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London Buddhist Centre Magazine and Programme May–August 2017


The London Buddhist May–Aug 2017

Contents The London Buddhist our magazine 3 Editorial 4 Learning to Walk Again on Kate Grant’s modern-day pilgrimage 6 Transcendental Q & A Subhuti fleshes out a few words of the Buddha 12 Poems by Maitreyabandu and Subhadramati 14 When You Feel Like Clingling Rock climbing with Shraddhasiddhi

Programme: Summer 2017

17 Introduction 18 Getting Started 20 Going Further 24 Sub35 & Sub25 groups 25 Festivals & Special Events 26 Calendar May-Aug 2017 30 Yoga &Chi-Kung for Meditation 31 poetryEast: writers & artists at the LBC

Contributors to the magazine Amitajyoti is a local artist. She leads workshops on painting and the imagination. Ollie Brock lives and works at the London Buddhist Centre, but has wandered up a mountain in Spain. Barry Copping (proofreading), a mitra, retired from scientific and technical publishing in 2014. His interests include choral singing and railways. Kate Grant works in the NHS with people with learning disabilities and lives in a community. Her favourite birdsong is the blackbird’s. Maitreyabandhu was ordained in 1990, and has lived and worked at the London Buddhist Centre since 1985. His two poetry collections, The Crumb Road and Yarn, are published by Bloodaxe. Shraddhasiddhi was ordained in 2012, and teaches Buddhism and meditation at the London Buddhist Centre. In her spare time she climbs a lot, but would never dream of calling herself a ‘climber’. Subhadramati has been writing poems for many years and has been a student at the Poetry School with Mimi Khalvati. ‘The Message’, which is addressed to Maitreyabandhu, was first published in Mslexia. Subhuti, who was ordained in 1973, played a major role in the establishment of the London Buddhist Centre and remains its President. His article in this issue is taken from a series of his ‘Rambles Around Reality’, given at the LBC in November 2015.


The London Buddhist May–Aug 2017

The Wondering Life Through life we wander, dimly aware that at some point it will end. What happens after that, we cannot know. We can’t even confidently say, ‘nothing’ – what, after all, would we mean by it? We can never know a ‘nothing’ in our own experience, which for the Buddha made it not worth theorising about. And if we accept there is no eternal soul either – well, what sort of mystery are we involved in, exactly? Hopefully, then, we don’t just wander through life. We also wonder: we question, seek, marvel. It may be an accident of English spelling, but I like to think that the ‘wanderers’ or religious ascetics of the Buddha’s day were also filled with a sense of wonder: a reverence for existence and its mystery, a passion for uncovering the truth. They donned the robe, left home and went in search of a teacher who might guide them to it. One such wanderer was Vacchagotta, whose conversations with the Buddha became canonical. Spare as they are in written form, they contain riches, some of which Subhuti helps us unearth in this new issue of the London Buddhist. His article is taken from some of his ‘Rambles’ or informal talks given here at the London Buddhist Centre, and well evokes their energy and deep thought. First, though, a modern-day wanderer. Going in search of one’s teacher is not such an ancient practice, as Kate Grant shows us. On recovering from cancer treatment,

she was inspired to make a pilgrimage in homage to Sangharakshita, the founder of our Buddhist movement and Order. In doing so she mapped internal change in her life on to the land itself. Her account of it is moving, with a light heart. Shraddhasiddhi explores her relationship to the earth too, although this time on the vertical plane. It is when rock climbing, she tells us, that her meditation practice is really put to the test. Luckily, it is not all fear and clinging: occasionally she can access a state where the climber and rock become ‘somehow enmeshed’. It is not always as literal, then, as ‘this the figure, this the ground’ – so Maitreyabandhu says of Cezanne’s painting in his elegiac poem. Subhadramati’s poem on the opposite page remembers Maitreyabandhu hurrying to see a friend who was dying, passing from the busy-ness of life into another sort of wandering state. This new edition of our magazine and programme goes to print on the eve of ‘Triratna Day’, which marks fifty years of a movement and Order that has given itself to the wondering life. We hope you enjoy celebrating with us. – Ollie Brock

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The London Buddhist May–Aug 2017

Learning to Walk Again

Kate Grant sets out to renew the tradition of the pilgrim

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ate last year, when the news came that Sangharakshita was seriously ill, my mind went straight to my last meeting with him. I had seen him eighteen months earlier, at the end of a 200-mile journey on foot from the library where he borrowed books as a boy in Tooting to his new home – and library – at Adhisthana. The journey had lasted seventeen days, spread over nine months, each stretch picking up where the last had left off. In London, it took in Monmouth Street and Archway, where groups that would become the Triratna Buddhist Community first met, and Watkins Esoteric Bookshop, where the teenage Sangharakshita hung out, before joining the Thames Path and heading west. Having reached Oxford, I set off across the Cotswolds, the Vale of Evesham and finally the Malvern Ridge. I arrived at Adhisthana not knowing whether Sangharakshita would be well enough to meet me or not. I got lucky and the following day, as I sat with Sangharakshita in his conservatory, he told me how as a young man he had walked across India barefoot, sleeping at railway stations, being given food without asking by people who easily recognised him as a spiritual traveller. He asked if people had recognised me as a pilgrim too. In fact I had mostly found people surprised to meet a woman walking such an inexplicably long way, often alone and on a bizarre route, and I didn’t explain my rather esoteric mission any further.

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Of course, I did have my reasons. I was recovering from cancer treatment, and had been reading Sangharakshita’s childhood memoir, Learning to Walk. My heart went out to this little boy who had been kept immobile for two years in the mistaken belief that any level of exertion could cause his heart to fail. I could not imagine how a child had tolerated such confinement; apparently a stream of books from Tooting Public Library were his lifeline to sanity and the world. My physical restrictions were minor next to his, and as I read, I felt connected with suffering as a common human experience. I had long been interested in making a pilgrimage, having read the pilgrimage classics John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Chaucer portrays pilgrimage as a commonplace activity in mediaeval society, one so outward and communal as to have an almost festive atmosphere. Despite this, the main purpose of pilgrimage was to seek divine help or as penance for sins. Bunyan had been imprisoned for preaching a newly emerging Christian non-conformism at a time when religious gatherings outside an Anglican Church were illegal. By the time he was writing from his seventeenth-century prison cell, his pilgrimage was an allegory, ‘delivered under the similitude of a dream’, as he put it. It represents the profound personal change of an inner journey, his pilgrim often needing to break with conformity and set


The London Buddhist May–Aug 2017

Kate Grant: ‘Longer and longer walks became possible’

off alone. European pilgrimage routes still exist, but I wanted to find a new destination to reflect new spiritual traditions.

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y diagnosis had brought with it a visceral sense of my own fragility and how we all in fact face a precarious future. At times this realisation came with a flood of fear, at other times it made the simple wonder of the present moment shine. As time elapsed I became more aware of the inner journey that unfolds at times of deep uncertainty and I had the urge to give material form to this. The aim would be to cultivate a larger perspective, a deliberate merging of inner and outer change. This spirit of pilgrimage was really put to the test on the day I crossed the Chilterns with a friend. We ran into a storm which flooded the local roads. Our clothes did not withstand the three-hour deluge, and tired, cold, sodden and unable to see much in front of us, it really sank in that the pilgrimage was not about having fair weather or beautiful views, or being comfortable. Instead it was about something bigger, which did not exclude any particular experience. I noticed that there would be a change in mood following a day’s walk, a slight but

familiar impatience which crept in as soon as I was no longer ‘on pilgrimage’. I found myself wishing the train would come quicker, wanting a good curry house to appear, trying to close my ears against noisy fellow passengers. These were fractious mental states compared with those of the day’s walk, and I wondered if I could approach the whole of life as a pilgrim. Having said this, most days of walking were fine and punctuated by glorious views and wild swimming and fleeting encounters with wildlife. I did get lost a lot once off the Thames Path, and needed to abandon some of my comewhat-may-ness in favour of an OS map. To my utter surprise I was met by a welcome party at Adhisthana and hailed as the first pilgrim, perhaps the first of many, to arrive there on foot. Looking back over the eighteen months since I completed the pilgrimage, I can see that there have been subtle changes in my approach to life. I suspect life’s journey through sickness and health have been at the bottom of this change, but made plainer by the deliberate act of a walking pilgrimage. I have noticed a little less concern with who I am and what my prospects are, leading to a slightly more relaxed attitude, a slightly greater sense of flow and confidence. I’ve found myself wondering about Sangharakshita’s childhood illness and his direction in life, and about his recent experience of the fragility of existence. As a boy, once Sangharakshita’s supposed childhood heart condition had finally been debunked, he attempted to walk again, but his muscles were wasted and the process of growing stronger was slow and difficult. My own body had been weakened by my treatment, too, and it had been upon reading Sangharakshita’s memories of his own convalescence that walking became for me a metaphor for wellness. As I regained my strength, longer and longer walks became possible, and I began to walk out of gratitude for my life. I wonder how he’s getting on with walking this time around – inner and outer? ■ 5


The London Buddhist May–Aug 2017

Transcendental Q & A

Many homeless wanderers came to the Buddha to ask him questions; his answers ranged from the practical to the downright cryptic. Subhuti considers one of the most mysterious dialogues recorded

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’m going to start by giving you a quiz, a set of questions. The first question is: is the world, the universe, infinite or finite in terms of space? Is there a point where the universe ends, or not? The second question is, of course: is the universe infinite in time, or not? Was there a beginning and will there be an end – or not? Is it eternal, or is it temporally finite? No doubt some of you are pretty sophisticated and have already got quantum physics on the go and all that. But just see what your response is to those two questions, just note your thoughts. The third question perhaps tickles the fancy of the psychologists and neurologists. Is the mind – which is not quite the right word for it in this context, but let us say ‘mind’ – the same as the body, or not? Are the body and mind identical, or are they different? The fourth question is more difficult because it already implies a certain amount of knowledge of Buddhism, but I’ll ask it anyway. The Buddha, we know, is supposed to have gained Enlightenment, Bodhi. And he lived and walked upon his earth for many years after his Enlightenment, but eventually he died, probably in his eighties. So the question is, what happened 6

to him after he died? Did he exist? Did he not exist? And just in case you think the question is not already difficult enough: did he both exist and not exist after he died, or did he neither exist nor not exist after he died? That is just a bit of garnish on the meal! These questions were put to the Buddha 2,500 years ago. He was approached by a wanderer who went by the name of Vacchagotta. We are given nothing more than his surname, but he crops up again and again in the Buddhist scriptures, and he is clearly of a thoughtful mind. He he questions the Buddha again and again, and you can trace an intellectual or spiritual history of Vacchagotta when you look at the discourses in which he appears, because gradually the penny is dropping; he is gradually getting it. He starts off addressing the Buddha as ‘Bho-gotama’, a rather over-familiar but reasonably honorific way of talking to someone. I don’t know what our equivalent would be – perhaps ‘Mr Gotama’. But the process continues over many years, apparently, and he ends up Right: ‘The Buddha and Ananda’ by Dharmacharini Amitajyoti (amitajyoti.com). Acrylic on canvas, 190 x 115 cm


The London Buddhist May–Aug 2017

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The London Buddhist May–Aug 2017

of course going for refuge to the Buddha, eventually gaining Enlightenment, becoming an ‘Arahant’. Anyway, very early on in his inquiry, he came across the Buddha and asked him these four questions. And boy does he get a strange answer. The Buddha says, when asked if the world is infinite, ‘I don’t say that’. Is it finite? ‘I don’t say that either’. The Buddha is refusing to accept the horns of the dilemma on which Vacchagotta is trying to impale him, upon which we are all impaled. If the world is not infinite, surely it must be finite. If it is not finite it must be infinite. But the Buddha says no, neither of those applies. So, is the world finite in terms of time, or not? Again, the Buddha says that neither of these applies: ‘I do not say either of these’. And then, is the mind – the word in Pali is ‘jiva’, which means something more like ‘lifeforce’, so ‘mind’ is a fairly good paraphrase – is the experience of being alive, the sense of being alive, the same as the body or not? Again, the Buddha says, sorry, I don’t buy either of those alternatives. Poor Vacchagotta! You feel really sorry for him. The scriptures are very spare, but one imagines that Vacchagotta, if he has any hair – and he was a wanderer so may have cut it off – is tearing it out by now. Come on! – he’d be thinking. It’s got to be one or the other. But the Buddha just won’t accept either, replying only, ‘I do not say so’. So again, for these four alternatives for whether the Buddha exists after death, he won’t accept any of them. He simply says, ‘They are all ditthi’. They are all speculative opinions, all theories – and they are not just theories, they are a ‘thicket’ of theories, a wasteland of theories, a tangle of theories, a desert of theories. In other words, he is not very keen on them.

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ll the time we see things from a certain point of view; we interpret our experience. And our interpretation is built upon our experience. When I talk about whether the 8

world is finite or infinite, what I am doing is using my experience of endings. So in spatial terms, I am taking my experience of coming to the end of this room, reaching the door and going out. When I am talking temporally, I am talking about my experience of, for instance, this talk ending. We experience boundaries, endings, in space and time. Which is useful, particularly if you want to get out of the room, if you want to decide what to do next. It sort of works. But upon that a speculative view is built. So we start to speculate about time and space themselves – as if space was a room, and as if time was an interval between a beginning and an end. So we extrapolate from our rather more immediate experience our common-sense construction of time. We construct a larger notion about space and time themselves. Actually, you never experience space, you never experience time. What you experience is the duration of one element against another; you experience the relationship of one thing to another. But you never experience space itself, or time itself. So you are applying to space and time something that is derived from your experience within space and time. A speculative view is one that is derived from our ordinary common-sense experience and explodes way beyond its capacity to yield unproblematic truth. So the Buddha is effectively arguing that space and time themselves, if thought of as wholes, lead to problems. He didn’t describe what he meant by that, he simply said these are speculative views. He wasn’t at this point interested in proving or disproving it. Later Buddhism becomes more interested in elaborating the thinking and showing why this is the case. But the Buddha simply said that thinking in those terms – in terms of space, for instance, as a thing that can therefore be infinite or finite – is going way beyond our intellectual remit, way beyond what thinking can do. And it is the same with time. It is the same also with jiva, the life-force, the sense of being alive, and the body. Here


The London Buddhist May–Aug 2017

the Buddha again suggests that to speculate about their relationship is to accept naively a distinction between them. Which isn’t to say that they are not different. I can touch my body, feel it in movement. So I have a sort of external experience of my body. But I also have an internal experience of my body. I have an experience of being embodied, of being alive. But when I separate out these two kinds of experience I have a problem of how to relate them. That problem is a problem in thought, and therefore has to be resolved in thought – and when it is resolved in thought it leads simply to further problems. It is a speculative opinion. The final problem posed by Vacchagotta to which the Buddha said that any answer was a speculative one, was what happened to the Buddha after death. It is significant that he is talking about what happened to the Buddha after death, because the Buddha would have asserted that for anybody else another life would arise, that after death there would be a ‘re-becoming’, an ‘again-becoming’. So the significance of Vacchagotta’s question is that in the case of the Buddha there is no again-becoming. The Buddha made that quite clear.

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o what happens when somebody gives up all clinging, understands the nature of reality as it is, and dies? The Buddha is simply saying that thought can’t provide you with a satisfactory answer. Any of the thoughts that you give to what happens will be wrong. They will be onesided, they will only get part of it, not the whole thing. Why? What is he getting at? Why can’t he answer, for goodness’ sake? These are straightforward questions! Does he go on forever, or does he stop? Either the mind is located in the body, or the body in the mind, or they are separate. Either the jiva continues after death or it doesn’t; or maybe there is even some sort of subtle blending of the two, or not. But the Buddha says that all of these are speculative opinions built upon abstractions from our direct

experience. We take our direct experience and break it up into manageable chunks, which we turn into concepts. These are very useful, they allow us to manipulate experience: without them I would be dumb, I’d have nothing to say, you nothing to understand. We extrapolate from our direct experience concepts which make our experience portable. That is fine as long as you know what you are doing. As long as you are aware that what you are dealing with is concepts, abstractions, generalisations, which do not have any reality. They don’t exist. In some situations I have said something like, ‘Everything is impermanent’, and somebody will say: ‘Ah yes, but what about impermanence?!’ They’ve taken an abstraction, a way of indicating something that when applied to experience is true, and they think of that abstraction as a thing in itself.

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n what terms, then, can we think about the Buddha? In what terms can we think even about our own experience? What the Buddha is really indicating, what he is pointing to, is the fact that things are not as they seem to be. We have already constructed our experience in such a way that when we start to extrapolate from it, we end up with absurdity. But we have already accepted a sort of falsification. Experience comes pre-packaged with the assumption that I am having the experience: that there is an ‘I’ who stands behind, independent of, experience, having experience. So it is as if there is a world that is experienced, but that exists independent of that experience; and as if there is an ‘I’ that owns the experience and that exists independent of the moment of experience. That assumption is natural, it is built in, and in a way you could say it is extremely useful, it makes it possible to experience. We need to assume, we need to interpret the external dimension of our experience in terms of what you could call a ‘unity of object’. If all my experience were discrete, my experience of 9


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them. And whilst a degree of theorizing may be useful – it may create iPads and atom bombs and smoothies, it may work in terms of getting yourself to a talk – it doesn’t do for understanding what ultimate reality is. It leads us astray. It is all, you could say, a model that we construct. So it has to be held and used in a provisional, ‘as-if ’ sort of way.

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A stone carving of the Buddha’s ‘parinirvana’, or final passing away

this room now would have no relation to my experience of this room now. I have to assume that there is some endurance of the object in space and time, independent of my experience of it, so that when I turn my back it is still there. I heard recently an andecdote about the English linguistic philospher A.J. Ayer. The story goes that before the end of his life he became rather eccentric, and was caught on occasion trying to junp into empty rooms to see if they were still there when he wasn’t. Needless to say, he failed! So we assume that this moment of objective experience relates to previous moments of objective experience, which all belong to a single, stable universe. It works of course, otherwise how on earth did you get here? How do I keep on speaking right now? How do you continue to listen? There must be an assumption of continuity in the object, independent of the experiencing moment. But notice the word ‘assumption’. Really, all our experience is some kind of representation, it is an appearance. And the Buddha says that if we take that appearance literally, we get into trouble because we are accepting literally the externality of the objective dimension of the moment of experience, and we are taking literally the internality of the subjective element of the moment of experience. We are fixing them, and then starting to wave them around and hit ourselves and everybody else on the head with theories built upon 10

ccording to the Buddha, it is true to say neither that there is something out there, nor that there isn’t. If you say that there is something out there, you imply that there is something which stands behind what appears. Of course you can’t discover that. At the same time if you say there isn’t anything out there, you are imputing to reality a nothingness. The Buddha simply said, all you can say is that there is appearance. Appearance happens. But of course this begs another question. I have never actually seen this asked explicitly in Buddhist terms, but let me try to be the first Buddhist to do it. What sort of answer would the Buddha have given, if Vacchagotta had got round to it? – ‘Okay, Mr Gotama, answer me, why is it that there is something and not nothing?’ Well, the Buddha’s answer would have been very much in tune with the previous answers. He would have said something – and I am quite safe in asserting this, because he never did! – along the lines of, ‘“Something”, again, is an abstraction’. It is an abstraction from our experience of appearances coming and going, and we abstract from that the notion of ‘something’. We abstract the notion of ‘thing’ from the experience of particular appearances. And then in the same way, we abstract from the notion of thing, a no-thing. But nobody has ever come across a ‘something’, or a ‘nothing’, existing independent of any particular appearance. What I think the Buddha would have said, if Vacchagotta had got round to asking him, was that you cannot say ‘why’, in any abstract or ultimate sense, because that has no real meaning,


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no real reference. You would be trying to ask a question about an ultimate abstraction as if you could get outside that abstraction and deal with it as if it were a thing within things. You can’t do it. The Buddha might have said, I can tell you why, Subhuti, you are having this experience of all these people sitting in front of you with rather puzzled looks on their faces. At least, in principle I can tell you why: it is happening because of previous conditions. It is happening because each of you, foolishly, was minded to come here tonight and found the means to do so (the tube train, your feet, and so on); because the LBC council put on this programme; because this building was taken over by a group of Buddhists thirty-five years ago; because in the late nineteenth century Norman Shaw drew plans and the London County Council built the fire station. All these conditions have brought about this particular moment; this moment arises in dependence on conditions. The Buddha would have said we can get more specific than that, too. Why is it that I have the experience of myself here in this particular reality? Indeed, he said, shortly after his Enlightenment, ‘I have been looking for the answer to this question for countless lifetimes. Many a lifetime have I wandered in samsara, in the field of conditioned arising. Again and again I have been reborn, seeking the builder of the house, the house of this moment of experience. Why is it happening? Who did it and why?’ And he said, we are told, while sitting under the tree of Enlightenment, ‘Now I have seen the housebuilder; now I have seen the house of this present moment of experience and all the succeeding moments, all arising in dependence on conditions. I have seen the condition of conditions. The condition of conditions is desire, craving and attachment’. Craving and attachment. That is the condition in dependence upon which this moment of experience arises for me, and indeed for every one of you. It all arises because in the past – to accept the construction of time – we

have become attached to an identity within conditioned existence. We have attached to an ‘I’, and we have desired to perpetuate, to continue, that ‘I’, and we have continuously sought an identity. That continous search for an identity sets up a momentum, a karmic momentum, which re-establishes a moment of arising, a moment of appearance. There is no underlying no-reality, but there is no underlying reality either. There is a moment of appearance, which happens because of our desire in the past, and our clinging in the past. I am here now because I have clung to my identity in previous lives – taking that metaphor for real – because in previous lives I have done things, said things, thought things, clung to things, that have set up the whole momentum again. I am sitting here because I am for the time being committed to – if you like even positively attached to – the Buddha-Dharma as a means of escape from this prison of temporal existence, from this illusion, this field that provides, with all the pleasure that it can deliver too, an underlying bass note of suffering, an underlying bass note of discontent and imperfection. It is all happening because of my past desire. So what characterises the Buddha is the complete cessation of that clinging. He no longer sees his experience, the appearance that comes to him, in terms of a real inner self and a real, independent, external world. And he stops clinging to them. He no longer is attached to them. Of course while he has a body, which is a result of his previous clinging, the appearance continues to take place, because our senses deliver this appearance to us. They deliver it not just as an appearance, but with the conviction of a somebody who is experiencing that appearance, and something that appears. So that continues for him, but he ceases to play the game, ceases to be convinced by it, and ceases to be attached. He has let go of it. And what keeps him going, the only thing that keeps him going, is his concern for others who are still embedded in it – his compassion. ■ 11


The London Buddhist May–Aug 2017

Poems Cézanne’s Dog What Mathilde Vollmoeller said, or what Rilke said she said at the Salon d’Automne on a day of rain, was that Cézanne’s intention was not to describe, to say: this the figure, this the ground, the object or the space around it, but to be accurate to his sensations – half-red, blue-red, green – so if he wasn’t sure, if the precise tone evaded him, he’d stop and start in another place until the whole thing fought against itself – the bottle with the dish, the apple waging war against the pear – when, exhausted by his efforts, he’d turn to his self-portrait once again and paint himself like a dog who looks into a mirror and thinks, there’s another dog. Maitreyabandhu

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The Message Impossible to track the break-neck pace of you on your bike through the gate the afternoon the message came. How furiously you chased the one thing no-one in the end outruns. For no, he didn’t make it through the night, yet still the blackbirds built their nest once more and will do every spring, a fact you write in lines you dedicate to him, unsure what writing to him, for him, means now, though sure that you must not stop. And all the while on the white face of the watch you asked to keep the hands follow their course, steady and slow, so the face looks like it smiles then frowns then smiles, and the blackbirds’ nest is dark and warm and deep. Subhadramati

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The London Buddhist May–Aug 2017

When You Feel Like Clinging

It’s easy to feel we have ‘let go’ of our fears in meditation. But if you really want to test the idea, says Shraddhasiddhi, try climbing the nearest rockface

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have just returned from a climbing trip to Joshua Tree National Park in southern California. It took us about three hours to drive from urban Los Angeles to this remote location, where the high and low desert meet. Picture dramatic snow-capped mountain peaks set alongside the eerie Joshua trees themselves and the warm sand of the desert floor. This is a place where dope-smoking hippies live side by side with climbers and walkers, drawn together by a wilderness where the coyotes cry from the rocks and roadrunner birds sprint manically between the desert shrubs. Nothing in the gym really prepares you for outdoor climbing. The wind flying through your hair, the sun on the back of your neck, the rock so raw and unpolished hurting your hands and your feet as you try to place both as carefully and skilfully as you can. It is truly exhilarating, and as with any activity you try to master, most of it is in your mind. Every day that we climbed, I would really see how well as I working with my mind. You have good days and bad days: some days I would give up in despair, my body feeling tight, my mind proliferating like mad: ‘Why can’t I make that move? Why is it not working 14

today?’ Other days, on other climbs, I would soar like a bird. My first experience of rock climbing was a case of clinging on for dear life – aged twelve, pulling my body up the dark, steep rock-face of a quarry in north Wales. My second was no less a case of clinging on for dear life, although this time I was 38, scaling a gym wall in an old converted church in north Manchester. So they had that clinging in common. But that second time, something struck me: there is something in the experience that turns everything on its head. It’s a strange juxtaposition, something you never really get used to: harnessed to a rope, you’re perfectly safe, but every instinct you have in you is saying you’re not. What I noticed as I clung to that wall in north Manchester was that my ego rose up very strongly. ‘I hate this,’ I thought: I felt so vulnerable and desperate, so hopeless. But what would it be like, I wondered, if I tried to master it? I had found something that I felt like a complete beginner at, and that was refreshing. It reminded me of the last time that had happened, about fifteen years ago, when I took up meditation at the London Buddhist


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Centre. So for me, clinging onto a wall in North Manchester I knew intuitively that I had discovered something worth pursuing, and just as meditation had been immensely good for me, so too would climbing prove to be. It reminded me of the tightness and clinging that we often find so hard to let go of in meditation. In meditation we’re looking for a state of energised calm, where all our energies are running together. And climbers often chase this state of ‘energised calm’ too (traditionally called ‘Samadhi’), although in sport it’s referred to as ‘flow’, or being ‘in the zone’. When all our energies are running together like this, we’re able to access an enhanced state of awareness. The football feels larger, easier to kick; the tennis ball and racket are somehow in suspended animation and hitting the sweet-spot is effortless. Even our sense of duality is weakened, so in climbing, you can feel like you’ve merged with the rock or the

wall, and there is no real separation between you, your body and the surface you’re holding on to: they’ve somehow become enmeshed. It literally feels like ‘you’ have managed to get out of the way, and there is just a body that is climbing. here’s a trap in this, though, just like there is in meditation. When you feel that you have mastered it, you forget all the struggles it took to get you there. Over those six days of climbing in Joshua Tree, I had a more vivid experience of the highs and lows of my mind. The trip kept me grounded: there is so much more to discover, so much more to experience. There’s the fear, the sense of failure when you can’t make a move, the sense of flow when it all comes together. There’s all this humanness to work with. If you want to know how far you’ve come towards the perfect equanimity of the Buddha, try climbing up a wall. It shows you both how far you’ve come, and how far there is to go. ■

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‘Where the high and low desert meet’: climbing in Joshua Tree, south California

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Programme May–Aug 2017

Programme

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 drop-in classes and 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.

Booking Info

For many of our events, booking is essential. You can book online at lbc.org.uk drop in to reception 10am-5pm Mon-Sat or call 020 8981 1225 Twitter @LDNBuddhist Facebook facebook.com/LondonBuddhistCentre


Programme May–Aug 2017

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

Summer Retreat

Five Fires – Aspects of the Path

Led by Maitreyabandhu & Sraddhagita

It’s the crucial human question: how do we make the most out of our lives, and find what is really of value? Whatever the answer may be, it must involve working with the mind. The Five Great Aspects of the path – Integration, Positive Emotion, Spiritual Death, Spiritual Rebirth and Spiritual Receptivity – help us learn how to live a life full of meaning and generosity. So on this newcomers’ retreat, we’ll be cultivating all five aspects of the path – developing genuine positivity and exploring the imagination. The retreat is aimed at those new to meditation and Buddhism and requires no previous experience of either. All that’s needed is an open mind and a willingness to engage with the retreat. 12-20 Aug, at Vajrasana. £400/£300. Booking essential.

The Journey and the Guide

A Practical Course in Enlightenment Led by Maitreyabandhu & Subhadramati

Buddhism is a non-theistic, practical path of human growth and fulfilment. This eight-week course leads participants step by step along that path, from mindfulness and emotional strength to receptivity, spiritual death and rebirth. On the course we’ll be learning particularly how to put spiritual life into practice here and now. Participants will receive Maitreyabandhu’s book The Journey and the Guide as part of the course. 8 weeks from 3 May. 7.15-9.45pm. £140/£110 (price inc. book). Booking essential.

Intro to Buddhism & Meditation Weekend

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 May, at Vajrasana. £180/£140. Booking essential.

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Programme May–Aug 2017

Classes

Lunchtime Meditation Taster Monday to Saturday

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

Sub25 Class Day events Third Friday of the month Open Day A monthly chance for those aged 16 to 25 to come together, explore Buddhism and make friends over meditation, discussion and tea.

1-2pm. All welcome. Donation/dana.

19 May, 16 Jun, 21 Jul & 18 Aug. 7.15-9.45pm. All welcome – no need to book, just turn up. By donation.

Evening Meditation Tuesday and Wednesday

Weekday Lunchtime and Early Evening Yoga

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/£6.

Daytime Class Wednesday Morning

Our theme is ‘A Garland of Buddhist Terms’. Week by week we will be looking at frequently used words like ‘conditionality’, ‘nirvana’ and ‘karma’ for their full meaning and relevance to us. 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. Donation/dana.

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. Cost £11/£6.

Drop-in sessions of yoga for meditation. Suitable for all levels. Weekday lunchtimes, 12-12.45pm. Free. Suggested donation £6. No need to book. Mon/Tue/Wed/Fri evenings, 5.456.45pm. £8. No need to book.

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.

Sun 21 May, 11am-5pm. Refreshments provided & all events free. No need to book.

Introduction to Meditation

Saturday Morning Yoga

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. Sundays 18 Jun, 16 Jul, 13 Aug. 10am-5pm. Lunch provided. £40/£30. Booking essential.

Courses

Outreach: Courses in central London

• 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.

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 22 May or Mon 3 Jul. 7.15-9.45pm. £100/£80. Booking essential.

Foundations of Mindfulness

A drop-in course as part of the Thursday evening class, beginning with yoga or chi kung then exploring the Buddha’s teaching on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness.

Led by Jayaka. 6 weeks from Thu 13 Jul. 7.159.30pm. £11/£6 per evening. No need to book. All welcome.

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 May, 3 Jun, 1 Jul & 29 Jul. £90/£70. 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 hornchurchbuddhistgroup.org.uk

and

mid-essex-buddhist-centre.org.uk

for details.

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Programme May–Aug 2017

Going Further

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

Saturday Morning Meditation Exploring reality through meditation Led by Maitreyabandhu

These drop-in, intensive meditation courses are 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. 22, 29 Jul & 5 Aug, 9am-12.30pm. (Doors open at 8.45am and close at 9.15am – no entry after this time.) Free. Suggested donation £15/£8.

Men’s Intensive Meditation Retreat Entering the Unbounded

Led by Jnanavaca, Maitreyabandhu and Jayaka

Buddhist meditation cultivates the two great aspects of the mind, which complement each other like the wings of a bird. Firstly, we develop an empathetic, dynamic, ‘fit’ mind; we then turn that newly flexible mind towards a direct confrontation with reality. Only when both these faculties are in play can we enter the unbounded world of the truly real. Come and explore this on an intensive meditation retreat for men, mostly in silence, with teaching and one-to-one meditation reviews. 16-25 Jun at Vajrasana. £450/£340. Booking essential.

Women’s Intensive Meditation Retreat Energies and Elements of Enlightenment

Led by Maitrivajri, Nagarakshita, Sudurjaya and Vidyasakhi

The stupa is a Buddhist architectural symbol of the elements – of consciousness, of impermanence and of the Dharma itself. But what does it say about meditation? How can reflecting on its form and meaning enhance our understanding of the mind and deepen our experience of meditation? Come to Vajrasana and spend time meditating on, and with, the beautiful stupa there and enter a world of meditative meaning. We will be sitting for at least six hours a day, performing Buddhist ritual and maintaining several days of silence. Open to women who have been on a Triratna retreat before and who have been meditating regularly for at least six months. 28 Jul-6 Aug at Vajrasana. £450/£340. Booking essential.

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Programme May–Aug 2017

Classes

Lunchtime Meditation Taster Monday to Saturday

Drop in and take your practice of kindness and awareness deeper in these taster sessions. 1-2pm. All welcome. Donation/dana.

Lunchtime Course/ Meditation Toolkit

Clear, Kind Awareness Over six lunchtimes we’ll be learning to uncover the real nature of awareness. Without our habitual narratives, opinions and speculations, we will discover two most vital qualities of mind – clarity and kindness. Drop into any one of the classes or come to all six. Led by Suryagupta Mon 26 Jun–Sat 1 Jul, 1-2pm. Donation/dana. 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; it is an art, involving continued learning and exploration. 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/£6.

Daytime Class Wednesday Morning

Our theme is ‘A Garland of Buddhist Terms’. Discussing Buddhist teachings, words such as ‘conditionality’, ‘nirvana’ and ‘karma’ regularly come up. Looking deeply into the meanings and relevance of these terms takes us into the heart of the Buddha’s teaching. The first class of every month is a ‘practice morning’, devoted to meditation and ritual practices – a wonderful way to start the month! 10.35am-12.30pm. Creche facilities for children 6 mths-5 yrs, supported by experienced staff. Donation/dana.

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. All welcome.

Meditation and Puja Friday Evenings

Devotional practice helps us to engage with the Sangha and strengthen our confidence in the Dharma. So bring the week to a contemplative close with meditation and ritual. 7-9.45pm. Free. Suggested donation £7.

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 & Satyapurna

3-5.30pm. 20 May, 17 Jun, 15 Jul, 19 Aug. Free. Suggested donation £8/£5.

Transforming Self and World

How we can apply the Dharma to transform both ourselves and our communities? Mornings exploring Buddhism’s relevance to the social issues of the day. Hosted by the Transforming Self and World team, with talks from Order members.

Last Saturday of the month, 10am1pm. Free (suggested donation £7). No need to book. 27 May with Ambaranta 24 Jun with Tareshvari and Vidyasakhi 29 Jul with Guhyapati from EcoDharma 26 Aug with Yogaratna

7.15-9.30pm. Cost £11/£6.

21


Programme May–Aug 2017

Going Further

Continued

Days & evenings Full Moon Pujas

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. Wed 10 May, Fri 9 Jun, Mon 7 Aug. Times to be announced. Donation/ dana.

Buddhist Sunday School

Encouraging and developing our children’s mindfulness and kindness through Buddhist practice and storytelling. Includes meditation, chanting and craft activities. For 3-12 year olds, parents/carers welcome. Led by Jyotismati and team Last Sunday of every month: 28 May, 25 Jun & 30 Jul. 10.30am-12.30pm.

Women’s Mitra Day

A day of ritual and devotion to Green Tara. Come and explore some of the myths and images associated with the Bodhisattva of generosity and fearlessness.

Led by Padmalila Sun 28 May. 10am-5pm. Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share. Free. Suggested donation £30.

Creativity and Mindfulness

A morning of meditation and creativity, exploring how meditation and mindful textile work (using simple hand sewing techniques) can help us to unlock our creative potential,

22

contributing to a sense of wellbeing.

Led by Mahamani and Heather Sat 3 Jun. 9.30am-12.30pm. £15. Booking essential.

Transforming Self and World Film Night

The film will be announced nearer the time, but the evening will include an introduction to the film, which will focus on current social or ecological perspectives within the context of the dharma. Hosted by the TS&W team Sat 3 Jun. 7.15-9.45pm. Free. Suggested donation £7. No need to book.

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 Vidyasakhi Sun 4 Jun. 10am-5pm. Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share. Free. Suggested donation £30.

Buddhism & 12-Step Recovery

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. Led by Sanghasiha and friends Sun 4 Jun, 10am-5pm. Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share. Free. Suggested donation £30. No need to book.

Encounters with Enlightenment

A day of meditation and stories from the life of the Buddha. Stories from the Buddha’s life are as inspiring and relevant today as they were when first heard in India 2,500 years ago. Join us for a day of meditation, readings and performances by members of the LBC Sangha. Led by Dayabhadra Sun 11 Jun, 10am-5pm. Bring veg/ vegan lunch to share. Free. Suggested donation £30. No need to book.

Deep Ecology Day

‘Deep Ecology begins and ends with wonder – profound wonder. On that account we ought to consider life, indeed our very existence, as a flowing current.’ – Arne Naess. A day exploring our relationship as Buddhists with the natural world through ritual, music, poetry, meditation, talks, discussion and sound meditation. Led by Sanghasiha & friends Sun 2 Jul, 10am-5pm. Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share. Free. Suggested donation £30. No need to book.

Heart of Mantra Chanting & Meditation

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 23 Jul, 10am-5pm. Bring veg/ vegan lunch to share. Free. Suggested donation £30. No need to book.


Programme May–Aug 2017

Retreats

Volunteering

Re-Wilding the Mind A tree planting and meditation retreat in the Scottish Highlands

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

A chance to connect inner and outer nature, meditating in beautiful surroundings and contributing to a forest rewilding project run by Trees for Life. Mornings and evenings will include meditation and Dharma reflections. We will be out in the spectacular Glen Moriston in the Scottish Highlands – home to wild boar and pine marten – planting trees, clearing non-native species or tending seedlings in the nursery. Participants will be living communally and must be familiar with both meditation practices taught at LBC classes. If you have any questions please email alex@lbc.org.uk

Straight after the lunchtime class, join in with the work period, cleaning the centre and looking after the shrines. Every Monday & Thursday, 2.30pm.

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

Led by Satyadasa 27 May – 3 Jun. £395. Booking essential.

Men’s Weekend at Padmaloka Great Gathering 2: 21st Century Bodhisattva

Exploring the deepening of ‘Going for Refuge’ to the three jewels and discovering what that means in every aspect of our lives. Led by Maitreyabandhu & Jayaka 30 Jun-2 Jul. Book at padmaloka.org.uk

23


Programme May–Aug 2017

Sub25 & Sub35 groups

Sub25

Sub35

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 to speak on a chosen theme each month:

The alternative Friday night! Meditation, discussion and connection. An evening of practice with time to hang out after the class. Everyone under 35 welcome.

Third Friday

• 19 May: Jnanavaca on wisdom • 16 Jun: Shraddhasiddhi on the Threefold Path • 21 Jul: Vidyasakhi on gratitude • 18 Aug: Sanghasiha on forgiveness 7.15-9.45pm. All welcome, just turn up. Free (by donation).

Looking ahead… Sub25 Retreat: Sheltering from the Worldly Winds

Buffeted about in different directions by the ‘worldly winds’ of everyday life, it’s hard not to allow ourselves to lose all our direction, our sense of purpose. Using the Buddha’s teaching as our guide, we’ll explore how to sail through the ups and downs – big and small – of everyday life. A weekend of meditation, with periods of silence, discussion groups, ritual and delicious vegan food. All with like-minded people, aged 16-25, at our beautiful retreat centre in the Suffolk countryside. 8-10 Sept at Vajrasana. £50. Booking essential.

To join the mailing list, for more info or to ask any questions, email alex@lbc.org.uk

First Friday of the Month

7.15-9.45pm (tea bar till 11pm). Free. Suggested donation £7.

Final Friday of the Month Young Women’s Night

Join us to explore meditation and Buddhism in a friendly, relaxed and intimate environment. An opportunity to make friends with other young women at the centre and support each other’s spiritual practice. With meditation, discussion and tea. Experience of both meditation practices required. 7.15-9.45pm. Free. Suggested donation £7.

Women’s Sub35 Retreat ‘The spiritual life is the heroic life and it is heroic in the highest possible degree.’ – Sangharakshita Dharma practice is a vigorous and courageous engagement with life, the world and reality. On this retreat, we will be exploring meditation and Buddhist practices that will help us strengthen and embody the fearless wisdom and compassion that transform both us and the world. Suitable for women who regularly practice the Mindfulness of Breathing and Metta Bhavana. Led by Danayutta, Dharmamayi & Sadayasihi 9-11 Jun. £180/£140. Booking essential.

The Sub35 team also runs a programme of events for men, including Dharma study and socials. For an invitation, email nextgeneration@lbc.org.uk

24


Programme May–Aug 2017

Festivals & Special Events Open to all

Buddha Day Festival

Led by Maitreyabandhu & Subhadramati

Everything we now call ‘Buddhism’ derives from the Buddha’s Enlightenment two-and-a-half thousand years ago. Buddha Day festival celebrates how the Buddha’s experience is still capable of giving vital, transcendent meaning to the world today. With a talk by Jnanavaca. Sun 14 May, 10am-10pm. Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share. Check the programme for the day nearer the time. No need to book.

Dharma Day Festival The Inconceivable Treasure

Led by Vandanajyoti & Akashamitra

Explore the beauty and mystery of the Buddha’s profound teachings through meditation, reflection and ritual. Sun 9 Jul, 10am-10pm. Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share. Check the programme for the day nearer the time. No need to book.

Welcome Back Evening

Ordination is a highly significant aspect of the Dharma life which has the potential to radically transform the lives of many dedicated practitioners. This special evening will be celebratory and devotional. We will be welcoming back ex-David Ford, ex-Kevin Croke, ex-Lynda Rose, ex-Ollie Brock & ex-Sam Farquharson, who, all being well, will have recently returned from the long ordination retreats in Spain. Mon 31 Jul. 7.15-9.45pm. Suggested donation £7.

108-Year Puja for Bhante

The fifteenth of 108 pujas celebrating Bhante Sangharakshita, who founded the Triratna Buddhist Order and Community, on the occasion of his 92nd birthday. Sat 26 Aug, time to be announced. Free (by donation). No need to book.

25


Tuesday

27

20

13

6

June

Monday

5

12

19

26 Meditation toolkit

six lunchtimes until 1st July (p 21)

Wednesday

7

14

21

28

1

Thursday

2 Sub35 class

Friday

Saturday

(p24)

9 10 Full Moon Puja poetryEast (p22)

16 Sub25 series

23

at Vajrasana starts (p 20)

Men’s Intensive

(p24)

24 Transforming Self & World

(p21)

17

(p21)

Women’s Sub35 Retreat (p24) Women’s class

with Andrew O’Hagan (p31)

3 Transforming Self & World (p21) Film Night (p22) Creativity & Mindfulness (p22)

8

15

22

29

30 Men’s Weekend Retreat (p23)

Sunday

4 Buddhism & 12 steps Day

(p22)

Total Immersion Day (p22)

11 Encounters with Enlightenment

(p22)

18 Meditation Intro Day (p19) Yoga for Meditation day

(p30)

(p22)

25 Sunday School


Monday

2

Tuesday

Wednesday

4

Thursday

5 Sub35 class

Friday

6

Saturday

7

Sunday

(p24)

13

(p21)

12

(p24)

(p22)

28 Women’s Mitra Day (p22) Sunday School

(p19)

21 Open Day

(p25)

14 Buddha Day Festival

18

19 Sub25 series

20 Women’s class

25

27 Transforming Self & World (p21) Rewilding retreat (p23) poetryEast (p31) course starts (p30)

Not all events are listed in this calendar

May

26 Intro Weekend retreat starts (p18) Buddhism, Yoga & Meditation

10 11 Full Moon Puja

31

24

17

(p22)

course starts (p18)

1

30

23

16

9

3 The Journey and the Guide

8

15

22 Intro to Buddhism & Meditation course starts (p19)

29

Our daily, weekly, daytime and evening classes can be found in the Getting Started and Going Further sections, near the start of this programme. Retreats are also listed there.


Monday

(p22)

Tuesday

Wednesday

3

Thursday

Friday

12 Summer retreat

(p 20)

5 Meditation morning

Saturday

13 Meditation Intro Day (p19)

(p30)

Sunday

(p21)

27

20

6 Yoga for Meditation day

at Vajrasana starts (p 18)

(p24)

19 Women’s class

25

108-Year Puja for Bhante (p25)

(p 21)

26 Transforming Self & World

18 Sub25 series

11

(p24)

2

31

24

17

10

1

30

23

16

9

4 Sub35 class

29

22

15

8 7 Full Moon Puja

14

21

28

August


Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

26

19

12

5

Not all events are listed in this calendar

18

11

4

Our daily, weekly, daytime and evening classes can be found in the Getting Started and Going Further sections, near the start of this programme. Retreats are also listed there.

3 Intro to Buddhism & Meditation course starts (p19)

10

17

31 25 24 Reg. Yoga Course starts (p30) (p25)

Welcome Back evening

Thursday

Friday

7 Yoga & Meditation

21 Sub25 series (p24)

14

Sub35 class (p24)

retreat at Vajrasana starts (p30)

July 6

13 Foundations of Mindfulness course starts (p19)

20

27

28 Women’s Intensive

at Vajrasana starts (p20)

1

Saturday

Sunday

(p22)

30 Sunday School

(p30)

23 Heart of Mantra (p22) Yoga for Meditation day

(p19)

16 Meditation Intro Day

(p25)

9 Dharma Day Festival

(p22)

2 Deep Ecology Day

8

15 Women’s class

(p21)

22 Meditation morning

(p20)

29 Meditation morning (p20) Transforming Self & World

(p21)


Programme May–Aug 2017

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 & Weekday Lunchtime and retreats Early Evening Yoga

Drop-in sessions of yoga for meditation. All levels.

Weekday lunchtimes, 12-12.45pm. Free. Suggested donation £6. No need to book. Mon/Tue/Wed/Fri evenings, 5.456.45pm. £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. 7.15-9.30pm. £11/£6. No need to book, just drop in.

Saturday Morning Yoga

• 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.

Introduction to Buddhism, Meditation and Yoga Course

A six-week course offering an introduction to yoga, an overview of Buddhist principles and two meditation practices that develop self-awareness, change and spiritual insight. Led by Danayutta and Holly Starts Fri 26 May. 2.30-5pm. £100/£80. Booking essential.

Yoga for Meditation Days

Meditation teaching for both newcomers and regulars, and yoga suitable for all levels.

Led by Danayutta and Holly Sun 18 Jun, 23 Jul & 6 Aug. 10am5pm. Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share. £40/£30. Booking essential.

Yoga and Meditation Retreat

A weekend in the countryside working to integrate our bodies and minds to create a positive and unified whole. Meditation teaching for both newcomers and regulars, and yoga suitable for all levels. Led by Danayutta and Priyavajra 7-9 Jul at Vajrasana. £180/£140.

30

Foundations of Mindfulness

A drop-in course as part of the Thursday evening class, beginning with yoga or chi kung, then exploring the Buddha’s teaching on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. Led by Jayaka 6 weeks from Thu 13 Jul. 7.159.30pm. Cost £11/£6 each evening. No need to book. All welcome.

Chi Kung and Meditation Workshop

Learning some basic movements and positions in chi kung, then bringing the energy they generate into meditation, for inner harmony and tranquillity. Suitable for all levels of experience. Led by Jayaka Sat 22 Jul, 2.30-5pm. Free. Suggested donation £15/session. Booking essential.

Yoga for Meditation course for regulars

A six-week course on liberating energy, refining our senses and increasing awareness through yoga and meditation. For regular practitioners of yoga – no experience of meditation required. Led by Silapiya & Holly Starts Mon 31 Jul, 7.15-9.45pm. £100/£80. Booking essential.


Programme May–Aug 2017

poetryEast is an ongoing series of events at the LBC, exploring the value of the imagination, focussing on the work of a single artist or writer. Previous guests have included Colm Tóibín, Alice Oswald and Michael Longley. To join the mailing list, send a blank email to info@poetryeast.net. Sinéad Morrissey

Sinéad Morrissey, Belfast’s first Poet Laureate, won the T. S. Eliot prize in 2014 for her fifth collection, Parallax. The chair of judges called the book ‘politically, historically and personally ambitious, expressed in beautifully turned language’. She has also been shortlisted for the Forward prize, and was the youngest ever winner of the Patrick Kavanagh award. Her work is ‘rooted in our everyday experiences yet often provocatively eerie’ (Poetry International). Sat 27 May. 7.30pm, £10. Booking essential.

Andrew O’Hagan

Andrew O’Hagan is an editor-at-large of the London Review of Books and the author of five novels and numerous works of non-fiction. Three of his novels have been nominated for the Booker Prize, and he has won the Los Angeles Times Book Award. He was on Granta magazine’s list of Best Young British Novelists in 2003. His next work of non-fiction, The Secret Life, about identity and personality in the digital age, will be published in June.

Sat 10 Jun. 7.30pm, £10. Booking essential.

in association with the

Looking ahead... Anthony Gormley

Antony Gormley is one of Britain’s most successful sculptors, perhaps best known for the ‘Angel of the North’ that stands outside Gateshead. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held since 1981; in 1994 he won the Turner Prize. He was knighted in 2014 for services to the arts. He is a Royal Academician and a Trustee of the British museum. Mon 30 Oct. 7.30pm, £10. Booking essential.

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The London Buddhist Centre Magazine - Summer 2017  
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