Today’ has around seven million listeners. Here are his recent ‘Thoughts’:
Recalling the Buddha’s death: 15.02.2017 (Parinirvana Day)
The dark side of Buddhist history: 18.01.2017
Children’s mental health: the big perspective 11.01.2017
Roald Dahl and the karma factory 14.09.2016
Entering the anthropocene: how our minds shape the planet: 31.08.2016
Follow Vishvapani’s writing and broadcasts on his ‘Wise Attention’ blog.
It’s your call to change self and world! June is Buddhist Action Month (BAM) and Triratna’s Karuna Trust is celebrating with a BAM telephone campaign, 5th June - 14th July. They’re looking for a team of 6 volunteers for 6 weeks who are willing to act to create social change.
The closing date for application is 22nd May.
Karuna’s Nisha Mothilal writes: “Based in the Karuna office in North London, you’ll be calling our existing Karuna supporters to engage and inspire them further. As part of a team you will have good conditions to deepen your practice: meditation, Dharma study and other creative activities will help us connect with ourselves and our supporters.
Karuna is a successful Triratna Team Based Right Livelihood charity. For nearly 40 years Triratna volunteers have raised money projects seeking to end caste-based discrimination, poverty and inequality in India and Nepal. We reach approximately 90,000 beneficiaries every year, focusing on education, dignified livelihood and gender equality; transforming communities and changing society.
We offer training and a generous support and retreat package so you won’t be out of pocket.
Liam Chai, one of our previous fundraisers, told us ‘It was a wonderful training ground to integrate meditation practice and life. To go from the Metta bhavana on a cushion to Metta bhavana on the phones is super.’
For an inside view of our previous campaigns see our fun and very informative videos beautifully made by Karuna by volunteers who were on the campaign.
Watch a short film about our 2015 campaign.
Watch a short film about our 2016 campaign.
Change lives in India and Nepal.
Change your own life!
The closing date for application is 22nd May.
Call or text Nisha on 07764 445111 for an informal chat.
nisha [at] karuna.org (Email Nisha. )
Buddhist Action Month is only a month away! For 2017 the theme of this festival of Buddhist social action is ‘Connecting for Change’ - seeking to address the seemingly increasing polarisation, disharmony and divergence within many societies.
Having started in 2012 as an initiative of the UK’s Network of Buddhist Organisations BAM is now in its fifth year and increasingly international and pan-Buddhist.
Of course the Triratna Buddhist Community is dedicated to the Bodhisattva Ideal all year round, but BAM is a specific opportunity to get involved in actions expressing care and concern for our planet and all living beings that exist on it, in a practical way we might not find time for all year round - reaching out into our local communities as well as engaging specifically with the particular ethical issues of our times.
Increasingly, Buddhists from many traditions are joining in with social and environmental actions large and small. Why not ask those of other Buddhist groups (or other faiths) locally to join you?
You can follow the pan-Buddhist BAM on Facebook - and contribute your ideas.
A BAM action can be something as simple as a sangha litter pick or some guerrilla gardening around your Buddhist Centre; a clothes swop with your friends to raise awareness of the polluting effects of large parts of the clothing industry, or a campaign to switch members of your sangha community to green energy - there are loads of ideas in the Buddhist Action Month Handbook.
In addition, for 2017 we have suggested a number of ‘Special actions’ - these include taking part in Refugee Week (UK) or organising a street meditation for peace; join the divestment movement by withdrawing your (Centre’s or your own) finances from supporting fossil fuels with excellent resources by Tejopala in Melbourne, Australia. There are a fab little video with notes to help you run a ‘Climate Change for Beginners’ workshop by Mark Wells; or why not get involved with Triratna’s very own major social action project in India by supporting Karuna and the India Dhamma Trust!
It’s only April but there are already more ideas and resources on Triratna’s dedicated Buddhist Action Month 2017 space!
Share the learning! Reporting your ideas, plans and experiences
Don’t forget If you are running events at your Triratna Centre or Group (or even just with a couple of friends) post what you are doing on the BAM 2017 space, before and after; it’s inspiring and helpful for others to hear what you’re doing!
+Follow the dedicated BAM space on The Buddhist Centre Online.
Follow - and post on - the pan-Buddhist BAM Facebook page to see what we and other Buddhist groups are doing.
Triratna’s sangha in Barcelona, Spain, bought their first Buddhist Centre last year. Just six weeks from opening they are working hard. They still need to raise €15,000.
Sugarbha writes: “This is a really exciting project for Triratna Barcelona. Thanks to a legacy donation, in summer 2016 we secured a mortgage and purchased a building to convert into a centre. This is obviously a huge step forward for us, and for Triratna in mainland Europe.
We were able to secure the mortgage mainly due to a substantial sum we received from the legacy of Virananda, an English order member who lived in Barcelona for many years, who sadly died of cancer as the first wave of our Order team arrived here more or less six years ago.
Triratna Barcelona started life as group affiliated with the Valencia Buddhist Centre. It was set up by two friends living here with the help of Order members from Valencia who came up twice a month to run a class. On arrival our Order team took on responsibility for the group since when the sangha has flourished. We have a core of about 15 Mitras and Friends.
Up until now we’ve been renting rooms for classes in other people’s spaces, but it became really obvious that we needed our own space to help us root more deeply in the city and take the project to the next level.
Sinhendra, our Chairman, got together a team of Friends and Mitras, who were at the helm of the centre search. Two of the women being an architect and a lawyer, their help was invaluable.
In late summer we signed the contract on a property of 135 sq meters. The property is situated on Carrer de la Marina which runs from the sea to La Sagrada Familia which as you probably know is an iconic landmark in the city. It feels fitting that you can see Gaudi’s great masterpiece from our doorstep! The property is well placed for access to the metro, tram system and has ample underground car parking very close by.
We chose our premises carefully so as to avoid lots of costly work but to transform the building into a functioning centre we need to raise €35,000 (Euro). We are doing whatever work we can ourselves and this has saved a considerable sum to date but we will need to contract professional builders, electricians and plumbers to do work we simply cannot do ourselves, due to legal and competency issues.
We still need to raise €15,000 but we have been hard at work raising money ourselves, for example through Siddhisvari’s pop-up cafe!
It’s an inspiring and sometimes challenging project we have on our hands but I can say with all confidence that we are doing really well. I have no doubt at all that we will thrive in the new centre, working in a more effective and focused way to help spread Triratna and Sangharakshita’s vision of what human life can become.”
Every year Triratna’s European Chairs’ Assembly (ECA) invites applications to its Growth Fund, for projects encouraging/enabling more people to learn basic meditation and Dharma with Triratna. The closing date this year is 28th May and applications are invited from Triratna Groups or Centres.
Mokshini writes from the ECA’s Development Team: “In 2017, we have a total of around £5600 available and we envisage this being given in relatively small amounts of up to £1000 each to Triratna projects around the world, excluding India (Karuna have a separate fund for new Dhamma projects in India). Recommendations for which projects to fund will be made by the Development Team with the final decisions made by the European Chairs’ Executive by the early summer. The money should be available for distribution soon after that.
Read the criteria for the Fund and more guidance on submitting applications, as well as a summary of the applications we received in 2016 to give you an idea of the kinds of projects helped in the past.
The closing date is 28th May 2017.
mokshini.work [at] gmail.com (Please contact Mokshini ) with any questions.
We are delighted to announce that the following women received their public ordination yesterday at the Mexico City Buddhist Centre.
Ayer, en El Centro Budista de la Cuidad de México, las siguentes mujeres recibieron su ordenación pública:
Public preceptor / Preceptora pública Parami
Gisela Peters becomes Moksasi (dot under the first ‘s’, long ‘a’ and long ‘i’), a Sanskrit name meaning ‘She who holds the sword of freedom’ / un nombre Sánscrito que quiere decir ‘La que sostiene la espada de la libertad’.
Westernised spelling / Forma gramatical para uso en Triratna, Mokshasi
Private preceptor / Preceptora privada Viveka
Adriana Peña becomes Satyasuri (accent above the second ´s´, long ´u´and long ´i´), a Sanskrit name meaning ‘Heroine of truth’/ u n nombre Sánscrito que quiere decir ‘Heroína de la verdad’.
Westernised spelling / Forma gramatical para uso en Triratna, Satyasuri
Private preceptor / Preceptora privada Paramachitta
Deny Salgado becomes Bodhikamala (long last ´a´), a Sanskrit name meaning The Red Lotus of Awakening/ un nombre Sánscrito que quiere decir ‘La flor de loto rojo del despertar’.
Westernised spelling / Forma gramatical para uso en Triratna, Bodhikamala
Private preceptor / Preceptora privada Paramachitta
Mariana Valdez becomes Manjugita (tilde above the n, long ´i´and long last ´a´), a Sanskrit name meaning ‘She who sings with a gentle voice’/ un nombre Sánscrito que quiere decir La que canta con una voz dulce’.
Westernised spelling / forma gramatical para uso en Triratna, Manjugita
Private preceptor / Preceptora privada Paramachitta
Fernanda Buenrostro becomes Candrasiddhi, a Pali name meaning ‘She whose spiritual power is like the moon’/ un nombre Pali que quiere decir ‘Ella cuyo poder espiritual es como la luna’.
Westernised spelling / forma gramatical para uso en Triratna, Chandrasiddhi
Private preceptor / Preceptora privada Dayachandra
Public Preceptor / Preceptora pública Paramachitta
Binisa Colmenero becomes Suryalila (long ´u´, long ´i´, long last ´a´), a Pali name meaning ‘She whose playful joy is like the sun’/ un nombre Pali que quiere decir ‘Ella cuya alegría lúdica es como el sol’.
Westernised spelling / forma gramatical para uso en Triratna, Suryalila
Private preceptor / Preceptora privada Dayachandra
Aurea Zepeda becomes Saddharuci (long second ´a´), a Pali name meaning ‘She who delights in faith (in the Three Jewels)’/ un nombre Pali que quiere decir ‘La que se deleita en la fe (en las Tres Joyas)’.
Westernised spelling / forma gramatical para uso en Triratna, Saddharuchi
Private preceptor / Preceptora privada Parami