Maitrikaya from the Dublin Buddhist Centre writes: “On March 24th 2018 at the historic Rotunda building in Dublin a meeting took place to establish the Irish Buddhist Union (IBU) to represent Buddhism in Ireland. The IBU is a new umbrella association of Buddhist Sanghas and Organisations in Ireland. It is envisioned as a fellowship of Irish Buddhists, intending to bring Buddhist ideas and principles to the attention of wider Irish society.
Buddhism is among the fastest growing faiths in Ireland, showing a 12.1 per cent increase - to 9,758 practitioners - from the previous census in 2011. This is evident in the vibrancy in our own Dublin Buddhist Centre not to mention the various other traditions with a presence in Ireland. In an increasingly diverse Ireland, the IBU hopes that the many Irish people who identify as Buddhist will become visible and active in Irish public life, with the IBU acting as a conduit for this. Hoping to have an input on the national debate as Ireland develops to accommodate its growing diversity for the first time.
At the inaugural meeting a constitution was adopted and a board of trustees elected. On the day the Triratna Buddhist Community, Zen Buddhism Ireland, Kagyu Samye Dzong Dublin and Jampa Ling Tibetan Buddhist Centre were represented. The Order of Interbeing (Thich Nhat Hanh) and Sunyata Buddhist Centre (Thai Forest tradition) couldn’t attend on the day. It is hoped that the Union will expand in the future with SGI Ireland joining soon. The aim is for all Buddhist traditions to come together in a spirit of celebrating our shared Going for Refuge rather than our differences.
Bhante in 1996 almost 30 years since the founding of the Order wrote Extending the Hand of Fellowship outlining how we might relate to the wider Buddhist world. We in the Dublin Buddhist Centre feel that in a changing Ireland - and in the spirit of Bhante’s vision - it’s important that Buddhists ethics and viewpoints are heard and a good way to do this is through some kind of umbrella organisation representing Buddhist groups in Ireland.”
Visit the Irish Buddhist Union website
Visit the Dublin Buddhist Centre website
View ‘The Balance of Being’ film from RTE 1 which features members of the Dublin Buddhist Centre community, exploring how the Buddha’s teachings informs their lives in Ireland
+Triratna in the Buddhist World space on The Buddhist Centre
With the help of Future Dharma Fund, three Order Members from the UK and Spain visited Merida in Venezuela to help the Sangha there, who are growing despite being in challenging conditions. Aryavachin (living in Nottingham but from Venezuela), Manjusiha (from Padmaloka, UK) and Padmashalin (from Valencia, Spain) have been kept busy in Venezuala!
Aryavachin has been keeping a record of the visit, which started with an afternoon on William Blake and the integration of opposites. The three visiting Order Members led events like the Saturday afternoon class at the Mérida Buddhist Centre, sharing their reflections on the Dhamma Revolution and individual spiritual journeys with the local Sangha.
After that they travelled to La Mucuy to lead a series of three retreats: firstly for all levels on the System of Practice with Manjusiha, Padmashalin. Aryavachin writes: “Some 16 people came, which fills me with optimism, despite the immense difficulties our country is facing. Metta to all!”
Next up was a week intensive study retreat on “What’s the Sangha?”. At the end of that they took the time to embody Sangha by going for a Sangha Walk in the beautiful Venezualan Andes.
And their final retreat in the Venezuelan Andes was on the Four Vows of the Triratna Buddhist Order for the six men in the Merida Sangha who’re training for ordination. Again, from Aryavachin: “It was an authentic challenge to arrived at the end of the week with the energy to go deeper in our exploration of collective practices, but the weekend was wonderfully led by Manjusiha. It was such privilege to host all three retreats in the beautiful valley of La Mucuy, truly a garden of Eden!”
While in South America, the three Dharma heroes have also taken the opportunity to visit Colombia and lead an evening on meditation and introduction to Buddhism, hosted by Mitra Olmer Rendon - the first official Triratna event there!
See more posts about the Sangha in Venezuela.
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Sthanashraddha is Bhante’s secretary. He writes from Adhisthana, UK:
As March draws to a close, and the clocks have sprung forward an hour, spring is poking its head up through the soil and swelling in buds on branches all around Adhisthana. Though we have had some terribly cold and snowy days there have also been some sunny ones, and when bright and dry if maybe not so warm, Bhante has taken what opportunities he could and enjoyed a morning walk in the garden.
Spring has also been having other effects too, there has been a large increase in emails and notes from people all around the Movement inquiring and asking to meet with Bhante over the next couple of months, so much so I’ve been struggling to reply promptly to everyone.
Here then is the list of people Bhante has seen from 28 February to 31 March:
Subhadramati, Alan Worrel, Karunagita, Vajrapriya, Maitreyabandhu, Paramachitta, Buddhadasa, Jai Teather, Paraga, Onur Pinar, Hannah Prinzler, Amoghavajra, Ratnaprabha, Viryabodhi, Surata, Ratnavyuha, Sanghadevi, Rijumati, Harshaprabha, Vajranatha, Alexandra Suffolk, Maitreyaraja, Aryanaga, Cecilia Ringner, Aryajaya, Vidyadaka, Shuddhakirti, Tom Llewelyn, Robert Ellis, Roman Kalkreuth, Lydia Parusol, Hannah Peaty, Jas Sambi, Natascha Trolle, Dhammarati, Vidyatara and Jnanavaca.
One of those meetings was with Buddhadasa, whom of course is not only an old community member and one of Bhante’s household before he moved back down under, but of course a dear friend of many years. They were able to meet as Buddhadasa was visiting Adhisthana for his last college meeting.
Many of Bhante’s meetings with Order Members also included accounts and anecdotes of trips to India for either the order retreat and convention or pilgrimage. So in the end he has been left with a rich and varied impression of the international convention at Bodhgaya.
On the literary front, this month’s Shabda will see another new piece of writing from Bhante entitled ’ A Passage to America’, this will be his 18th piece written in the space of a year, and of course Bhante hopes many order members and others are reading them. Though they are not all exclusively written for the Order alone they are certainly intended for us.
During the evenings this month Bhante has also been, with the help of Paramartha working his way through ‘12 rules for life, an antidote to chaos’ Jordan Peterson’s book.
And to close this month, Bhante was very pleased to receive a large parcel in the post, within which was a khatvanga (Padmasambhava Staff), which was bound for the London Buddhist Centre. Firstly though it was to be ‘blessed’, some of which included Bhante (with some help) winding the staff with a white offering scarf and tying the ends off himself and sealing them with a breath. It now resides with the new Chair as her symbol of office and will no doubt be passed on from one to the next for many more chairs to come. With metta, Sthanashraddha.”
‘Fifty Years, Fifty Voices’ is a project cooked up by Lokeshvara and Satyalila last year and supported by the Triratna Trust and Adhisthana Trustees. It’s gathering the ‘voices’ of 50 different Order Members on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Order.
Satyalila writes: “This year we’ll present extracts from these voices and the recordings will be archived in their entirety. In future we hope that many of them can be released as full-length podcasts (with permission).
The guiding image for the project derived from the centrality of Going for Refuge, seen as a central point with a 360 degree circumference. It imagines Order Members approaching this central point from any and every angle, and aims to gather a selection of ‘voices’ from different points in the circumference.
When a handful of short extracts from each participant is brought into relation with the others, we hope that something of a ‘living hologram’ of the Order (and hence of Dharma practice) can be conjured up. It will be presented in full online.”
+Follow 50 Years, 50 Voices to hear the recordings and find out more.
See other posts about the 50th anniversary of Triratna.
On February 23rd 2018, just before the start of the International Order Convention in India two Mitras - one man and one woman - were ordained in Bodhgaya. This Newsbyte from Clear Vision gives us a flavour of that occasion and, amidst the busyness and noise around the Mahabodhi Temple, we get a sense of following in the footsteps of the Buddha as Mokshasara and Shramanveer join the Triratna Buddhist Order.
As part of the celebrations around the 50th anniversary of the Triratna Order, Windhorse Publications will release four new volumes of The Complete Works of Sangharakshita in early April.
The Complete Works include all previously published work by Sangharakshita, as well as talks, seminars and writings published for the first time. This collection represents the definitive edition of his life’s work as a Buddhist writer and teacher.
Launched in Oct, 2016 with Dr. Ambedkar and the Revival of Buddhism I, there are already four volumes published which include: The Three Jewels II, Mahayana Myths and Stories and The Rainbow Road from Tooting Broadway to Kalimpong.
Thanks to a number of people for getting the project off to a flying start. These include Michelle Bernard and Priyananda for production, Kalyanaprabha, Shantavira and Vidyadevi for co-editing, Dhammarati and Ruth Rudd for design work and Giulietta Spudich for communications.
The Complete Works: What’s Coming in April?
The four new volumes coming soon are:
A Survey of Buddhism/The Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path (Volume 1) Designed to be the very first volume in the set, this volume brings the influential A Survey of Buddhism back in print. It includes the book The Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path, and a newly written Foreword by Subhuti.
Milarepa and the Art of Discipleship I and II (Volumes 18 and 19) These two volumes contain quite a lot of previously unpublished commentary by Sangharakshita on Milarepa’s songs, including ‘The Shepherd’s Search for Mind’ and stories tracing the relationship between Milarepa and his disciple Rechungpa. Vidyadevi has written insightful Forewords and the book The Yogi’s Joy is republished in volume 18.
Facing Mount Kanchenjunga (Volume 21) Two books are included in this volume: Facing Mount Kanchenjunga and Dear Dinoo. As Kalyanaprabha explains in the Foreword, Sangharakshita finds a ‘new gate’ after years of going forth in India. ‘… it opens onto a new path – that of responding to the needs of others.’
Volumes will be available for purchase individually or as a complete set, in eBook, paperback and hardback formats. Existing subscribers to The Complete Works will receive them upon publication.
The latest Newsbyte from Clear Vision follows a visit to the new Buddhist Centre in Colchester. Chair Amalaketu’s vision was “if we build it, they will come” and already there are signs of their Sangha flourishing. Amalaketu chats to Clear Vision in November 2017 about the process and hard work involved in renovating a quite rundown premises, formerly a doctor’s surgery - including ensuring that the Centre is as environmentally sustainable as possible, with quality insulation, low energy lighting and solar panels on the roof which generate all of the Centre’s electricity needs. It also shows the opening of the new Colchester Centre with the cutting of the red ribbon, a new painting by Vidyalila and a special gift from Bhante as well as the customary celebratory food and cakes!
There are many different Buddhist projects happening around the Triratna world. One interesting project is a school run by Buddhists in Amravati in Maharashtra, in India.
The Urygen Sangharakshita International School was officially opened by Subhuti in 2016. It was the brainchild of Mitra Sandeep Janardan Rakshit (a teacher in a Marathi state school) who felt that setting up a Buddhist school would be a worthwhile endeavour - and ‘Urygen Sangharaskhita’ seemed like a fitting name as a mark of respect to his teacher! Sandeep is the head of the school and while he does not teach there himself, his daughter is enrolled as a student in the school.
The Urgyen Sangharakshita International school is a private school and currently caters for twenty five boys and girls between the ages of three and six. The majority of the students are Buddhist but those from other religions are also welcome. The subjects taught are Marathi, English, maths, computers, general knowledge and arts and crafts. Currently there are four teachers on the staff all of whom are Buddhist.
One of these teachers is Prachi Adhau, a twenty five year old Bachelor of Science graduate of Chemistry, Zoology and Environmentalism and a Mitra, whose father is an Order Member and whose mother is also a Buddhist. Prachi became a Mitra in 2010 and has attended Mitra study and retreats - including the recent Mitra Convention in Bihar, where she met some of her friends from the UK. She became involved in the National Network of Buddhist Youth in India because she saw that there was a lot of energy among the group as well as potential to do good and for sharing different experiences with others her age. Prachi has attended a number of retreats led by Subhuti who has been involved in the NNBY for a good number of years - she said Subhuti is the biggest youth of them all!
Prachi’s Buddhist practice informs her teaching, and is particularly helpful when the students are noisy - she brings to mind her Metta Bhavana practice and this helps her calm her mind. Teaching is very inspiring for her and she feels like she learns a lot from the students and this gives her a lot of happiness.
The students start the day by reciting the national anthem as well as some Buddhist prayers and reciting the Buddhist precepts in English. The day runs from 10.30am to 4pm with an hour break. While the the Dharma is not specifically taught the school aims to give the students a grounding in good morals. There are plans afoot to expand the school to five hundred students from both primary and high school levels - so watch this space!
Sthanashraddha is Bhante’s secretary. He writes from Adhisthana, UK:
“Coming to the end of February here at Adhisthana and the UK is gripped in a cold snap, which the media are calling the ‘Beast from the East’, while the ponds are frozen over and the garden is dusted in snow, Sanghadeva gets to take it easy, Yashodeva on the other hand is installing a new kitchen in the Dharma life course community, and a new tea bar in the lower dining room.
At the end of January around 11 or 12 of the Adhisthana Sangha including myself travelled to India for the convention, so Adhisthana was exceptionally quiet, with no events on and very few people in the communities. Bhante too had a fairly quiet time, seeing just a few people from the communities and further afield. During this time Mahamati was covering the secretarial work and spending time with Bhante.
The following people met with Bhante between 24 January and 28 February: Sarah Thorne, Vidyamala, Saddhanandi, Akasajoti, Miles Pilling, Robert Ellis, Padmalila, Alev Elliott, Kalyanaprabha, Danasamudra, Sanghadeva, Poly Welsby, Singhashri, Amalacitta, Rachael Edgar, Gurnam Bubber and Saddhaloka.
On 24 February, Bhante was invited over to the lecture hall where the Adhisthana Sangha threw a small celebratory tea party with bunting and home-made cakes in honour of the fifth anniversary of his moving to Adhisthana. Saddhanandi interviewed Bhante for us and they talked about that time and some of the last five years, how it’s been for Bhante living here, and choosing the name etc. Bhante seemed on good form and very much enjoying Saddhanandi’s interviewing style and hopefully something will be made of the video recording.
On the writing front Bhante is currently not working on anything having finished his piece on Rainbows, which is a quite important piece as it does offer a clarification on the use of the term ’a re-founding of the order’.
Bhante is also reorganising the books in his living room, many of which have been sent over to the library with Sanghadasa’s help. The space that has been created seems to be filling up with different objects and images.
Also at the end of February I joined Bhante and Sanghadasa for the drive to Worcester on an exceptionally cold afternoon with passing snow clouds and bursts of brilliant winter sunshine, for his most recent visit to the eye clinic. While I sat in reception Bhante went for his eye examination with the consultant who prescribed further treatment. The journey back being somewhat drawn out by rush hour traffic and road work delays saw us home late for dinner arriving after 6:30.
With metta, Sthanashraddha.”
A Newsbyte from Clearvision about a new Buddhist run business in Sheffield: a vegetarian cafe called Dāna cafe. Clear Vision spends a day with them hard at work and we hear about the setting up of the project and how the local Sangha played an important role in getting this project off the ground.
The 50th Anniversary Order Convention is currently underway in Bodhgaya, India. The theme is ‘Sinhananda - The Lion’s Roar’. Most of the Convention will be public, and content – talks, mantras, podcasts, pictures, videos, livestreams (including an Indian Classical Concert!) will be available on the dedicated space on The Buddhist Centre Online and other social media spaces.
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See all posts from the International Order Convention 2018
We are delighted to inform you of the public ordinations which took place in Bodh Gaya on Saturday 3rd of February. The ordinations took place in the Mahabodhi Temple Complex, under the Bodhi Tree.
Dhammamitra Bharati Shetty became
Sanskrit name meaning: Essence of Liberation
Private preceptor: Subbhajaya
Public preceptor: Jnanasuri
Dhammamitra Dhangaj Singh became
Sanskrit name meaning: Hero of Shraman
Private preceptor: Amoghasiddhi
Public preceptor: Saddhaloka
Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu!
Sthanashraddha is Bhante’s secretary. He writes from Adhisthana, UK:
December is an unusual month here at Adhisthana, it becomes fairly quiet in the communities and quite a few people go away, either to see family or attend retreats. At the same time the centre swells and fills to capacity as the London Buddhist Centre holds its annual beginners winter retreat here. Bhante’s December largely followed a similar rhythm, being very quite with a slowing down of emails and letters over the holidays, but then seeing many people during the winter retreat.
January rolled on and the year began peacefully in the Urgyen Annexe, Bhante enjoyed meeting various chairs during the European Chairs Assembly, and then it was time for the Adhisthana community days. Time for the men’s and women’s community to come together without any retreats or guests visiting, and everyone Home from their travels. It was during the community days that Bhante was invited for a tea Party, which he enjoyed very much, talking with a few of us and also Aryajaya who has just moved here to become the new International Order Convenor, taking over from Parami who steps down later this year.
Though the weather has been cold, Bhante has been out for several walks when it has been dry, including a rather snowy morning. Even when going out hasn’t been possible, Bhante keeps up regular exercises of various kinds.
December and January has of course seen Bhante continuing to ’write’ in the evenings with the help of either Paramartha or Suvajra, finishing both ’Green Tara and the Fourth Lakshana’ and ’Bodhisattvas are Also Necessary’.
Other than the usual clinic visits for Bhante’s eyes, there was a visit to the local Surgery to see his GP about a minor infection in mid January, for which he’s taking a short course of antibiotics.
A gift of Philip Pullman’s latest book ’The Book of Dust’, is now being listened to and Bhante is enjoying it.”
Visit Sangharakshita’s website.
The twin ordination ceremonies held in India on 17th December 2017 saw the entry of 68 people to the Order (21 women and 47 men); the largest number of people to enter the Order on one day in the Order’s 50 years.
There were 146 ordinations worldwide in 2017 (73 women and 73 men). This is the largest number of people to have entered the Order in one year.
2017 also saw 16 resignations (8 women and 8 men).
In the latest NewsByte video from Clear Vision, Rijumati tells us about the opening of the first Triratna centre in Barcelona, Spain, in October 2017.