Metta Vihara, the retreat centre for Belgium and the Netherlands, opened in 2012. To help fund that project they asked a bulb grower to create a tulip, which was named Urgyen, after Sangharakshita, the founder of the Triratna Buddhist Order and community.
Now the grower has stopped producing it but a Triratna friend, Kees van den Berg, son of a Dutch bulb grower himself, has collected some 18 remaining bulbs and over the coming years is going to restart the production. He will start it in his own small garden near Amsterdam and later continue on the Metta Vihara grounds, with the help of the Metta Vihara Garden Team.
Here’s an update from Kees:
The process just started, is going steady but in its nature rather slow. The 18 bulbs are still in England and will brought to The Netherlands by Sanghadasa (currently living at Padmaloka) around the end of July.
Then my work begins with preparation of the bulbs (eventually splitting and keeping them dark and dry). The intention is to plant the bulbs at the end of October in a sunny place in the garden of Metta Vihara. Then we have to wait to see what nature does.
Flowering is expected begin of May and digging them up around the beginning of July. Then the whole process starts over again.
Most importantly is the process of digging them up, preparing and planting. So I hope the bulb population will grow by some 30% per year. We need a couple of years (up to ten to twenty) before we can offer a substantial amount of bulbs for flowering in gardens, while the population will be maintained.
But that is music for the future!
It is still early days but plans are afoot to design a website for this project - watch this space!
Windhorse Publications has been publishing books on mindfulness, meditation and Buddhism for 45 years. Over that time, thousands of people’s lives have changed as a result of reading a Windhorse book. As well as running a 3 for 2 book promotion for the summer, they have now launched their #lifechangingbooks campaign where readers can share which Windhorse book has changed their lives.
Join them on social media (Instagram, Twitter or Facebook) to watch people talking about a Windhorse book that has changed their life. You can also make and share your own video using #lifechangingbooks.
Windhorse Publications is hoping to raise £20,000 so that it can continue to publish life changing books such as Mind in Harmony, Buddhism: Tools for Living Your Life, and Mindfully Facing Disease and Death as well as publishing new books with the potential to change lives, like Free Time!, The Myth of Meditation and I’ll Meet You There.
“It’s a crucial practice if we want to look after the environment - we have to learn to appreciate it, just take it in, and love it, because what we love, none of us will destroy.”
Gunaketu and other members of the Oslo Buddhist Centre recently took part in an inter-religious climate pilgrimage from Oslo to Hope Cathedral, an interfaith project, in Fredrikstad (south of Oslo). The purpose of this four day walk was to encourage dialogue between different faiths and to explore their engagement and responses to the climate crisis. The Clear Vision team was in attendance and they made this short film of the walk, capturing conversations along the way as well as the beautiful Norwegian landscape.
Read The Three Jewels meet the Climate Emergency (including an extended discussion around some of the issues raised here).
Buddhist Action Month 2019 kicked off this week! Buddhist Action Month, or BAM, is an annual festival of Buddhist social action, an opportunity to explicitly bring Metta - or loving-kindness - off the cushion into the world around us. As in previous years, a number of Sanghas across Triratna are participating in this year’s BAM. Here’s a quick look at what some have in store.
At the North London Buddhist Centre there will be opportunities to make pledges on their ‘tree of intentions’ as well as special BAM themed Sangha nights and an early morning meditation. A highlight for the Mid Essex Buddhist Centre will be a visit from Akuppa, the author of Saving the Earth: A Buddhist View. Meanwhile at the Bristol Buddhist Centre a variety of events will take place, including a talk by Shantigarbha on empathy and non-violent action as a tool for social change, as well as an evening exploring simplicity and lifestyle, with Sagaravajra from the East Devon Forest Garden.
This year the Vancouver Sangha will take part in BAM for the first time! They are planning a number of different events including a solstice camping weekend retreat and going the ‘No Trans Mountain Pipeline’ rally.
And, here’s an interesting event - members of the Oslo Sangha have taken part in an ’ Inter-religious Climate Pilgrimage’ from Oslo to Fredrikstad, Norway. The Clear Vision team have been there filming so watch this space for more!
“At the heart of our movement is friendship and Sangha and being [at the Triratna International Gathering] is a really strong experience of a positive community. There’s a lot of love and generosity and mutual help…and you can’t do that by email or Facebook…You have to be together and eat together and sit together, be in the shrine room with 340 people and meditate together, chant together to experience the power of Sangha and mutual appreciation and love.”
The Triratna International Gathering is a biennial event which brings together large numbers of the Triratna Buddhist Community from around Europe. But what’s it like? Here’s a short video, with some highlights from the last Gathering in 2017, to give you a flavour of what this inspiring, fun and family friendly event is like.
This year’s Gathering takes place on 22 - 26 August at Adhisthana and the theme is ‘Alchemy of the Dharma’ which aims to help us transform the ‘base material’ of ourselves, our spiritual community, and the wider society into ‘gold’, into ‘personal’ riches, shared riches and the sustaining riches of loving wisdom. The diverse programme includes Dharma talks, workshops, meditation, body work, story-telling, children’s activities and much more besides!
We are very happy to let you know the names of the Dharmacharinis ordained today.
Public Preceptor Parami
Lynne Thompson Campbell becomes Dhicitraka, a Sanskrit name meaning “She who paints wisdom” (long first ‘i’, long last ‘a’).
Westernised spelling Dhichitraka.
Private Preceptor Amritamati.
Ania Markiewiecz becomes Saddhajala, a Pali name meaning “Flame of Faith” (long second, third and fourth ‘a’s).
Westernised spelling Saddhajala.
Private Preceptor Saddhanandi.
Gerry Beasley becomes Danabhaya, a Sanskrit / Pali name meaning “She whose generosity makes her fearless” (long first, second and last ‘a’s)
Westernised spelling Danabhaya.
Private Preceptor Sridakini.
Margo Winning becomes Satyavandana, a Sanskrit name meaning “She who reveres the truth”. (long final ‘a’)
Westernised spelling Satyavandana.
Private Preceptor Gunasiddhi.
Hanka Dilley becomes Prajñanita, a Sanskrit / Pali name meaning “She who is led by wisdom”. (tilde above the ’n’, long second and final ‘a’s and long ‘i’).
Westernised spelling Prajnanita.
Private Preceptor Saddhanandi.
Public Preceptor Santavajri
Marjolijn Stoltenkamp becomes Mañjudhi, a Sanskrit name meaning “Gentle wisdom”. (tilde above the ’n’ and long ‘i’)
Westernised spelling Manjudhi.
Private Preceptor Akashasuri.
Hannah Leonie Prinzler becomes Simharava, a Sanskrit name meaning “She who has a lion’s roar”. (dot under the ‘m’ and long second and third ‘a’s)
Westernised spelling Simharava.
Private Preceptor Parami.
Public Preceptor Maitreyi
Sarah Nixon becomes Moksadhi, a Sanskrit name meaning “She who has the wisdom of liberation”. (dot under the ’s’and long ‘i’).
Westernised spelling Mokshadhi.
Private Preceptor Parami.
Meg Hughes becomes Maitrisamudra, a Sanskrit name meaning “She who is an ocean of loving kindness”.(long second ‘i’ and long final ‘a’)
Westernised spelling Maitrisamudra.
Private Preceptor Santavajri.
Rosemarie Kosche becomes Acaladhi, a Sanskrit name meaning “she whose wisdom is unwavering” (long final ‘i’).
Private Preceptor Taracitta.
Jayne Osgood becomes Kalyani, a Sanskrit name meaning “She who is noble and authentic”. (long second’a’, dot under the ’n’ and long ‘i’)
Westernised spelling Kalyani.
Private Preceptor Varasahaya.
Alex Suffolk becomes Akasanandi, a Sanskrit name meaning “She whose delight is in infinite space”. (long first and second ‘a’s, acute accent above the ’s’ and long ‘i’)
Westernised spelling Akashanandi.
Private Preceptor Sraddhamayi.
Public Preceptor Punyamala
Ruth Rudd becomes Tarajyoti, a Sanskrit name meaning “She who is or has the light of Tara”. (long ‘a’s).
Westernised spelling Tarajyoti.
Private Preceptor Karunacitta.
Andrea Würdinger becomes Viryapadma, a Sanskrit name meaning “She who is a lotus of energy”. (long ‘i’ and long last ‘a’).
Westernised spelling Viryapadma.
Private Preceptor Kalyanaprabha.
Jan Osborne becomes Anantamati, a Sanskrit name meaning “She who has a boundless or infinite mind or intelligence; she who has a sky-like mind”.
Westernised spelling Anantamati.
Private Preceptor Sagaraghosa.
Siobhan Ford becomes Padmasakhi, a Pali name meaning “Lotus friend”. (long ‘i’).
Westernised spelling Padmasakhi.
Private Preceptor Ratnavandana.
SADHU! SADHU! SADHU!
“Suppose a man wandering in a forest wilderness found an ancient path, an ancient trail, travelled by men of old, and he followed it up, and by doing so he discovered an ancient city, an ancient royal capital, where men of old had lived, with parks and groves and lakes, walled round and beautiful to see. So I too found the ancient path, the ancient trail, travelled by the Fully Enlightened Ones of old” (Nidanasamyutta, Samyutta Nikaya ii.105-6)
During Buddha day we celebrate the fact that Siddhartha Gautama became an Enlightened human being, an Awakened One - a Buddha. This festival is celebrated by many Buddhists around the world - and, of course, throughout the Triratna Buddhist Community! Take a look at some of the photos in our gallery of Buddha day festivities in Triratna.
Among the first to mark this occasion was the Melbourne Buddhist Centre, who held their celebrations on 4 May. After the usual Saturday morning meditation class there was a shared lunch followed by a talk from Manjusiddha on the early life of the Buddha to his Enlightenment and a slide show presentation of the pilgrimage sites in India from Apada. The puja was conducted by the Chair, Dantacitta, with musical accompaniment and two Mitra Ceremonies - the Shakyamuni and Padmasambhava mantras were particular highlights.
Meanwhile in Britain, the Norwich Buddhist Centre decamped to the countryside for Buddha day. Vajragupta, the chair of the Centre writes:
Our Buddha day saw around 50 men, women and children gathering on Saccaka’s land in the Norfolk countryside for a day celebrating the Buddha’s Enlightenment. Preparation began the week before to erect the marquee and build a wonderful log shrine upon which, in the context of a Buddha Day ritual people were invited to place a favourite rupa or Buddha image. A children’s tent appeared on the day, where parents and children ranging from three months to ten years could have some respite and share activities. Highlights of the day included a talk by Ratnaghosa on ‘The Three Rs’: Reverence, Receptivity and Responsiveness and in the afternoon a dramatisation of the Buddha’s Enlightenment by Jessica and a special Touching The Earth Puja compiled by Suryadarshini. Thanks to Bodhivajra for organising the day.
In Dublin a more contemplative day took place with meditation and reflection on the Buddha and the joy that renunciation can bring, inspired by Prajnagita’s talk, ‘The Buddha and his begging bowl - the courageous practice of simplicity and the joy of letting go.’ There was also an opportunity for good conversation and delicious food. A sevenfold puja brought an enjoyable day to a beautiful end.
“What the Buddha overcame, we too can overcome” was the theme of Buddha day at the Amsterdam Buddhist Centre. The day was led by Jayavajri and Tarodaya and it was a mixture of meditation, reflection, sharing experiences, input and a threefold puja.
Parina, who attended the Amsterdam Buddhist Centre’s celebrations, writes:As a participant I enjoyed the atmosphere of celebrating the Buddha jewel: his remarkable attainment is very moving. We reflected on our own going forth and what is holding us back and it was moving to listen to each other’s open and honest reflections. One woman walked into our Centre for the first time and she was moved to tears by the Shakyamuni mantra. One other Sangha member shared her wish to care more for the earth by buying organic food. It was a rich, intimate, joyful celebration.
Sunday afternoon found the London Buddhist Centre attempting to celebrate the Buddha in a new way. Gus writes: “Over the course of an hour, we attempted to evoke the living presence of the Buddha with a cycle of meditation, atmospheric accordion music and stories told from the first-person perspective of some of those who met the Buddha (via some recognisable faces from the sangha!). Altogether with meditation, shared meals, Mitra ceremonies and a rousing talk from Jnanavaca, the LBC sangha was at its vibrant best, in tune with one another and alive to the ideal of the Buddha.”
In São Paulo, Brazil, Buddha day was celebrated on Wednesday night. Manjupriya writes:
Our little Sangha is almost 17 years old and last night we celebrated Wesak with a Seven-Fold puja with a reading of the story of the Buddha meeting Kisagotami. The shrine was very carefully built by the Wednesday night team and it focused on the Buddha Shakyamuni and Enlightenment in its five Jina forms. None of this would have been possible without the Buddha or Sangharakshita’s vision and dedication. Sabe Satta Sukhi Hontu!
Mitra ceremonies - an occasion to make a formal commitment to practice Buddhism in the context of the Triratna community - played an important role in many Buddha day celebrations in Triratna. From Berlin, Aryabandhu writes: ”a wonderful Buddha day at Buddhitsches Zentrum Berlin with Buddhanusati meditation, walking and chanting and a 7-fold puja with 3 Mitra ceremonies. About 50 people celebrated Buddha Day in Berlin……3 new mitras….Sadhu!…the Sangha grows.” Also at Nagaloka in Nagpur, India 45 people became mitras!
And in Valencia Buddha day celebrations commenced with an all-night meditation. Maitrighosha explains:
We started celebrating the Buddha’s commitment to awakening with a vigil through Saturday night, preceded by a light dinner at 21:00, and a lovely three fold puja and meditation at 22:00. There were 18 people at the beginning - through the night numbers decreased and there were 7 people by early morning finishing with a breakfast around 09:00.
On Sunday we began with a meditation, then Saddhakara gave a touching talk about seeing the Buddha’s Enlightenment through a child’s eyes, with awe-inspiring fascination… and finally we finished celebrating Buddha day with a traditional seven-fold puja taking the opportunity of incorporating mitra ceremonies in this context with a joyful atmosphere of rejoicing in merits, heart-felt offerings and mantra chanting. We were around 50 people there with a full shrine room. Many of us went later on to a restaurant to carry on the celebration in the traditional Spanish manner!
Recently TBCO featured Helen Lewis of Windhorse Publications interviewing Vajragupta about his new book, Free Time! From Clock-watching to Free-flowing – a Buddhist Guide. Here Vajragupta reveals more about the book… and about the mystery of time.
Your new book is now available from Windhorse Publications, and it is about Buddhism and time, and our relationship with time… can you say more?
As we know, the Buddha said that experience is shaped by mind; we become what we think. This is true of everything we experience, even the time that we seem to experience things ‘in’! So the book is exploring the ‘mind made’ nature of experience on a deep and fundamental level. If your time usually feels speedy, bitty, or frothy, then there will be something you are doing with your mind that is creating that sense of time. It will be profoundly effecting the quality of your whole life. So it is an important issue, especially these days. There are surveys showing just how many people feel they never have enough time, that they are always in a hurry. There is something badly awry with our culture’s attitude to time. I know this from my own personal experience. I have found exploring time, and unpacking how I ‘do time’ very revealing and freeing. So my hope is that the book can help people discover how to live more from a sense of time that is deep and flowing.
Can you give an example? How does what I do with my mind lead to a particular experience of time?
The book mainly explores how craving and aversion – pushing or pulling towards or away from our experience – condition our sense of time. The old proverbs ‘time flies when you are having fun’ and ‘a watched kettle never boils’ express what goes on. If we are craving something to last, then it seems to be over in a flash. If we are craving something to stop, then it seems to drag on for ages. Perversely our mind produces the opposite sensation of time to what we want! The book explores how that happens in much more detail. Perhaps the main point for now is that there is a mind-made, even ‘karmic’ or ethical, aspect to time. If you are in mind-states of craving and aversion, that will distort and tense-up your sense of time. If you do that habitually, the sense of time it creates is more constant and all-pervasive, and so seems more real… which leads you into fighting time even more… which re-creates that tensed experience of time… and so on. Seeing how it is mind-made can be liberating. You realise you have a choice about the time you live in.
OK, so our subjective experience of time varies. But surely time itself is real and objective? Things do take a certain time to complete and we only have so much time to do them in. So isn’t it an exaggeration to say that time is mind made?
It is true on one level that we only have so much time. There is a subjective feel to our time, but also an objective world we have to deal with. However, changing our attitude, and therefore transforming our subjective experience of time, can help us keep a clear head and deal with the world more skilfully and helpfully. Having said that, we can also deconstruct our idea of time more deeply and profoundly, and that is what the book goes into.
Well, the book explores the Buddhist teaching about the nature of the self. Part of how our mind works is by structuring experience around a sense of an observer, or perceiver – a ‘me’ that is having this experience, and also structuring experience in terms of past, present, and future. If you think carefully about it, there can be no ‘now’ without an observer, a ‘me’. ‘Now’ is where I am, it is the point from which I look. It is subject-dependent. That means past and future are also subject-dependent, because they only exist relative to now. So, whilst there may be an ever-changing flow of life that exists separate from me and others, there is no past, present, or future separate from the minds that perceive them. Time – at least time tensed into past, present, and future – is inherently mind-made. It is not that consciousness is in time. It is more true to say that time is in consciousness. Time is part of how our mind structures and makes experience.
We seem to have gone from something practical and everyday into something much more philosophical…
This is still very much about looking at our actual experience. There are a number of mediations and reflections in the book that help us to do this – to see what’s really there in our experience of time. Buddhism encourages us to examine and unpack our experience in this way, and to get beyond our assumptions. It says that in doing this there is a freedom to be found. We see that self and time aren’t so fixed and real as we maybe thought. They are something that we do, something that we create or fabricate, through our perceptions and volitions, our views and emotional reactions. So we have a choice – on a very profound level – about what kind of self we become, and what kind of time that it lives in!
What about science and time? Physics says very strange things about time; do you go into that in the book?
When I was researching the book I did read Carlo Rovelli’s ‘The Order of Time’ which was recently in the bestseller lists. He is an Italian physicist who has specialised in the science of time. He writes quite beautifully and opens up the sheer mystery of time from the point of view of modern physics. Einstein discovered that time varies according to our relative position and motion. This is not just a theoretical idea; it has been tested out and found to be true. One experiment used three of the most accurate clocks we have. Two were put in a couple of very fast planes and one left on the ground. The planes then travelled at top speed round the world in opposite directions. When they returned, all three clocks showed a different time had elapsed. The rate at which time occurred varied according to the speed and motion of the clock. So my book references these things, but I am not qualified to really go into them! I find them mind-boggling! The book is more focused on our mind-state and time – how certain attitudes and our quality of attention to life alter our experience of time. Having said that, one thing that is interesting about science and time is how our ‘common sense’ view is that time is a real, objective, external, regular, linear thing… ticking away like clockwork all over the universe. This is the Newtonian notion of time and it has been entirely superseded by a more Einsteinian view. But in the popular mind it is still that old idea of time that prevails, and that we tend to believe in.
Anything else you want to tell us about the book?
I really enjoyed writing it! Time is such a rich and fascinating topic. For example, I talk in the book about the whole culture of clock time and how we are socially and culturally conditioned into certain modes of time. The book also goes into our relationship with the past and future – how humans are storytelling creatures, and how past and future are actually just stories. Again, bringing awareness to how we are telling the story of our past and our future will change and transform them… it can change the past and future, it can change time!
One last question. Buddhism famously teaches that all things are impermanent; everything changes. Doesn’t that mean Buddhism is inherently about time? Yet you are suggesting it doesn’t exist!
I am suggesting that time is part of how the human mind works and structures experience. That is not the same as saying time doesn’t exist. Time is a real experience we humans have, but it is not a real thing that exists separate to us. So, yes, we experience things changing. We experience events moving past that supposedly fixed point of reference we call ‘me’. We experience the changing-ness of life and we call it ‘time’. We say that things change because time passes. But, actually, it is more like we experience time passing because things change. To say that things change because time passes suggests that there is a time separate from change. But how could that be? How could there be a time that does not pass?! Time is not why things change, or pass. Time is changing, passing. So you are right; part of exploring time from a Buddhist point of view is looking at change and impermanence. There is a chapter in the book with three ways of reflecting on impermanence – life-to-life, day-to-day, and moment-to-moment. We do need to be aware of time and transiency in order to make the most of our lives and not waste our opportunity. There is an aphorism I quote in the book: ‘live life as though today is your last day, but it will last for a thousand years’. This expresses one of the paradoxes of human life. We do need a sense of urgency, an awareness that time is finite – living from the mode of ‘one day’. But, if we are to touch into a deeper creativity, then we also need to have a sense of abundance, or even timelessness; we need to feel we have all the time in the world – living in the mode of ‘one thousand years’. Part of the art of a life well lived is doing both of these at once!
We are happy to announce the public ordination of ex-Dan Roberts from the Seattle Sangha at the Dharmadhara Retreat Center on 15th May, 2019.
Dan becomes Karunashanti. His new name means “He whose peace is through or from compassion.”
Shantinayaka was Private Preceptor and Viradhamma was Public Preceptor.
Sadhu, sadhu, sadhu!
We are delighted to announce that the following women received their public ordination at Adhisthana on 12th May 2019.
The public preceptor was Parami.
Mary Hastings becomes Dhipalita, a Sanskrit name meaning ‘She who is protected by Wisdom’. (Long first ‘i’ and long final ‘a’).
Westernised spelling: Dhipalita.
Private preceptor: Saddhanandi
Denise Carlyle becomes Advayagita, a Sanskrit name meaning ‘She who sings of non-duality’. (Long ‘i’ and long final ‘a’).
Westernised spelling: Advayagita.
Private preceptor: Santasiddhi.
Irene Hardy becomes Amayika, a Sanskrit name meaning. ‘She who is without deceit’. (Long second and final ‘a’s).
Westernised spelling: Amayika.
Private preceptor: Santasiddhi.
Tracey Smith becomes Satyanadi, a Sanskrit name meaning ‘She who is a river of truth’. (Long ‘i’).
Westernised spelling: Satyanadi.
Private preceptor: Amritamati.
Marilyn Williams becomes Prajñasisya, a Sanskrit name meaning ‘She who is a disciple of wisdom’. (Diacritic mark over the ‘n’, long second and final ‘a’s, acute accent over the first ‘s’ and dot under the second ‘s’).
Westernised spelling: Prajnashishya.
Private preceptor: Kalyacitta.
Lynda Taylor becomes Abhayamani, a Sanskrit name meaning ‘She who is or has the jewel of fearlessness’ (dot under the ‘n’).
Westernised spelling: Abhayamani.
Private preceptor: Kamalagita.
Pam Cooper becomes Saddhajivini, a Pali name meaning ‘She who lives from faith’ (long second ‘a’, long first and final ‘i’s).
Westernised spelling: Saddhajivini.
Private preceptor: Moksanandi.
Jeanette Forman was reordained taking once again the name Vijayanandi (no diacritics), meaning ‘She who delights in spiritual victory’.
Westernised spelling is also Vijayanandi.
Vijayanandi’s private preceptor was Srimala.
SADHU, SADHU, SADHU!
We are delighted to announce that the following men were publicly ordained on Sunday 5 May 2019 at Saddhamma Pradip Retreat Center, Bhaja, Maharashtra, India.
Here are their new names:
Public preceptor Amritadipa
Private preceptor Adityabodhi
Prakash Jadham, from Mumbai, becomes Danakirti (Having the fame of generosity)
Shashikant Sonawane, from Yerwada, becomes Karmasena (King of action)
Private preceptor Amritadipa
Vasant Kamble, from Yerwada, becomes Viryashila (Having the virtue of energy)
Private preceptor Jutindhar
Bansi Kate, from Yerwada, becomes Amitruchi (Having Infinite light)
Somanath Bhalerao becomes Shakyadhar (Upholder of Shakya lineage)
Public preceptor Ratnasila
Private preceptor Adityabodhi
Krushana Oval, from Dapodi, Pune, becomes Karmasiddhi (Accomplishment of action)
Private preceptor Anandbodhi
Vishwas Nikam, from Dehuroad, becomes Dharmayash (Fame of Dharma)
Private preceptor Anomadassi
Baccharam Kamble, from Thane, becomes Viryachandra (Moon of energy)
Ragho Jadhav, from Thane, becomes Dhairyamitra (Friend of courage)
Private preceptor Chandrabodhi
Sudhakar Gaikwad, from Kalburgi, becomes Vajraraj (King of Vajra-like wisdom)
Private preceptor Jnanadhvaja
Sanjay Gaikwad, from Dapodi, Pune, becomes Akasharatna (Sky-like jewel)
Private preceptor Surangam
Pralhad Lalsare, from Solapur, becomes Shraddhasena (King of Conviction)
Private preceptor Yashosagar
Vinod Shejwal, from Busaval, becomes Satyavajra (Vajra-like truth)
Tushar Alhat from Dapodi, Pune becomes Sanghasiddhi (Having accomplishment of Sangha)
Avinash Bansode, from Dapodi, Pune, becomes Jnanasambhava (Born of Knowledge)
Maruti Wankhede, from Thane, becomes Kshitiratna (Jewel of determination)
Public preceptor Yashosagar
Private preceptor Adityabodhi
Rajesh Tambe, from Mumbai, becomes Danasagar (Ocean of generosity)
Private preceptor Amrutadipa
Bajirao Kamble, from Dapodi, becomes Karmashur (Hero of action)
Ramesh Babar, from Dapodi, Pune, becomes Sudipta (Extremely luminous)
Private preceptor Anandbodhi
Devidas More, from Dehuroad, becomes Kshantimitra
Private preceptor Anomadassi
Sudhakar Ingavale, from Navi, Mumbai, becomes Uditakumar (Arisen prince)
Satyaprakash Kamble, from Latur, becomes Viratkumar (Detached prince)
Private preceptor Jutindhar
Ravindra Bansode, from Dapodi, Pune, becomes Jnanaghosh (Sound of Knowledge)
Private preceptor Ratnasila
Deepak Adhainge, from Busaval, becomes Jinachandra (Moon-like conqueror)
Guniratna Jadhav, from Thane, becomes Akshyaguna (Having imperishable virtues)
Vishal Gade, from Pune Camp, becomes Samasiddhi (Perfect accomplishment)
Abhijit Vighne, from Bhaja, becomes Ratnachandra (Moon-like jewel)
SADHU, SADHU, SADHU!
In this short film Aryanita, the current Chair, and Vassika, the former Chair, give us an update on their search for a new home for the Paris Buddhist Centre. A lovely, light, spacious place has been found in a peaceful part of Paris, around the corner from a beautiful park. The purchase will be complete in May and building work will start to transform it from a doctors’ surgery into a Buddhist Centre, with the plan for it to open in September.
Here’s an interview with Dharmakirti, based in Valencia, about the recent Order Day celebration in Spain. He gives us a bit of the history of Triratna in Spain, as well as the challenges and hopes for the future.
When did Triratna Spain first come into being?
Here’s a timeline of Spanish activities over the years:
1986: Guhyaloka land was bought by Subhuti, and the same year Bhante gave his first talk in Valencia.
1988: Moksananda moved to Valencia and started giving meditation classes and talks in Valencia.
1990: Valencia Buddhist Centre opened.
1993: A Publishing company called Fundación Tres Joyas was established by Sudhavajra and Vajranatha. It closed in 2006 and a new project was born called Librobudistas.com, an online website to sell and share Buddhist literature, with a particular focus on Sangharakshita’s, and other Order Members’, books.
1995 (to 2006): Evolution shop opened in Valencia. This involved a mixed team that changed over time - so many Order Members and Mitras were involved and supported and worked for the shop - but two key people Bodhin and Samudra. The shop was very important in Valencia both for the Sangha and as a lab for training in right livelihood. Most of the time there was a team of 6 Mitras and Order Members working full-time. In a way it was more important than the Buddhist Centre itself: it was the easiest place to meet someone from the Sangha at anytime. In contrast the Buddhist Centre only opened from 6pm onward. Sadly the shop closed because of rent increases: the street became very fashionable and so prices went up, and the products we sold were not so attractive and exotic anymore. We all remember it with so much love; it meant a lot for the establishment of the Spanish Sangha.
1994: Stiravajra started meditation classes in Benidorm and then began Villa Joyosa together with Sasatya.
1995: First women’s residential community started in Valencia with Parami, Paramachitta and other Mitras (now Saddhakara, Amoghadevi and Dhivasini).
2005: Ecodharma Retreat Centre in the Catalan Pyrenees was founded by Guhyapati.
2007: Akashavana, the women’s ordination retreat centre, opened in the mountains of Aragon, north of Spain.
2008: Sangharakshita’s A Survey of Buddhism was published in Spanish and Bhante (Sangharakshita) visited Valencia to launch the book.
2009: Bhante visited Valencia again for the opening of the new Valencia Buddhist Centre (the current one).
2013 (to 2015): A group of Dharmacharinis opened a second-hand shop called “Lama’s Pyjamas” in Valencia. It closed in 2015, mainly because there is no culture of second-hand shops in Spain, so it was difficult to keep it open.
2017: Valencia Buddhist Centre bought and created the first Spanish Sangha mixed retreat centre (45 minutes from Valencia) called Suryavana. Opening of the Barcelona Buddhist Centre.
How well has Triratna fitted into Spanish culture?
This is not a simple question to answer. First all there is the barrier of the language: many Order members that move from UK to Spain had learn Spanish and so much of the Order and Movement’s texts and materials are written in English. So to be able to communicate with people and have the main text in Spanish is a massive task. Of course this has been done over the years by the generous work of an uncountable number of people who wanted to see Dharma flowering in Spain. Also, I think, comparing Spain with Mexico (which is another major Triratna Spanish speaking development) there is a bit of a difference in how the two cultures have embraced Triratna. For example, in Mexico 90% of the Order Members there are Mexican. Here probably only 40% of Order are Spanish, and this percentage was even smaller few years back. I think, perhaps, being so close to the UK has meant we always relied on British Order Members to lead us so I think we have not yet fully developed as a Spanish Order. Of course, there is a lot more I could say and I’m sure if you asked another Order Member they would have a different opinion, but this is how I see it now.
However there is now a thriving Mitra sangha: probably around 40 mitras in Valencia and around 10 in Barcelona which is mostly made up of Spanish people as well as a few Mitras from Argentina, Venezuela and other Latin American countries. I think there is a good ground for Triratna to grow in Spain, most of Bhante’s books have been translated, and there are also many important institutions established (Valencia, Barcelona, big retreat centres, etc). There are now more Spanish Order Members and most of the Order Members who have moved here from abroad speak fluent Spanish. So, I feel positive that Triratna will thrive more and more in Spain.
What was the ‘Creating the Story of Triratna in Spain’ workshop – which took place on the recent Order Day in Valencia - about?
When I visited Adhisthana’s 50 years exhibition I noticed that there was a timeline of how the movement and the Order developed in different countries. It made me realise that there was nothing written about Spain. Dhivasini and I are the Order Convenors for Spain, so, when thinking about how to celebrate our recent Order Day, this idea of writing our story came up.
We started the Order Day with meditation and finished with Sadhana and puja. Using a quote from Bhante we explored the coming into being of Triratna Spain.
I cannot but feel that the coming into existence of the Western Buddhist Order was little short of a miracle. Not only did the lotus bloom from the mud; it had to bloom from the mud contained within a small and inadequate pot. Perhaps it had to bloom just then or not at all, and perhaps this particular pot was the only one available – Sangharakshita
We did some group dynamics exercises to break the ice and help Order Members connect with the story of Triratna in Spain. We then used some music, movement and reflections in small groups to share more of our story in Spain, with Order Members individually writing down dates of important events that they recalled including their ordination dates and so on.
We had a wall chart at the ready and at one point we invited everyone in silence to add their memories to it (on little pieces of paper, photos, also they could draw and write on it).
The result was quite remarkable and beautiful. There was a sense of playfulness and nostalgia, also a lovely sense of mudita. We finished by just looking and sharing stories and then we moved on to do the Order sadhana-puja.
This wall chart stayed for two weeks in the main shrine so that many people who came to courses, workshops and events were able to see or even add something else to it. Later we took photos and wrote down a kind of timeline with the milestones or important events (mainly institutional) of the Order and Movement in Spain.
How did the Order day go?
Of the approximately 35 Order Members in Spain about 15 attended the day. Many of them reported how much they enjoyed it and were really grateful.
In Valencia we are going through a complex period at the moment - we are in the middle transition period in terms of the chairmanship of the Buddhist Centre - there are some tensions and uncertainties about the future. We have this beautiful retreat centre but also pressure to pay the mortgage, along with the need for commitment and clear leadership. At the same time we wanted to celebrate the Order, bringing awareness to how much has been achieved so far – and recognising from the quote of Bhante (see above) that even if we don´t always have the right skills or temperament, we are the “only one available”, and we can continue to foster Triratna activities in Spain!
Watch a short film of the Order Day celebrations
We are delighted to announce that following the Public Ordination ceremony today at Guhyaloka Retreat Centre in Spain we have 15 new Order members.
Here are their new names:
Public Preceptor Moksananda
Ricardo Rico becomes Acalamati, a Sanskrit name meaning “He who has an unwavering mind”.
Westernised spelling: Achalamati.
Private Preceptor: Nagapriya.
Bruno Mendosa Valdés becomes Ruciramati, a Sanskrit name meaning “He who has a brilliant and radiant mind”.
Westernised spelling: Ruchiramati.
Private Preceptor: Nagapriya.
Public Preceptor Amogharatna
Hans-Dieter Lehmann becomes Pasadin, a Pali name meaning “He who is serene”.
Westernised spelling: Pasadin.
Private Preceptor: Nirmala.
Tobias Thamm becomes Dharmasara, a Sanskrit name meaning “He who has the strength or essence of the Dharma”.
Westernised spelling: Dharmasara.
Private Preceptor: Dharmapriya.
Public Preceptor Satyaraja
Todd Donnelly becomes Padmapalita, a Sanskrit name meaning “Protected by the lotus”.
Westernised spelling: Padmapalita
Private Preceptor: Maitreyabandhu.
Patryk Lange becomes Hrdayavajra, a Sanskrit name meaning “He whose heart is like a diamond”.
Westernised spelling: Hridayavajra.
Private Preceptor: Santaka
Alex Green becomes Ksantikara, a Sanskrit name meaning “He who is a maker of patience”.
Westernised spelling: Kshantikara.
Private Preceptor: Vidyadaka.
Dawid Faron becomes Padmasiddha, a Sanskrit name meaning “He who has achieved his aim, like a lotus; he who is a siddha and a lotus”.
Westernised spelling: Padmasiddha.
Private Preceptor: Santaka.
Public Preceptor Maitreyabandhu
Robert Hubbard becomes Sthiradeva, a Sanskrit name meaning “Steadfast deva”.
Westernised spelling: Sthiradeva.
Private Preceptor: Dhamadipa.
Mike Thomas becomes Moksavira, a Sanskrit name meaning “Hero of Liberation”.
Westernised spelling: Mokshavira.
Private Preceptor: Ratnavyuha.
Barry Copping becomes Devaghosa, a Sanskrit name meaning “He who has a divine voice or sound”.
Westernised spelling: Devaghosha.
Private Preceptor: Jayaka.
Christoph Vornhusen becomes Suryajina, a Sanskrit name meaning “Victorious like the Sun”.
Westernised spelling: Suryajina.
Private Preceptor: Amogharatna.
Paul Greenhalgh becomes Kalyananara, a Sanskrit name meaning “Virtuous Man”.
Westernised spelling: Kalyananara.
Private Preceptor: Danapriya.
Jochen Weichert becomes Suryavaca, a Sanskrit name meaning “Voice of the Sun”.
Westernised spelling: Suryavacha.
Private Preceptor: Amogharatna.
John Turner becomes Sarvajit, a Sanskrit name meaning “He who is all-conquering, all-surpassing”.
Westernised spelling: Sarvajit.
Private Preceptor: Arthapriya.
SADHU, SADHU, SADHU!
Booking is now open for the 2019 Triratna International Gathering which will take place at Adhisthana, UK, from 22-26 August! This biennial event brings together large numbers of the Triratna Buddhist Community from around Europe for a feast of inspiration, stimulation and fun. All are welcome, including children.
The theme of the 2019 gathering is ‘Alchemy of the Dharma’. Alchemy is the magical art of turning base materials into gold, a potent metaphor for what we are trying to do in our Dharma lives. How do we transform the ‘base material’ of ourselves, our spiritual community, and the wider society into ‘gold’, into ‘personal’ riches, shared riches and the sustaining riches of loving wisdom?
The programme is still being finalised but here are the details so far:
- Transforming Self - Ratnaguna
- Transforming Through Sangha - Sanghamani
- Transforming World - Prasadacarin
Short talks about the transformative power of the Dharma in Latin America and India
Event on Bhante as Alchemist (by Maitreyabandhu and others)
Study with Saccanama
Various workshops such as:
Batik - Akashalila
Blake - Satyalila and Ratnaprabha
Meditation - Vajraloka team
Mindful communication - Jayaraja
Philosophy - Vidyaruci
Writing - Satyalila and others
Activities for kids
Chai and pancakes stall - Buddhafield
Storytelling - Jayaraja and Lokabandhu
+Follow the International Gathering space to stay updated on all the latest details