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The London Buddhist Jan–April 2018

Contents The London Buddhist our magazine 3 Editorial 4 A Three Dimensional Shadow Interview with Antony Gormley 7 Haikus for Tower Hamlets Illustrations by Matthew Daniel 8 Diary of a London Buddhist Dhammadinna on impermanence 10 I Want to Break Out A commentary on Sangharakshita’s poem by Vishvantara 12 In the Footsteps of Master Kūkai Aryapala goes on pilgrimage in Japan

Programme: Spring 2018 19 Getting Started 22 Going Further 27 Festivals & Special Events 28 Yoga &Chi-Kung for Meditation 29 Sub25 group 30 Arts Events 31 poetryEast: writers & artists at the LBC Contributors to the magazine Aryapala is originally from Australia and until recently was chair of Padmaloka Retreat Centre. Dhammadinna was ordained in 1973 and was a pioneer of the LBC residential communities on Approach Road. Maitreyabandhu is the founder of poetryEast. Matthew Daniel, if not practising or volunteering at the London Buddhist Centre, spends his time drawing silly pictures, playing tennis and fighting demons. Singhamanas currently manages publicity for the London Buddhist Centre. Vishvantara’s pamphlet Cursive is published by Happenstance and is available from the LBC bookshop.

51 Roman Road, Bethnal Green, E2 0HU 020 8981 1225

Charity number: 255420

The London Buddhist Jan–April 2018

A World of Dew T

he Japanese Buddhist poet Issa once captured the sublime vision of Buddhism in thirteen monosyllables: The world of dew is the world of dew. And yet, and yet… It’s a vision that knows the impermanence of things, while sensing the possibility of something beyond. Issa wrote those lines following the death of his infant daughter. For thousands of years now the Buddhist vision has spread across the globe, flourishing in a myriad of cultures. It took root here in Bethnal Green back in 1978, making the London Buddhist Centre now officially ‘XL’ (as the Romans would say). The place is busier than ever, with buds of a new Buddhist culture appearing all around. Our magazine this season echoes the perennial fascination with beauty and impermanence. We meet the sculptor

Antony Gormley as he discusses capturing a moment of lived time, a ‘three-dimensional shadow’, as well as the changing cultures that have made his art possible. Aryapala dons the pilgrim’s ‘coffin’ hat as he travels to Japan in the footsteps of Master Kukai, while closer to home, Vishvantara delights in the poetry of a contemporary western Buddhist teacher – Sangharakshita. Illustrator Matthew Daniel brings in a touch of British humour with his ‘Haiku’s from Tower Hamlets’ and with this season’s diary piece, we meet Dhammadinna, who picks up Issa’s haunting words as she reflects on the changing face of friends, London, the Buddhist Centre, and her own body. In a world that sometimes seems to be changing faster than ever, we hope that our latest spring programme of events will help you face the changes in your world with ever more wisdom and compassion. - Singhamanas

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The London Buddhist Jan–April 2018

A Three-Dimensional Shadow Antony Gormley, the renowned British sculptor, explored the body, community and how to capture ‘lived time’ at poetryEast with Maitreyabandhu Maitreyabandhu: You studied meditation with Goenka and have described it as a ‘life changing experience’. Antony Gormley: I was lucky enough to have a relatively classical and privileged education, but it was all about stuff that came out of books. In a way it was about learning to respect and reverence great writing and great thinking. And suddenly here was this very humble man who said that in a sense, all you need to know you already have – you just need a means of accessing it. I’d never spent ten days without talking before – that in itself was a really good thing to do. Yes, you get pains in the back and legs, but at the same time I felt there was a lot of falling away, and the beginning of making sense of what it really felt like to be alive. And I’m still on that journey. Certainly I think all of the work I do in sculpture wouldn’t have happened without that experience. What I learnt from Goenka was probably that it’s essentially about creating the space in your life to focus on being. I don’t want to make art that is a distraction; I want to make art that allows you to become aware of yourself in space and time. This body I have is my closest experience of matter – so the question is, how can I use it from the inside? Rather than being preoccupied on skilful depiction, can I 4

just try to make an honest account of a moment of lived time? Sculpture is like three-dimensional shadow, it’s something that comes from a real event in time, a real body; can you capture that? M: A sense of belonging has become very central to your work. Increasingly you’ve wanted, it seems to me, to move beyond the individualistic into a sense of community. I’m struck by the fact that in your studio you all have lunch together, for instance. A: I think community is the most important thing. It’s the community that makes the work possible. The kind of sculpture I’m most interested in often comes from cultures that don’t have writing or armies or grain stores, but who nevertheless achieve extraordinary architecture and complex mythological narratives which are all created collectively. The power of coming together to do something that isn’t to do with food or money, or the expression of dominance over nature, but that is about making something more alive – that’s what I’m interested in. Most of my sculptures have been collectively made and I couldn’t dream of them making them by myself. The Angel of the North for example, couldn’t have been done without the shipbuilders. That project was so much about a

The London Buddhist Jan–April 2018

Antony Gormley with Maitreyabandhu at the LBC

particular community that had been told that it had no meaning. Margaret Thatcher closed the coal mines and soon after that all the shipbuilding stopped. Suddenly this whole community that had existed, and had really been the crucible of the industrial revolution – of that extraordinary relationship between coal, iron and engineering, which led Britain to lead the world in our capability in making ships and bridges and locomotives – was told, ‘We’re going over to a services industry now, we’re going to make financial instruments, you’re not needed any more. Furthermore, we’re actually going to annihilate all that physical memory, we’re going to turn those slag heaps into new landscapes, we’re going to get rid of all the winding.’ I mean, it’s absolutely extraordinary that this history that is, in my view, as important as the gothic cathedrals, was suddenly annihilated from our landscape. So there was this need to say, ‘Look, the experience of 250 years

and thousands of men living, working and dying underground in intolerable circumstances: we can’t allow for collective amnesia. But furthermore we can’t allow for those skills not to be celebrated.’ I’m talking like a politician now, but at the time we just had this maquette that we put in the back of a Luton van and drove round Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Newcastle asking, ‘How can we make this? Who can do this? Who do you know who can bend ship plates?” And it was a fantastic thing – finding the people who’d basically been made redundant. It takes hundreds of years to build up these communities of capability. And finding them before they totally disappeared and bringing them together to make this thing – this angel – was an amazing privilege. In a way we repositioned art as a place. It’s very important that the mound that the Angel sits on, which is actually made of the old pit-head baths where the miners would come up and wash off the dust from down below, is shared 5

The London Buddhist Jan–April 2018

The Angel of the North in Gateshead

with its visitors. In fact it doesn’t mean anything unless, in my view, you see that relationship between that horizontal of the top of the wings and then the silhouettes of people walking on the hill below. For me it’s a place where people can go. Somehow this community that had been told it had no place, no value, could say, ‘Yes we do, here is a place we can go, and look – this is what we can do.’ And I think people can project on to it, we can project on to the Angel our hopes and fears. M: Sometimes you say the work isn’t religious, and yet the Angel of the North and so many of the works have a sort of aura – ‘projection’ is one way of putting it – but also a sense of value enlivening the imagination. So why that distinction? A: This is interesting because I think religion does try to answer the big questions. I remember the Catechism for instance from when I was born. I still think those questions: What are we here for? Who are we? What are we made of and where are we going? Those are all relevant and central questions that religion tries to answer, but the questions are not only the remit for religions. 6

I think that what I’m trying to do is to make objects that in some way ask those questions in physical terms. I don’t know whether such objects can offer comfort in themselves, I mean they’re usually rather hard and cold things. They’re objects that stand to a certain degree outside time but that have time on their side. And they wait, they wait for those with feelings, with thoughts, with the freedom to move – they wait for their projection. I think it is about projections. If there is emotion, it’s in the viewer; it’s the viewer making something of this empty space that is silent, still and waiting. I spent a lot of time as a child praying to plaster virgins, which I guess may have something to do with it. But maybe I found them not empty enough. M: Do you still have faith in art? A: In a time when organized religions have failed us and politics continues to obscure us from real needs, I think art that has freed itself from the politics of power is an open space which hopefully can be shared. Art is about providing tools for self-determination. That sounds like a highly instrumentalised idea about art…. And some will say, ‘No, art is about escape, or it’s about giving you window on an alternative’; I’m not sure about that. For me the adventure of making art is not dissimilar to what scientists do, it’s an examination of reality. Scientists do it in entirely material terms by empirical experimentation with matter or energy. And I think art does it in another way, by saying ‘Can we look at the world like this?’ ■

The London Buddhist Jan–April 2018


The London Buddhist Jan–April 2018

Diary of a London Buddhist Dhammadinna on life as a walk in the park...


itting on a bench in Victoria Park, looking out over the lake, I notice that the fountain spray is creating dancing rainbows in the air. Everything seems to be in motion: the leaves in the breeze, the ripples on the surface of the water, the fountain and the rainbows, the ducks, geese and swans. People are constantly walking or running by, and children and dogs chase the pigeons. I relax, enjoying the many shifting sensations, including the warmth of the cup of flat white coffee in my hand, and the soon to be eaten, freshly baked, turmeric bun. Gradually it seems to me, that everything is like the fountainrainbow, vividly present, and yet vanishing in a moment, when the play of water, wind, and sunlight, changes. The ancient lines of the Japanese Buddhist poet Issa drift into my mind. The world of dew is the world of dew And yet, and yet... Back in the early 80’s I was a co-founder of a particular women’s community associated with the recently opened London Buddhist Centre. I was then in my mid-thirties, living with five other women of around the same age. After a stint living in our women’s retreat centre in South Wales, I moved back to London in 2005 and now share a 8

household with eleven women whose ages range from early thirties to early seventies. My young friends remind me of my younger self, and how things were then around the Buddhist Centre in the early days. The Centre had only been opened for four years, but was lively with classes, courses and retreats. We were at the beginning of developing team-based right-livelihood businesses, which later flourished as cafes, shops, printing and design studios, typesetting, a housing co-op and health centre, as well as many local residential communities. The area was much more run down and the beloved park itself was quite scruffy and not always that safe. We were all young and it would have been hard to imagine then that we would one day need to start young people’s activities at the Centre, or that so many of our flourishing businesses would subsequently close. It would have also have been difficult to foresee the rise in housing prices in the area, as then most of us lived in low-rent shortlife properties, which were part of our housing co-op. A couple of years ago I contracted an auto-immune inflammatory condition. Although not life threatening, it has certainly been life challenging. A simple walk to the park can now involve overcoming quite strong initial resistance. Sometimes just trying to

The London Buddhist Jan–April 2018

put on my walking shoes is a hurdle. Stepping onto the pavement, the park gates that once looked like a hop and a skip away, can seem far in the distance. The only thing to do is to put one foot in front of the other. As a young woman I would get very upset and frustrated at all the things that I couldn’t do. Now I appreciate all the things that I have been able to do, and can call them to mind in my memory. Back then my emotions and physical discomfort seemed to be closely entwined. Now I have more patience and an ability to experience physical pain whilst being in happy mental states. I am also much more able to ask for help. Being really ill a few years ago was hard, painful and worrying for my fellow community members, but I was pleased to hear that I was easy to look after! I could be reasonably straightforward in asking for what I needed. I also felt that I experienced the kindest aspects of all of them, in their different ways. This year I decided that in order to give my health a chance of improvement, I would give up all my current responsibilities in Triratna, some of which I have held for 20 years. This is a big change and I am at the beginning of seeing how that will unfold. I recently went to see my GP and said: ‘I have come for sympathy and science!’ He offered plenty of sympathy, but understandably had no answers to my ‘why’ questions. Three years ago, a dear friend of mine caught a cold and within a couple of days was seriously ill, sedated and intubated, in the ICU at the Royal London Hospital. I watched the wonderful team search for causes and reasons for her illness, whilst trying to

do everything possible to help her to survive. Between my long daily visits, I was listening to a hero of mine, Dr Atul Gawande, give the 2014 Reith Lectures, the first lecture of which was called ‘Why Doctors Fail’. According to him, they fail due to human error, something he is committed to lessen, and also because medicine and science, contrary to our expectations, do not have all the answers. Sadly, despite their best efforts, the day came when the doctors told us that there was nothing more that they could do for my friend. Her sudden illness and death left us with so many unanswered questions: Why her? Why now? What did she do? Of course, if we can just stay with the questions, often deeper truths can reveal themselves. ‘Why’ questions tend to mean that we are seeking to control our experience in some way. But we learn over and over again that we cannot control events. My experience of being so closely involved with her illness and death, though painful, has helped me to work with my own feelings, having suddenly become so ill myself, only a few months later. The world of dew, Is the world of dew, And yet, and yet.... How mysterious is that “and yet, and yet”. Perhaps unexpected wonders wait? At some point I’ve soaked myself in the beauty of the trees, lake, fountain and rainbows for long enough. Then it’s just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other and making my way home, knowing that I will never return to this particular combination of sensations and experiences. ■ 9

The London Buddhist Jan–April 2018

I want to break out‌ I want to break out, Batter down the door, Go trampling black heather all day On the windy moor, And at night, in hayloft, or under hedge, find A companion suited to my mind. I want to break through, Shatter time and space, Cut up the Void with a knife, Pitch the stars from their place, Nor shrink back when, lidded with darkness, the Eye Of Reality opens and blinds me, blue as the sky.


The London Buddhist Jan–April 2018


angharakshita, the founder of Triratna Buddhist Community, is a prolific poet and this poem of his is a favourite of mine. It comes about halfway through the Collected Poems 1995 edition and is full of energy. That energy seems to be pent up in the word ‘break’, used with the conjunctions ‘out’ and ‘through’ to illustrate both what the poet is trying to get away from (perhaps companions that are unsuited to his mind) and also move towards, spiritually speaking (the Eye of Reality) – that is, the quest to see how things in this world really are: impermanent, insubstantial and ultimately unsatisfying – not only intellectually but deep within one’s heart to know this as Truth. The energy is replicated not only in the meaning of these two phrases, ‘break out’ and ‘break through’, but also in the fact that both verses are formed of a single sentence, with the line breaks pushing each one on to its conclusion. Sangharakshita has always emphasised friendship as a support to our Buddhist practice – in fact, showing that the Buddha saw it not just as a ‘support’ but a necessity. In any poem the last lines of each verse have extra significance for the meaning – and the fact that in this poem Sanghrakshita has chosen to mirror ‘companion’ with ‘Reality’ serves to underline his sense of the importance of what Buddhists call the ‘Sangha’ jewel – the fellowship and friendship of one’s companions in the Good Life. The metrical stress in the poem is another beautifully crafted use of form to echo meaning. It doesn’t use traditional metre as many of the poet’s do, but uses instead a metre called ‘stress metre’. From my count, the beats of the

individual lines of each verse go 2 2 3 2 5 3 in the first verse and 2 2 3 2 5 5. From this you can see that the penultimate line of each verse seems to ‘break out’ of the pattern established in the first few lines, just like the poet wants to break away from humdrum reality of everyday ordinary life, and find a more immediate, transcendent reality within his own mind and heart’s practice. It’s as though these particular lines have too much energy for their container. It’s striking how the energy of the wanting to break out is implied by a series of vigorous, almost destructive words: break, batter, trampl(ing), shatter, cut up with a knife, pitch (as in throw) and blinds. If you didn’t already know this was a spiritual poem, if you read that list without reference to the context, you might think it was a very different one. In this poem the Three Jewels of Buddhism are implicit. We have the Sangha or spiritual companionship, we have the Dharma spoken of as the Eye of Reality (absolute truth), but where, then, is the Buddha? I feel that the poem’s speaker stands here for the Buddha jewel, in his trying to communicate the Buddha’s questing energy – energy that led him from his pleasant life on a journey almost to the gates of Death, but one that ended in complete awakening. The poet is saying we need to move more towards this energy in order to feel completely fulfilled in our lives. ■ -Vishvantara 11

The London Buddhist Jan–April 2018

In the Footsteps of Master Kūkai Aryapala on pilgrimage in Japan Life is short hikoku Island’s roads and mountain passes are littered with a thousand years of pilgrims’ unmarked graves and shrines to Buddhist saints, full of miraculous powers.


Have you not seen, O have you not seen, This has been man’s fate, how can you alone live forever? Having stumbled across the Shikoku Henro, one of several important Buddhist pilgrimages in Japan, I at once knew I would walk it; especially as Master Kūkai inspired it: the 8th century Japanese esoteric Buddhist Master. Circling the island, one visits 88 temples, walking 744 miles (roughly 1200km) over breathtaking mountain passes, following rivers and coastal roads; temple stamps and calligraphy in a book is ones only proof of making it, if, make it you do. Preparation Pilgrimage is difficult. In preparation, you’re building up spiritual momentum. You need it to keep perspective in times of dismay. Like any Buddhist practice, preparation is half the practice. Worship and offerings, confession and 12

Aryapala wearing the Henro’s (pilgrims’) iconic white tunic as a shroud, staff as a gravestone, hat as a coffin and Kesa as a robe. Pilgrimage is a very important and effective practice in Buddhism, it prepares you for death – literal and spiritual.

rejoicing, mantra recitation and sutra readings; listening to Dharma talks on were among many of the preliminaries I undertook to prepare for this gruelling walk. Difficulties Completely alien culturally Japan, outside all the usual familiar references;

The London Buddhist Jan–April 2018

I wasn’t able to communicate apart from a few sentences and had to adapt fast to: different styles of Buddhist practice and worship; eating out of convenience stores, sleeping rough; trying not to get lost in the woods; nude public bathing; remembering to take shoes off to go inside; chopsticks; eating rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner; needing an instruction manual to work a normal toilet – all ‘eye-openers’ for me. Difficulty is the food of Buddhists; pilgrimage on an unknown rural island is therefore a banquet! It’s a natural reflex, not a bad thing, to habitually cuss about the situation. We reckon X is the best thing to do under the circumstances. Karma means action and karma-vipaka, fruits of action. Pilgrimage helped deepen my appreciation of karma: that you don’t abandon the Great Work because you got a blister, someone looked at you funny or your feet wake you up at night screaming, every night for two months. You can’t expect to be met by the Great Bliss of Liberation if you can’t even see your habitual shabby actions having consequences. Discard pride in earthly gains; Do not be scorched in the burning house, the triple world! Discipline in the woods alone lets us soon enter the eternal Realm Imagination & Devotion Pilgrimage brings perspective and engages the imagination with body, speech and mind. Tibetans prostrate from Tibet to Bodh Gaya India; the vast majority of Japanese take a coach package-deal; when in London I visit the

LBC, walk to Watkins Books & No. 14 Monmouth Street where fundamental activities & insights for our movement began through Urgyen Sangharakshita. Along the way you come to reflect that you are participating in a devotional practice of sorts. The Imagination is a doorway between everyday observations and the world of archetypes. Japan is steeped in Buddhism: surrounded by images and cultural pursuits pointing to higher aspirations. Even at a basic cultural level, people can intuit something more. The gods are alive and changing natural elements; beautiful and terrible are everywhere. You ask me why I entered the mountain deep and cold, Awesome, surrounded by steep peaks and grotesque rocks, A place that is painful to climb and difficult to descend, Wherein reside the gods of the mountain and the spirits of trees You enter something much bigger than yourself when on pilgrimage. A myth. In the sense you are the archetypal devotee; performing, enacting, living out ones love for what’s deeply satisfying and holds ultimate meaning for you. Kūkai performed austerities on mountains and lived in caves where he attained Enlightenment. I find this deeply inspiring as, he himself says: I have never tired of watching the pine trees and the rocks at Mount Kōya; The limpid stream of the mountain is the source of my inexhaustible joy 13

The London Buddhist Jan–April 2018

Friendship The culture of osettai is unique to Shikoku. When locals and friends along the pilgrimage give you gifts, such as food, this is called osettai. Japanese and non-Japanese alike are surprised and deeply moved when they receive osettai while walking the pilgrimage. Because osettai is seen as having a religious value, it is believed that a pilgrim cannot refuse it when offered. Pilgrims are seen as representing Kūkai (honorifically known as Kōbō Daishi) and seen as someone who could visit faraway temples on local peoples’ behalf. Pilgrims therefore have a religious or archetypal value. Have you not seen, O have you not seen, The peach and plum blossoms in the royal garden? They must be in full bloom, pink and fragrant, Now opening in the April showers, now falling in the spring gales; Flying high and low, all over the garden the petals scatter Daily Practice …essentially a circle: [the Shikoku Henro]… has no beginning and no end. One goes all the way around and returns to one’s starting point... not the destination but the act of getting there, not the goal, but the going. ‘The Path is the goal itself.’ Oliver Statler Japanese Pilgrimage.


The London Buddhist Jan–April 2018

In a simple ceremony at Temple #1, Ryōzenji (Vulture’s Peak Temple), I dedicate the pilgrimage for the benefit and happiness of all beings. Then, here’s something of what my day looked like… 4:30am Wake up. Meditate on lovingkindness and Manjughosha, Buddha of Wisdom. 5:30am Pack up before shops open, eat breakfast. 6:30am Head out. Walk and chant, walk and chant constantly, constantly, invoking the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Reflecting on benefits received from Urgyen Sangharakshita, his Triratna Sangha, and on “holding to nothing whatever”, all the while making offerings to small roadside and mountain shrines as I go. 9-11am Morning tea. 1-2pm Lunch. Visit temples somewhere in all this: Offer candles and incense, reciting The Heart Sutra at Main Hall then again at the Daishido. Make offerings to Fudō Myōō and other shrines.

…One dwells more intensely on how one acts within one’s environment, and on the effect of that environment upon oneself. Such intense concentration, coupled with reflection on the life of the Buddha and on the lives of the great sages who followed him, brings about a deep sense of faith which flowers as inspiration. Dharmachari Suvajra The Wheel and the Diamond. Transference of Merits All Buddhist practice ends with Transference of Merits as we call it. At Kūkai’s mountain retreat centre on Mt Kōya, strengthening my resolve to become a better practitioner, I make offerings and prayers. Then finally, in Hiroshima; at The Peace Shrine, I dedicate all my effort for the peace, happiness & benefit of all beings. The singing halls and dancing stages have become the abodes of foxes. Transient as dreams, bubbles or lightening, all are perpetual travellers. To a Nobleman in Kyoto Kūkai, Major Works ■

3pm Begin determining a good place to sleep. 4pm Food shopping. 5pm Arrive at rest area. Set up, eat dinner. Write in journal. 7pm Perform the Seven-Fold Puja, devoted to those I received osettai from that day, a special link. 8pm Fall asleep in exhaustion. 15

Programme Jan–April 2018

Programme >>

Programme Jan–April 2018


One aim of the London Buddhist Centre is to help people achieve their highest potential by introducing them to Buddhism and meditation. The centre runs on generosity: all teachers and class teams offer their time, skills and experience voluntarily. We are keen to develop this culture of generosity (‘dana’), so you will see that many of our events are free of charge, but with an invitation to give what you can (of course you do not need to give anything if you do not want to or cannot afford to). This culture of generosity extends to all levels of the centre. For example, everyone employed by the LBC is paid a ‘support’ package which covers their basic financial needs (food, rent etc), with a little extra for spending and travel. On this basis, people give what they can and take what they need. It is therefore generosity that is the principal motivation for a deepening commitment, rather than status or the accumulation of wealth. Generosity is a virtue that is highly regarded in Buddhism and we hope that this quality is brought to the fore at the LBC. In particular we hope that, if attending one of our free events, you will feel able to contribute appropriately to the running costs of the centre. Alongside our programme at the LBC, we run courses in meditation at St Martin’s Lane in Central London. We also run retreats throughout the year which offer excellent conditions in which to explore and deepen your awareness of yourself, of other people and of the world around you, away from the habits and restrictions of your daily routine. 020 8981 1225 51 Roman Road, Bethnal Green, E2 0HU 18

Charity number: 255420

Programme Jan–April 2018

Getting started

For anyone interested in getting a taste of Buddhist meditation and those new to the Mindfulness of Breathing and Metta Bhavana meditation practices

Spring Retreat

The Taste of Freedom

Led by Vandanajyoti and Akashamitra

The Buddha said, ‘Just as the mighty ocean has but one taste, the taste of salt, so too has my teaching but one taste: the taste of freedom’. How can we increase the sense of freedom and joy in our lives? What attitudes and habits hold us back from feeling fully alive? The retreat will follow the Buddha’s path towards freedom through meditation, stories and quiet reflection in the beauty of the Suffolk spring light. Suitable for newcomers to meditation and those who have been meditating for up to two years. 30 Mar-8 Apr. £450(£340concs). At Vajrasana. Booking essential.

The Journey and the Guide

A Practical Course in Enlightenment

Led by Maitreyabandhu, Abhayanandi and Prajnamanas

How do we make the most of life? Buddhism is a non-theistic, practical path of human growth. This eight-week course leads participants step by step along the Buddhist path from mindfulness and emotional strength to receptivity, spiritual death and rebirth. On the course we will be learning how to put spiritual life into practice here and now. Course participants will receive Maitreyabandhu’s book The Journey and the Guide as part of the course. 8 weeks from Wed 14 Mar 7.15-9.45pm. £150(£120concs.) (price inc. book). Booking essential.

Intro to Buddhism & Meditation Weekends

An ideal way to encounter meditation and the Buddhist vision for the first time. So join us to learn two fundamental, far-reaching meditation practices, while living communally with diverse but likeminded people. 26-28 Jan, 23-25 Feb & 23-25 Mar. At Vajrasana. £190(£150concs). Booking essential.


Programme Jan–April 2018

Weekly Classes Lunchtime Meditation Taster Monday to Saturday

Saturday Morning Yoga

No classes between 19 Dec and 2 Jan. All classes start again on Wed 3 Jan.

1 – 2pm. All welcome. By donation.

First session: 10-11.15am. (This class finishes with some sitting meditation.) Second session: 11.30am – 12.30pm. £10 per class. No need to book, just drop in.

Evening Meditation Tuesday and Wednesday

Evenings and Days

Drop in and learn the principles of meditating on kindness and awareness in these lunch-hour sessions.

Meditation is a way of creating a fit and healthy mind and a positive and creative world. Drop in to learn two fundamental practices that cultivate clear awareness, peace of mind and emotional positivity. 7.15 – 9.45pm. Free. Suggested donation £11(£6concs).

Daytime Class Wednesday Morning

This term we will be looking at the place of devotional practice and its effect on our everyday lives. Meditation teaching to newcomers except on the first Wednesday of every month (practice morning). 10.35am – 12.30pm. Creche facilities for children 6 mths-5 yrs, supported by experienced staff. By donation.

Yoga, Chi-Kung & Meditation Thursday Evenings

A meditative evening starting with yoga or chi-kung, followed by sitting meditation, to bring harmony to the mind and body. Suitable for beginners. Wear warm, comfortable clothing. 7.15 – 9.30pm. £11(£6concs)

Weekday Lunchtime and Early Evening Yoga

Drop-in sessions of yoga for meditation, encouraging flexibility, strength and awareness of bodily sensations. Suitable for all levels. No classes 19 Dec-2 Jan. All classes start again on Wed 3 Jan. Weekday lunchtimes, 12 – 12.45pm & 1.15 – 2pm. By donation. Mon/Tue/Wed/Fri evenings, 5.45 – 6.45pm. £8. No need to book.


Open Day

On these stimulating and lively days you’ll get a taste of what goes on at the London Buddhist Centre. Find out about Buddhism, learn to meditate and try a taster session in Breathing Space, our project offering mindfulness for well-being. The LBC is also part of the Open House weekend, so there will be some special tours. Sun 21 Jan, 11am – 5pm. Refreshments provided & all events free. No need to book.

Introduction to Meditation Days

Spend a whole day learning how to keep both your mind and heart in steady focus, with meditation practices that help cultivate openness, clarity and courage. Sun 14 Jan, 4 Feb, 11 Mar & 15 Apr. 10am – 5pm. £40(£30concs). Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share. Booking essential.

Third Friday Sub25 Class

A monthly chance for those aged 16-25 to come together to explore Buddhism and make friends through meditation, discussion and tea. Led by a group of young people, with an experienced Buddhist practitioner joining us each month. 19 Jan, 16 Feb, 16 Mar & 20 Apr. 7.15 – 9.45pm. All welcome, just turn up. By donation.

Programme Jan–April 2018

Courses Introduction to Buddhism & Meditation

An overview of Buddhist principles and an introduction to two meditation practices that offer a means to self-awareness, change and spiritual insight. 6 weeks from Mon 15 Jan, 26 Feb & 9 Apr. 7.15 – 9.45pm. £110(£90concs). Booking essential.

Meditation Starter Kit

Get down to basics and learn, over the course of six drop-in sessions, meditation from the ground up. Week by week you will discover the purpose and practice of meditation, beginning with your experience and transforming it by directly working on your mind. Although this is a drop-in course we’d really recommend you come for all six if you possibly can.

Outreach: Courses in central London Buddhist Meditation Foundation Courses

An ideal way to learn meditation – four-week introductory courses supported by handouts, home practice and simple, straightforward teaching. Saturday mornings (10am-12.30pm) starting 6 Jan, 3 Feb, 3 Mar & 7 Apr. £100(£80concs). Booking essential. At 52 St Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4EA Weekly drop-in classes and courses are also happening in Hornchurch and in Mid Essex. See and for details.

Led by Maitreyabandhu and Team 6 Wednesdays starting 3 Jan. 7.15 – 9.45pm. Free. Suggested donation £11(£6concs). No need to book.


Programme Jan–April 2018

Going Further

If you know both meditation practices or are a Mitra or Order member, all these events are for you

Seminar: Gateways to Liberation With Maitreyabandhu & Subhadramati

On this seminar we will explore the four gateways to liberation. These gateways open us to a new kind of consciousness that goes beyond self and world, me and you, inside and outside. The seminar includes teaching, discussion, meditation, ritual and home practice. For those who want to take their life deeper. We’d recommend that you come to every week but you can also drop in. 8 Mondays starting 8 Jan, as part of the Monday Class. 7.15 – 9.45pm. Free. Suggested donation £7.

Meditation for Life (and death) Led by Vidyadaka and Danayutta

The discipline of meditation is to transform our life and see there is more to the mind than we realise. This six-week drop-in course will focus on karma, reverence, destruction, awareness and imagination – a practical, hands-on guide to living and dying. 6 Wednesdays starting 3 Jan. 7.15 – 9.45pm. Free. Suggested donation £11/£6. No need to book.

Buddhism Breakfast Seminar Explorations in Wisdom

Led by Vidyadaka and friends

What do the Buddha’s teachings mean to you, now, in your life? On these drop-in classes we will be examining Buddhists texts to draw out their relevance to us, and using them as a means for deeper questioning, discussion and developing a wiser life. 20 Jan, 10 Feb 10 Mar & 7 Apr. 10am – 12.30pm. Free. Suggested donation £11(£6concs).

Dharma and Meditation Weekend The Way to Wisdom

Led by Sraddhagita and Dayanatha

By exploring the qualities of Tara, the Quintessence of Compassion and the ‘Quick Way to Wisdom’ we can cultivate a more aware, positive and richer experience of our minds and lives. With periods of meditation, silence and ritual. For those with at least three months’ experience of the Mindfulness of Breathing and the Metta Bhavana. 16-18 Mar. £190(£150concs). Booking essential.


Programme Jan–April 2018

Weekly Classes Lunchtime Meditation Taster Monday to Saturday

Drop in and take your practice of kindness and awareness deeper in these lunch-hour sessions. 1 – 2pm. All welcome. By donation.

Lunchtime Course/Meditation Toolkit Stop/Realise

Over six consecutive lunchtime classes Maitreyabandhu will lead a practical exploration into meditation - firstly stopping - calming, integrating, relaxing, clearing the mind. And secondly realising - using that clear and stable mind to see directly into the nature of reality. We recommend you attend all six classes if you can, but you can also drop in.

Led by Maitreyabandhu Mon 5 Feb–Sat 10 Feb, 1 – 2pm. By donation. As part of the lunchtime drop-in meditation class.

Dharma Night Monday Evenings

Explore Buddhism through lively seminars, talks, meditation and puja. Whether you have done one of our introductory courses and want to learn more, or you have learned to meditate with us and are wondering what being a Buddhist is all about, you can drop in and participate any Monday evening. 7.15 – 9.45pm. Free. Suggested donation £7.

Evening Meditation Tuesday and Wednesday

Meditation is more than just a technique. After learning two fundamental practices, explore how to work with your mind more deeply and thoroughly. With led meditation, further teaching and guidance. 7.15 – 9.45pm. Free. Suggested donation £11(£6concs).

Daytime Class Wednesday Morning

This term we will be looking at the place of devotional practice in the spiritual life. We will be looking in detail at the seven stages of the sevenfold puja, and at how devotional practice can help to transform our everyday lives. The first class of every month is a ‘practice morning’, devoted to meditation and ritual practices. 10.35am – 12.30pm. Creche facilities for children 6 mths-5 yrs, supported by experienced staff. By donation.

Yoga, Chi-Kung & Meditation Thursday Evenings

A meditative evening starting with yoga or chi-kung, followed by sitting meditation, to bring harmony to the mind and body. Wear warm, comfortable clothing. No classes between 19 Dec and 2 Jan. All classes start again on Wed 3 Jan. 7.15 – 9.30pm. £11(£6concs)

Meditation and Puja Friday Evenings

Devotional practice helps us to engage with the Sangha and strengthen confidence in the Dharma. So bring the week to a contemplative close with meditation and ritual. Also in this session, several special pujas dedicated to different embodiments of the Buddha. 7 – 9.45pm. Free. Suggested donation £7.


Programme Jan–April 2018

Mornings, Days & Evenings Total Immersion Day

Intensify your meditation and plunge into the depths of the mind on this silent meditation day. For meditators who know both practices.

Led by Mahamani and Vajrabandhu Sun 7 Jan. 10am – 5pm. Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share. Free. Suggested donation £30. No need to book.

Total Immersion Day - Metta

A day of practice to deepen our connection with metta bhavana - loving kindness and compassion practice. We will spend most of the day unfolding the practice, exploring aspects we find challenging and refreshing our engagement with this transformative meditation.

Led by Dharmaprabha Sun 15 Apr. 10am – 5pm. Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share. Free. Suggested donation £30. No need to book.

Saturday Morning Meditation Exploring reality through meditation

Parent drop-in Dharma

A class to give parents (and non-parents/ prospective parents) the opportunity to practice together and to experience the diversity of dharma practitioners within our sangha. The class is open to all with an interest in parenting within a Buddhist context. Crèche facilities for children 6 mths-5 yrs, children’s and activities for children six and up supported by experienced staff. Babies under six months are welcome in the adult session. Sun 14 Jan, 18 Feb, 18 Mar & 22 Apr. 10.35am – 12.30pm. Free. Suggested donation £7.

Transforming Self and World

Mornings exploring Buddhism’s relevance to the social issues of the day and how we can apply the Dharma to transform both ourselves and our communities. Hosted by the Transforming Self and World team, with talks from Order members. Last Saturday of the month, 10am-1pm. Free (suggested donation £7). No need to book. 27 Jan with Padmavani

This drop-in, intensive meditation course is aimed at deepening our understanding of meditation, and of the ways we can move beyond ordinary, divided consciousness into Samadhi. For those who know both meditations.

24 Feb with Akashadevi 31 Mar with Tareshvari 28 Apr with Silapiya

Led by Jnanadaya

Encouraging and developing our children’s mindfulness and kindness through Buddhist teaching, practice and storytelling. Includes meditation, chanting and craft activities. For 3-12 year olds, parents/carers welcome.

13, 20 & 27 Jan. 9am – 12.30pm. (Doors open at 8.45am and close at 9.15am – no entry after this time.) Free. Suggested donation £15(£8concs).

Women’s Class Monthly Saturdays

A meditation and Buddhism class for women who know the Mindfulness of Breathing and Metta Bhavana meditations.

Led by Mahamani, Sudurjaya & friends 20 Jan, 17 Feb, 17 Mar & 21 Apr. 3 – 5.30pm. Free. Suggested donation £8(£5concs).


Buddhist Sunday School

Led by Jyotismati and team Last Sunday of every month: 28 Jan, 25 Feb, 25 Mar & 29 Apr. 10.30am – 12.30pm. Free. Suggested donation £7. No need to book.

Programme Jan–April 2018

Full Moon Pujas

Buddhism & 12-Step Recovery

Wed 31 Jan, Fri 2 Mar, Sat 31 Mar & Mon 30 Apr. Times to be announced. By donation.

Led by Sanghasiha and friends

These monthly rituals give a regular point of devotional focus and the chance to explore Buddhist ritual. In coming together on the full moon of each month, we are joining Buddhists across the world in a tradition that goes back to the Buddha himself.

Prajnaparamita Day Wisdom Beyond Words

The Perfection of Wisdom is a core text from the Mahayana tradition and Sangharaskita refers to it as ‘Wisdom Beyond Words’. We will study, reflect and meditate in a way that allows the day to become a ritual and enables us to become more aware of Prajnaparamita in our daily lives.

Led by Prajnamala Sun 4 Feb. 10am – 5pm. Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share. Free. Suggested donation £30.

These days are for people who are in 12-Step Recovery Groups and are also interested in Buddhism and meditation. Come and join us for a day of Sangha, fellowship and practice. For those familiar with the Mindfulness of Breathing and Metta Bhavana. Sun 25 Mar. 10am – 5pm. Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share. Free. Suggested donation £30. No need to book.

Mantra and Meditation Morning

Mantras are sound symbols that can point towards the mystery and beauty of Enlightenment. The day will be an exploration of this mystery, and will include chanting, discussion and meditation. Suitable for those who know both meditations.

Led by Dayabhadra Sun 7 Apr. 9.30am – 12.30pm. Free. Suggested donation £15. No need to book.

Deep Ecology Day

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” Jane Goodall. A day of practice exploring our relationship with the natural world through ritual, sound meditation, talks, poetry, music and discussion. Special Guest Bob Gilbert will be talking about his book The Green London Way.

Led by Sanghasiha and friends Sun 25 Feb. 10am – 5pm. Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share. Free. Suggested donation £30. No need to book.


Programme Jan–April 2018

Retreats Buddhism and 12-Step Recovery Led by Sanghasiha and friends

A weekend retreat for people in 12-Step recovery groups who are also interested in Buddhism and meditation. There will be periods of meditation, talks about recovery and Buddhism, free time to explore the beautiful countryside and plenty of time to talk about 12-Step recovery principles and our practice of Buddhism and meditation. For those familiar with the Mindfulness of Breathing and Metta Bhavana. .

Women’s Retreat Opening to our Deepest Desire’s Led by Prajnamala and friends

The Buddha said that it is tanha (craving/thirst) that causes us to experience dukkha (suffering), not desire itself. During this weekend we will be exploring what our deepest desires are and how we can be fully alive in the sensory world by transforming dukkha into beauty. For women familiar with Mindfulness of Breathing and Metta Bhavana meditations. 20-22 Apr. £190(£150concs). Booking essential. At Vajrasana.

5-7 Jan. £190(£150concs). Booking essential. At Vajrasana.

Men’s Retreat at Padmaloka Going for Refuge: The Deepest Revolution

Led by Dharmashalin and Jayaka, with a talk by Surata

Going for Refuge, or commitment to the Three Jewels, is one’s life-blood as a Buddhist. Observance of the Precepts represents the circulation of that blood through every fibre of one’s being. 23-25 Feb. Book with

Working Retreat

Led by Priyavajra and Jnanaruchi

This is a low-cost mid-week retreat with the emphasis on living and working together at Vajrasana in the beautiful Suffolk Countryside. The retreat will include study, meditation, Buddhist ritual and free-time. We will spend about three hours each day working together to help keep Vajrasana beautiful. 18-23 Mar. £110/£85 concs. Booking essential.


Volunteering Volunteering can be a satisfying and energetic way of giving to the centre. See the section of our website labelled ‘Support Us’ for more. Volunteer sessions

Following the lunchtime class, join in with the work period, cleaning the Centre and looking after the shrines. Every Monday & Thursday, 2.30 – 3.30pm.

If you would like more information or would like to chat with someone about this, please contact Vajrabandhu on or drop in at one of these times.

Programme Jan–April 2018

Festivals & Special Events Open to all

Mandala Evening The Action of Liberation With Jnanavaca

The spiritual community, the Sangha, is the ideal context in which we can practise the Dharma. It is also a force for good in the world and an ideal in its own right. But how is the Sangha sustained? Continuing our exploration of ‘The Four Sangharavastus’ (or Means of Unification of the Sangha), Jnanavaca will launch the year with a keynote talk on the third of these, Beneficial Activity, which is about building the Buddhaland; trying to do something useful, to act helpfully, to bring about a spiritual benefit for others and overcoming the habitual force of ‘me’.

Presidential Visit Rambles Around Reality

Subhuti, the president of the LBC, will be giving a series of informal ‘rambles’ on the Dharma. Subhuti has been ordained for over forty years and is known for communicating the Dharma with great skill, clarity and insight. Early March – dates to be confirmed. By donation.

Mon 22 Jan. 7.15 – 9.45pm. Free. Suggested donation £7.

Parinirvana Day Festival

Parinirvana day is the celebration of the final passing of the Buddha, which gives us an opportunity not just to reflect upon impermanence, and its significance for us, but also to rejoice in his life and our lives. Reflecting on life and death shows us the mystery that we are involved with and highlights what we need to do to live a vibrant and significant life. The day will include meditation and reflection, ritual and mitra ceremonies, as well as an opportunity to remember people from our own lives that have passed away.

Led by Sraddhagita Sun 11 Feb. 10am – 10pm. Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share. Full programme available nearer the time. No need to book.


Programme Jan–April 2018

Yoga & Chi-Kung for Meditation

Our Hatha yoga classes encourage flexibility, strength and awareness of physical sensations, which can be a great way into sitting meditation. Chi-Kung, meanwhile, is a Chinese practice whose name means ‘the way of energy’. It uses gentle warm-ups and standing postures to encourage awareness of what we call subtle energy – a precious ingredient in our meditation practice.

Regular classes

Days, courses & retreats

The last evening class of 2017 is Friday 15 Dec. The last Saturday class is Saturday 16 Dec. Lunchtime classes will continue up to and including 22 Dec. All classes start again on Wed 3 Jan.

Yoga for Meditation Afternoons

Weekday Lunchtime & Early Evening Yoga

Drop-in sessions of yoga for meditation, encouraging flexibility, strength and awareness of bodily sensations. Suitable for all levels. Do note the new weekday lunchtime class 1.15-2pm MonFri. Weekday lunchtimes, 12 – 12.45pm & 1.15 – 2pm. By donation. No need to book. Mon/Tue/Wed/Fri evenings, 5.45 – 6.45pm. £8. No need to book.

Yoga, Chi-kung & Meditation Thursday Evenings

A meditative evening starting with yoga or chi-kung, followed by sitting meditation, to bring harmony to the mind and body. Suitable for beginners. Wear warm, comfortable clothing.

Meditation teaching for both newcomers and regulars, and yoga suitable for all levels. Sat 20 Jan. Led by Holly. 3 – 5.30pm. £20(£25concs). Sat 3 Feb. Led by Danayutta. 3 – 5.30pm. £20(£25concs). Sat 24 Feb with Bodhiyoga. Led by Sadhita and Sudaka. 2.30 – 6pm. £30(£35concs). Booking essential. Sat 28 Apr. 3 – 5.30pm. Led by Danayutta. £20(£25concs). Booking essential for all afternoons.

Yoga for Meditation Days

Meditation teaching for both newcomers and regulars, and yoga suitable for all levels. Sun 18 Mar. Led by Danayutta. 10am – 5pm. £40(£30concs). Sun 1 Apr. Led by Holly. 10am – 5pm. £40(£30concs). Booking essential for both days.

Course Establishing a Home Practice

For people who have attended at least 10 yoga classes. This course will focus on developing the discipline, joy and creativity of home practice.

7.15 – 9.30pm. £11(£6concs)

Led by Danayutta and Esther

Saturday Morning Yoga

Starts Fri 2 Feb for 6 weeks. 9.30 – 11.30am. £110(£90concs). Booking essential.

First session: 10 – 11.15am. (This class finishes with some sitting meditation.) Second session: 11.30am – 12.30pm. £10 per class. No need to book, just drop in.

Yoga for Meditation Retreats

A weekend in the countryside working to integrate our bodies and minds to create a positive and unified whole. Meditation teaching and yoga suitable for all levels. 12-14 Jan & 2-4 Mar. At Vajrasana. £210(£160concs).


Programme Jan–April 2018

Sub25 group

Third Friday Sub25 Class

A monthly chance for those aged 18-25 to come together to explore Buddhism and make friends through meditation, discussion and tea. This spring we’ll be exploring the five great stages of the path and how they can help us make the most of our life. Led by a group of young people, with an experienced Buddhist teacher joining us each month: Fri 19 Jan Integration with Vidyadaka Fri 16 Feb Positive Emotion with Mahamani Fri 16 Mar Spiritual Receptivity with Kusalasara Fri 20 Apr Spiritual Death & Rebirth with Devamitra 7.15-9.45pm (Tea bar till 10.30pm). All welcome. By donation.

Sub25 Meditation Day: Metta blazing like the Sun

‘Metta is a naturally expansive desire to brighten the whole world, the whole universe, and universes beyond that’ - Sangharakshita. A day of practice to deepen our connection with the Metta Bhavana - the meditation cultivating loving-kindness and compassion. With a talk from Devamitra and short personal talks from members of the Sub25 team. Sun 28 January. 10am – 5pm. By donation. Bring vegetarian/ vegan lunch to share.

Sub25 Day Retreat: The Bodhisattva Ideal

‘To consider the Bodhisattva ideal is to place one’s hand on the very heart of Buddhism, and feel the beating of that heart’ - Sangharakshita. How can we live an ideal life in the real world? How can we be happy and at the same time responsive to the suffering of others? Spend a Sunday gathered with like-minded people under 25 exploring the Bodhisattva ideal. Expect meditation, ritual, discussion and tea. Sun 11 March. 10am – 5pm. All welcome. By donation. Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share.

Looking ahead… Sub25 Retreat: The Taste of Freedom

‘Just as the mighty ocean has but one taste, the taste of salt, so too has my teaching… the taste of Freedom’ – The Buddha. A weekend of meditation, periods of silence, discussion groups, ritual and delicious vegan food – all with like-minded people aged 18-25 at our beautiful retreat centre in the Suffolk countryside.

Led by Alex and Charlotte

1-3 June. At Vajrasana. £90(£50concs).

To join the mailing list, for more info or to ask any questions, email


Programme Jan–April 2018

Arts Events

Both art and meditation are ways of working with the mind. Art specifically can take us beyond our utilitarian and self-interested view of the world into a reality beyond these limitations.

Total Immersion: Sibelius

The Poetry of Enlightenment

Open to all

This total immersion day on the music of Sibelius concludes with a trip to the Barbican to see the BBCSO, conducted by Sakari Oramo, play Sibelius’s 2nd and 7th Symphonies. Through meditating and listening we can discover a deeper connection with the music and develop sensitivity to the composer’s vision of life. Vandanajyoti will help us explore how Sibelius’s unique musical language and way of understanding the world developed, resulting in music that is full of the crisp, rugged coolness of the Finnish landscape and warmed by his sensitivity to the human condition. Please book early so that we can order the right number of concert tickets Sat 6 Jan. 10am – 5pm. Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share. Free. Suggested donation £20 for the day, though booking is essential so that we can purchase tickets for the evening concert - £20.

Buddha Mind, Creative Mind

Access your creativity and deepen your understanding of the Imagination, as a support for meditation and Dharma practice (with input and guidance on themes inspired by the teachings of Urgyen Sangahrakshita and Lama Anagarika Govinda). Each day introduces the theme and includes meditation, creative visualisation and guided drawing/painting exercises. The skills and knowledge offered here are transferable to all creative disciplines. This three day course is open to all levels of experience. Led by Amitajyoti who has been practising meditation, the Dharma and painting for over 24 years and has led retreats and workshops for over 14 years. Sat 13 Jan, Sat 17 Feb & Sat 10 Mar. 10am – 5pm. At the London Buddhist Arts Centre. £140(£120concs) for all 3 days. Booking essential. Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share.


All my poems come spontaneously – I don’t think about them beforehand. Usually, when I’m quiet or on my own or sometimes in the middle of the night a verse comes to me or a line comes to me, and a poem grows out of that…. Sangharakshita has published a treasure-trove of poetry from every stage of his life as a spiritual practitioner and Buddhist teacher giving us a direct insight into his mind. The poems can be startling, insightful, hair-raising, tender and totally unforgettable. In this interactive workshop there will be exercises and discussions designed to enter this unique poet’s inner world, and to view what Buddhist practice can encompass, through his visionary fervour.

Led by Vishvantara Sun 29 Apr, 10.30am – 4.30pm. Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share. Free. Suggested donation £30. No need to book.

Creative Writing Group

A monthly meet-up to encourage the cultivation of the Imagination. The group will be led and will include writing, communication and discussion and we welcome anyone interested in developing the Imagination through writing. All levels of experience (or none) are welcome.

Led by Vishvantara and Vijayadipa 28 Jan, 25 Feb, 25 Mar & 15 Apr. 2.30 – 5pm. £7. Booking essential.

Programme Jan–April 2018

poetryEast is a series of cultural events at the LBC, exploring the meaning and value of the imagination, hosted by Maitreyabandhu. To join the mailing list, send a blank email to info@

John Burnside

Jorie Graham

Sat 27 Jan, 7.30pm. £10. Booking essential.

Sat 21 Apr, 7.30pm. £10. Booking essential.

Will Eaves

Looking ahead…

The novelist, short story writer and poet John Burnside has been described by the TLS as ‘one of the most gifted poets writing today’. His collection Black Cat Bone won both the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Forward Prize for Best Collection, and his memoir A Lie About My Father was published to enormous critical acclaim. He writes a monthly nature column for the New Statesman and is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books. He will be reading from his new collection, Still Life with Feeding Snake.

poetryEast is delighted to host the launch of Will Eaves’s new novel, Murmur, inspired by the life and work of the pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing. Will Eaves was the Arts Editor of the Times Literary Supplement before becoming an Associate Professor in the English department at Warwick University. His novel-in-voices The Absent Therapist was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize, while The Inevitable Gift Shop, a collection of poetry and prose, was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for Poetry in 2016.

Jorie Graham is the author of some fifteen collections of poetry, whose work ‘has engaged the whole human contraption – intellectual, global, domestic, apocalyptic – rather than the narrow emotional slice of it most often reserved for poems’ (New York Times). Her honours include the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and in 2012 she was the first American woman to win one of the Forward Prizes, a UK award (for Best Collection: PLACE). In 2017 she was awarded the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets.

Kei Miller on 2 June

Kei Miller was named a Next Generation Poet in 2014, the same year as his book The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion won the Forward Prize for Best Collection.

Sat 24 Mar, 7.30pm. £10. Booking essential.


The London Buddhist Jan–April 2018

The London Buddhist - Spring 2018  
The London Buddhist - Spring 2018  

Our latest magazine and programme of events.