The last weekend in September saw the annual gathering of the European Buddhist Union (EBU), this year hosted by Triratna at Adhisthana, followed as always by the annual meeting of the Buddhist Teachers in Europe (BTE).
For the EBU meeting, around 30 people from national Buddhist unions and individual Buddhist traditions across Europe, and including some young Buddhist guests, spent three days together, concentrating on two topics: 1) Young Buddhists and 2) preventing abuse in Sanghas. It was a really happy weekend, the visitors and the Adhisthana community seemingly delighting in each other, and in the beauty of Adhisthana in autumn.
Prajnaketu spoke about his work as Triratna’s Young Buddhist Co-ordinator and as Triratna’s Safeguarding officer I gave a talk explaining what Safeguarding is and how Triratna’s Safeguarding policies complement our Ethical Guidelines. (‘Safeguarding’ as understood in Britain is unknown in many European countries.) Those present signed up to a Statement against sexual abuse in sanghas.
Bhante had a steady stream of visitors all weekend and received a number of presents including a musical box playing Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ (the European anthem), a present very thoughtfully chosen by the secretary of the Austrian Buddhist Union because Bhante has such limited sight.
In the closing circle, the president of the Norwegian Buddhist Union, obviously moved, said he had first met Bhante in the 1970s and meeting this “towering pioneer in Western Buddhism” again that day had been the highlight of his weekend; something he would remember for the rest of his life.
“I really loved to be in Adhisthana. It’s a place where you can feel the Dharma everywhere.” Thank you message from an Italian Buddhist
The subsequent Buddhist Teachers in Europe (BTE) meeting was a meeting of 8-10 people. I very much enjoyed seeing Bhante attending the talks, sitting in a group of teachers listening intently and commenting carefully. It was a particular joy to see the friendship between him and Lama Shenpen Hookham. Now 93 and 72 respectively, they first met 50 years ago when he was her first Dharma teacher. She later founded the Awakened Heart Sangha in north Wales.
Sthanashraddha is Bhante’s secretary. He writes from Adhisthana, UK:
August continued to blaze with sunshine and heat, though eventually it did break and the rains fell with a downpour here or there and rainy days mixed between sunny ones. Wonderful for slowly rejuvenating the very dry and crispy gardens, less attractive for Bhante’s morning walk and sit by the pond.
The wet weather was very noticeable during the Order weekend at the end of the month when we also celebrated Bhante’s 93rd birthday, wishing him well for the start of his 94th year. Cards had begun arriving earlier in the month and carried on arriving after the day. Some small and handmade, some very large, others having travelled all the way from India and Australia.
On the day itself Bhante came out of the front door of the men’s community after lunch to be greeted by a couple of hundred Order members sheltering under umbrellas and raincoats while we sang him a happy birthday, presented him with a very large cake made by a Mitra from London, Laura, who was on the Mitra team and a large card from the Weekend gathering.
The following day Bhante joined us in the marquee for the handing over ritual of International Order Convenor, from Parami to Aryajaya. Remaining in his wheel chair he also took the time to look at the shrine and circumambulate it not once but three times.
Of course the earlier part of August saw the usual activities of meeting with people mostly one-to-one but also the occasional group, such as some Spanish speaking women from Mexico and Spain on their way to Tiratanaloka. It was during August when the Men’s Dharma Life course ended and so Bhante met with them one last time all together for a photograph in front of the main house.
Here follows then the monthly list of meetings during August:
Utpalacitta, Dyotana, Priyavadita, Kalyanaprabha, Sally Murray-Jones, Maitreyi, Saccanama, Sanghapurna, Sraddhasara, Prasadavati, Cittapala, Satyajyoti, Alyssa Fradenberg, Padmadharini, Carmen Valle, Graciela Huerta, Monica Tamarit, Susana Navarro, Reme Rojo, Alma Mendoza, Vilasini, Sraddhabha, Moksavadini, Kalyanadhi, Vajrasri, Amoghavajri, Vajragupta(f), Kulanandi, Joseph Undaloc, Fred Radley, Daniel Canning, Vanessa Grundy, Paul Johnson, Jonathan O’Keeffe, Satyanandi, Maitrijit, Tobias Thamm, Cany Navarro, Parami, Prajnahridaya, Sadhanaratna, Viryanaga, Aranyaka, Gunasara, Lokamdhara, Peter Ran, Kamalanaga, Guilhem Monin, Sujiva, Sonja (Berlin), and Kularatna.
There was also one of Bhante’s trips to the hospital, for his eye checkup and injection of Lucentis.
Finally, writing in August, Bhante wrote three pieces ‘Buddhism and Islam’, ‘My Muslim friend’, and ‘Islam and the Buddha’.
After the rainy weekend in August the weather shifted and September had some gloriously beautiful days and some stormy wet and windy days but all of them were increasingly tinged with autumn. The nights began to draw in faster and faster. And the leaves are beginning, if not to turn, then certainly toughen up and dry out.
Bhante met with various people including a group of men from Mexico on their way to Guhyaloka and at the very end of the month Adhisthana hosted the AGM of the European Buddhist Union (EBU), during which a few of the other union members met with Bhante. He was particularly pleased that Adhisthana was hosting the meeting and concerned that we made a good job of hosting and looking after the various union members well. And he is looking forward to hopefully meeting with an old friend, Lama Shenpen Hookham, during the Buddhist Teachers in Europe meeting which follows on immediately after the EBU finishes.
Here follows then the list of people Bhante met with in September:
Gabriel Tona, Juan Carlos Martinez, Mauricio Garcia, Sachin Bhongadee, Pradaya, Paramajyoti, Saddhanandi, David Culver, Subhuti, Dharmananda, Nagamani, Nirmala, Upekshanandi, Akshobyini, David Elliott, Guhyaprabha, Prajnamala, Prajnajaya, Suryaka, Abhayanandi, Catriona (Teen) Ross, Ania Markiewicz, Vidyadevi, Sthiranaga, Sinhadakini, Dayachitta, Sara Khorasani, Saddhaloka, Lokamitra, Vishangka, Vivekaratna, Deborah Creed, Claire Morris Vajrapushpa, Karunasri, Ratnadeva, Robbert Harrap (EBU), Egil Lottie (EBU), Elaine Devonian (EBU), Matthias Grumaye (EBU), Klaus Kraler (EBU), Ron Eichorn (current president (EBU), Gabriele Maas (EBU).
After writing ‘Science and Poetry: a note’ Bhante received a few notes and letters from Order members who are similarly exploring, either for the first time or over many years the subject of Science. Among those notes have been several book recommendations, some of which Bhante is following up, at present he is just dipping into ‘Shadows of the Mind’ by Robert Penrose, subtitled ‘A search for the missing science of consciousness’.
In a special ritual on Monday 9th March 2018 Suryagupta became the new Chair of the London Buddhist Centre - one of Triratna’s oldest and largest urban Buddhist Centres, outside of India. Suryagupta is the first woman to become a chair of the LBC. Furthermore, as a mother and a woman of African Caribbean heritage, she brings a breadth of experience to this important role in the Triratna Buddhist Community.
Here is an interview with Suryagupta.
1. Can you say a little about your background?
I was born in Mile End, East London, which is the next tube stop from Bethnal Green, where the London Buddhist Centre is based. So I am very much a local girl - with Caribbean parents! I spent quite a lot of my early years in Caribbean with my grandparents and came back to England when I was about six or seven. I grew up in East London but always had a sense I wanted to leave – while I appreciated the community spirit, I experienced 1970’s East End of London as a largely hostile place as there was a great deal of racism as well as poverty. When the time came I went off and studied law at Bristol University. It was in Bristol that I first got involved in Buddhism. After living in Bristol for a while I returned to Bethnal Green and to the LBC for the first time and was delighted to experience a very different place than the one I had left.
2. What kind of jobs did you do before becoming chair?
While I briefly worked in a ‘team-based right livelihood’ in London I mostly worked ‘in the world’. I was a youth worker, working with refugees, a social worker. I then became a professional storyteller, which I loved and after a number of years transitioned to coaching and leadership development. I also co-founded an orchestra and a professional network seeking to create more racial diversity in classical music. My son was an inspiration as he’s a cellist and we worked with leading organisations such as The Barbican and The Royal Academy of Music. I enjoyed all the work I did but I had a growing need to serve the Dharma and after a car accident, I knew that this need and wish to serve had to take centre stage.
3. What was the process of becoming Chair like?
I was very reluctant at first but quite a lot of people wanted me to put myself forward. I knew it would certainly not be comfortable for me as, apart from serving such a large community, I also have a different lifestyle than previous Chairs and I wasn’t sure how it would work. However, after a great deal of thought, I felt that if it were what the situation required I would put myself forward and see what happened. I also work with women in leadership and in the end I asked myself ‘is there a good reason I shouldn’t put myself forward?’ In December when I was told by the Council that they wanted me to be the next Chair, I was in shock. I was also moved to tears, feeling a mixture of gratitude, shock and awe.
4. How has your family reacted to you taking on this responsibility?
My nineteen-year-old son attended the ceremony and loved it. I often talk to him about the Dharma but it is sometimes interspersed with ‘don’t forget to clean your room’ so I think he really only saw the whole context and the commitment I’ve made when I was giving a talk at the ceremony. He’s been extremely supportive and encouraging all the way - all my family has been.
5. What has it been like so far being chair of one of Triratna’s Largest Buddhist Centres?
It’s been full, exciting, demanding and has definitely stretched me. It also feels like such a privilege to serve such a vibrant and inspiring community. I am happy to be doing it. It’s not comfortable but it’s energising for sure.
6. Looking ahead - are there any areas you would like to focus on in your role as chair?
Well, the first thing is to maintain and continue to develop the positive and creative environment we have at the LBC. Many people describe the LBC as like an oasis and so many Order Members, Mitras and many volunteers all help create this. It takes energy, skill and really love from from us all to just continue this. So this is my first priority, to maintain the positive and then share the Dharma more and more widely. I also want to support activities for under 25’s and for black, Asian people as both groups are currently under-represented in Triratna.
Other than that I’m just going to see what the situation requires. I have been Chair for 6 months so it’s still early days.
7. Anything else?
Inspiration has been my guide in all the roles I have had. It was inspiration and a need to serve that led me to put the LBC at the centre of my life and becoming Chair is a powerful expression of that. Being a Chair also requires me to continue to create the right conditions to deepen my Dharma practice. So along with the many projects and activities I am engaged with, it’s important that I also make time for doing nothing, enjoying silence, dwelling in nature, personal study and friendships.
Did the Buddha actually say “all worldlings are mad”, “all descriptions of reality are temporary hypotheses” or “all things are perfect exactly as they are”? These are just some of the sayings that Bodhipaksa, author of Vegetarianism: A Buddhist View and of the Wildmind Buddhist Meditation site, investigates in his new book I Can’t Believe It’s Not Buddha!, an entertaining search for the truth amidst the haystack of ‘Buddha quotes.’
The book is Bodhipaksa’s response to encountering many dubious ‘quotes’ attributed to the Buddha on social media and elsewhere over many years. Sayings from people such as Osho (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh), Robert Louis Stevenson, Marie Curie…even quotes originating from the film ‘Fight Club’ or unlikely ‘literary’ quotes (such as “ennui has made more gamblers than avarice, more drunkards than thirst, and perhaps as many suicides as despair”) have been, at various times, attributed to the Buddha.
Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. - A real quote from the Buddha?
With great humour Bodhipaksa explores the ‘fake Buddha quotes’ phenomenon, using them as teaching opportunities to succinctly elucidate what the Buddha actually taught.
Published by Parallax, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Buddha! is available in book shops from the 6th November.
Visit FakeBuddhaQuotes.com to find out more about this book and where it is available.
Join the Abhayaratna Trust for an exciting 10th Anniversary Concert that brings together some of the finest classical and jazz musicians in the Triratna Community on Saturday 27th October in the Cambridge Buddhist Centre from 7pm to 9pm!
Be serenaded by Ratnadhya’s Schubert; inspired by Manidhara singing some of Sangharakashita’s poems, accompanied by composer and pianist Akashadeva. Then be thoroughly entertained by Ratnadhya’s gifted musical parodies, before being stirred by Yashodaka’s five piece jazz group ‘Change of Sky’, and enjoying complementary refreshments.
All the performers are giving their time and talent free to help raise money for the Abhayaratna Trust, now in its 10th year of supporting individual Triratna Buddhist Order members, many of whom have dedicated their lives to teaching Dharma and building our Sangha.
The concert is the start of the Trust’s BIG 10:10 Appeal, to raise £10,000 in its 10th year. If you cannot make the concert, donations are very welcome.
We are delighted to announce the names of twelve new Dharmacharis who were ordained on Saturday 29th September at Guhyaloka Retreat Centre.
Preceptor Público / Public Preceptor: Moksananda
Juan Carlos Martinez se convierte en Visuddhiketu
nombre pali que significa “Estandarte de purificación”
(Ortografía occidentalizada Visuddhiketu)
Preceptor Privado: Virasiddhi.
Juan Carlos Martinez becomes Visuddhiketu
a Pali name meaning “Banner of purification”
(Westernised spelling Visuddhiketu).
Private Preceptor: Virasiddhi.
Mauricio Garcia se convierte en Khemarati
nombre pali que significa “Él que se deleita en la paz que es la iluminación”
(Ortografía occidentalizada Khemarati)
Preceptor Privado: Nagapriya.
Mauricio Garcia becomes Khemarati
a Pali name meaning “He who delights in the peace of enlightenment”
(Westernised spelling Khemarati)
Private Preceptor: Nagapriya.
Sachin Bhongadee se convierte en Ariyanātha
nombre pali que significa “Él que tiene los nobles como sus protectores”
(Ortografía occidentalizada Ariyanatha)
Preceptor Privado: Nagapriya.
Sachin Bhongadee becomes Ariyanātha
a Pali name meaning “He whose protectors are the noble ones”
(Westernised spelling Ariyanatha)
Private Preceptor: Nagapriya.
Gabriel Tona se convierte en Sīlarāja
nombre pali que significa “El rey de la ética; el líder en la conducta ética”
(Ortografía occidentalizada Silaraja)
Preceptor Privado: Nagapriya.
Gabriel Tona becomes Sīlarāja
a Pali name meaning “King of ethics; Leader in ethical conduct”
(Westernised spelling Silaraja)
Private Preceptor: Nagapriya.
Preceptor Público / Public Preceptor: Mahamati
Marcel Wolfkamp se convierte en Sangharati
nombre sánscrito que significa “Él que se deleita en la Sangha”
(Ortografía occidentalizada Sangharati)
Preceptor Privado: Arthamitra.
Marcel Wolfkamp becomes Sangharati
a Sanskrit name meaning “He who delights in Sangha”
(Westernised spelling Sangharati)
Private Preceptor: Arthamitra.
Bob Pluijter se convierte en Dhammapitika
nombre pali que significa “Él que se entusiasma por el Dharma”
(Ortografía occidentalizada Dhammapitika)
Preceptor Privado: Ksantivadin.
Bob Pluijter becomes Dhammapitika
a Pali name meaning “He who is enthusiastic for the Dharma”
(Westernised spelling Dhammapitika)
Private Preceptor: Ksantivadin.
Preceptor Público / Public Preceptor: Paramabandhu
Kenny Squire se convierte en Kuladīpa
nombre pali que significa “Él que es una luz o lámpara de la comunidad”
(Ortografía occidentalizada Kuladipa)
Preceptor Privado: Ratnaghosha.
Kenny Squire becomes Kuladīpa
a Pali name meaning “He who is a light or lamp of the community”
(Westernised spelling Kuladipa)
Private Preceptor: Ratnaghosha
Eamonn Lawlor se convierte en Dayāsāgara
nombre pali que significa “Él que es un océano de amabilidad o bondad”
(Ortografía occidentalizada Dayasagara)
Preceptor Privado: Vajrashura.
Eamonn Lawlor becomes Dayāsāgara
a Pali name meaning “He who is an ocean of kindness”
(Westernised spelling Dayasagara)
Private Preceptor: Vajrashura
John Bell se convierte en Dhammasāra
nombre pali que significa “Él cuya fuerza es el Dharma”
(Ortografía occidentalizada Dhammasara)
Preceptor Privado: Dharmananda.
John Bell becomes Dhammasāra
a Pali name meaning “He whose strength is the Dharma”
(Westernised spelling Dhammasara)
Private Preceptor: Dharmanada.
Dàibhidh Grannd se convierte en Amarapāla
nombre pali que significa “Protector de lo inmortal”
(Ortografía occidentalizada Amarapala)
Preceptor Privado: Mahamati.
Dàibhidh Grannd becomes Amarapāla
a Pali name meaning “Protector of the Deathless”
(Westernised spelling Amarapala)
Private Preceptor: Mahamati.
Onur Pinar se convierte en Nāyadīpa
nombre pali que significa “Él que es una luz guiadora; Luz de guía o líder”
(Ortografía occidentalizada Nayadipa)
Preceptor Privado: Ratnaghosha.
Onur Pinar becomes Nāyadīpa
a Pali name meaning “He who is a guiding or leading light; light of guidance”
(Westernised spelling Nayadipa)
Private Preceptor: Ratnaghosha.
Preceptor Público / Public Preceptor Saddhaloka
Ivo Fridolin se convierte en Jñānākara
nombre sánscrito que significa “Él que es una fuente rica de conocimiento”
(Ortografía occidentalizada Jnanakara)
Preceptor Privado: Vaddhaka.
Ivo Fridolin becomes Jñānākara
a Sanskrit name meaning “He who is a rich source of knowledge”
(Westernised spelling Jnanakara)
Private Preceptor: Vaddhaka.
SADHU, SADHU, SADHU!
Sunday the 16th September at the North London Buddhist Centre was multifaceted:
* Celebrating Padmasambhava Day,
* Holding four Mitra ceremonies (Afra, Charlie, Laura and Remi),
* Rejoicing in the outgoing chair, Visuddhimati,
* And inaugurating Ratnaprabha as the new chair.
Look out for the ceremonial Vajra (a brass thunderbolt symbolising transformation).
Ratnaprabha will kick off with a series of public lectures on Saturday mornings at 11:30, inspired by the Buddha’s teaching to the Fire Worshippers, “The World is burning with the fires of greed, hatred and delusion”. They are on 6 October, 3 November and 1 December.
Find out more about ‘The World is Burning’ series at the North London Buddhist Centre
Listen to the first ‘Budcast’ - ‘Needing Nothing’
Photo credits: Dharma Reddy and Matthew Peglar.
To celebrate Dublin Pride 2018, and Buddhist Action Month (BAM), the Dublin Buddhist Centre hosted a special Pride celebration on the 25th June. Kasey Tobin, a GFR Mitra involved in the event gives us a flavour of the event.
“This event was facilitated by a number of us in the Dublin Sangha with LGBT+ experiences. As LGBT+ people we have seen a lot of progress in securing our human rights in the last few years in Ireland (for example the Marriage Equality Referendum, and Gender Recognition Legislation). However, many of us can still carry a sense of shame or guilt around who we are, and sometimes those roots of discrimination, or being treated differently, can run quite deeply both in society and our own psyches.
Open to those who are Buddhism Curious
The event was open to all those who were Buddhism curious! A lovely diverse mix of 27 people came. We had people of all colours of the LGBT+ rainbow, with diverse experiences of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and physiological sex. There were some who were new to the Dublin Buddhist Centre and some who were regulars. Along with this mix of people with LGBT+ perspectives, family members, loved ones and allies joined us as well.
During this evening, we had an introduction and a practice of the Metta Bhavana meditation, a great way of building on the positive mental states, true individuality and community that Pride celebrates. There was also discussions and break-out groups exploring the diverse range of experiences in the LGBT+ community, as well as a very important break for some non-alcoholic bubbly!
LGBT+ people can unfortunately still be excluded from many spiritual traditions, so it is to explicitly communicate that our Sangha is a place where everyone is welcome. This was one of the things we wanted to communicate this evening, to open up the Centre to people who might have felt hesitant about it, that it might not be for them.
LGBT+ Experiences in Triratna
We explored how for many of us, Triratna had been welcoming to us with our LGBT+ experiences. Triratna was founded in 1967, around the time of decriminalisation of homosexuality in England. A few of us talked about how we had felt accepted with our identities within the Dublin Sangha, and also by the wider Triratna community. It had not been a big deal, meaning we could just get on with practice, but also that we could talk about it and it wouldn’t be ignored. At the same time, we also tried to examine the ways in which there may be challenges or barriers of entry for some LGBT+ people engaging in the Sangha.
The Buddha’s Example
We looked at the Buddha’s life and how he began his spiritual quest by realising a dissatisfaction with life, his seeing the four sights of old age, sickness, death and then the holy man. For a lot of us with LGBT+ experiences, we can come up against this dissatisfaction at an early age, particularly if we don’t feel we can be who we truly are. We can be forced into asking pretty fundamental questions about our identities and our place in the world. Also we may not fit into many of the traditional patterns for living within society, and experience a sense of suffering or dukkha as a result. This can be even more so if we can’t be open about who we are, and also how the process of coming out, while liberating, can cause problems and difficulties. This can bring about a desire, or a sense of searching, to find an end to this suffering, to begin the quest to freedom, as some mentioned was their experience.
The Buddha then through his quest became completely awakened, gaining a freedom from all negative mental states. Through a deep solidarity and care for all that lives, he taught a path to this awakening, through ethics, meditation and wisdom.
Sexual Ethics and Gender Roles
The ethical principles in Buddhism are very different to other forms of authoritarian morality, which often are the basis or justifications used to suppress and harm those in the LGBT+ community. This is particularly true of ethics around sexuality. Members of our LGBT+ community have been outlawed, shamed, made illegal, simply because of who they love, and unfortunately this is still the case in many parts of the world today. Going outside tightly defined gender roles was, and sometimes still is, prohibited, which was a large contributing factor to the Stonewall riots, which proved a major catalyst for the LGBT+ human rights movement.
So it’s understandable that we might be a bit apprehensive about exploring sexual ethics. This is why it’s so important to emphasise that the Buddhist ethical precepts aren’t rules or commandments to be obeyed out of fear, but instead are guidelines based on love, helping us to develop a solidarity with other living beings. But it’s really important to say - and we stressed this at the evening - that Buddhist sexual ethics has nothing to do with the gender of the person, or persons, you’re having a relationship with, nor with your experience of your own gender. We emphasise this quite strongly in classes in the DBC. It’s more about refraining from causing harm to others, or ourselves, in our sexual relationships, coming as it does from that sense of solidarity and care for all beings that the enlightened state represents.
A few of us were quite nervous before this event, as it felt like something very significant and meaningful for us, and a way of quite visibly bringing a particular aspect of ourselves into our spiritual practice. But we were really delighted with the outcome. There was a great sense of community and mutual support between people at the evening, showing the power of Sangha and Metta to bring people together. This is the first time that we were holding a Pride celebration here at the DBC, and hopefully there will be other events like this in the future.”
The International Practice Week starts this Saturday 22nd September! The theme for the week is ‘turning arrows into flowers’ - exploring how to transform reactivity into creativity.
Yashobodhi from the West London Buddhist Centre has recorded a series of talks specifically for the International Practice Week exploring the Seven-Point Mind Turning Reflections.
Watch all Yashobodhi’s talks for International Practice Week
Listen to the audio recordings of the series
You can join in online (as well as through your local participating Triratna Centre). Here a handy guide for the week which includes a suggested programme
We are very pleased to announce that on Sunday, September 16th, 2018, at Aryaloka Buddhist Centre in the United States, the following two people had their public ordinations.
Diane Palaces becomes Maitrivati (Sanskrit)
Name meaning: ”She who has a Garden of Loving Kindness”
Private Preceptor: Dayalocana
Public Preceptor: Karunadevi
Barry Timmerman becomes Dharmasukta (Sanskrit)
Name meaning: ”Song of praise for the Dharma”
Private Preceptor: Surakshita
Public Preceptor: Nagabodhi
SADHU, SADHU, SADHU!
We are very pleased to announce the public ordination of the following seven women at Akashavana Retreat Centre.
Public Preceptor Punyamala:
Cait Hughes becomes Dānajotī (Pali)
Official westernised spelling: Danajoti
Name meaning: ”She whose light is generosity”
Private Preceptor: Maitrisara
Tracey Dibble becomes Prajñāśrī (Sanskrit)
Official westernised spelling: Prajnashri
Name meaning: ”She who has the radiance of wisdom”
Private Preceptor: Santasiddhi
Inge Heathfield becomes Candramaitrī (Sanskrit)
Official westernised spelling: Candramaitri
Name meaning: ”She whose love is like the moon”
Private Preceptor: Sucimani
Rachel Rowe becomes Śraddhātārā (Sanskrit)
Official westernised spelling: Shraddhatara
Name meaning: ”She who is a guiding star of faith”
Private Preceptor: Dayanandi
Public Preceptor Maitreyi:
Allie Gulliver becomes Apāracittā (Sanskrit)
Official westernised spelling: Aparacitta
Name meaning: ”She whose heart or mind is boundless (like the sea or sky) “
Private Preceptor: Moksini
Jane Garratt becomes Prajñānandi (Sanskrit)
Official westernised spelling: Prajnanandi
Name meaning: ”She whose joy is wisdom”
Private Preceptor: Vijayasri
Vicki Clark becomes Dhammacittā (Pali)
Official westernised spelling: Dhammacitta
Name meaning: ”She who is or has a heart or mind of or about the Dharma”
Private Preceptor: Padmasuri
SADHU, SADHU, SADHU!
A group of Order Members and Mitras from the Cambridge Sangha have been meeting for about nine months with the vision of creating a different kind of community. They have formed the Suvana co-housing project - ‘Suvana’ meaning ‘happy realm’.
Tejasvini (chair of the project) writes: “We imagine living separately (own front door) but together (in the same street or square), with many other shared facilities.
It will be newly built, sustainable, low carbon footprint, the community inspired by Buddhist values.
There will be a mix of owner occupiers and some flats or houses for rent, some of them affordable, and a few almshouses. We are particularly looking for people who might want to be owner occupiers at this stage. We have about 20 people currently interested and envisage building 25-40 houses or flats.”
If you are interested you can get involved by emailing suvana.cohousing [at] gmail.com for a copy of their vision document and becoming a member (which costs £20). You will also be added to their mailing list.
In late July, a GFR Mitra completed a 5 day ‘modern pilgrimage’, walking over 120 miles from Adhisthana to the Liverpool Buddhist Centre, in central Liverpool. Along the way, David Tyfield carried four heavy texts from the newly published Complete Works of Sangharakshita, and signed by Bhante himself at Adhisthana the day before setting off. Inspired by the great fabled pilgrimage of the 7th Century Chinese monk Xuanzang, mythologized in the Monkey Tales of ‘Journey to the West’, David organised the walk to raise funds for two important causes for Buddhists: the ‘Save the Children’ campaign for the Rohingya displaced to Bangladesh; and the fund for Liverpool Buddhist Centre to buy a permanent premises.
On the one hand, the latter fund feeds an important venture for Triratna. Many UK cities already have large thriving Buddhist centres. Liverpool’s has for many years remained comparatively small for such a large and great city but now it is growing strongly, with at least 5 Order Members. Permanent premises would cement this progress.
On the other, regarding the former, the ongoing persecution and suffering of the Rohingya in Rakhine state of Myanmar since August 2017 is an affront to humanity. This includes over 350,000 children, forced to abandon their homes and run for their lives. Adding insult to outrageous injury, those inciting and committing these atrocities claim to do so in the name of Buddhism.
As leading Buddhists, including from Triratna, have already stated, this is a grotesque distortion of the message of the Buddha, who taught universal compassion, strict non-violence and an abomination even of anger, let alone aggressive hatred. But David also wanted to do something to alleviate this distant suffering perpetrated in our name through counterexample of what the Buddha really taught, especially regarding dana (generosity) and virya (energy in pursuit of the good).
Stopping overnight at BnBs near Kidderminster, Shrewsbury, Whitchurch and Chester, David walked across the west of England chanting the mantras of Vajrapani and Tara, which kept him going when footsore and stiff. On arrival at the Liverpool Centre, the books were presented to the shrine in a brief puja (see photo), while passages from all 4 books were read by the local Sangha. Though chosen at random, these passages nonetheless seemed to have a moving coherence, roughly around the ‘true individual’.
David would like to thank all those, especially Sangharakshita, who have already supported the walk, including the many who have already generously donated over £1,500. If you would like to sponsor this event, the funding webpage will remain open until the end of October.
Vishvapani is the regular Buddhist contributor to Thought for the Day: a comment on the news from a faith perspective on the main BBC radio news programme.
Here are his recent talks:
10.1.18 The Skill of Ethics
Education focuses more and more on learning skills. The Buddhist idea of ethics as skilfulness makes a link between ordinary skills and he rely of ethics and spiritual life.
1.5.18 1968: Inner or Outer Revolution?
1968 saw riots in Paris and the start of western Buddhist movements. But who was right: the political or the spiritual revolutionaries?
11.5.18 Climate Change and the Burning House
As climate change talks falter, the Parable of the Burning House from The Lotus Sutra has a new relevance. The need to change is clear enough, but what will inspire us to act on it?
27.7.18 Healing Trauma with Gratitude
The Thai boys who were lost in a cave are spending time as novice Buddhist monks. Does gratitude offer an alternative way to recover from trauma?
3.8.18 The Call of the Forest
Creating a vast new forest inn Central England will help offset climate change, but it also appeals to the imagination. And that’s essential if we are to turn our environmental aspirations into reality
10.8.18 The Ethics of Communication
As a society we constantly confront questions around how we should speak to each other about difficult issues. The Buddhist speech precepts offer a framework for ethical reflection on how we communicate.
The talks are available on the BBC website for 30 days after broadcast, but indefinitely available on Vishvapani’s blog, which also includes other writing, broadcasting and Dharma talks. His next ‘Thought for the Day’ talks will be on October 6 and 13th.
Kerala is suffering its worst floods for 100 years. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced and are living in over 1,000 relief camps set up in the State. There have been a number of deaths and many serious injuries. Many are missing. The numbers are rising all the time. But even in such disaster, ugly face of untouchability rises and Dalits are discriminated during relief, as reported by India Today on July 24th, 2018. It happened earlier in Gujarat Earthquake; even the Tsunami could not wash away caste.
The Nagarjuna Institute, Nagaloka, has many alumni and Dhamma Mitras from Kerala. Many have been further trained in social work by the Manuski Trust, Pune, which is supporting the Alumni in relief and rehabilitation work. Many of these alumni have themselves been displaced, but they are doing all they can to help others by establishing a relief camp and other activities.
Dalits and the poorest people tend to suffer the most in natural calamities, not only because they have the poorest housing, and little or no reserves, but also from discrimination in relief and rehabilitation work. There have already been a number of cases reported of discrimination against Dalits in the relief camps. Two of the worst hit areas, Idukki and Vayanadu, have a high proportion of Dalits. Triratna activists are working in these areas. Because they come from the Dalit community, they understand the needs of the community and how they suffer discrimination at such times.
“As the rains subside, thousands and thousands of people will have NOTHING when they return to their homes.
Please help us URGENTLY financially or in kind (collection centres Manuski, Pune, Nagaloka, Nagpur) with relief and long term rehabilitation work.” - Lokamitra