A new Triratna Buddhist Centre is currently taking shape in the heart of historic York in the UK, just round the corner from the famous Minster.
This will be the new home of the York Buddhist Group which was started in November 2017 by Shakyapada, and three mitra friends: Mark Jones, Kate Readman and Ley Robinson, using a hired room in a York community centre. As the Group grew, it moved to the York Quaker Meeting House in 2018 where more facilities were available.
It is now a lively, active and growing sangha with 11 mitras. The Group runs several newcomers courses each year, day retreats, sangha retreats, and study groups, in addition to the weekly sangha night.
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis the Group has also reached out to the local community by offering regular online meditation sessions. These virtual sessions have been an important source of support to many suffering from the effects of stress and isolation, with people from the York area, and even further afield joining in regularly. They have also been an excellent way of building the sangha at a difficult time.
Shakyapada is currently the only Order member in York so Order members from other centres - Khemasuri, Amoghavamsa and Mahasraddha - have generously given up their time to help form and run Triratna Buddhist Community (York) - a new charity registered in June this year. They are joined on the council by Shakyapada who becomes the Chair of the new Centre with Mark as Treasurer and Kate as a Trustee.
Now, established as a charity, and with the easing of restrictions, members of the sangha are busy decorating the premises, erecting shelving, building a new shrine and generally, creating a beautiful new centre for the sangha and for the people of York.
Shakyapada, who lives in York, says: “This is a really exciting time for us and a great reward for the commitment and dedication of the York sangha over the last two and a half years. Many strong spiritual friendships have been formed in that time, lives have been changed, and all the time, new people are joining us and experiencing the benefits of the Dharma and of friendship.
We have a very committed, supportive and growing sangha and we are all very excited about moving into a ‘home’ of our own and creating a really special place where the Dharma can thrive in York. We’ll be able to increase our activities with more open meditation sessions, day retreats and open days. The new centre will also include a small shop selling ethically sourced products.
Shakyapada adds, “I am so grateful for the support of all the Order members who have visited us in the past two years and given talks, run evenings, and been so supportive to our young sangha”.
The Group recently received a generous grant of £2,000 from Future Dharma Fund supporters which has has boosted other funds raised by the sangha over the last two years, through skills auctions, sponsorship and stalls at local events.
Obviously, the cost of decorating and fitting out a brand new Centre is expensive, and while the grant helps a great deal towards the setting up expenses, the sangha still needs to raise another £2,000 to cover the costs and get the project off the ground.
So the York sangha is appealing to the wider movement for donations to help make this new Centre a reality and ensure that it can open as soon as the lockdown restrictions end.
Watch video about the York Buddhist Centre
It is with sadness that the Trustees of Clear Vision have announced its closure from September 2020. Over the past 35 years Clear Vision has been a vital part of the FWBO/Triratna Community having documented much of our community’s history through video, particularly Newsreels, Triratna Newsbytes, filming Sangharakshita’s talks, events and tours, and much more. Clear Vision has also developed the beginnings of a photographic archive and library and video archive, a range of award-winning teaching resources on Buddhism for school children as well as supporting a team-based right livelihood project.
Having developed two important archives for our community: a photographic and a video archive - which are as yet unfinished - the hope is for these two archives to be completed and made available as curated online resources (with the full archives available at Adhisthana). Uddiyana Trust (Urgyen House) has agreed to take ownership and responsibility for these two archive projects with Mokshapriya continuing the work. In addition to this, maintaining the online education resources is being explored - and the remaining stock of education DVDs will be sold by Adhisthana.
Read the statement from the Trustees of Clear Vision
Subscribe to the website Urgyen House to keep updated with developments in relation to the archive
Visit the Clear Vision website
Please feel free to share your favourite memories, videos, photographs and stories about Clear Vision below - a chance to rejoice in all they have contributed to our community over the years 🙏
We are delighted to confirm the first ordination of an Order Member in Poland. The ex-Wojciech Janowski from the Krakow Sangha was ordained during a short retreat south-east of the city. His private ordination was on Thursday 30th July and his public ordination on Saturday 1st August.
Wojciech becomes Maitrinanda, a Sanskrit name meaning ‘He whose joy is love’.
His private preceptor is Santaka and Amogharatna is his public preceptor.
The photo shows Maitrinanda (centre) with his preceptors.
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
After Sangharakshita’s death, the Uddiyana Trustees (the charity which is dedicated to preserving his legacy) renamed the annexe where Sangharakshita spent his final years, Urgyen House.
Urgyen House was Sangharakshita’s home for the last five-and-a-half years of his life. This building and the Sangharakshita Library (which is located in a different building at Adhisthana) provided not only living quarters for Sangharakshita but a place for his entire collection of books, letters, papers, thangkas and artefacts.
The Uddiyana Trust has now embarked on a project to ensure the long term preservation of this collection and of the building. The building is not yet open to the public, but in the meantime you can visit the website which features some video blogs about the project and items from the collection.
Visit the Urgyen House website
Subscribe to the mailing list
On May 9th 2020, the international Triratna community celebrated Buddha Day. And in the process raised 57 lakh rupees | £60,000 | $75,000 for Coronavirus relief in India.
As part of an extraordinary day, with thousands of people online from all around the world, we reached out to our sangha friends in India, who were already pouring their energy and love into helping alleviate great hardship on the ground. Here is an update on the amazing work they have been doing as the coronavirus crisis has continued to wreak havoc for many millions of people.
Towards the end of May, the Indian Prime Minister handed over responsibility for the lockdown situation to individual States to deal with by themselves. The disease is still spreading, and so the work continues!
Half of the money raised has already been transferred to India, with the remainder to follow soon. Your generosity has helped reach thousands of families. It has provided food to itinerant day labourers trapped in hunger by the lockdown; and provided transportation from Nagpur in Maharashtra to the border crossing as people try to return home to their villages.
Everyone, from Centre Chairs to Dhamma Mitras to new friends, has been pitching in! Coming together to prepare chapatis and parathas with pickles, water, electrolyte powder, bananas, and biscuits for children on trains leaving Nagpur.
Follow Triratna India Coronavirus Updates on Facebook!
From the Coronavirus Relief Work India team, the Buddha Day team – and from the online community around the world…
Thank you! May you be well!
From The Abhayaratna Trust, FutureDharma Fund / India Dhamma Trust and The Karuna Trust.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic that is putting many people and communities in desperate circumstances in India, a number of appeals have been initiated by Triratna Trusts and individuals both in the East and the West.
In Europe, The Abhayaratna Trust, FutureDharma/India Dhamma Trust and the Karuna Trust/Karuna Germany are all active in raising and distributing emergency relief funds to people in need in India. In addition, Subhuti launched an appeal on Buddha Day to support Triratna groups in India involved in relief work. There are also a number of Triratna appeals on social media and those generated by Indian centres and groups which are beyond our scope to outline here.
We’d like to clarify each particular Trust’s position in raising money for people and projects in India so that you are clearer about their particular focus.
Firstly, we want to say that the response from within our community has been tremendous! We thank everyone within Triratna for the very generous donations that you have given, the skills you have shared and time you have volunteered so far. A special, and deep felt thanks goes to the Order members, mitras and friends in India who are going out to local train stations, into slums, or setting up roadside stalls to help feed and support starving migrant workers. They are true Bodhisattva heroes and cannot be celebrated enough!
We know that many of you are giving to all of these appeals and it is a credit to our Order and Movement that we are responding so effectively to support those on the front line in India. However, the work is far from over and our brothers and sisters in India, and the communities they serve, need us to keep giving. The scale and the need in India will be very great for what looks like a long time and they are responding to a genuine humanitarian crisis.
The Abhayaratna Trust
The Abhayaratna Trust makes direct grants to individual Order members known to be experiencing financial hardship. In response to the suffering arising from the coronavirus pandemic, the Trust quickly set up a worldwide Coronavirus Emergency Fund for the Order and made cash grants to Order members in India, the UK, Spain, Mexico and the USA. In India particularly, some of our brothers and sisters in the Order are experiencing acute levels of hardship and The Abhayaratna Trust is working with the Indian Order Office to get financial support to those Individuals most in need of help to afford food and housing bills for them and their families. The Abhayaratna Trust exists to support individual Order members rather than projects or institutions.
So far, the Trust has made much needed grants to 54 Order members in India. Based on information from the Indian Order Office, support is needed for at least another 70 Order members; in addition, some of those who have already received a grant may need further support this summer. To meet this urgent need, we want to raise at least 600,000 Indian Rupees (approx. £6,000).
If you can support this appeal, please donate securely here and visit www.abhayaratnatrust.org to learn more.
2. FutureDharma Fund / India Dhamma Trust
The FutureDharma Fund in partnership with the India Dhamma Trust funds a number of projects and teams in India, including the Ordination Teams, the Movement Coordinator, and the Indian Youth Teams. Many of these are actively involved in coordinating the distribution of food parcels and other emergency responses to the coronavirus.
Furthermore, the Indian Ordination teams are unable to raise their own funds at this time and members of the teams are facing serious financial hardship. FutureDharma has been asked to increase funding for the Indian Ordination Teams. The men’s and women’s Ordination teams in India play a vital role in our community offering spiritual training, friendship and guidance. It is vital to our movement that they are able to continue these during the crisis.
That’s why FutureDharma in partnership with the Indian Dhamma Trust has launched the Thrive Online appeal to fund these projects in India and other projects around the world which are resourcing our Sangha in these unprecedented and challenging times.
If you would like to know more about the projects and to give, please visit: FutureDharma Thrive Online.
3. Karuna Trust / Karuna Germany
Founded in 1980, Karuna exists to end caste-based discrimination, poverty and inequality in India and Nepal. Within days of the COVID-19 lockdown, Karuna along with its sister charity, Karuna Germany, launched appeals to provide emergency aid for their partners in India and Nepal.
So far, Karuna has made large grants to 24 different long-standing partner organisations providing either food aid, medical supplies or counselling and support for the most vulnerable communities, reaching an estimated 135,000 people. The vast majority of those who have been helped are daily wage labourers – people who live hand-to-mouth on the income they receive each day. Without the ability to work, they have had no savings to fall back on and are not able to afford basic needs like food or healthcare. They remain highly vulnerable and, in response, Karuna’s relief work continues.
Karuna supports a range of partners and a significant number are social projects run by Order members or Mitras. They have been working around the clock to respond to the near endless suffering they encounter. Even though lockdown is easing in some Western countries, huge numbers in India continue to suffer acute levels of hardship and deprivation.
To support Karuna to continue this vital emergency work and to find out more, visit the Karuna appeal webpage.
4. Buddha Day Appeal
On Buddha Day, Subhuti launched a new Appeal for Triratna-led relief work in India. A GoFundMe page was set up and, through the Dhammaloka Trust (a charity registered in the UK), the funds raised were transferred to TBMSG Nagpur, which is holding them on behalf of the Coronavirus Response Committee, made up of Dhammacharis and Dhammacharinis from various centres in India, which is coordinating this relief effort across India.
Up to a 100 Triratna locations and groups have responded to the crisis including 34 Triratna Centres, 15 Triratna social projects (Bahujan Hitay) and other Triratna organisations such as Aryaloka Computer Education, Bahujan Hitay Society, National Network of Buddhist Youth, Triratna Youth Council, and alumni of the Nagaloka Training Institute.
At the time of the appeal they had distributed food parcels to nearly 12,000 families and 60,000 people across India (Maharashtra, Uttarpradesh, Delhi, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Tamilnadu etc) and the work continues. As well as going to the slums in many villages, towns, and cities, Order members, Mitras, and friends are going daily to principal railway stations to give out food parcels, water, and oral rehydration salts to the thousands of destitute migrant workers travelling back to their villages without money, food, and water. The crisis is now getting worse as the economic consequences of the Lockdown hit poor Indians harder and harder.
Please support this appeal by visiting its page here.
Thank you for supporting these appeals and for standing in solidarity with our Movement in India.
Mahasraddha, Director, Abhayaratna Trust
Padmadaka, CEO, Karuna Trust
Nandavajra, Director, Future Dharma Fund
Vajratara, Chair, India Dhamma Trust
Since 2006 Vishvapani has been contributing to BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day: a prominent daily slot featuring reflections on the news from a faith perspective.
"I often see Buddhist friends commenting on politics, usually from leftwing perspectives and often assuming that their perspective is the correct expression of their Buddhist principles. Thought for the Day forces me to do something different. Because it's an uncontested slot on public service radio (with no interviewer or opponent to challenge what I say) I'm not allowed to offer my own political opinions: I have to connect the issues in the news to broader Dharma principles.
I’ve found that particularly helpful in recent months when I found myself speaking on the day of the UK General Election and then on Brexit Day, when Britain officially left the EU. I've also done four talks during the Coronavirus lockdown, when the need for the Dharma has seemed greater than ever."
Keeping a Global Perspective on Coronavirus (14 May 2020) | Listen on BBC Radio 4
Covid-19 and the Four Sights (Buddha Day Talk - 7 May 2020)
Finding Creative Space in Lockdown (1 April 2020)
Isolation and Connection in the Coronavirus Crisis (21 March 2020)
Buddhist Reflections on Brexit Day (31 January 2020)
UK Election Day: A Liminal Space where Possibilities Emerge (12 December 2019)
Rob Burbea, who died aged 54 earlier this month, was a Dharma teacher loved and valued by many of us in the Triratna community. His clear teachings on emptiness and the imaginal may prove to be of great significance for the development of Dharma traditions in the West. Rob was steeped in the Insight meditation tradition in the USA and Europe. He was also, among other things, a classical and jazz guitarist, a climate activist and a lover of Jewish and Christian mysticism. I met Rob just once on a Buddhafield Yatra shortly before he took up residence as a teacher at Gaia House in 2004. His sensitivity, playfulness and sheer love of the Dharma was evident in the short talks he gave around the campfire after a days walking.
For many though, their first encounter with Rob was in his seminal book Seeing That Frees, published in 2014. After a startling chapter laying out the connections between Samadhi and Insight practice, the reader is guided deep into the heart of emptiness and dependent arising. In his inimitable prose - gentle, precise and inviting of personal exploration - Rob sets out what he had discovered about how to use the wisdom teachings with skill, subtlety and without limiting the profundity of the Buddha’s core teaching to any single conception. Seeing That Frees joins up the dots and has become a classic manual for practitioners, one to take on a solitary retreat and really soak up.
What people might not know is that Rob struggled with finishing his book and not only because had a heavy teaching round at Gaia House and many students to meet. By 2012 he had already begun on a new phase in his practice and thought. He said his experience of Dharma practice left various important questions unanswered. After all, one cannot spend all one’s time in the realm or neither-perception-nor-non-perception, can one? Rob had turned his attention to the much broader and possibly more vital matter of how we really breathe life or soulfulness into our Dharma practice, in an age which is dominated by modernist, reductionist and materialist assumptions about reality.
Such questions will be familiar territory for those of us grown up in the Triratna tradition founded by Sangharakshita. He too was unusually insistent in stressing the need for a wide scale re-imagining of the Buddha and a re-animation of our understanding of the human in relation to the wider Cosmos. Sangharakshita taught that art was a spiritual path, that myth and ritual were necessary to engage the full range of our human potential and that imagination is an integral spiritual faculty. So pronounced was his syncretic approach, drawing on sources from East and West, that it lead some people to wonder if he was really a Buddhist.
Rob Burbea went even further in stepping outside classical Buddhist terminology, including notions of soul, divinity, eros and even God in his teaching. He delighted in exploring and exposing what he saw as Buddhist dogmas that have taken root, particularly in the West, or at least pointing out the limitations of those views, as well as the ways in which they can usefully be taken up. For example, he thought the cultivation of “bare attention” and the cessation of prapañca was certainly a fruitful practice, but naive if conceived of as the goal of Buddhist practice, especially if one also believes that to have bare attention of sensory objects is coterminous with experiencing things “as they really are”.
One of Rob’s favourite pastimes was to unpick and expose the secular worldview fostered by materialistic science, which he saw as founded on beliefs, usually unexplored, and then to show in turn how these beliefs were shaping how many of us conceive of and limit the Dharma. Speaking personally, it has taken me 20 years to really open up to how conditioned I am by my secular education and upbringing and I expect I’ve hardly begun that journey. Scientific materialism has defined truth as objective truth for such a long time now that other ways of knowing - such as imagination, myths, poetry, dreams - are denigrated to a merely subjective and unreal status. Thus many of us have grown up with an uneasy relationship to all that. In the talks and retreats he gave and which are freely available online, Rob showed how many people come to the Dharma with an atrophied imaginal capacity. He encouraged his students to reclaim the realm of the Imaginal. He reasoned that if the core Dharma teachings of emptiness are sufficiently realised, then one sees that any perception or conception of reality is neither finally real nor unreal. That being so, one is free to take up different conceptions and images and even fantasies, so that one could, in one of his favourite expressions, “entertain the possibility” of angels, for example.
Apparently some people saw Rob’s teaching and even Rob as dangerous. On one level at least, that is surely correct. Rob exposed underlying views. Who among us can say they’ve never found it uncomfortable when our clinging to a teaching or a conception of practice is exposed? The Buddha himself was surely a dangerous man to be around for the same reason. But maybe Rob was dangerous in another sense also. In the West and in other parts of the world, the Dharma is finding new forms. Any form of practice is always particular, with particular institutions and ways of doing things, as well as a common language and broadly shared understanding of practice flowing from a lineage of teachers. The form is what defines a tradition and we love our traditions and quite rightly hold them precious. How will it be if we all start bringing in angels, unicorns and the Virgin Mary or whatever pops up in our imagination after a morning meditation? Pandaemonium!
Rob was the first to admit that his teachings weren’t for everyone or even necessary. So long as there was eros, love, a movement of the soul, it doesn’t matter what you call it or whether you even know it’s there. He wasn’t trying to start a new religion. Yet for many people he voiced a crucial insight: that the profound teachings of emptiness give rise to the possibility of holding different perspectives on reality for different purposes and cultivating a range of qualities which enrich and deepen the journey of life. I don’t know how to reconcile the creative tensions between innovation and tradition. Maybe it’s always just a tension. However, I do know I’m grateful to Rob for his teachings and his way of teaching. They have expanded and enriched the way I practice and conceive of practice and I’m sure they have impacted many individuals and communities beyond Gaia House and beyond even the Buddhist Sangha.
Rob died of cancer after several years of treatment. Despite his suffering, or maybe because of it, he poured out teachings during long retreats all this time. His body was buried in the grounds of Sharpham House, in a rolling green meadow leading down to the River Dart. We might think that Rob died too young or that his later teachings needed more time to develop, or another book maybe. But I can hear Rob questioning our views and reminding us that everything depends on the way we look at it.
Satyadasa, May 30, 2020
Buddhist Action Month (BAM) - an annual festival of social action overseen by the Network of Buddhist Organisations - has been taking place every June since 2012. This year is no exception, despite the changed circumstances, with sanghas going online to offer opportunities to engage with this year's theme - "...for the Earth", where the suggestion is to put this phrase in the title of any event that's being organised for BAM 2020.
Read more about the theme for this year
Visit the BAM 2020 Events page hosted by the Network of Buddhist Organisations
Throughout June The Buddhist Centre Online in conjunction with friends will be offering some live events to explore this theme of '..for the Earth'. We will be announcing these events soon - so keep an eye on the live events and classes section of the Dharma Toolkit.
In the meantime you can take a listen to a special BAM podcast where we discuss the plans for Buddhist Action Month, interconnectivity, active hope and much more to get you in the zone! We are pleased that our friends in the Karuna Trust will be participating this year, bringing to bear their perspective and learnings from 40 years of working to alleviate poverty and caste-based discrimination in India and Nepal.
And, of course, we want to hear about you and your sangha's plans for the month so please share what you are doing on the Action space. 🌍🌎🌏
+Follow Buddhist Action space
The Triratna Arts and Culture Catalogue is an initiative to document every four years, for 40 years, a selection of Art and Culture that represents the unfolding exploration of how to convey the Dharma into a globalised culture and so form the aesthetic foundations for a society based on caring for all that lives. It will collate work for no cost to artists, and distribute work to Triratna Buddhist Centres and beyond at no cost to those institutions.
Sangharuci, an Order member based in Birmingham, UK, is now looking for artists, musicians, dancers, poets, writers, arts therapists and other creatives of different kinds who are involved in the Triratna Buddhist Community (Order members, Mitras and friends) to send him details of their work to be featured in a The Triratna Arts and Culture Catalogue 2021. The work does not have to be explicitly Buddhist and you do not have to be a professional artist.
Sangharuci is hoping to compile this catalogue in the next couple of weeks so if you are interested fill in the questionnaire (which only takes two minutes) as soon as you can!
You can fill in your details here to take part.
View PDFs of 2013 and 2017 catalogues
Here are Triratna’s model Ethical guidelines and policies for Safeguarding children and adults, updated for 2020 by Triratna’s Safeguarding team, part of Triratna’s Ethics Kula.
(See below for more information on Safeguarding, the Safeguarding team, the Ethics Kula and the difference between Safeguarding matters and Matters of Order conduct.)
Safeguarding and ethical policies and procedures are a practical expression of ahimsa, non-harming, the value underlying Buddhist precepts and the Bodhisattva activity of protecting living beings from harm.
The model Ethical guidelines (first published in 2015 on the initiative of Triratna’s International Council) are an internal statement of values for those teaching in Triratna centres, groups and retreat centres. Based on the five precepts, they complement our model Safeguarding documents, which follow external legal and regulatory requirements of charities in England and Wales, home to half our Order worldwide.
The Safeguarding polices have been substantially updated in the light of new regulations and improved understanding, and in response to requests for guidance from Triratna centres.
Who uses these documents?
These model documents are made available to Triratna charities and other enterprises, to use as the basis for their own documents, or to adapt, translate or replace with other documents better suited to their local cultural, regulatory and legal requirements. They’re intended to provide guidance on in the prevention of harm in various situations, and how to respond when harm is reported.
What happens when someone brings a serious allegation?
All Triratna centres in the UK now have Safeguarding policies and Safeguarding officers to whom local concerns can be reported, or reports can be made directly to the Triratna Safeguarding team via secure email at safeguarding [at] triratna.community. Triratna centres in other countries are encouraged to have the same, or to do whatever is required locally.
Where an allegation is made of a criminal nature it is the Safeguarding team’s policy that it be reported to the police, without exception. However, where for any reason an allegation cannot be pursued by the police and yet is too serious to ignore, we now have a publicly accountable internal ‘Panel process’ for addressing allegations of serious ethical misconduct.
Alongside developing our policies we have continued to address controversial matters in Triratna’s past, as can be seen in the Frequently Asked Questions document produced 2017-2018 by the Adhisthana kula.
Anyone with concerns or information regarding the ethical misconduct of members of Triratna in the past or present is requested to email the Safeguarding team at safeguarding [at] triratna.community.
What is Safeguarding?
Is every allegation of misconduct or harm automatically a Safeguarding matter?
‘Safeguarding’ is a term used in England and Wales to refer to the duty of an organisation to protect children and adults and adults from ethical misconduct which is also unlawful, in the course of that organisation’s activities. (In Scotland it’s referred to as ‘Protection’ or Safeguarding.) While there are parallels in some other countries, there are many in which there is no such concept or requirement.
The Charity Commission for England and Wales and the Scottish Charity Regulator hold trustees responsible for Safeguarding/Protection in the course of their charity’s activities. If concerns are reported to the Commission or Regulator about misconduct connected with a charity, they will immediately ask to see its policies.
However, Safeguarding is not merely a matter of meeting external requirements. All Triratna charities are asked to have Safeguarding policies and officers because these are recognised as among the best means of avoiding or addressing the suffering caused by failures in Safeguarding.
In relation to concerns about the behaviour of Order members we distinguish between Safeguarding matters and matters of Order conduct.
Safeguarding can be said to refer to unethical behaviour which is also unlawful; for example: murder, physical violence, rape and sexual assault, sexual abuse of children (including viewing sexual abuse images of children online), stalking and bullying.
It also covers the institutional obligation of charity trustees to prevent - in the course of their charity’s activities – discrimination against, or harm to, those who may be vulnerable, for example because of mental health problems, race, disability or gender identity.
Matters of Order conduct are things which, while not against the law, need to be addressed because they cause significant harm; concerns that an Order member, for example:
- appears to have a problem with addiction, or
- persistently flirts with and attempts to date newcomers
The way to report a concern is either to your local Centre’s Safeguarding officer, or to the overall Safeguarding team via our secure email: safeguarding [at] triratna.community. This is shown in red at the top of every page in the Triratna section of The Buddhist Centre Online website.
Who are the Ethics kula and Safeguarding team?
As Triratna’s overall Safeguarding officer, I set up Triratna’s Ethics kula in January 2017 to ensure that serious ethical questions could be addressed at a more senior level where they went beyond the remit of the Safeguarding team; for example where an ethical concern had implications for a person’s membership of the Order.
The Kula presently comprises Ratnadharini (Chair of the College of Public Preceptors), Saddhaloka (former Chair of the College) and Aryajaya and Lokeshvara (Order convenors), Jnanasiddhi (Triratna Restorative kula) as well as the Triratna Safeguarding Team: me and our volunteer Safeguarding adviser, Amaladipa, who is very senior in the criminal justice system in Britain. College members Punyamala and Jnanavaca will join soon.
The Kula reviews new or updated documents and ensures that matters brought to them via the Safeguarding team are dealt with in the most appropriate manner, whether they require formal disciplinary action or a simple referral to the Triratna Restorative kula.
Triratna Safeguarding team (part of the Triratna Ethics Kula)
Read more about Safeguarding and Ethical guidelines in Triratna.
Read more about Restorative process in Triratna.
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We are very happy to announce the public ordination of ex-Gus Miller took place on Sunday 5th April at the London Buddhist Centre.
The ordination was not public, but was live-streamed (you can see it here).
Gus becomes Sthiramanas, a Sansksrit name meaning Steadfast Mind. (Registered spelling Sthiramanas.)
Maitreyabandhu was his private preceptor and Paramabandhu was his public preceptor.
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
The Abhayaratna Trust is responding to the financial hardship resulting from the spread of Covid-19 by offering short term relief through cash grants of up to £500 per Order member as support at this time.
Many Order members are self-employed and the sudden loss of income has left some of them without the resources to pay food and utility bills and with rent shortfalls. Access to state benefits can be too slow or not available in many countries.
So if you are an Order member who is struggling financially and would be helped by a cash grant, you can now apply online for support.
Apply to the Abhayaratna Trust’s Coronavirus grants scheme
This is a quote from one Order member who recently received a grant from The Abhayaratna Trust:
Also, as a small charity, The Abhayaratna Trust are appealing for donations to help them meet the need for these grants. If they are able to raise £10,000 they will be able to make urgent grants available to an additional 20-25 Order members worldwide.
Donate towards the Abhayaratna Trust grants scheme
Alternatively you can jinavamsa [at] abhayaratnatrust.org.uk (email Jinavamsa) , Communications Support, for information on other ways to give.
We are delighted to announce that Itir Binay from Melbourne, Australia was publicly ordained in Melbourne on Saturday 28th March, 2020.
Ex-Itir becomes Varadhī. Her name means ”She who has the highest wisdom”. (Westernised spelling: Varadhi). Her Public Preceptor is Maitripala and her Private Preceptor is Chittaprabha.
The ceremony was witnessed by over 100 members of the Melbourne Sangha live on Zoom. You can watch a recording of the ceremony here which ends with a beautiful wave of sadhus around the world.
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread across the world, how have Triratna Buddhist Centres and team-based right livelihood businesses been responding?
By now most Triratna Buddhist Centres and groups have closed their doors - but many have opened up on the digital universe and invited their sanghas to join them online. Various Triratna Centres across the world are now offering courses classes, pujas, urban retreats and other events online. Now is a great time to try out joining in some of the activities of a completely different sangha! Several Triratna practitioners have also begun to run online classes, including yoga and meditation.
You can let us know what your sangha is offering online by replying in the comments below or info [at] thebuddhistcentre.com (email us the details!)
Visit the ‘Online Events Around Our Community’ page
One significant impact the coronavirus has had on our community has been the cancellation of both the women’s ordination course at Akashavana retreat centre and the men’s course at Guhyaloka retreat centre, in Spain. Ordination represents a significant step point in the life of our community: the moment when a person’s commitment to their Buddhist practice is recognised and witnessed by those in our community as being effective. Twenty three women from seven countries were due to attend the women’s ordination course, starting on 20th April for three months. This was to be largest ordination retreat yet held at Akashavana. Sixteen men from UK, Ireland, Spain and Sweden were also invited on the four month ordination course at Guhyaloka.
Listen to Parami, one was due to lead the women’s ordination course this year, talking about the difficult decision to cancel these courses.
However, not all ordinations have been cancelled. On Saturday 28th Itir Binay will have her public ordination in Melbourne, Australia, having been privately ordained on 12th March. While the ceremony will be attended in person by just two Order members, the local sangha have been invited to witness the ceremony on Zoom. And the public ordination of one of the men who was due to attend Guhyaloka in April will take place in the coming weeks at the London Buddhist Centre - keep an eye on Triratna News for further information!
All the retreat centres in the UK have also closed: Padmaloka, the men’s retreat centre in Norwich, have cancelled all their retreats until the end of June. Tiratanaloka retreat centre in Wales, finished a retreat a week early and closed on 20th March. Similarly Taraloka retreat centre has closed until the beginning of June. Dhanakosa retreat centre in Scotland have created an online programme involving videos, talks, online live sessions, and pictures, to keep us all inspired and connected through this difficult time. And, at Adhisthana, the burial place of Sangharakshita, the founder of the Triratna Buddhist Community and Order, the community there are using this time as an opportunity for work and practice together - you can take a look at their ‘home schedule’ and follow them on instagram to see how it’s all going.
And of course, it’s not just urban Buddhist centres and retreat centres that have been affected by this global crisis. Lama’s Pyjamas, the charity shop for the London Buddhist Centre, has closed its doors for a time. Likewise, Karuna Trust - which exists to end caste-based discrimination, poverty and inequality in India and Nepal - has taken the significant step of postponing all their door-to-door appeals until the autumn in order to look after their volunteers, supporters, staff and other members of the public. The majority of their fundraising is done by Buddhist volunteers who give six weeks of their time to live and work together, raising money through door-knocking appeals, so this decision will have a serious impact on Karuna’s ability to work with the poorest communities.
Some Triratna businesses have responded by generously offering some of their resources for free. Windhorse Publications, which is Triratna’s main publishing house, are giving away a free eBook each week, for as long as is needed, in order to help make the Buddha’s teachings and practices more widely available whatever your situation. This week’s free eBook is Solitude and Loneliness: A Buddhist View by Sarvananda. Breathworks, which runs courses and training around mindfulness for those living with stress, pain and illness, are offering a free, self-paced online course, Mindful Self-Care for Troubling Times to support those who might be feeling overwhelmed or who are isolated at this time.
And for Order members now experiencing hardship as a result of the Covid-19 virus, the Abhayaratna Trust, which supports Order members experiencing financial hardship through illness, old age or disability, has begun offering small grants.
Find out more about the grants for Order members affected by the coronavirus
Lastly, here at The Buddhist Centre Online, we have set up a ‘community toolkit for uncertain times’ to bring you a daily supply of the best Dharma content from around the world – new features and teaching, and highlights from our extensive archives - to keep you connected with the Dharma and with the sangha. You can join our twice daily online meditations (with about 150 others each day from all around the world), tune into our daily podcasts, sign up to our newsletter or just take a look at the resources on offer in the community toolkit space.
We hope you stay well in these uncertain times and look out for each other, however you can, whether it’s by reaching out to any elderly, disabled and ill members of your sangha confined to the home, doing the Metta Bhavana for all beings, helping with delivering shopping to those vulnerable or self-isolating, and or even helping others set up Skype or Zoom on their computers so they can stay connected online. 🙏
Find out what Triratna Centres and individuals are offering online
+Follow the Community Toolkit