Today on Triratna News:
1) A statement against Buddhist violence against the mostly Muslim Rohingya people in Burma/Myanmar, signed individually and personally by senior members of the Triratna Buddhist Order including Sangharakshita. The statement simply says that violence cannot be justified by Buddhist teachings.
2) Vishvapani’s broadcast this morning on BBC Radio Four’s Thought for the Day: ‘Burmese atrocities: the problem with a Buddhist state”. (Text and audio)
We first published a statement on this topic in 2013. In view of the even worse violence and dispossession now being suffered by the Rohingya people, its signatories have reissued the same statement, affirming now, more than ever, the Buddhist values of non-violence and loving kindness.
You can also listen to Vishvapani’s broadcast on the BBC website.
Read more about the complex conditions giving rise to the present violence.
Read more about the Rohingya people.
Read about the 2013 statement and the considerations involved in making such a statement.
After many hours and lots of generous help from a team of volunteers, we have transformed the old ‘Plume of Feathers’ pub into our new Southampton Buddhist Centre.
On the eve of their grand opening on 8th September - the last day of the ‘old’ before they formally became the ‘new’ - Amritadasa led an evening of meditation and quiet reflection to begin the weekend of celebrations. Next they held an Open Day beginning with a ribbon cutting opening ceremony, with an opportunity to mingle, look round the centre, introduce family and friends, learn meditation practices, and enjoy a short talk and Q&A session on Buddhism. To wrap the weekend up there was a day of practice and dedication of the centre, with a chance to meditate together, hear some short talks and engage in a puja.
To learn more about the Southampton sangha and centre, you can visit them online at https://www.southamptonbuddhistcentre.org.
On 23rd April 2017 seven women were publicly ordained at the Mexico City Buddhist Centre after a Going for Refuge retreat held at Chintamani Retreat Centre.
Mexican and Clear Vision director Sanghadhara was there and filmed the ordinations for NewByte, also interviewing Parami about how six women from Triratna’s Venezuela sangha came to be invited.
We are pleased to announce two ordinations celebrated at Aryaloka Retreat Center in New Hampshire, USA on Sunday 27th August 2017.
Rochelle Gatlin becomes Medhahshri
Sanskrit name meaning ‘She who has the luster of wisdom’
Public preceptor Ashokashri
Private preceptor Karunadevi
Steve Wade becomes Chittavan
Sanskrit/Pali name meaning ‘Intelligent, kind-hearted’
Public preceptor Nagabodhi
Private preceptor Suddhayu
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
Adhisthana plays host to Triratna’s International Gathering 2017 this weekend, with around 330 Friends, Mitras and Order members from at least 10 countries spending a long weekend together in many languages. Our theme is ‘What the world needs now”.
It’s a family-friendly event, with children running merrily around the place, enjoying a children’s tent, special activities and storytelling in the shrine tent each evening before the puja. There are workshops, a choir, beginners’ classes, talks, meditation, food… and friendship.
Follow daily reports over on the International Gathering’s dedicated space on The Buddhist Centre Online.
Three hundred and fifty or so members of the Triratna Buddhist Order have been meeting at Adhisthana, UK. This summer’s UK and Ireland Order weekend included women and men from countries including Sweden, France, Spain, India, Belgium, Mexico and Venezuela, supported by an international mitra team.
The weekend had three emphases:
1. Extending outwards
2. Going deeper
3. Learning from the past
Extending outwards The Order’s symbol is the thousand-armed Avalokiteshvara, each Order member working in his/her own way for the benefit of the world. This was reflected in the theme of the weekend: ‘ “A rich and many-splendored thing” - valuing the contribution of every Order member’.
Under this heading a number of people shared some of the many ways we practise in the world including
- An Indian classical music workshop
- A cello recital
- Sessions on healthcare chaplaincy, prison chaplaincy and mindfulness in the UK prison system
- A presentation on the work of Young Indian Futures
- A presentation on the work of the Karuna Trust
- The work of the Abhayaratna Trust, supporting Order members in financial hardship
- A ‘Meet the Safeguarding officer’ session with Munisha
- Moving presentations on projects financed by the FutureDharma Fund
Going deeper Order members tried out a model for discussing one’s practice and assessing strengths and areas for development.
Learning from the past Talks by Vishvapani and Lokeshvara looked how we can learn from the difficulties in our past, staying open, holding difference, staying in dialogue.
We also rejoiced in Prakasha on the 40th anniversary of his ordination, and took the opportunity to welcome more than 25 new Order members!
We recently launched a new space for Triratna Buddhist Families.
The Triratna Buddhist Parents Network Facebook page has been providing invaluable support for many parents practising in Triratna. In response to recent discussions on that group, our own Rijupatha on the The Buddhist Centre Online team (and dad of two), has set up a project space on our website to:
- Provide further opportunities for children, parents (and grandparents!) to connect and network to discuss their Dharma lives within Triratna.
- Provide helpful resources for family Dharma practice in one place
- Promote family events at Triratna centres - with ideas for activities, downloadable courses and other resources, and important information for Centres leading groups for young ones and older ones.
- Keep Triratna families informed about events, gatherings, and important developments for families in our community.
We have drawn together a bunch of already existing resources. If you would like to see the project grow, we really encourage you to share the resources and ideas that work well for you and your centre / group.
In the latest NewsByte video report from Clear Vision, we hear about Triratna’s first ever Mainland European Young Buddhist Convention, held in June at Triratna’s Berlin Centre, Buddhistisches Tor.
Looking at the theme of ‘One sangha’, 70 people aged 18-35 attended, from nine countries, as German event organiser Hannah explains, alongside Prasadacarin, new Chair of Stockholm Buddhist Centre. (At 28 he’s the youngest Chair in the Triratna world.)
‘Mainland European’ may seem a strange term, but the corresponding term for the British is the ’Islanders’.)
Sthanashraddha is Bhante’secretary. He writes from Adhisthana, UK:
“Finally, after many weeks of dry and often sunny weather, the grounds and gardens have been treated in the last couple of weeks to downpours of rain, misty drizzle and long gentle overnight soakings. The rock-hard lumps of clay earth are softening again. We’ve also seen this month second broods of moorhens hatching - tiny, little, black golfball-sized fluff, chirruping and calling for their mothers.
Bhante’s month has been fairly quiet. While keeping up his correspondence, at least hearing the incoming post regularly, he has also been keeping up with most of the ‘Articles’, ‘Threads’ and ‘Stories of the past and present’ being shared by Order members on The Buddhist Centre online, and the subsequent threads of online discussion.
There have of course been guests and visits from old friends and new. There have also been two hospital visits, one for a vision test and scan, which led to the second visit - Bhante’s 18th Lucentis injection into the left eye. Bhante also went over to Adhisthana’s Sangharakshita Library to view the Blake exhibition, which was part of the Blake retreat, following which Paramartha took Bhante on a wheelchair tour of the new landscaping including his burial site, which is slowly being developed and planted up.”
Visit Sangharakshita’s website.
Thanks to the generosity of the European Chairs Assembly, in just a few minutes FutureDharma Fund raised £5000 in pledges to help sangha members in Venezuela, whose country is in crisis.
Chairs from Triratna Buddhist Centres across Europe and representatives from major Triratna projects had gathered together at Vajrasana for a 10-day meeting. They were joined by several other Chairs from around the world, including Vajranatha. He is the only Order Member in Venezuela and Chair of Merida Buddhist Centre, supporting a sangha including 22 mitras, 13 of whom have asked for ordination.
The country is facing a significant humanitarian crisis. Over on a newly created online space ‘Metta for Merida’, Vajranatha writes
The political tensions in Venezuela have reached a point where violent confrontations on the street are an almost daily occurrence. They are the kind of conditions that could lead to civil war.
Following a moving report by Vajranatha to the ECA, FutureDharma Fund took the floor the next day to ask the audience for their help.
Viryanaga - Project Manager at FutureDharma Fund told us:
The good will in the room was palpable and the response was deeply moving and inspirational. It’s great to be a part of something which directly helps people in need.
Watch this video of Vajranatha explaining the situation in Venezuela more fully.
Visit the ‘Metta for Merida’ space for more information on how you can help - including getting old smart phones that can download Whatsapp to Adhisthana, UK, by the 20th August so that Vajranatha can take them over. The Buddhist Centre Online team is currently clarifying how you can easily donate money.
At 7.30pm UK on Wednesday 16th August there will be an i nternational metta for Merida meditation.
FutureDharma Fund is a vital international platform for giving to Triratna, launched at our International Conventions in August 2016. It gives us all a simple way to support existing Triratna projects around the world and make new ones possible.
Visit the website to give today and follow online for inspiring stories from around the world - like how sangha members are investing money into Triratna projects as another form of giving.
Today we are reporting on the publication of a new set of writings by Sangharakshita, the founder of the Triratna Buddhist Community.
Just before Sangharakshita’s 90th birthday in August 2016, his friend Paramartha, was called away to the other side of the world where his mother was seriously ill. As it turned out he stayed away for nearly six months.
It was this rather unfavourable set of circumstances that was, apparently, the galvanising force that led to a resurgence in Sangharakshita’s creative or literary output. It began with a Letter to Paramartha which took the form of a Reverie or Reminiscence and was followed by eleven further pieces, all dictated over the course of many evenings and taken down by Suvajra, one of Sangharakshita’s team at the Urgyen Annexe at Adhisthana. When the twelve pieces were complete they were gathered together under the name, Adhisthana Writings and are published on Sangharakshita’s web-site.
Kalyanaprabha, one of Sangharakshita’s literary editors, writes:
“Vidyadevi and I did not imagine there would be further works to add to the list of Bhante Sangharakshita’s Complete Works which we compiled a couple of years ago - but we were mistaken! In the Adhisthana Writings we have a fascinating collection of pieces from his pen. They begin with Bhante’s account of his 90th birthday celebrations, and go on to include what is really a miscellany of writings whose subject matter is both broad and deep and which move easily between many worlds, between the spiritual and the mundane, the visible and the invisible.
There are, for instance, recollections of his father and mother, and other family members, and of a diverse selection of friends from Bombay in the 1950s to hippy friends of the 1960s to Dharmachari Alaya in the earlier days of the FWBO. Intriguing indeed are the stories of his ‘Encounters on the Underground’ and ‘On the Edge of the Etheric’ which include a very mysterious encounter with an asura.
Elsewhere Sangharakshita reflects on his own life: his life with Terry Delamare, the close friend whose tragic death is recounted in Moving Against the Stream. He wonders ‘What Might Have Been’ had he not been drafted into the army and not ended up in India. (Included here are reflections on the effect of growing up knowing oneself to be gay in a society where homosexuality is a criminal offence.) Colin Wilson’s The Outsider stimulates a string of musings on that theme in relation to his own life; and the study of the Mahayana Sutras give rise to some very different reflections.”
As well as finding the Adhisthana Writings on Sanghararkshita’s website, you can find them in several different file formats below.
In June we also announced the release of a set of Poetry Interviews between Sangharakshita and Saddhanandi.
|Adhisthana Writings - PDF||268.46 KB|
|Adhisthana Writings - standard eReaders and apps e.g. iBooks||81.12 KB|
|Adhisthana Writings - Amazon Kindle||144.71 KB|
|Adhisthana Writings - Amazon Kindle app on other devices||148.85 KB|
For the next week, the extraordinary, redeveloped Vajrasana Retreat Centre in Suffolk plays host to Triratna’s European Chairs’ Assembly. Sixty leaders of European Buddhist centres and enterprises, including retreat centres, are gathered here, with guests from further afield (and a family of ducks), for meditation, ritual, discussion and business, all in the context of spiritual friendship.
See more pictures and f ollow the meeting over on the ECA’s own space.
The ECA is a very long established and well run body of Triratna leaders who meet for 7-10 days twice a year to discuss matters of shared interest and make sure they are in harmony and pursuing common aims. They employ a Development Team to support them with services they all need, such as Safeguarding policy and advice, fundraising and project management.
This June saw another successful Buddhist Action Month (BAM) unfold. We take a look at what it was all about and how the Triratna Buddhist Community around the world took part.
So what is BAM?
“At the heart of Triratna is the Bodhisattva Ideal – the aspiration and heartfelt wish to benefit others and the commitment to act in ways that help all beings to thrive. Buddhist Action Month is an opportunity to reach out and engage with friends or local communities in ways that we may not be able to do for the most part during the year. ‘BAM’ is an invitation for one month to take part and get involved in actions that express our care and concern for our planet and our environment – for all living beings that exist on it – in a practical way.”
Buddhist Action Month is a project initiated by the Network of Buddhist Organisations UK in 2012.
Over on the dedicated BAM 2017 space for the Triratna Buddhist Community we saw an abundance of posts from across the globe.
Here are just a few examples of what groups and Centres got up to:
- climate change workshop (Dublin, Ireland)
- jumble sale to raise money for a local charity supporting the city’s refugees and asylum seekers (Bristol, UK)
- writing letters for Amnesty International (Taraloka, UK)
- participating in National Gun Violence Awareness Days (Aryaloka, New Hampshire, USA)
- geurilla gardening (North London Buddhist Centre, UK)
- helping at an animal rescue centre (Cuernavaca, Mexico)
- art project called ‘Turning Hatred into Compassion’ (Manchester, UK)
- beach clean-up and phasing out individually wrapped tea bags (Wellington, Australia)
- litter picking and flash meditation (Cardiff, UK)
- recycling Tetra Paks (Adhisthana, UK)
Sarah Thorne from Bristol, UK, wrote: “It’s been an inspiring and heart opening time filled with the energy of reaching out into the vast jewelled web of interconnection and feeling the power and potential of our practice and aspirations for a better world.”
Triratna Buddhists also contributed to the Facebook page created for the broader initiative, where it was wonderful to see posts from other Sanghas such as Soka Gakkai International- UK, Amida Trust and the Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement (DANCE), initiated by Gaia House.
For example, Carl Hodson and Loretta Lee, from Leicestershire, UK are part of Soka Gakkai International (SGI- UK). They wrote :
” With the help of the Local Area Co-ordinator we identified a lady with extra needs. The lady is in her 80s and is partially blind. Her garden, front and back, was very over grown with weeds, to about four to five feet or more. Due to her disability, she is not able to maintain it. So five of us went to help tidy up the garden. We were joined by two other ladies who are regulars at the local community centre in Barwell. It was hard work, but fun. We built fellowship among us, members, and friendship with our newfound friends.”
Visit the BAM 2017 space on The Buddhist Centre Online for more inspiration, but not before you have taken a look through our slideshow of photos - capturing just a tiny amount of the amazing events that happened.
Would you like to live in a London community for men that’s relaxed and easy going, but serious about practice, centred on friendship and mutual support?
Uddiyana Community in Leytonstone, London, is looking for a new person to join them from 1 October.
Here’s what the community have to say:
“We’re a men’s community of five - currently one order member (Vajradaka) and four mitras training for ordination. There’s a lot of laughter, great conversation and sharing of creative interests, some top notch cuisine, and we host a great party. We’re an open community, so partners are welcome to stay over sometimes. And underpinning all of it is a serious commitment to Dharma practice. There’s meditation and breakfast together every morning, and a couple of day/weekend community retreats a year. When things get tough, we make sure we’re there for each other. Weekly community night is a mainstay.
We live in a spacious house, which we make an effort to take care of, with a lovely garden full of roses and fruit trees, about 10 minutes from Leytonstone Tube and from Leyton Midland Road Overground (25 mins to the LBC). The green open space of the Hollow Ponds area of Epping forest is also about 10 minutes away. More information on our blogsite: https://uddiyanacommunity.wordpress.com/
Rent is £434 per month including all bills and we have a food kitty of 25 pounds a week that pays for all communal groceries.
We are looking for someone who actively wants to live in a community, and has a regular meditation practice. Other than that, we’re open to anyone from the Triratna sangha, regardless of your age or level of experience.
If you are interested, do get in touch with a short email about yourself and why you would like to join to uddiyana.community [at] gmail.com”
New View Residential is looking for a new team member to join a dynamic and professional Team-Based Right Livelihood in Cambridge.
Team-based Right Livelihood’s offer fantastic opportunities to deepen our practice with other Buddhists, integrate our values into our every day lives more fully, and contribute our energy and skills to projects that have a positive impact on the world.
New View Residential is one such organisation, and is now advertising a new position for a man or woman to join it.
Watch this great short video to get a sense of the atmosphere and ethos of the team.
“We are looking for applicants who are keen to share in the broad development of the business with particular interest in property management.
New View Residential is an ethical letting and property management business owned by the Windhorse Trust. It offers a vital service in helping to provide accommodation on an ethical basis and plays a key role in the activity of the Windhorse Trust. The Windhorse Trust in turn provides significant financial support for projects across Triratna. We are also part of the Cambridge Triratna Buddhist Mandala.
Our team currently consists of four Order Members (Kulapriya, Prasannavira, Keturaja and Samamati), all with very extensive experience of Team-Based Right Livelihood (TBRL) within Triratna. The business is a social enterprise giving half its surplus to Triratna and the other half to charitable projects designated by our landlord-clients. As well as offering valuable Right-Livelihood opportunities to practice within the workplace and participate in kalyana mitrata, the business also aims to support the accumulation and dissemination of knowledge and experience in the field of property management for the benefit of the whole of Triratna.”