Triratna News

First One Month Retreat for Young Women in India

Posted 5 days ago

“I was so determined to come here, I sent my resignation (letter) and I came” - Ashweeni (Nanded)

In 2018, for the first time in India, a five week Dhamma training course for young women took place. It was arranged by members of the Indian women’s ordination team and supported by Padmasuri and Karunamaya. It was a significant retreat as many of the participants have families and children, making it was difficult for them to come away for long periods of time.

Seventeen young women from around India participated in the training course for four weeks based at Nagaoka, in Nagpur. There was “time not only to study the Dharma, to meditate together but to spend time really living in community, going deeper with each other, sharing our lives with one another” (Padmasuri).

Afterwards the participants and the team travelled together to Bodh Gaya and, while there, the course participants ran a five day retreat for local Bihari women.

Karunamaya writes: “The whole course was very inspiring and we had a very enjoyable time. We are grateful for the help of Future Dharma Fund and other supporters.”

Watch the documentary about this retreat made by one of the participants in the course.


Cardiff Buddhist Centre's First Bed and Breakfast Retreat

Posted 5 weeks ago

The Cardiff Buddhist Centre have just hosted their first Bed and Breakfast retreat on the theme of the Bodhisattva training. A Bed and Breakfast retreat is where one sangha invites people from other Triratna sanghas to come and stay with members of their sangha - who provide them with bed and breakfast - so they can join them on retreat.

Kamalagita, the Chair of the Cardiff Buddhist Centre writes: “We promised guests a ‘Warm, Welsh Welcome’ (Croeso, Cynnes Cymraeg) and they came from Bristol, Devon, Worcester, Shrewsbury and even Hertfordshire and Hastings! The shrine room was packed with 25 participants, a wonderful mix of guest and local Sangha members.

When discussing the theme, Vajragupta and I wanted something that would make a big impact and offer peace and clarity in our troubled times. We decided on the Bodhicaryavatara, a training text to become a Bodhisattva, a Dharma warrior. This uncompromising text is a gem in learning how to act with wisdom and compassion in the world. It has a special place in Triratna as we are practicing the Dharma in our busy, modern lives and was the first text that Sangharakshita chose to study with a group of Order members.

There are various training principles in the text but we chose to focus on two: working with anger / developing kshanti and cultivating loving-kindness through exchanging self for other. During the weekend we explored these themes through talks, workshops, discussion, meditation and devotional practice, even film references!

The weekend was a great success both in terms of deepening our understanding and practice of the Dharma and also learning from each other with a rich cross-fertilisation of ideas and approaches from different sanghas.

Watch the video where Jen, a Mitra from Hastings and Patrick, a soon to be Mitra in Cardiff, discuss the benefits the weekend had for them.”

Visit the Cardiff Buddhist Centre website and Facebook page

Watch a video of Nottingham’s Bed and Breakfast Retreat

Download a digital version of a seminar by Sangharakshita on the Bodhicaryavatara


Marking the First Anniversary of the Death of Urgyen Sangharakshita

Posted 6 weeks ago

Updated: Watch the anniversary talk by Jnanavaca here

On the 30th October 2018 Urgyen Sangharakshita, the founder of Triratna’s Order and Community died. At his funeral last November an estimated 1,200 to 1,400 people attended the ceremony and burial in Adhisthana, and over 60,000 more watched online around the world.

To mark the first anniversary of his death Jnanavaca will be giving a talk at Adhisthana entitled ‘Seeing Bhante - A Personal Perspective’, in which he will reflect on the significance of Sangharakshita’s life.

We will be live streaming this talk on Wednesday 30th October 7.30pm GMT / 3.30pm EST / 8.30pm CET / 1am India (Thursday 31st) / 6.30am Sydney (Thursday 31st) / 8.30am Auckland (Thursday 31st).

Watch the live stream of Jnanavaca’s talk on a number of different spaces:

Sangharakshita Memorial Space | Buddhist Centre Features | The Buddhist Centre home page | The Buddhist Centre Facebook page

There will also be a feed of updates throughout the day on Instagram and on Twitter as Centres throughout Triratna mark this significant anniversary in their own ways.

We will also be renewing the Memorial Space itself as a permanent tribute to Sangharakshita’s life and work for the Dharma. Keep an eye out over the coming days as we update it with new content, including a new full length film of the funeral, interviews with close friends and colleagues who knew him best, and an intimate, honest talk from Mahamati about his long friendship with Sangharakshita and the issues he faced, especially towards the end of his life.

+Follow the Sangharakshita Memorial space


Public ordinations at Hsuan Tsang Retreat Centre, Bordharan, India

Posted 7 weeks ago

Update: You can now watch the ordinations from India here thanks to Triratna India Media.

We are delighted to announce that the following men have been publicly ordained yesterday (20th October 2019) at Hsuan Tsang Retreat Centre, Bordharan, India.

Public Preceptor: Adityabodhi

Aurn Baburaoji Ingale from Amaravati becomes Vishuddhavacha
Private preceptor: Nagaketu

Dilip P. Khadase from Akola becomes Kripaveer
Private preceptor: Lokanath

Vinod Mahadevrao Thamake from Wardha becomes Dhirchitta
Private preceptor: Lokanath

Bhimrao Gulab Gade from Pune becomes Dharmaprabha
Private preceptor : Surangam

Raju Aba Chandanshive from Pimpri Pune becomes Kushalabandhu
Private preceptor: Surangam

Bhagvan Kisan Jondhale from Nanded becomes Samantachakshu
Private preceptor: Chandrabodhi

Vishvanath Limbaji Kamble from Pimpri Pune becomes Maitrichandra
Private preceptor: Chandrabodhi

Kishor Sukhadevrao Maitriveer from Amaravati becomes Sugatananda
Private preceptor: Chandrabodhi

Bhalachandra Tambe from Khed becomes Amoghasen
Private preceptor: Yashosagar

Public Preceptor Amrutdeep

Gautam Sukhadas Borkar from Nagpur becomes Pramodaditya
Private preceptor: Amrutdeep

Sandeep J. Rakshit from Amaravati becomes Ratnaraj
Private preceptor: Amrutdeep

Divyanshu Boudh from Nagpur becomes Kshantiprabha
Private preceptor : Amrutdeep

Milind Devidas Patil from Amaravati becomes Sucikirti
Private preceptor: Amrutdeep

Vishnupant Kedar from Amaravati becomes Anshulbodhi
Private preceptor: Ratnasiddhi

Santapal from Delhi becomes Anshulraja
Private preceptor: Ratnasiddhi

Deepak Tayde from Amaravati becomes Anshulvajra
Private preceptor: Ratnasiddhi

Harendra Kumar from Bordharan becomes Anshulratna
Private preceptor: Ratnasiddhi

Raghunath Nandeshver from Nagpur becomes Buddhadatta
Private preceptor: Nagaketu

Gangadhar Shamraoji Sonone from Amaravati becomes Kulanishtha
Private preceptor: Nagaketu

Prabhakar Daulat Walke from Nagpur becomes Kulachandra
Private preceptor: Nagaketu

Krushnarao B. Khobragade from Amaravati becomes Nirajbodhi
Private preceptor: Lokanath

Pitambar Ramchandra Gajbhiye from Nagpur becomes Lalitmitra
Private preceptor: Lokanath

Bhimrao Gunaji Wankhede from Nagpur becomes Bodhikiran
Private preceptor: Maitreyasagar

Public Preceptor Yashogar

Rahul Pandurang Bhaisare from Bordharan becomes Akshobhyamati
Private preceptor: Amrutdeep

Sachin Madhukar Pudke from Bordharan becomes Sanghakumar
Private preceptor: Amrutdeep

Shankarlal from Kanpur becomes Anshulsiddhi
Private preceptor: Ratnasiddhi

Ramesh Sahebrao Dhaotre from Pimpri Pune becomes Prabodhsen
Private preceptor:Surangam

Rajesh Bhimrao Bhange from Nagpur becomes Yashosiddhi
Private preceptor: Maitreyasagar

Dilip Namdev Gajbhar from Dapodi Pune becomes Amritketu
Private preceptor: Jnanadhvaja

Kumar Devidas Kamble Yerwada Pune becomes Vinayaditya
Private preceptor: Adityabodhi

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!


Pan-American Ordinations in Mexico / Ordenaciones Panamericanas en México

Posted 7 weeks ago

Estamos muy contentas de informarles que las siguientes mujeres recibieron su ordenación pública el día 20 de Octubre en el Centro Budista de la Ciudad de México.

We are delighted to let you know that the following women received their public ordination on the 20th October in the Buddhist Centre in Mexico City.

Paula Michelangelli se ha convertido en Abhayasara, nombre Sánscrito cuyo significado es: ‘Ella cuya naturaleza es la valentía (de Amoghasiddhi).’
Paula Michelangelli becomes Abhayasara, a Sanskrit name meaning ‘She whose nature is fearlessness.’ (long 3rd and 4th ‘a’s)
Anglicized spelling: Abhayasara.
Private preceptor Jnanadakini, Public preceptor Parami.

Chela Huerta se ha convertido en Vidyavani, nombre Sánscrito cuyo significado es: ‘Ella que está en el Río de la Sabiduría.’
Chela Huerta becomes Vidyavani, a Sanskrit name meaning ‘She who is in the River of Wisdom.’ (long 1st ‘a’)
Anglicized spelling: Vidyavani.
Private preceptor Jnanadakini, Public preceptor Parami.

Lupita Honda se ha convertido en Dhammasukhini, un nombre Pali cuyo significado es ‘Aquella que es feliz siguiendo el Dhamma.’
Lupita Honda becomes Dhammasukhini, a Pali name meaning ‘She who is happy following the Dhamma.’ (long final ‘i’)
Anglicized spelling: Dhammasukhini.
Private preceptor Dayachandra, Public preceptor Parami.

Elsa Cobos se ha convertido en Suryatara, un nombre Sánscrito cuyo significado es: ‘La que es radiante como el sol.’
Elsa Cobos becomes Suryatara, a Sanskrit name meaning ‘She who is radiant like the sun.’ (long 2nd and 3rd ‘a’)
Anglicized spelling: Suryatara
Private preceptor Dayachandra, Public preceptor Parami

Jo Wace becomes Khasanti, a Pali name meaning ‘She who finds peace in the open sky.’
Anglicized spelling: Khasanti
Private preceptor Taraprabha, Public preceptor Karunadevi

Gail Yahwak becomes Subhramani, a Sanskrit name meaning ‘She who has a radiant jewel.’ (acute accent above the ’s’, dot under the ’n’ and long ‘i’)
Anglicized spelling: Shubhramani.
Private preceptor Amala, Public preceptor Sanghadevi.

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!


Triratna Sanghas and the Earth Strike

Posted 9 weeks ago

“I felt my interconnectedness with all beings and that somehow what we were doing was intensely worthwhile.“ - Lilamati, Sheffield Earth Strike Street Meditation

Members of Triratna sanghas across the globe came out in support of the ‘Earth Strike’ on Friday 20th September. In 2018, schoolchildren began walking out of school in protest at global inaction around climate change. This year, the youth climate activists called on adults to support them at an Earth Strike, on 20th September 2019. They did: millions from across the world demonstrated their concern for our ecosystem and the consequences of global warming. People across cultures came out in solidarity - on Pacific islands, through Australia, southeast Asia and Africa, Europe and the Americas. The demonstrations were the largest protests around climate change and other ecological issues ever seen.

From Melbourne and Sydney in Australia, to Portsmouth in the USA, to Essen in Germany, to sanghas across the UK large and small: Glasgow, Manchester and Sheffield; London, Leeds and Nottingham; Cumbria, the Scottish Highlands and Aberystwyth - and likely others - people came together as Dharma practitioners and citizens of the world to participate in the Earth Strike.

Over the last year, youth activists such as Greta Thunberg and the non-violent XR (Extinction Rebellion) movement have between them catalysed a major societal shift towards climate activism. Many people in the Triratna Buddhist Movement want to participate - they want to respond to urgent ecological issues. But often they want to participate with Sangha, and they see it as part of their Dharma practice.

Within the UK, Maitrisiddhi has recently been encouraging and supporting UK Sangha members to get involved in direct action around the ecological crisis. She’s been delighted with both the grassroots enthusiasm, and the numbers of people wanting to participate.

People want to express Buddhist qualities of awareness and compassion, not horrified anxiety nor anger. My experience of Dharmic direct action is that it can be powerfully effective, as well as powerful spiritual practice.

For me, this isn’t about trying to fix the world - although any positive impact would be welcome. It’s about responding in a way that is truly adequate, and that meets the wisdom aspect of the ecological situation as well as the compassion aspect. It’s about how to bring a response of awareness and metta to this situation, because that is a worthwhile act in its own right, which has effects.

I’m not really interested in debates about climate science. What I am interested in is a debate around appropriate Dharmic responses to the Earth’s current ecological crisis. That could be really interesting! As a Dharma practitioner and a human being, I need to find a response to this situation that turns towards it and embodies the Dharma, and then I want to make that response in a visible public way, and to create sangha with others doing the same. - Maitrisiddhi.

Read Maitrisiddhi’s piece on Direct Action Meditations and the Dharma

How did different sanghas participate in the 20th September demonstrations?
Members of some sanghas participated in existing Earth Strike events together, while others organised their own sangha-based direct actions in support, adding to the richness of the demonstrations and bringing a distinctively Buddhist emphasis through street meditations or simple ritual. Here’s a round-up from some of those sanghas who participated:

Scottish Highlands, Scotland, UK
Teen Ross writes: ”Climate strikers of all ages turned out in force in a day of blazing sunshine in the north of Scotland. Protests were held in towns, villages and islands throughout the Highlands, as well as in Moray, Aberdeen, Orkney and Shetland.

Several sangha members joined the strike in Inverness, where hundreds of people gathered in the city’s Falcon Square. After several speeches and stirring pleas for action, the strikers lay down at 1pm for a ‘die in’, symbolising the mass extinction of species now underway. Padmolka, the chair of Triratna Buddhist Community Highlands said: ”I went along to show solidarity with the young people and by way of apology for the part I’ve played in the climate crisis. I was moved and heartened by the passion and intelligence of the young folk who organised this and who stood up and let their voices be heard.”

In Aviemore, in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, Sridakini and local mitra Fred Tilston were among the strikers. “It was heartwarming to see the size of the turnout and the amount of support, particularly the engagement of the younger generation,” said Fred.”

Melbourne and Sydney, Australia
From Australia, Tejopala writes: ”In Melbourne we had a multi-faith service in the city to which 150 people came. Maitrikashin and I led the Buddhist parts. We then joined the protest along with people of many other religious traditions. The crowd was estimated at 150,000 people.

In Sydney, meditators, many from the Sydney Buddhist Centre, gathered at the Domain in Sydney before the crowd of 80,000 arrived. On the Friday morning before the Climate Strike, the multi-faith group met together to meditate, pray or reflect, as a group of friends. All of us care greatly for all living beings in the world today and those yet to be born. We need urgent action on climate change!”

Leeds, England, UK
Beth Poynor said: ”I’d advertised the event within the sangha, but I was nervous beforehand. I didn’t really know who would come. The giant posters read ‘Buddhists For Climate Action / Grief and Love for the Earth.’ Participating in Friday’s Earth Strike felt quite different to previous demonstrations I’d been on: perhaps it was because I didn’t just turn up. It was heartening to join with others in the Sangha, and those friendships and something in the posters united us. I feel we started something as a collective and I’m hopeful this is something we can nurture and grow.”

Glasgow, Scotland, UK
While some Glasgow Sangha members marched in solidarity with the youth climate strikers on Friday 20th September, others wore black and meditated in George Square as the marchers arrived. It was a strong, grounding, collective experience, sending metta to the world and all beings… This was the inauguaral event of DANCE Glasgow. (Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement (DANCE) is a network of Buddhists across traditions coming together to respond to the ecological crisis.) This may be the first of many peaceful yet powerful presences - all the way up to December 2020’s COP26 UN Climate Conference in Glasgow.

I found it, as I think many did, a powerful experience, aware we were a point of curiosity which did seem to engage folk in a positive way. Diana, Kuladharini and Parami took turns as greeters for folk who wanted to ask more about it. A couple of people joined in, while some wee ones copied us. Many of us experienced strong and grounded meditations, in the midst of screaming sirens, music, chatter, and many people. There seemed, from our later ‘debrief’, to be a common experience of feeling like we were presenting as a sort of fourth sight. - Angela Lombardi

Aberystwyth, Wales, UK
Maitrisiddhi reports: “In bright sunshine and a sea breeze, twenty or so Buddhists and meditators from West Wales Buddhist Group, Zen and Insight Meditation traditions came together as DANCE Wales to process meditatively, wearing black, ringing gongs and bells, as part of the hundreds-strong Earth Strike march. The bells symbolised the voice of wisdom, calling to us to wake up, to care about this world, this ecosystem.

‘So powerful. So beautiful. I feel so grateful to have been part of that’ was one participant’s comment. Our march was followed by a street meditation, then the entire Climate Strike gathering was invited to attend a Moment of Mass Mindfulness - a led meditation in both English and Welsh - introducing some to meditation for the first time.”

Nottingham, England, UK
Nottingham Buddhist Centre itself went on strike for the day, and ran activities from the city centre.

Saccanama writes: ”Starting at 8 a.m. as the early commuters arrived in Nottingham City centre, a group of us sat and meditated whilst the sun rose above the urban cityscape. Different people from the Sangha arrived to join us whilst some members of the public also chose to meditate with us and many passersby stopped to take photos and ask questions. As the morning wore on, many of the other Nottingham groups involved in the Climate Strike began to arrive for talks and music and many seemed struck by the atmosphere of peace and stillness we had created. Not only was it good to be part of this global event, it was also great to be able to contribute something distinctively Buddhist to the day’s activities here in Nottingham.”

Sheffield, England, UK
Sheffield sangha with DANCE Sheffield held a street meditation at the Earth Strike. Lilamati and Clair Mullineaux describe what that experience was like for them.

Clair: ”I was feeling quite distracted and a bit edgy inside, but there was something very powerful about hearing all the speeches with my eyes closed… not that I could even hear all the words, but it was as if the voices and the emotions flowed in unimpeded by visual distractions, and then there was nothing to do but let it all in and wish it all well. And some of the voices were so young, I could feel tears creeping out from under my closed eyelids in response.

And I was completely thrilled at how many of us there were! Each time I opened my eyes at the end of a sit, more meditators had joined us. One thing I did hear quite clearly was a speaker from the Sheffield Climate Alliance, thanking ‘the Buddhists for meditating here today’ … and cheers from the crowd! Nothing to do but sit through that one as well … probably with a huge grin on my face!”

Lilamati: ”I felt held, surrounded by thousands of other people who also care deeply for our beautiful, fragile planet. I had expected to feel very vulnerable sitting with my eyes closed in the middle of a crowd in the middle of a city but I actually felt very safe, surrounded by metta. I loved hearing the flow of different young voices through the loudspeaker as we meditated… different young people from different local schools all of whom were passionate about the planet and had presumably risked something to be there. Their confidence to speak up for the planet to a big crowd was inspiring and gave me confidence and hope.

“Even though we were effectively trying to meditate through a series of little speeches and the crowd cheering, my mind was more focused, less distracted by my normal internal mental chatter than it is meditating in my attic at home.

“There were moments when I felt I was able to hold great pain and great love together… my own and the world’s and that point where the two blur and it doesn’t matter whose pain, whose love it is any more. Where metta takes on a universal quality and there is ‘just love’.”

I often don’t ‘feel’ much in the 5th stage of the metta bhavana at home (perhaps bringing all beings to mind just feels too big to imagine, and too abstract… and I struggle to connect emotionally unless I can imagine ‘the story’). But I really felt that today… a sense of a love that wasn’t mine or yours or anyone else’s radiating out to the world with all its suffering and its joy and its beauty. I felt my interconnectedness with all beings and that somehow what we were doing was intensely worthwhile.

+Follow the Buddhist Action space to find out more about the Dharma and social action

Listen to a talk by Vishvapani about responding to the climate emergency as Buddhists

Read The Three Jewels meet the Climate Emergency (including an extended discussion around some of the issues raised here).


Public Ordinations at Golden Bay, New Zealand

Posted 10 weeks ago

We are delighted to announce that the following women have been publicly ordained on Sunday 29th September during a five-week retreat at Golden Bay in New Zealand.

Public Preceptor Varadevi

Judy Gray becomes Padmapuspa (dot under the ‘s’, long final ‘a’), a Sanskrit name meaning “(She who is like) a lotus flower”.
Anglicised spelling: Padmapushpa
Malini was her Private Preceptor.

Ainslie Hannan becomes Sraddhanaya (accent over the ‘S’, long last three ’a’s), a Sanskrit name meaning “She who guides to faith”.
Anglicized spelling: Shraddhanaya
Megha was her Private Preceptor.

Kate Ewing becomes Maitrikirti (long second and third ‘i’), a Sanskrit name meaning “She who is renowned for her love”.
Vajrajyoti was her Private Preceptor.

Public Preceptor Malini

Maree Beverland becomes Suvarnadhi (long last ‘i’), a Sanskrit name meaning “She whose wisdom is like gold”.
Malini was her Private Preceptor and Vidyamala was the Giver of the Name.

Prue Treadwell becomes Prasantacitta (accent over the ‘S’, long second and last ‘a’), a Sanskrit/Pali name meaning “She whose heart is calm”.
Anglicized spelling: Prashantachitta.
Varadevi was her Private Preceptor.

Kirsten Gracie becomes Priyada (long last ‘a’), a Sanskrit name meaning “She who gives love and kindness”.
Chittaprabha was her Private Preceptor.

Public Preceptor Vajrajyoti

Helen Clack becomes Vajrasarasi (long last ‘i’), a Sanskrit name meaning “She who is like a vajra and a lake”.
Akampiya was her Private Preceptor.

Public Preceptor Megha

Sam Sammut becomes Sraddhanita (accent over the ‘S’, long second and last ‘a’), a Sanskrit/Pali name meaning “She who is guided by faith”.
Anglicized spelling: Shraddhanita.
Varadevi was her Private Preceptor.

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!


Public Ordinations at Guhyaloka Retreat Centre in Spain

Posted 11 weeks ago

We are delighted to announce that the following men have been publicly ordained today (24th September 2019) during a one month retreat at Guhyaloka Retreat Centre, Spain.

Public Preceptor Mahamati

Paul King becomes Viryamati, a Sanskrit name meaning “He who has energy and resolve”
Private preceptor: Swadipa

Gary Murray becomes Aryasara, a Sanskrit name meaning “He whose nature is noble”
Private preceptor: Srikirti

Frederic Rosset becomes Pavaka, a Sanskrit name meaning “He who is pure, bright, shining (like a fire)”
Private preceptor: Lokeshvara

Steve Howe becomes Sanghamuni, a Sanksrit name meaning “Sage of the community”
Private preceptor: Khemadhamma

Public Preceptor Arthapriya

Mark Melbourne becomes Jyotida, a Sanskrit name meaning “Giver of light”
Private preceptor: Paraga

David Tyfield becomes Ketumati, a Sanskrit name meaning “He who has a mind like a comet”
Private preceptor: Buddhashanti

Paul Mason becomes Prajnavaca, a Sanskrit name meaning “He who has the voice of wisdom”
Private preceptor: Pramudita

Ian Hannah becomes Ajitamati, a Sankrit name meaning “He who has a mind which is unconquered”
Private preceptor: Buddhashanti

Sion Williams becomes Amita, a Sanskrit/Pali name meaning “Unbounded”
Private preceptor: Tejananda

Billy Frugal becomes Nagakushala, a Sanskrit name meaning “He who has the skilfulness of the nagas”
Private preceptor: Samanartha

Will Elworthy becomes Kamalavajra, a Sanskrit name meaning “Lotus vajra”
Private preceptor: Paraga

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!


30th Anniversary of the First Triratna Ordinations of Women by Women in the West

Posted 12 weeks ago

2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the first ordinations of women by women in the West.

Ratnasuri previously had been the Public Preceptor for two dharmacharinis in India, January 1987, which she conducted ‘on behalf of’ Sangharakshita, the founder of the Triratna Buddhist Order.

In 1989 Sangharakshita asked Ratnasuri to perform ordinations ‘on her own responsibility’ - a very significant development for the Order. On 17th August 1989, on a retreat at Taraloka Retreat Centre, Wales, she received into the Order Cittaprabha from Sydney. A few weeks later, on 11th September, another six women received their ordinations.

The ordination of women by women was unique in the Buddhist world.

Ratnasuri had been ordained for 4 years when she conducted the ordinations in India at Bhante’s request - prior to that, Germany was the furthest she had travelled.

The anniversary comes with great gratitude and a celebration of the very significant and courageous contribution Ratnasuri made to the Triratna Buddhist Order and the world by being willing to take on that responsibility. - Maitreyi

+Follow the Triratna women space on The Buddhist Centre Online

Read recent article about the Sakyadhita Conference and Gender Equity for Monastic and Lay Buddhist Women

Read about the life of Ratnasuri, who helped pioneer the ordination of women by women in Triratna


From A Vision to A Reality: The Sangha in the US and Canada

Posted 13 weeks ago

An ever-widening circle, the Sangha grows…

From its beginnings in 1980, when Manjuvajra first brought Triratna Dharma to Boston, the Sangha in Canada and the United States has been ever-growing. The current year has seen a number of significant steps forward for the Triratna Buddhist Community’s ordination process in North America.

In May the first ever post-ordination retreat for US/Canadian Dharmacharinis (female Order members) took place with seven of the twelve Dharmacharinis ordained in the last two years attending the retreat. In this two-year period a record number of women have been ordained and with two more women set to be ordained on a Pan-American women’s ordination training retreat at Chintamani Retreat Center, Mexico, in October, the total number of newly ordained women in US and Canada will be fourteen.

Also in May the largest men’s ordination training retreat in a decade took place with twenty-three men coming together to explore the meaning of spiritual community and the ideals that the Triratna Buddhist Order and Community are based on. The retreat culminated in the ordination of Dan Roberts from Seattle, who was publicly ordained by the newly appointed Public Preceptor, Viradhamma.

Viradhamma encountered Triratna in 1980 but became seriously involved in 1989, helping to set up the San Francisco Buddhist Centre. He was ordained in 1994 on the first international ordination retreat in India. Viradhamma is the first American man to join the College of Public Preceptors and he will be working to plan retreats and stay in contact with all the men training for ordination in Canada and the United States.

A New Meditation Space at Dharmadhara
Viradhamma writes: “One of the most significant developments for the men’s sangha has been the project of building the meditation hall at Dharmadhara in Northern California. Up until now retreats at Dharmadhara have been limited by the weather and the small size of the residence building, but over the past year Vimalamoksa and a team of volunteers built a wonderful new meditation space using lumber milled from trees on the site. The new hall has both heating and air-conditioning so it can be used in all seasons and it has space for up to thirty-five people. The whole process of designing and building the space involved volunteers in all kinds of work including design, engineering, millwork, electrical etc., and men from Vancouver, Seattle, Montana and California joined in. It was a real experience of shared inspiration and commitment and friendship, and it is exciting to think that the meditation hall will benefit people for years to come.

While the regional and annual retreats are important opportunities to gather in large numbers, the day-to-day work of ordination training takes place within the local center context. The men’s groups in Vancouver, Seattle and San Francisco are particularly active right now, but Danadasa has been leading an initiative to connect with Mitras in other areas via regular video conference meetings.”

Local Preceptors and Ordinations on North Amercian Soil
Since its beginning twenty-six years ago, the women’s ordination training wing in the US/Canada region has gradually developed and grown – both in terms of the numbers of women being ordained but also in the number of private preceptors.

Karunadevi was the first American woman, living in the US, to be ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order. She came across Buddhism in 1980 through Lama Govinda’s teachings. In 1988 she met Manjuvajra, chair of Aryaloka Retreat Center in New Hampshire, who was giving a talk at Stanford University. Shortly after that she became involved in a weekly meditation and study group that was the beginning of the San Francisco Buddhist Center. She was ordained by Sangharakshita in 1993 at Aryaloka.

She writes: “Currently there are nine female private preceptors living and working in the US and Canada, and approximately fifty-five women who have requested ordination, nearly forty of whom are actively involved presently in the trainings being offered. We offer two longer training retreats each year, one in the West and one in the East. Shorter three or four day retreats are offered regionally each year for those not able to attend the longer ones.

Having local private preceptors and ordinations on North American soil has been inspiring for mitras, leading more to ask for ordination. So the training of mitras is now much more hands on. Attention is given to each person’s needs for specific training. They have a broader understanding of what the Order is and a broader array of preceptors to choose from.

The other source of inspiration came from the creation of a women’s ordination retreat center in Spain, Akashavana, in 2007. I ordained one woman on the three month retreat in 2007 and two of the women I had previously ordained also attended that retreat. On our next ordination training retreat on the west coast, we did a slide show about Akashavana and talked it up to the mitras. Between 2007 and 2018 eighteen US/Canadian women were ordained on either the three month or the two week retreats at Akashavana, including seven on the three month retreat in 2018, which prompted the post-ordination retreat.”

Looking Ahead
The next several years will be an exciting time for the Sanghas in the US and Canada. On the men’s side there will be new building projects at Dharmadhara, a pilgrimage in India in 2020, and new opportunities for practice and community. Meanwhile on the women’s side there is a succession planning project underway to assist Karunadevi in handing over the work that she has been doing for the last twenty five years to a younger generation of Order Members.

Read more about the history of Triratna in the US in Vajra Bell, July Issue, 2013 (see page 11)

Listen to a podcast with Karunadevi about her journey to the Dharma


2019 Young Women’s Dharma Life Course at Adhisthana

Posted 4 months ago

Have you ever wondered what it was like in the very early days of our Movement when Bhante was on fire about creating the New Society through practicing intensely together in the 3Cs (Communities, Centres and Co-operative Right Livelihood Businesses)? These days they are fewer opportunities for young people to be exposed to all 3 of the ‘C’s at once, which is why, five years ago, Adhisthana set up the Young People’s Dharma Life Course.

Here Taravandana, the coordinator of the course just recently finished, writes:

“Over the last five months nine young people - Polly, Lizzie, Caroline, Gina, Gleysa, Candan, Anja, Lenka and Caroline - have been living, practicing, studying and working together in the middle of the Herefordshire countryside. They were such an international group of beings, coming from Venezuela, Germany, Sweden, Slovakia, Turkey and the UK, who embraced their differences to create a harmonious supportive community to grow and change.

The Course is framed around Triratna’s System of Practice with four or five weeks to explore each of the five stages of the Path. Each week we were fortunate enough to study with a visiting teacher such as Vidyamala who led us in a Satipatthana retreat; Satyalila who introduced them to the System of Practice through creative writing; Parami with whom we studied the Bodhicitta; Vajrasara who helped us explored spiritual friendship and communication using NVC (Non-Violent Communication); Akasajoti and Kusaladevi who supported us to go deeper into ethics and confession; Acharashraddha who guided us to deepen our connections with the historical Buddha; Vijayamala who led a silent retreat on Spiritual Death and Alokasanna who led us into the Mandala of the Five Buddhas through ritual and creativity. In addition, the young people helped to run Adhisthana - for example, by pruning trees, hanging curtains and managing the washing up. They also joined the wider Adhisthana and retreat communities for meditation, had weekly community and GFR Group meetings, were each supported by a Dharmacharini Mentor and had a lot of fun!

Some highlights include: canoeing on the river Wye; walking in the local Malvern hills and Puzzle Wood; weekly internationally-flavoured community breakfasts, five rhythms dancing and yoga.

Of course, it wasn’t always easy but when I think back over it all what strikes me is that the it was the combination of the intensity of the content of the Course combined with us living and working together in such beautiful surroundings, looking out over Bhante’s burial mound, the love and support of the Adhisthana Community and the friendships between the group that made the Course the success it was. Everyone had changed and grown and are wanting to share their experiences out in the world. Three of the group are volunteering and working at Adhisthana; one is returning home to begin teaching mediation, another to set up Skype meetings with her new kula.”

If you’d like to know more about future Dharma Life Courses at Adhisthana contact admin [at]

Watch a video about the 2014 Young Women’s course


Sakyadhita Conference: Gender Equity for Monastic and Lay Buddhist Women

Posted 4 months ago

Sakyadhita is a Buddhist women’s organisation founded in 1987. The 16th Sakyadhita conference took place near Sydney, Australia in June, with a number of women from the Triratna Buddhist Order in attendance: Kusalacitta from Sydney, as well as Tarahridaya and Karunadeepa from Pune in India. Dharmamodini was there to run a stall for Bodhi Books and Gifts.

Sakyadhita means ‘daughters of the Buddha’, and it aims to promote gender equity for monastic and lay women with a focus on education, health, spiritual practice and equal status and ordination. Its current president is Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo.

Kusalacitta writes: “The conference was inspiring for me as both a woman and a Buddhist. Over 800 women from all branches of Buddhism came together with a common aspiration to support our sisters. Most Sakyadhita members are from Asian countries where gender inequality amongst lay and monastics is the cultural and societal norm. Countries represented at the conference include Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Academic papers and workshops were presented with subjects on the themes of sexual exploitation and abuse within Buddhism, Buddhist approaches to peace and reconciliation, feminine wisdom and LGBTQQI within Buddhism.

Many speakers described their role in projects supporting women and children. Amongst them was Karunadeepa who works in the Bahujan Hitay social project in Pune, India which runs health clinics and trains women in skills that will help them to support themselves.

Gender inequality in ordination and opportunities to study and practise the Dharma was an ongoing theme. Many of the nuns at the conference experience this on a daily basis and it is an area of concern and difficulty.

I feel privileged to be in an Order where women ordain women and my ordination is equal to that of my Order brothers. This is unique in the Buddhist world and it would be beneficial for us - and them - to share our experience of this with women aspiring to the same.”

Tarahridaya, who also attended the 2008 Shakyadhita conference in Mongolia, adds: “As the political and religious situation is very unpredictable in India, it is very important for us to have connections with other Buddhist groups from rest of the world. The conference was a very good platform to interact with other Buddhist groups and make connections with them.”

The next Sakyadhita conference is in Sarawak in Malaysia in 2021. Both Kusalacitta and Tarahridaya hope to attend - and encourage other Dharmacharinis to also consider coming!

Read full reports on Triratna in the Buddhist World.

+Follow Triratna in the Buddhist World for more on our work with other Buddhists.


Further Response from the Adhisthana Kula to the Observer Article, July 2019

Posted 4 months ago

Here is a further update from the Adhisthana kula about how we intend to take our work forward. Some of the steps we outline below are already in discussion or in process, and we recognise the need for much greater visibility of process and outcomes. We also recognise that we have been slow to implement some of our intentions.

A further update from the Adhisthana kula as to how we are addressing controversial aspects of Triratna’s past and what we are putting in place for the future.
Our initial response to The Observer article (21st July) concluded: “We remain determined to meet ethically all unresolved issues – past, present and future – based on a deep concern for the welfare of anyone affected negatively by their experience within Triratna”. Using this framework of past, present, future, we will outline the way we intend to take this work forward.

We want to spell out very clearly what’s already been done, and also lay out what still needs to be done, and what plans we have for implementation.

As a result of the recent article there have been renewed calls for an independent review or inquiry as the only way to rebuild trust. Below are nine steps we would like to implement first, as soon as possible. After that, with the help of others, we will make an assessment as to whether a further or more substantial independent review is necessary.

We have added timelines in brackets after each point as a rough guide as to how long each step will take. If something is taking longer we will communicate this, and why.

Responding to the Past

1. We will issue a clear statement of acknowledgement, regret and undertaking, inviting other Order members to add their name or support to it. (1 week)

2. We will summarise the work of the Adhisthana Kula in a way that is clear and readily accessible, on a stand-alone website, making it clear what we have done so far and our next steps. (3 months)

3. We will present this with clear pathways for comments, questions and suggestions. (3 months)

4. Anyone can report misconduct to our Safeguarding team at safeguarding [at] . In addition, we will appoint an external body for receiving such complaints, for the benefit of anyone who feels more comfortable in reporting to an external body. (3-5 months)

5. We recognise this work needs to be a priority (1-4) and will give it the resources it needs. (Ongoing)

Working in the Present

6. We will review the membership of the Adhisthana kula, bringing in a next generation of Order members with fresh perspectives and skills, who have joined the Order since the era in which many of the historic difficulties took place (broadly, this means the 1970s and 80s). (1 month)

7. Our current UK Safeguarding provision will be reviewed by the Social Care Institute for Excellence, to ensure it meets the Charity Commission’s requirements. (6 months)

8. In consultation with external communication specialists we will create new forums for discussion within Triratna, with a view to promoting greater harmony and engagement, and improve external communications. (6 months)

9. We will develop training in ethical awareness for teachers and mentors, both among existing Order members, and those training for ordination. (Initial plans 3-4 months)

Creating the Future

10. When this work is done we will assess, with others, whether a further external, independent review would be helpful. (6-7 months)

11. We will bring on a new generation of leaders, training and equipping them to share responsibility for taking our community forward. (Ongoing)

12. We will do all this whilst honouring our inheritance and recognising the gifts Sangharakshita and the elders of the Order created for us. (Ongoing)

We share a deep love and concern for our community with all those who choose to practise within it. We want to address whatever limits us as a spiritual community, and to be able to move forward with confidence and trust that we have fully addressed the issues and concerns of the past, without losing touch with all that is good. We need to do all this within the spirit and ethos of our community, recognising our imperfections as human beings, acting with compassion and understanding, in order to transform suffering in the world.

With metta,

The Adhisthana Kula

Mahamati, Parami, Ratnadharini, and Saddhaloka (Triratna’s College of Public Preceptors)
Aryajaya and Lokeshvara (International Convenors to the Triratna Buddhist Order) Dhammarati (Convenor of Triratna’s International Council)

With the assistance of Amaladipa and Munisha (Triratna’s Safeguarding team), and Candradasa (The Buddhist Centre Online).

For further information about safeguarding or to report anything please contact the Safeguarding team at safeguarding [at]

Contact the Adhisthana Kula at kula [at]

View our work as a team to date


An initial response to the Observer article critical of Triratna, July 2019

Posted 5 months ago

On July 21st 2019, The Observer featured an article critical of the Triratna Buddhist Order and Community. As senior members of Triratna, we wanted to respond to some of the content, and to the general areas of concern raised around the conduct of members of the Order as they relate to the wellbeing of anyone connecting with our community.

The Adhisthana Kula is a grouping of senior members of the Triratna Buddhist Order who hold particular responsibility for the wellbeing of our community around the world. It was formed in February 2017 in response to renewed concerns about past controversies within Triratna, including sexual misconduct in the 1970s and ‘80s by our community’s founder Urgyen Sangharakshita. In 2016, Sangharakshita wrote a statement of acknowledgment and apology about this.

Read about our work around misconduct in Triratna and about what we do and do not teach

Read a further response to the article, outlining next steps in our approach to these issues

More recently, along with Triratna’s Ethics Kula (including our Safeguarding team) we have come back together to engage with the work of meeting any new concerns that may arise, being as open and clear as possible using the following principles:

  1. To prioritise the wellbeing of anyone coming forward with accounts of harm experienced within our community, past or present, providing clear and well-publicised channels for reporting them to us safely.
  2. To ensure the Safeguarding policies and procedures we have in place at our Buddhist Centres meet the highest standards and are compliant with regulatory and legal requirements for charities in the UK. This includes making sure that wherever a case may be criminal it is reported to the police, without exception.
  3. After legal process has been addressed, when reports of ethical misconduct are made and the parties involved ask for support, to provide processes for reaching meaningful resolution. (See below for more on Restorative process and the specific work of the Ethics Kula around disputed cases).
  4. In cases of serious ethical breaches by members of the Order, to have clear policies and procedures around probation, suspension or expulsion.
  5. To provide clear and consistent information about our work online and elsewhere (including its difficulties and challenges) in as open and transparent a way as possible when, as is often the case, issues of confidentiality are involved.

We were somewhat surprised therefore to hear from The Observer newspaper last week that they intended to run a new critical article about Triratna, based initially on someone having sent them a survey report by the Interkula group of Triratna Order members, which refers non-specifically to anonymous accounts of misconduct within our Order. We had seen the survey report some time ago and took note of its recommendations.

We will write more in the next few days about this survey and its subsequent interpretation by The Observer, as well as addressing some other details and inaccuracies in the article.

For now, our focus properly remains on supporting individuals seeking resolution of past painful experience within Triratna, and on reviewing and updating annually our own Safeguarding practices and recommendations for when things go wrong in future (as they inevitably will at times in any community).

As ever, we urge anyone who feels they have experienced harm in connection with our Order and community – and anyone who has anything they wish to bring to our attention – to please email us at safeguarding [at] .

A formal statement from our Safeguarding officer
Triratna’s overall Safeguarding officer Munisha made the following statement to The Observer, some of which was used in the piece itself:

As Triratna’s overall Safeguarding officer I share the concerns of the Interkula and their survey respondents that misconduct in Triratna be addressed thoroughly and effectively. I and senior members of the Order have been working on this since 2015, and all our work is documented publicly here on Triratna’s main web platform: Questions around controversy

I’m extremely sorry if misconduct reported to any member of the Order was not properly addressed at the time. Triratna has had Safeguarding procedures in place since 2015 and today every Triratna centre in the UK has a Safeguarding officer to whom concerns can be reported. It’s recommended that Centres post details of how to reach this person on their noticeboards and websites.

The Interkula’s survey includes accounts of misconduct which we would be keen to address. However, some of these are references to misconduct experienced by unnamed others and we can only address a case where a named complainant is willing to tell us their story first hand. Since the survey was anonymous it’s not possible to identify and reach out to these respondents or the people they refer to, and the survey did not provide respondents with information on how to report to us.

However, given the confidentiality required in Safeguarding work it is possible that some third-party cases referred to by survey respondents have in fact been addressed without the respondents knowing about it. It is not uncommon that people report rumours or concerns about others which we have dealt with months or years ago.

It is the policy of Triratna’s central Safeguarding team that anything reported to us of a criminal – or even potentially criminal – nature is reported to the police, without exception. Anything reported to us has been dealt with according to the requirements of law, the Charity Commission and Safeguarding best practice and thoroughly documented in case of external review. If there is anything we have not dealt with, this is simply because no complainant has approached us to make us aware of their experience, or we have not been able to identify and contact them. I would strongly encourage anyone who has not yet come forward with an account of their own experiences, or with information about cases involving others, to contact me at safeguarding [at] ( ) or make a report to the Charity Commission at

Keen to make sure Triratna’s Safeguarding meets the highest standards, in May this year the Safeguarding team began dialogue with the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) with a view to an external review of our work so far.

Safeguarding in Triratna and our responses to legal and ethical issues
Our collective work around addressing past ethical misconduct within the Triratna community has been broad and relatively deep:

Listen to a talk that evokes the kind of “Restorative” culture we have tried to uphold around all this work

Read a very comprehensive set of Frequently Asked Questions about our areas of engagement

View a full archive of previous attempts to address some of the same issues

Read the 2019 model Safeguarding policies for Triratna

We continue to encourage the formal reporting of harm or misconduct and, in full compliance with the law, we are committed to doing whatever is necessary in order to bring any issue to an appropriate resolution. We continue to strengthen our community’s proactive Safeguarding work to ensure the wellbeing of all who wish to engage with Buddhist values as a way of making sense of life.

Through the work of the Triratna Ethics Kula, our Order has also been developing new procedures enabling us to address more effectively instances where a serious allegation is made against an Order member which they don’t accept, and which cannot be addressed by legal process. This is work in progress and will develop as our understanding and experience grow.

Read about how this kind of approach has been applied within Triratna

As mentioned, much of this kind of work necessarily happens behind the scenes and often involves respecting confidences required by law or requested by someone making a complaint. With that in mind we will also continue to seek external input to the ways in which we address these matters, and to check that our work so far has been conducted in line with best practice.

We remain determined to meet ethically all unresolved issues – past, present and future – based on a deep concern for the welfare of anyone affected negatively by their experience within Triratna. If there is anything you wish to bring to our attention, please do email us at safeguarding [at] . We will always be glad to make ourselves available to you.

With metta,

The Adhisthana Kula
Mahamati, Parami, Ratnadharini, and Saddhaloka (Triratna’s College of Public Preceptors)
Aryajaya and Lokeshvara (International Convenors to the Triratna Buddhist Order)
Dhammarati (Convenor of Triratna’s International Council)

With the assistance of Amaladipa and Munisha (Triratna’s Safeguarding team), and Candradasa (The Buddhist Centre Online)


Triratna model Safeguarding policies and Ethical guidelines 2019

Posted 5 months ago

Triratna’s model Ethical guidelines and policies for Safeguarding children and adults are published today, updated for 2019 by Triratna’s Safeguarding team, part of Triratna’s Ethics Kula.

(See ‘Who are the Ethics kula and Safeguarding team?” and ‘What is Safeguarding?” below.)

Safeguarding and ethical policies and procedures can be seen as 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.

There has been no material change to the Ethical Guidelines since 2018 but 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. (See below.) 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] - or to raise a complaint with the Charity Commission.


What is Safeguarding?
‘Safeguarding’ is a term used in England and Wales to refer to the duty of organisations to protect children and adults and adults from harm. (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 expected 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.

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 a Safeguarding concern had implications for a person’s membership of the Order.

The Kula presently comprises Saddhaloka and Ratnadharini (Chair and Deputy Chair of the College of Preceptors), 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.

The Kula reviews new or updated documents and ensures that matters brought to 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.

Read more about Safeguarding and Ethical guidelines in Triratna.

Read more about Restorative process in Triratna.