Padmadharini writes from the US with news of Triratna’s presence at the recent Gen X Dharma Teachers Conference. She says - “This month, a collection of about sixty teachers - a combination of both monastic and lay, from many of the Buddhist lineages - met over 4 days at Deer Park Monastery in San Diego, USA. All of us were born between 1960 and 1980 - hence the the Gen X of the title.
We met to discuss inspiring and challenging topics that Buddhism is encountering in the next generation of Dharma in the West. Key topics included: how to hold teachers accountable, how to teach difficult topics such as reincarnation, how to talk about liberation in a secular culture, how to sustain our own practice and teaching, building more diverse communities, privilege, race, and how to talk about sex and money in a transparent way.
Myself (soon to be based in New York), Viveka (San Francisco), and Vimalasara (Vancouver), represented Triratna at the conference. Viveka was also one of five teachers who planned, organised and facilitated the conference. Speaking personally, this was an amazing opportunity to network and connect with other teachers across North America. Noticeable were the common challenges and joys of being a teacher of this generation. One session, for example, showed that a far larger percentage of us are supporting ourselves to spread the Dharma rather than being supported to do that; we all shared a concern for lack of ethnic and racial diversity in our Sanghas; also the challenges of discussing and dealing with sensitive topics in an era of high visibility.
What was perhaps more interesting was to see the differences. Key amongst those is the emphasis Triratna places upon kalyanamitrata or spiritual friendship. Most participants thought of themselves primarily as “teachers”, with many talking about the need to not get too close with their “students”. This was also a group that was hungry for peer support. I had numerous conversations with people who were impressed with the systems of support and friendship we have created in the Order. As a lesbian, I was also struck by how much my sexuality is a non-issue in our movement, while that is clearly not the case across all traditions. And finally, people I talked with were blown away by what Triratna is doing in India; surely a missed opportunity to promote and spread the word.
I also appreciated the way the facilitators created opportunities for topics to emerge using an “open-space” approach - one session allowed us to talk about the “elephants in the room”, or pink elephants – a term coined by Viveka, which was quite endearing. I came away with a deep appreciation for what Bhante has created, whilst enjoying the opportunity to discuss with practitioners and teachers of my own generation the unique challenges we are facing.
Elsewhere on The Buddhist Center Online we’re celebrating Triratna’s presence in America with a special series ‘10 Days With Triratna America’, where we’re delighted to be covering some of the rich, distinctively American initiatives coming out of the Triratna Buddhist Community in the U.S.A. Join the site and + follow this space to get features, interviews, podcasts, and Dharma talks from around Triratna America, and to hear from the people who are helping build the next phase of our community stateside as it moves towards its 30th year. You can also take part on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google + - and tune in to Free Buddhist Audio’s ‘June in America’ podcasts
Manjusvara, author of Writing Your Way and The Poet’s Way would have been 60 this month so we’ve decided to dedicate it to celebrating his life and all that he created.
Manjusvara co-led Wolf at The Door writing workshops from 1997 until his death in 2011, and his two guides to creative writing, Writing Your Way (published in 2005) and The Poet’s Way (published in 2010), emerged from this work. This month, two previously unpublished works by Manjusvara are also being released: Lost and Found, a collection of his poems, and a detective novel, the The Deal Runner.
Over the next few weeks we’re going to share excerpts from Manjusvara’s books and tributes from his colleagues and friends, and we’d like to encourage you to contribute as well. Perhaps you have a favourite poem of Manjusvara’s or a memory that you’d like to share with us? We’d love to hear from you.
With best wishes from the Windhorse Publications team: Priyananda, Michelle and Hannah
‘Writing Your Way‘ and ‘The Poet’s Way‘ are available to purchase from the Windhorse Publications website. ‘Lost and Found‘ and ‘The Deal Runner‘ are available from Amazon and www.lulu.com
Vidyatara writes with news of the plans for the public opening and dedication of Adhisthana, Triratna’s new ‘central’ UK retreat centre and home of Sangharakshita. She says - “Members of the Order and Movement worldwide are invited to be part of the celebration and dedication of Adhisthana. The two day event will take place on the weekend of 3 and 4 August, with a day for Order members only on Saturday 3 August and one for the Movement on Sunday 4 August. The programmes for the events are outlined below. Children are welcome on both days”.
For more information, including directions and public transport information, please visit the Events Page on the Adhisthana website. We are also asking people to use this page to indicate their interest in participating and to book accommodation for the weekend.
The timetable for the two days is as follows -
Order Celebration and Dedication Event - 3 August
3.00pm Rejoicing and Dedication Ceremony
There will be guided tours of Adhisthana at 10.00am, 11.00am, 12.00pm and 2.00pm
Movement Celebration and Dedication Event - 4 August
3.00pm Rejoicing and Dedication Ceremony
There will be guided tours of Adhisthana at 11.00am, 12.00pm and 2.15pm
For those unable to travel to Adhisthana, ClearVision will be recording the event, and we are developing a ritual which will invite overseas centres to send something to Adhisthana to be incorporated on the day - details to be announced! See more background info on Adhisthana and the story so far.
In Spain every year, in a secret valley, men travel to be initiated into the Triratna Buddhist Order over the course of a four-month retreat…
If you missed them, here’s news of the recent women’s ordinations, also at a beautiful hidden location in the Spanish mountains!
The Public Preceptors are pleased to announce that the following men were publicly ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order on Monday 10th June 2013 at Guhyaloka Retreat Centre in Spain:
Public Preceptor Moksananda
Martin Silva Nava becomes Amalasiddhi. A Sanskrit name meaning “He who accomplishes the Stainless”.
Private Preceptor Arthapriya.
Mario Anselmo Peña Trujillo becomes Viryakirti (line over the first and second i). A Sanskrit name meaning “Renowned for Energy in Pursuit of the Good”.
Private Preceptor Virasiddhi.
Public Preceptor Arthapriya
Adam Berrisford becomes Jnanadeva (accent over the first n, line over the second a). A Sanskrit name meaning “Deva of Knowledge”.
Private Preceptor Maitreyabandhu.
Andrew Wilkinson becomes Jnanabhasa (accent over the first n, line over the first and third a). A Sanskrit name meaning “He who is a Light of Knowledge”.
Private Preceptor Tejananda.
Bill Park becomes Suvarnamanas (dot under the first n). A Sanskrit name meaning “He whose mind is like Gold”.
Private Preceptor Suriyavamsa.
Graham Patterson becomes Manidhara (dot under the n). A Sanskrit name meaning “Bearer of the Jewel”.
Private Preceptor Manjumitra.
Graham Tooth becomes Vimoksaja (dot under the s, Westernized spelling Vimokshaja). A Sanskrit name meaning “Born to Liberation”.
Private Preceptor Jinapalita.
James Turnbull becomes Akasamitra (line over first and second a, acute accent over the s, Westernized spelling Akashamitra). A Sanskrit name meaning “Friend of Infinite Space”.
Private Preceptor Jnanavaca.
Johan Stake becomes Bodhisakta. A Sanskrit name meaning “He who is intent on Enlightenment”.
Private Preceptor Satyaraja.
Matthew Widdowson becomes Sthanasraddha (line over first a, acute accent over second s, Westernized spelling Sthanashraddha). A Sanskrit name meaning “He whose faith and confidence is strong and firm”.
Private Preceptor Saddharaja
Obafemi Adewumi becomes Nandaraja (line over the third a). A Sanskrit name meaning “King of all Joys”.
Private Preceptor Jnanavaca.
Peter Chandler becomes Amalabandhu. A Sanskrit name meaning “Kinsman of the Stainless”.
Private Preceptor Arthapriya.
Sean Quigley becomes Ratnadeva. A Sanskrit name meaning “Deva of the Jewels”.
Private Preceptor Kamalasila.
Sebastian Beaumont becomes Maitrivajra (line over the second i). A Sanskrit name meaning “He who is a Diamond/Thunderbolt of Loving Kindness”.
Private Preceptor Jnanottara.
Shaun Bhattacherjee becomes Munissara. A Pali name meaning “Lord of Sages”.
Private Preceptor Ratnaprabha
Mike Osgood becomes Vimalamoksa (dot under the s, Westernized spelling Vimalamoksha). A Sanskrit name meaning “Pure Liberation”.
Private Preceptor Shantinayaka.
Suvannavira teaches the Dharma in Moscow. He writes:
In an exciting new development for Central/Eastern Europe, Saddhaloka (UK) and Nityabandhu (Poland) are leading the first Triratna retreat for our sanghas in Russia, Poland and the Ukraine. The retreat will take place at the end of July, in Poland.
We need the help of a translator, and this is where you can help. Could you meet some of the travel costs for Jenya Lipilina, a mitra who has asked for Ordination in Moscow, to come and translate for Saddhaloka and retreatants from Odessa and Moscow?
We’d like to raise half her total costs of 350GBP, or 175 GBP. (Her flight to Poland costs around 250 GBP, and the visa costs 100 GBP.)
Donations can be made from anywhere in the world by credit/debit card card using Just Giving.
Please reference your donation “Polish retreat” in the comments box.
Thank you. Every little bit helps!
Shakyajata lives most of the year in Manchester, UK. However, she spends her winters in India, helping young people training at the Aryaloka Computer Education project run by Aryaketu.
Six young women trained at Aryaloka Computer Education’s third branch in Bhilgaon, Nagpur, recently completed their training. After a brief visit to their home villages, in a matter of days five of these Chhattisgarhi women came together again in the state capital of Raipur and formed a new community in rooms leased to them by Amrutratna, their mentor and friend, in his family home.
In less than a week, to my utter astonishment (felt quite faint, when I heard!) they had all found work, all in the same office, doing Photoshop work at a decent starting salary.
With impressive ingenuity they managed to communicate with me from their village: by phone using a mobile-to-landline translated voice message; and then by email, presumably from an internet café. It was a staggering message, heartwarming in its clarity and commitment. Working full time, they are spending their weekends communicating their Dhamma knowledge and sharing their computer skills with other mitras in Raipur and environs.
A sixth young woman came from the even more impoverished state of Bihar. With the support of Aryaketu’s family and other Aryaloka ex-trainees, she has coped with the awful grief of missing her grandmother’s death, and is now teaching at the Aryaloka Computer Education Institute herself.
The heroic qualities of these young women beggar belief. From poor families (some arriving with their clothes full of holes), with no prospect of career development in their home state, they have created a new life for themselves. This they have done through their own efforts, with support from Young Indian Futures, the Triratna sangha in India, and most of all, the example of Dr B.R. Ambedkar and his vision of the Dhamma Revolution.
Furthermore, they have opened a doorway for other young women facing a life of poverty, discrimination and drudgery.
Six more young women from Chhattisgarh villages have already been selected for the next Aryaloka computer training community. Big congratulations to them all.
Inspired? Please support Young Indian Futures!
Viradhamma writes from North America with news of the DharmaJiva project - an exciting project looking to build bridges between American Buddhist Sanghas and the Buddhist revival in India. He says:
“I would like to let you know a bit about what is happening with the Buddhist revival in India and the work we are doing with the DharmaJiva project. Most people in Triratna are aware of how the Dharma has returned to India in the last 60 years, but this movement is largely unknown among other Buddhist groups in the West. In my trips to India I see a dynamic movement and I’ve attended public events with hundreds and sometimes even thousands and tens of thousands of people. Unfortunately, the new Indian Buddhists are very poor and they get little support or attention from people in Asia and the West.
Triratna is one of the largest and most important Buddhist groups working in India today, with dozens of centers, social projects and retreat centers. It plays a very special role by supporting Dr. Ambedkar’s original vision of social transformation based on Dharmic principles.
The Buddhist revival faces huge challenges, but it has the potential to show that Buddhist ideas and values can change society as well as individuals. If it can reduce and eliminate a deeply-ingrained system like caste oppression it will provide an inspiring example for Buddhists around the world. Through the DharmaJiva project we are working to raise awareness of what is happening in India.
In particular, we are trying to connect with other Buddhist sanghas and encourage Buddhists from all traditions to visit India and see for themselves what is happening. The Order Members I know in India say that it is very important for people from the West to come and experience the Buddhist revival first-hand. In the past two years we have taken two groups with a total of twenty-two people to see the meditation centers, social projects and community centers run by Triratna in central and north India. Participants had an opportunity to meet with Sangha members and learn about the reality of their daily life, the Indian social system and the challenges of reviving Buddhist practice. They also visited places where the Buddha lived and taught including Sarnath and Bodh Gaya. Although India can be a difficult place to travel, everyone who has participated in these groups has been deeply inspired by the experience. We are currently planning a two-week trip in October, and a three-week trip in February 2014. Of course not everyone can travel to India, but there’s other ways to participate:
First, many of the people who participate in our pilgrimages learn about them through word-of-mouth. If you know people or groups who might be interested in visiting India please let them know about our upcoming tours. Mentioning the trips on blog posts or in Facebook and other social media has been very effective.
Second, we are very interested in meeting representatives of Buddhist sanghas in North America and giving public talks. If you have friends or contacts in other Buddhist groups it would be very helpful to us in our work. It turns out that having a personal introduction is very helpful in “getting in the door.” Contacts would be especially useful in San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver, Boston and New England.
Third, please take a moment to look at our website (www.DharmaJiva.org) and the website for Nagaloka (www.Nagaloka.org.) These sites provide a good overview of the Indian Buddhist revival and the Triratna training center at Nagaloka.
If you have any questions or ideas please feel free to contact me. Thank you very much for your help.
With Metta, Viradhamma (www.DharmaJiva.org)
We’re delighted to report the first of several batches of ordinations into the Triratna Buddhist Order. Parami writes from Spain saying - “On behalf of the Public Preceptors, I’m delighted to inform you that the ten women on the Akashavana course were privately ordained over two days: 29th & 30th May. The public Ordinations took place on Monday 3rd June at 11am local time”.
Bernadette Gee becomes Sraddhadharani (acute accent over ‘s’, long second and third ‘a’s, dot below ‘n’, and long final ‘i’), a Sanskrit name meaning ‘she who possesses faith and confidence’. Westernised spelling: Shraddhadharani. Private Preceptor: Kalyanavaca.
Helen McConville becomes Vimalanandi (long third ‘a’, and long final ‘i’), a Sanskrit name meaning ‘she who delights in purity’. Westernised spelling: Vimalanandi. Private Preceptor: Gunasiddhi.
Annie Leatt becomes Dhammamegha (long final ‘a’), a Pali name meaning ‘she who has a cloud of the Dhamma’. Westernised spelling: Dhammamegha. Private Preceptor: Ratnadharini.
(Public Preceptor for the above was Parami)
Julia Driscoll becomes Muditakari (long first ‘a’, and long final ‘i’), a Sanskrit name meaning ‘she who creates gladness’. Westernised spelling: Muditakari. Private Preceptor: Suchitta.
Maya Simson becomes Sridaya (acute accent above the ‘s’, long ‘i’, and long final ‘a’), a Sanskrit name which means ‘she whose radiance is her kindness’. Westernised spelling: Shridaya. Private Preceptor: Sridevi.
(Public Preceptor for the above was Ratnadharini)
Anne Monaghan becomes Dayapurna (long second ‘a’, long ‘u’, dot under the ‘n’, and long final ‘a’), a Sanskrit name meaning ‘she who is filled with compassion’. Westernised spelling: Dayapurna. Private Preceptor: Sihapada.
Vicky Forman becomes Sumnadipa (long ‘i’ and long final ‘a’), a Sanskrit name which means ‘she who possesses a lamp of benevolence and grace. Westernised spelling: Sumnadipa. Private Preceptor: Dharmottara.
Kay Chaloner becomes Alokasanna (long first ‘a’, tilde over both ‘n’s, and a long final ‘a’), a Pali name which means ‘she who perceives light’. Westernised spelling: Alokasanna. Private Preceptor: Dharmottara.
(Public Preceptor for the above was Dayanandi)
Nancy Muir becomes Jinamati, a Pali name which means ‘she whose mind is on the Victorious Ones’. Westernised spelling: Jinamati. Private Preceptor: Ratnadharini.
Annemieke Vellema becomes Viryamani, (long first and final ‘i’s and a dot under the ‘n’), a Sanskrit name which means ‘jewel of energy in pursuit of the good’. Westernised spelling: Viryamani. Private Preceptor: Vajragita.
(Public Preceptor for the above was Padmasuri)
Elsewhere in Spain, the Private Ordinations of the men attending the 4 month Guhyaloka retreat are taking place between Friday 31st May and Thursday 6th June. The Public Ordination ceremony - by invitation only - will take place at 12pm local Spanish time on Monday 10th June.
Green Earth Awakening is a new Buddhafield event held for the first time in late May 2013. Not a retreat and not a festival, it brought together Buddhists, social change activists, craftspeople, families, children - over 140 in total - to a beautiful site in Devon,UK, for “a chance to connect with the land, re-learn forgotten skills and live communally, exploring practical and spiritual pathways towards a sustainable future”.
It was a bold vision, with no one quite knowing beforehand what would happen - what manifested, in fact, was a wide range of craft workshops, many social change workshops and ecology talks, meditation, rituals and Dharma talks plus generous time and space for quality meetings and conversations… all complemented by a ‘sharecare’ kid’s area, storytelling, poetry and acoustic music around the camp-fire at night. And of course the magical Full Moon of May, offering a chance to remember the Buddha and his Enlightenment.
In the Audioboo Rosie - its main organiser and visionary - reflects on its success and her dreams for its future - all present agreed it had to happen again! Before that though, comes the rest of the Buddhafield programme: the 18th Buddhafield Festival, the Family-Friendly retreat, the Total Immersion retreat, and lots more - check the Buddhafield website for details…