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The London Buddhist May–August 2018

Contents The London Buddhist our magazine 3 Editorial 4 Page Against the Machine Manjusiha won’t do what they tell him 8 Hermes in Bethnal Green Esther McKinney enters Atula’s dream world 10 Memories of Mallika Srivati on her friend 11 Transient Beings iPhone drawings by Jnanavaca 12 Q & A with Suryagupta Meet the new Chair of the LBC 14 Diary of a London Buddhist Home and away with Holly Murray

Programme: Summer 2018 18 Getting Started 21 Going Further 27 Yoga &Chi-Kung for Meditation 28 Festivals & Special Events 29 Buddha Day Fringe 30 Sub25 group 31 poetryEast: writers & artists at the LBC Contributors to the magazine Barry Copping (proof-reader) retired from a career in scientific and technical publishing in 2014. A Mitra, his interests include modern and heritage railways, family history and choral singing (second bass). Esther McKinney is a yoga teacher at the LBC. She is also a parent, architect and poet. Evgeniy Kazannik (photo of Suryagupta) is a Russian born photographer and visual artist working in London. Gus Miller works at the London Buddhist Centre, looking after the bookings, the bookshop and this magazine (which is a bit like a book) Holly Murray has lived in a Buddhist community of 12 women for 4 years. In 2015 she started running the yoga classes at the LBC with Danayutta. Jnanavaca was ordained in 1999 and is about to embark on a 6 month solitary retreat. Manjusiha is a member of the Triratna mens’ ordination team at Padmaloka retreat centre in Norfolk. Suryagupta was ordained in 1997. She formally took over as chair of the LBC on Monday 5th March this year. Srivati says one of the main things that attracted her to her community in 1984 and sustains her still, is the strength and loveliness of spiritual friendships. 51 Roman Road, Bethnal Green, E2 0HU 020 8981 1225

Charity number: 255420

The London Buddhist May–August 2018

Training to See One of the most famous and enigmatic of Buddhist texts, the Diamond Sutra, tells us: ‘And so should you train to see this world: as a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream, a lightning flash, a magic show, and a dream.’ If only we could really see just how ephemeral things are, how deeply mysterious, how beautiful. The natural response to such a vision, we’re told, is boundless compassion and the fearlessness to act heroically. A Buddhist life is one spent training to see the world in this way. As anyone who meditates will know, it is difficult enough to engage the mind in watching the breath, let alone to change the deeply-held framework within which it creates our experience. However, if we persist, we may begin to notice the subtle ways we close our eyes to life. We might expose ingrained assumptions as mere illusion. Things we’d taken for granted may appear precious. Limitless expanses written off as impossible might thrill us with possibility. Glimpse by glimpse we create a new world in which to live. In this issue of our magazine, Manjusiha takes a closer look at those easily-forgettable ‘buy it now’ taps of the finger that keep our

bookshelves stocked and our bellies full. Beneath their magic show of convenience he discovers hidden consequences for ourselves and our world. Esther McKinney meets Atula, who for many years has been exploring dreams as a gateway to a bigger perspective on life. In a touching remembrance, Srivati reflects on the passing away of her friend Mallika, illuminating the preciousness of friendship itself. Holly Murray’s diary flashes between the two different worlds of a day on solitary retreat on the Cornish coast and a typical day as a resident yoga teacher at the LBC. The LBC itself is changing and we mark the arrival of our new Chair, Suryagupta, with a Q&A giving us a window into her world. Finally, as a parting gift after almost nine years as Chair, Jnanavaca leaves us with visions from his iPhone screen… We hope these articles, together with this summer’s programme of classes, courses and retreats, prove to be a source of inspiration in your own training. May bright new vistas open up before you! -Gus Miller

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The London Buddhist May–August 2018

Page against the Machine Manjusiha listens to a postman, and looks at the ethics of how we write, publish, sell and buy books


ne day, a postman was unloading a pile of Amazon packages at a retreat centre within our movement. His comment to the person receiving the delivery was as striking as it was amusing: ‘You haven’t got the hang of this Buddhism have you?’ Aside from the obvious critique relating to ‘stillness, simplicity and contentment’ – one of the ethical precepts (or training principles) that we practice – what is the deeper significance of this Teaching of the Postman for us in 21st century London? There is, of course, something wonderfully convenient about Amazon, whether we are living in a great world city like London or in a rural retreat centre on the edge of a village. I live at a (different) retreat centre – Padmaloka – and we receive a steady stream of different shapes and sizes of Amazon package. And they are, of course, generally cheaper than the High Street equivalent. But what price do we really pay for those benefits? How does our use of Amazon and other tech behemoths relate to our broader lives as Buddhists? The effects of Amazon are increasingly well publicised. One of the reasons I choose not to use them, on the whole, is that they don’t appear to pay sufficient tax. The 4

latest figures indicate they paid £15m in tax on European revenues in 2016. That may sound like a lot of money, but given their revenues in that year were £19.5bn, it is miniscule. I am not suggesting here that they operate illegally. But, as the Guardian reported, these figures should at least ‘reignite the debate about US tech companies using complex crossborder arrangements to minimise the tax they pay across the continent.’ The UK’s traditional bookshops, by comparison, pay 11 times what Amazon does in corporation tax, money that funds vital public services that help the most vulnerable in our societies. Amazon’s business practices have helped make their founder, Jeff Bezos, the richest person in history, with a net worth of over £100bn. Bezos must, then, be one of the ‘eight hyper-rich Americans… who own as much as the entire bottom half of the nation’s households’ according to the London Review of Books (LRB). And the situation in the US is not anomalous: when I last wrote for the LBC magazine, in 2014, the richest 67 individuals in the world held as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population (3.5 billion people). Now that figure stands at just 42 people. This is against a backdrop of the most sustained economic downturn of recent times, with a

The London Buddhist May–August 2018

decade of austerity contributing to the most dangerously divided political climate since the 1930s. Amazon uses its financial clout to squeeze publishers: rather than being a monopolist, according to the Irish Times i.e. ‘a dominant seller with the power to raise prices’, the company acts ‘as a monopsonist, a dominant buyer with the power to push prices down.’ Aside from the ethical issues of its use of financial power, this contributes to an ‘extremely precarious’ financial position for many smaller presses. These independents are more likely than corporate publishers to take on unknown new authors, support writers over the course of their careers and take risks to publish ‘brave and bold literary fiction’ – books with the potential, in other words, to convey real ethical and spiritual values. Then there is the treatment of Amazon’s delivery drivers: unlike the postman, who was, presumably, working for Royal Mail (meaning he would get sick pay, a pension and health insurance), many of those delivering for Amazon work for agencies, with some effectively earning less than the minimum wage and claiming they are ‘employed in a way that means they have no rights to holiday or sickness pay’. And this is to say nothing of the conditions under which Amazon’s warehouse workers work. But it is for positive reasons, on the whole, that I buy my books elsewhere. If we are to give something up – particularly something as addictive as Amazon – we need something much more compelling than reasons. ‘For most of us the central problem of the spiritual life is to find emotional equivalents for our intellectual understanding’, according to Sangharakshita, the founder of Triratna, the Buddhist movement of

The Book Hive in Norwich

which the LBC is a part. We need to find a higher pleasure, in other words, in the alternative, if it is to ‘stick’. And for me, the slower burning pleasure that replaces the convenience and near-immediacy of Amazon resides in my local independent bookshop.


he Book Hive is the only independent bookshop selling new books in Norwich – England’s Unesco City of Literature – close to where I live. I first met Henry Layte, its owner, shortly after my first novel was published in 2012. The book was inspired by a black man, known as Marigold, who was often seen in Norwich during the 80s unofficially directing traffic on the inner ring road wearing yellow rubber gloves, and I was looking for somewhere in the city to launch it. The Book Hive event had to wait, for various reasons, but it was a pleasure to meet Henry, and our connection has continued. When I first met him he’d just started Galley Beggar Press, an independent publisher of fiction, with a couple of friends, and I 5

The London Buddhist May–August 2018

remember him giving me a proof copy of their first book on one of those early visits to the shop. The story of Galley Beggars’ second book is now a part of publishing folklore and history. It is illustrative of how independent bookshops like the Hive or the London Review Bookshop define our great cities. It also, I think, sheds further light on the Teaching of the Postman. This second Galley Beggar book was launched at the Stoke Newington Literary Festival in London, at the Mascara Bar – not, seemingly, an auspicious location for such a seminal event – on the 8th of June 2013. The book – A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride – had taken nine years to find a publisher. It was quickly acclaimed, following its publication, and went on to win the inaugural Goldsmiths Prize (in 2013), the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Irish Novel of the Year (both in 2014).


Girl would almost certainly not have seen the light of day without the supportive, communal ecosystem of dedicated readers, publishers, editors, critics, translators and writers whose focal point, often, is the local independent bookshop, with its events and human connection. (The title of this piece, for instance, is taken from the Book Hive’s weekly mindful reading event, initiated by bookseller Joe Hedinger.) A Girl is a Half-formed Thing is challenging in both form and content, and is a masterpiece. In fact, I would go so far as to say it is the most important novel published so far this century, just as Ulysses is, for me, the novel of the twentieth century. (Another bookshop-owner, Sylvia Beach of the iconic Shakespeare and Company in Paris, was Ulysses’ original publisher, when no-one else would take it.) Its content is of vital 6

spiritual significance – always the case with great novels – as is its style and the context within which it was written, published and received. It is, essentially, a story of sexual violence. McBride ‘is the writer of sexual abuse, now recognised as one of the hallmarks of the new century’ according to Jacqueline Rose in the LRB. It can be seen, in retrospect, as a fictional precursor to #MeToo: the grassroots movement of women telling of the sexual violence perpetrated against them in what may yet be a decisive and widespread change in societal attitudes and behaviour. #MeToo started with social activist and community organizer Tarana Burke’s regret at ‘being unable to respond to a 13-year-old girl who confided to her that she had been sexually assaulted. Burke later wished she had simply told the girl “me too”.’ It’s difficult to conceive of a clearer demonstration of the transformative power of true storytelling. Part of McBride’s extraordinary achievement is that she has found a way to express the almost unspeakable. ‘After all, sex and violence are two experiences that tend to leave people lost for words’ according to Rose. Her style has been described as a ‘stream of pre-consciousness’, with McBride aiming ‘to tell a story from a point so far back in the mind that it is completely experiential, completely gut-reactive and balancing on the moment just before language becomes formatted thought’ – an attempt, as David Collard puts it in his Reader’s Guide, ‘to represent thought at the point immediately before it becomes articulate speech, before it is ordered into rational utterance.’


here I depart from Collard, Rose and other reviewers is in their

The London Buddhist May–August 2018

interpretation of the ending (which I won’t disclose here). Suffice to say that an overemphasis on the passing away of people and of things (and of people as things: as sexual ‘objects’) both reflects and perpetuates the prevailing materialism of the modern age. The consensus on the ending arises, for me, from the prevailing worldview: nihilism, one of the two kinds of fundamental wrong view according to the Buddha (with the other being eternalism: a view of ultimate, eternal realities). Nihilism is the result of abstracting from the fact that things seem to cease ‘and building a theory of the ultimate vacuity of reality, its essential valuelessness and lack of meaning and purpose’ (according to Subhuti, the LBC’s President). Its consequence, often, is ‘a very narrow pursuit of pleasure and a carelessness about or denial of moral values – one could say that consumerism is a modern nihilistic construction.’ What to do, in other words, when we think death really is the end of the story? Shop, of course. And this is where the postman’s implicit

instruction in Buddhism really comes into its own. Sometimes, in meditation or in nature, through personal tragedy or loss, when looking at a beautiful painting or reading a great novel, we get a glimpse of Something More. One way of describing these peak experiences is as a momentary taste of how our ceaseless thirst for things can, in fact, be quenched, if we were only to look in the right places. Such experiences simultaneously convey something of both impermanence and of self-transcendence – as does A Girl is a Half-formed Thing, in the end, in my view. The lasting realisation of this middle way between eternalism and nihilism is the purpose of Buddhist practice. McBride herself has said that ‘whether or not the reader finds redemption in Girl depends on what they understand by redemption’. For her, ‘redemption is about transcendence, of the past, of the situation and of the self, consciously achieved through the will of the individual.’ Would this be the sort of thing the postman meant by ‘really getting the hang of this Buddhism’? ■


The London Buddhist May–August 2018

Hermes in Bethnal Green Atula talks to Esther McKinney about becoming a psychotherapist, rebuilding the derelict London Buddhist Centre in the 1970s and other dreams


The dreamer is anonymous and the dreams become part of a collective experience when shared and discussed.

Atula’s name was given to him at ordination in 1976. ‘In Pali, “A” is a negative prefix and “tula” means balanced. So it could be “un-balanced” but it also means it cannot be weighed against anything else: a bit of a one-off.’ And he is a one-off, managing to be at once unassuming and unsettling, he has something of the 70s TV detective Columbo about him.

Atula tells me a recurring dream of his that began after his father’s death in 1974: ‘I was walking along wearing an old builder’s donkey jacket like my father would have worn. I put my hand deep into the pocket and pulled out my father’s severed hand. The wrist of the hand was bloody. It horrified and terrified me.’ The bloody hand took him out of his comfort zone. It was an invitation. s a child, Atula was seriously ill and spent a long time in hospital. There was no long-term children’s facility so he was in a ward with a variety of grown men. One of them spent time teaching him to read, using the bible as a textbook. One day Atula had a dream-like experience looking out the window onto the gardens outside. While a nurse was fussing round him, making his bed, he saw three angels outside dancing round the pond amongst the flower beds. ‘I can see some angels!’ he cried out. It caused a stir in the ward. The nurse was trying to quieten him. The man in the next bed got angry, blaming the man who had been teaching Atula to read, shouting and

n the way up to Atula’s flat, the stairwell windows are full of plants. The flat itself looks out over the rooftops of Bethnal Green. Statues of archetypal figures on windowsills and tables include a Fisherman, Aphrodite and several Buddhas. The afternoon sun, filtered through the trees outside, makes shadows dance on the walls. The indefinable Hermes, the Greek God known as a trickster, a joker and a guide to the underworld, sits on a ledge behind Atula.

He has been running dream workshops for many years. People bring their dreams, typed or scribbled on a bit of paper, and put them in an old battered tin next to a vase of flowers. A candle is lit and a large hourglass ritually laid on its side before a session begins. Someone will pull a dream out of the tin and read it out three times. 8


The London Buddhist May–August 2018

swearing that he should have given him a comic, not ‘fill his head with nonsense.’ Atula was terrified by the commotion. His childhood home was on the coast and the sea was often a threat to their town, which was below sea level. One night the North wind brought a flood that took over the whole town. Some fishermen saved the day by using their boats to help people and bring food. Some time after this, Atula was alone on the harbour. From the sea mist, a fisherman called out to him, asking him to catch his line and tie his boat in. The heroic figure promised to take him out to sea one day. This meeting stayed with Atula and he made a little shrine to the sea in his family’s rarely-used front room.


tula’s father had been a talented tradesman but was crippled by the memory of the depression, when men walked from one end of the country to the other with their tools on their shoulders, looking for work. In 1970, Atula arrived in London with not much more than the clothes he stood up in, a bag of tools and a debt that he was running away from. He had worked as a carpenter and joiner from the age of fifteen. Once he had found work, he started to educate himself and among other things, he read about Buddhism, started meditating and joined in at a Buddhist Centre, which was looking for a new home. They found a derelict fire station in Bethnal Green and moved in. It had no hot water, no electricity, no heating and the roof

leaked. It was a building site. The wind used to blow through it. If they wanted a bath they would go to York Hall around the corner. Sukhavati, the name of the community they built, is also the name of a mythical land where conditions are perfect for Buddhist practice. Completing the London Buddhist Centre was like entering a dream they had created collectively. Some time after that he began to train as a psychotherapist and to explore dreams with groups. We both look out of the window suddenly, disturbed from our tea and chat by a loud noise outside. Atula has a bird feeder fixed to the overhang of the roof and a pigeon is trying to land on it, despite being designed for smaller birds. It flaps and makes a fuss then gives up and leaves the feeder swinging madly.


uch later in Atula’s life, his psychotherapy supervisor asked him an unexpected question about the hospital memory. ‘What did the angels look like?’ This question completely redirected his work as a therapist because it surprised him out of his comfortable interpretations. Rather than establishing a fixed idea about what an image meant, he learned to simply pay it attention and to let it speak for itself. It’s time to go. The hour glass will be placed back upright and its sands will trickle once more. As I go to get my jacket, hanging next to Atula’s duffle coat in the hall, I think: We all need to reach into our pockets, to see what’s in there. ■ 9

The London Buddhist May–August 2018

Memories of Mallika Srivati offers memories of a great friend after her death at the end of last year


met Mallika in the mid-1980s. My first impression was how elegant she appeared amongst the majority of us at the London Buddhist Centre who were casual in crumpled clothes and clumpy Birkenstock sandals (which weren’t so fashionable then…) She was a loving friend and generous mentor, not just to me, but to more people than she would admit. She made newcomers to the centre feel welcome and supported many women to deepen their spiritual practice, usually over a cup of tea and snacks served gracefully in her blue and white sitting room. Mallika didn’t have much money but she never ran out of words of encouragement – she had a knack for inspiring confidence. Before I knew it, I was happily helping with the local housing cooperative, a magazine for Buddhist women and fundraising for creative arts workshops. And that was just the beginning! allika became a Buddhist when she was in her mid-30s. Her Buddhist practice included her family life – she had a husband and three children – and the neighbours on her street in Hackney. Her community spirit meant that she and her

M 10

husband Iain set up a residents’ association in their neighbourhood. It wasn’t just a committee. She would regularly recruit one neighbour or another and then walk the whole street knocking on every door to see how things were going for everyone. And of course, many of the neighbours would regularly come knocking on her front door and be invited in for a cuppa and a chat. For the last few years of her life, Mallika developed dementia and began to gradually forget things. At first it was names, then what she’d been doing earlier in the day, then what she had just said a minute ago. In the end she didn’t know she was a Buddhist. In late 2015, she moved to Aberdeen to live near to one of her daughters. Last year, when she and I went for a walk along the main street there, she suddenly stopped and pointed upward, smiling with delight. When I looked, I saw two Buddha statues being used to decorate the windows of a bar. ‘Do you know who that is?’ I asked. ‘No,’ she replied, still smiling. ‘It’s the Buddha. He’s been really important to you for a very long time.’ She said just ‘Oh’, and we carried on our way.

The London Buddhist May–August 2018


ne of the Buddha’s disciples was called Mallika, the lovely daughter of a garland maker. One day in the public gardens she was so struck by the demeanour and beauty of a particular monk that she gave him all the food in her basket and found herself filled with joy. This monk was the Buddha. He smiled as he foresaw that she would, against all expectation, become the Queen of Kosala that very day. King Pasanadi, riding past the flower gardens, heard Mallika singing and was so enchanted

that he made her his Queen that same night. She became a disciple of the Buddha and vowed to always be gentle towards her subjects, to give to the monks and the poor and to never be envious of those who were happy. Our Mallika was a quiet Queen of this community. She died on 23rd December 2018. I wish more of you had had the chance to meet her. ■

Photograph: Peter Cogger

Transient Beings iPhone drawings by Jnanavaca, who recently stepped down as Chair of the London Buddhist Centre after almost nine years

Q & A with Suryagupta

Meet the new Chair of the London Buddhist Centre Why are you a Buddhist?

In a nutshell, it makes sense of why I’m here on this planet. For me, Buddhism is about making the most meaning possible out of life, so that it is lived fully and for the benefit of others.

What does your name mean?

I received my name at ordination, it means ‘She who is protected or guarded by the Sun’. The Sun, with its qualities, is an epithet for the Buddha.

What’s the closest you’ve come to death?

I’ve had quite a few brushes with death! The most pivotal was on an aeroplane journey when I was twenty-one. It was the first time I’d thought, ‘Okay, this could be it’. I decided then that if we did make it I would have to find some answers to my life because I knew I wanted to die without regrets. I needed to find out how to do that. It was the trigger for me actively looking for a spiritual path.

What book most changed your life?

The Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path by Sangharakshita, the founder of the Triratna Buddhist Order of which I’m a part. The episode on the plane and a few other visionary-type experiences had opened up a whole new set of vistas. I knew those experiences held the key to how I wanted to live but I didn’t know how to connect them to everyday life. As soon as I’d read the first chapter, I thought, ‘Ah, this is exactly what I was looking for’. I’ve come back to it again and again to help me to integrate any insight experience so that it makes a difference to who I am and how I live. 12

What dream will you remember for the rest of your life? It’s hard to pick one in particular, since so many have been important. Dreams really are part and parcel of how I practice the spiritual life and make sense of my experience. I put them into different categories which help me figure out how to respond to them. ‘Flotsam and jetsam’ dreams process random events from the day. Anxiety dreams signal what I’m worried about. Psychological dreams make sense of relationships and interactions through metaphor and symbol. ‘Psychic’ dreams don’t make sense at the time but, like a jigsaw puzzle with pieces missing, point to things which are yet to come into being. Finally, but most significant, are the archetypal dreams – I don’t have many, but they are like a teaching. I just have to wait to discover what they’re trying to teach me.

Which three people, dead or alive, would you invite to a dinner party? I’ve often thought about this! As soon as I encountered Martin Luther King I thought, ‘Oh, I would love to have met him’. He was a guide through my childhood and teens and even

now I’m still inspired by him. John Coltrane Dhardo Rimpoche and Dilgo Khyentse was another. Later on I was inspired by Dr. Rimpoche, who are teachers of my teacher B. R. Ambedkar, the Indian Buddhist and Sangharakshita. I think I’d need him social reformer. So I think those three and there too to help me to understand the myself would make for a very interesting significance of what they were talking about! conversation! But then I’d also probably Oh and I forgot Nelson Mandela… want the author Toni Morrison in the What has been your happiest moment? mix as well. It depends what you mean by happiness. And I’d like What spring to mind are when my son was to meet born and when I was ordained. These were times I felt incredibly proud, present and joyful but which came with a deep sense of responsibility and even vulnerability. I don’t know if you’d call that happiness. More straightforward happy experiences are often on retreat – in nature, meditating and in deep communication with others. I’m also very happy visiting family in Antigua with the combination of the culture, the heat of the sun, the light and the expansive blue sky.

In three words, how do you feel about becoming the Chair of the London Buddhist Centre?

Humbled, grateful and daunted!

Photographed by Evgeniy Kazannik


The London Buddhist May–August 2018

Diary of a London Buddhist Holly Murray jump cuts between her everyday life in a Buddhist community and a solitary retreat on the coast of Cornwall I dream of falling off a cliff edge and down onto the rocks below. I don’t have time to relax into the fall or into the experience of death. I die in a panic. 6am: I wake before my alarm and although I feel like staying in bed I get up and do some yoga. I get pulled away from my practice by the urgent thought that I need to order a blind for my bedroom window. Sometimes the pull of distractions is so strong! I lie in bed watching the morning light ripple through the curtains and the dance of light and shadow on the wall. I can spot a chink of sea out through my window, a poor man’s sea view. Sun on my blankets, haze on the windows, bright white, gold, silver, and then dark on the wardrobe. 7am: There are twelve women in my community and five of us who meditate together in our shrine room. We stand together and salute the shrine and then we chant the refuges and precepts. Today, I don’t feel like chanting, but it’s nice to hear the different voices of the women I live with. 14

I’m scared to go for a walk along the coast path after my dream, but I make myself go. On the path down to the sea, I see a roofer high up on top of a nearby cottage. I wonder if he worries about falling too. Perhaps he is just used to the heights. The waves crash into the shore vibrantly alive and indifferent to my musings. I want to feel as alive as the crashing sea, but I feel a familiar numbness. 9am: I have breakfast with the community and then head to the LBC for our weekly yoga team meeting. We spend the time telling each other what has been going on in our personal lives. We end the meeting by rejoicing in one another’s good qualities. It’s lovely to hear what the others have to say about me and each other and delightful to tell them what I appreciate about them. Tomorrow we will meet to discuss business, but today has just been about catching up with each other. I reach a shoreline of grey flat rock covered in rock pools. I delight in walking over the rock and crouching down to peer into the tiny pools of reflections and purple. They’re like little islands, but in reverse. Soon the sea will move in and drown them all, they’ll be part of the

The London Buddhist May–August 2018

sea bed for a while, until the tide changes and they re-form.

thawing out, my mind relaxes and my body is warm inside and out.

12pm: It’s time to teach a yoga class. It’s almost full with eighteen people and I enjoy it. Our lunchtime classes are always busy and you never know who will turn up. I always delight in seeing familiar faces – it’s so lovely to have regular students who come again and again.

6pm: I head to the cashpoint to get out some money for a yoga class I will go to tomorrow. As I am about to take the cash a young women grabs the money just as I do from the machine. I try to keep hold of the money as I turn to her saying, ‘What are you doing?’ She isn’t aggressive, she just desperately tugs the money repeatedly, and eventually I let go and she runs off. As I walk away from the cashpoint, I pass a café and see a policeman there buying a coffee. I head in and tell him about it. I don’t want to press charges but just think that people should know. He’s very kind and takes some details.

I walk to my favourite spot. It’s a high, smooth rock, which overlooks a deserted cove. I sit and watch the waves urgently move in, filling the caves along the shoreline. Some sound like thunder as they crash in. All of my concerns seem so small sitting up here. The waves, the sea and the deep grooves in the rocks have a timelessness about them which I find soothing. A feeling of relief washes over me and I sit and soak it up. 2.30pm: It’s time for weekly study with the women who work at the LBC. It’s a delight – we are all there, seven of us, we chant the refuges and precepts again (I still don’t feel like it!) and then we read from ‘The Yogi’s Joy’, stories of Milarepa. The paragraph is about conflict and harmony. We discuss how one can disagree with others whilst still having a loving attitude. The hallway of the cottage is bathed in an afternoon glow. I sit on the window ledge half way down the stairs, drinking tea and watching the sky, basking in the warmth. I think about my parent’s fox terrier who follows the sun around their house, lying in sunlit patches on the floor under windows in odd places. As I sit I feel all different parts of myself

In the evening I sit and watch the fire embers glow. They pulsate with fluorescence like a heart-beat, the heat circulating round them sounding tiny, beautiful crackles. Red, black, grey and shimmering. I recall all the impressions of the day; the crashing waves, rock pools, my resistance, my tiny world of self-concern. Each ember a little world, each rock pool a little universe, the expanse of the sea, the caves, the waves crashing, my small worries. I head home for community night. It is always such a delight to be cooked for. Tonight a guest is coming. She brings chocolate for us. I tell the community about my day and they give me £20 from the communal kitty. In my morning meditation I practise developing lovingkindness and the woman from the cashpoint comes to my mind. I wonder what her life must be like. ■ 15

Programme May–August 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

Life with Full Attention

A practical course in mindfulness

Led by Maitreyabandhu, Danayutta and Amalayodin

Mindfulness is about living fully and vividly, without rumination or distraction. This course is a systematic approach to mindfulness and authentic happiness, starting with applying mindfulness in everyday life and culminating in mindfulness of the nature of reality. Maitreyabandhu’s book Life with Full Attention will be our guide to daily practice. 8 weeks from Wed 27 Jun. 7.15 – 9.45pm. £150(£120concs.) (price inc. book). Booking essential.

Summer Retreat: Living with Awareness Led by Abhayanandi & Satyadasa

Buddhism is about more than trying to be calm. It’s about transforming consciousness. On this newcomers’ retreat, we’ll be living as a community and exploring the Buddhist path together. 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. 17 – 26 August. £450(£340concs). At Vajrasana. 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. 11-13 May, 29 June – 1 Jul. At Vajrasana. £190(£150concs). Booking essential.


Programme May–August 2018

Weekly Classes Lunchtime Meditation Taster Monday to Saturday

Drop in and learn the principles of meditating on kindness and awareness in these lunch-hour sessions. 1 – 2pm. All welcome. By donation.

Evening Meditation Tuesday and Wednesday

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 exploring traditional verses called the Four Reminders which introduce us to principles at the heart of Buddhism and can inspire us to practise in 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. Weekday lunchtimes, 12 – 12.45pm & 1.15 – 2pm. By

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.

Evenings and Days 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. 20 May with Sanghasiha 17 Jun with Mahamani 15 Jul with Jnanadaya 19-Aug with Vandanajyoti 10am – 5pm. £40 (£30 concs). Bring vegetarian lunch to share. Booking essential.

Introduction to Buddhist Ritual

Ritual is an integral part of Buddhism, it is a way of expressing our deepest aspirations and values, making them more conscious and strengthening their power to guide our life. Spend an afternoon exploring the Seven Fold Puja in a friendly environment through discussion, meditation and reflection. Suitable for complete beginners. Led by Svadhi Sat 9 June. 3pm - 5.30pm. Free. Suggested donation £15/£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. Sun 3 Jun, 11am-5pm. Refreshments provided & all events free.

donation. Mon/Tue/Wed/Fri evenings, 5.45 – 6.45pm. £8.


Programme May–August 2018

Sub25 Class Third Friday


18 May, 15 Jun, 20 Jul & 17 Aug. 7.15 – 9.45pm (Tea bar till 10.30pm). Just turn up. By donation.

Volunteer sessions

A monthly chance for those aged 16 – 25 to explore meditation, discover Buddhist teachings and make friends with like-minded young people. Led by a group of young people, with an experienced Buddhist teacher joining us each month.

Courses Introduction to Buddhism & Meditation

This six-week practical course will introduce you to the principles of Buddhism and you’ll learn two meditation practices that offer a means to self-awareness, change and spiritual insight. Our experienced team will help you put these principles and practices into action in your everyday life. 6 weeks from Mon 21 May, 2 Jul & 13 Aug. 7.15 – 9.45pm. £110 (£90concs). Booking essential.

Buddhist Meditation Foundation Course in Central London

An ideal way to learn meditation – four-week introductory courses supported by handouts, home practice and simple, straightforward teaching. Saturday mornings (10am-12.45pm) starting 12 May, 9 Jun, 7 July £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.


Volunteering can be a satisfying and energetic way of giving to the Centre. See the section of our website labelled ‘Support Us’ for more. 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 May–August 2018

Going Further

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

Who Hates The Metta Bhavana? Led by Vidyadaka and Mahamani

In this six-week meditation course, we will explore how to creatively and effectively transform hatred into love through this profoundly potent, but frequently misunderstood, practice. If you struggle with the Metta Bhavana (or even if you love it!), this practical course will offer new insights and approaches. 6 Tuesdays starting 8 May. 7.15 – 9.45pm. £110/£90. Booking essential. (Price includes the book Living with Kindness by Sangharakshita).

Men’s Intensive Meditation Retreat Entering Emptiness

Led by Maitreyabandhu and Vidyadaka

The first goal of Buddhist meditation is to cultivate a ‘fit mind’: Taking ownership of our life and developing a courageous and creative outlook. On this retreat we will learn how to cultivate a ‘fit mind’ through Samadhi (energized calm) and how to use it to turn our attention to how things really are through Prajna (wisdom). With seven days of silence and one-to-one meditation reviews. 15 - 24 Jun at Vajrasana. £450/£340. Booking essential.

Women’s Intensive Meditation Retreat Discovering the Radiant Heart

Led by Suryagupta. With Mahamani, Srivati, Prajnadevi, Sraddhagita, Nagarakshita and Vishvantara.

Through meditation, silence, reflection, ritual and dwelling in nature, we will explore the terrain of the heart, learn how to keep it open and discover more of its potential to radiate love. There will be ample opportunity to deepen your practice, supported by meditation reviews as well as the joy of communal living. 27 Jul - 5 Aug at Vajrasana. £450/£340. Booking essential.


Programme May–August 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.

Meditation Toolkit Open Mind, Radiant Heart

How do you keep your meditation practice alive and vigorous so that your mind remains open, aware and your heart grows in love and expansiveness? Learn how to work in meditation to keep these qualities alive. We recommend you attend all six classes if you can, but you can also drop in. For those that know both meditation practices.

Daytime Class Wednesday Morning

The opportunity this term to explore the Buddhist ‘facts of life’ - the Four Reminders. Finding ways to emotionally engage with our intellectual understanding; inspiring us to live and practise the teachings of the Buddha. 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 comfortable clothing.

Led by Suryagupta Mon 21 – Sat 26 May, 1 – 2pm. By donation. As part of the lunchtime drop-in meditation class.

7.15 – 9.30pm. £11(£6concs).

Dharma Night Monday 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.

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).

Meditation and Puja Friday Evenings

7 – 9.45pm. Free. Suggested donation £7. There will also be a series of special practice evenings: 4 May - Chanting and Puja. 25 May - Puja to the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni. 8 Jun - Puja to the Wisdom Goddess, Prajnaparamita. 6 Jul – Puja to the Buddha of Love, Amitabha. 3 Aug – Chanting and Puja.

Monthly Classes Women’s Class Third Saturday

A meditation and Buddhism class for women who know the Mindfulness of Breathing and Metta Bhavana meditations. Led by Mahamani, Sudurjaya & friends 19 May, 16 June, 21 July, 18 Aug. 3-5.30pm. Free. Suggested donation £8(£5concs).


Programme May–August 2018

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. 13 May, 10 June & 8 July. 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.

Class in August). 10.30am – 12.30pm. Free. Suggested donation £7. No need to book.

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. By donation. Tues 29 May. After Tuesday Night Class. 9.45pm. Thurs 28 June. After Thursday Night Class. 9.45pm. Fri 27 July. Part of Friday Night Class - doors open 8.45, puja 9pm. Sun 26 Aug. Special 108-Year Puja for Bhante. 7pm.

Courses Saturday Morning Meditation

Last Saturday of the month (except August). 10am-1pm. Free (suggested donation £7). No need to book. 26 May with Mahamani. 30 June with Vidyasakhi. 28 July with Yogaratna.

Deepen your exploration and understanding of meditation with these two week drop-in meditation intensives. For those who know both meditations.

Creative Writing Group

14 & 21 July. Contemplating contentment with Vandanajyoti. 11& 18 Aug. Deepening the Mind with Prajnamanas. 9am - 12.30pm. (Doors open at 8.45am and close at 9.10am no entry after this time.) Free. Suggested donation £15/£8. No need to book.

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 20 May, 24 June, 15 Jul & 26 Aug. 2.00 – 5pm. £10. Concs. £7.Booking essential.

Buddhist Sunday School

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.

12 & 19 May. Insight into Impermanence with Maitreyabandhu. 9 & 16 June. Qualities of Awareness with Sagarasila.

Buddha Mind, Creative Mind

Access your creativity and deepen your understanding of the Imagination, as a support for meditation and Dharma practice. Each day introduces the theme and includes meditation, creative visualisation and guided drawing/painting exercises. Open to all levels of experience. 19 May & 9 June. 10am-5pm. At the London Buddhist Arts Centre. £95 (£80 concs) for both days. Booking essential. Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share.

Led by Jyotismati and team Last Sunday of every month: 27 May, 24 June, 29 July (No


Programme May–August 2018

Mornings, Days & Evenings Seminar: Death, Karma and Wisdom

The Great Questions of life – ‘Does life have meaning and purpose?’ ‘How should we live?’ arise out of the fact of death. What does Buddhism have to say about death and what lies beyond it? What is the meaning of karma and why does it matter? A drop-in seminar those who want to take their life deeper.

Film Night: Our Teachers

An evening to celebrate teachers and the passing on of inspiration. With short personal talks, cinema snacks and a screening of Brilliant Moon: Glimpses of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche which chronicles the life of one of Tibet’s most revered 20th-century Buddhist teachers. Hosted by the Sub25 team but open to all ages! Sat 26 May, 7.15-9.30pm. Part of the Buddha Day Fringe. Free. Suggested donation £7.

With Maitreyabandhu, Kusalasara & Akashamitra

8 Mondays starting 14 May, as part of Dharma Night. 7.15 – 9.45pm. Free. Suggested donation £7.

Compassionate Communication: Freeing ourselves from Anger

On this day we will build our capacity to choose more creative responses in situations we find challenging. The longer we choose to indulge in anger and irritation, the greater will be our bondage to reactivity and suffering. Led by Vajraghanta. Sun 20 May, 10am-5pm. Bring vegetarian lunch to share. £40 (£30 concs). Booking essential.

The Bigger Picture: A Day for Men

If we can glimpse the Buddha’s vision, integration and positive emotion will naturally follow. So what is that vision, and how do we keep it in mind amid the mire of the everyday? A day of meditation, input and vigorous discussion - with lunch outside if the weather is fine. Led by Prajnamanas and Dayanatha. Sat 26 May. 10am – 4pm. Bring vegetarian lunch to share. Free. Suggested donation £30. No need to book.

Women’s Mitra Sangha Mornings

An opportunity to get together, meditate and talk about our practice. These drop-in mornings are open to all who consider they are a part of the women’s mitra sangha. Led by Mahamani. Sat 16 Jun & Sat 18 Aug. 10am-12.30pm. Free. Suggested donation £7.


Over 60s Day

A chance to practice together, discuss the Dharma and connect with other like-minded people over 60. Open to all those aged 60 and above that know both the Metta Bhavana and the Mindfulness of Breathing. Led by the Mangala & Friends Sun 17 Jun. 10am – 5pm. Bring vegetarian lunch to share. By donation. No need to book.

Deep Ecology Day

“You should entreat trees and rocks to preach the Dharma, and you should ask rice fields and gardens for the truth.” – Dogen A day of practice exploring our relationship with the natural world through ritual, sound meditation, talks, poetry, music and discussion. Led by Sanghasiha and friends Sun 24 Jun. 10am – 5pm. Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share. Free. Suggested donation £30. No need to book.

People of colour Sangha

A day for people of colour to come together. A chance to meditate and be inspired by the Buddha’s teaching to free our minds. Suitable for those who know both practices.

Led by Suryagupta and Bodhilila Sun 1 Jul, 11am-4pm. Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share. No need to book.

Programme May–August 2018

Buddhism at work in the world

We spend our most of our lives in work, so how do we take our Buddhist practice to the workplace. Join us for a day exploring Triratna’s unique approach to livelihood. Led by the Lamas Pyjamas team Sun 8 July. 10am – 5pm. Bring vegetarian lunch to share. Free. Suggested donation £30. No need to book.

Total Immersion Day - Simply Being Spend the day turning towards your experience. A day of refreshing silence away from our mobile devices, aware of our breath, our body, our feelings. Listening to poetry, appreciating beauty and being in the moment. For those who know both practices.

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

Mantra and Meditation Morning

Sat 4 Aug, 9.30am-12.30pm. Free. Suggested donation £15. No need to book.

Bringing the Hindrances to Light: Restlessness & Anxiety

The first meditation day in a series exploring the Five Hindrances. This time working with the hindrance of Restlessness & Anxiety. A day of practice for meditators who know both practices Led by Jnanadaya Sun 12 Aug. 10am – 5pm. Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share. Free. Suggested donation £30. No need to book.

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 Srivati, Sanghasiha & friends Sun 12 Aug. 10am – 5pm. Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share. Free. Suggested donation £30. No need to book.

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


Programme May–August 2018

Retreats Dharma and Meditation Weekend Retreats What the Buddha overcame, we too can overcome

All of our familiar mental states, emotions, opinions, joys and sorrows are not unique to us – Siddhartha, who later became the Buddha, also experienced them. Through a deeper understanding of the Four Noble Truths and inspired by the Buddha’s example, we too can overcome the forces that hold us back and discover what lies beyond. If you are familiar with the Mindfulness of Breathing and the Metta Bhavana join us on this intensive weekend retreat of meditation, ritual, silence and talks. Led by Vidyadaka and Vandanajyoti 18-20 May at Vajrasana. £190 (£150concs). Booking essential.

Wisdom Through Impermanence

Men’s Retreat at Padmaloka The Tiratana Vandana: In Praise of the Three Jewels

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. Led by Vajrashura and Kalyanamati 22-24 Jun. £135 (£95 concs). Book with

Deep Ecology Retreat

“In the vastness of the sky, without centre or edges, the sun shines illuminating all things without choosing.” – Shabkar. A camping retreat in beautiful north Norfolk with Puja, meditation, talks, discussion and much more, out the open air. For those with at least three months’ experience of the Mindfulness of Breathing and the Metta Bhavana. Led by Sanghasiha and friends Fri 24 – Mon 27 Aug. £100(£80concs). Booking essential.

If we can contemplate impermanence with a ‘fit mind’ and a ‘fit heart’; if we can own our life, take responsibility for our agency and contribute to the lives of others, we can begin to turn our mind to the fact that all things (from our perspective at least) are impermanent. We can begin, in other words, to cultivate Wisdom. On this meditation retreat we’ll be exploring the path and the goal of Wisdom through meditation, reflection, silence and ritual. For those who know both meditations.

Women’s Mitra Sangha weekend Spritual Friendship

Led by Maitreyabandhu and Abhayanandhi July 20-22 at Vajrasana. £190 (£150concs). Booking essential.

Led by Mahamani and Vanaraji 31 Aug – 2 Sep. £190(£150concs). Booking essential. At Vajrasana.

What did the Buddha mean when he said that spiritual friendship is the whole of the spiritual life? Why are friends considered to be so important for our spiritual practice? What are the qualities of a spiritual friend? Through meditation, talks, discussion and ritual we will explore what spiritual friendship means to us. This retreat is open to all who consider they are a part of the women’s mitra sangha.

For the longer intensive retreats see page 21.


Programme May–August 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 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.

theme of the workshop closer to the date. For those who regularly attend yoga classes at the LBC. Sat 28 April. Led by Danayutta. Sat 16 Jun. Led by Esther. Sat 14 Jul. Led by Sraddhagita. 3-5.30pm. £25 (£20 concs). Booking essential.

Mon-Fri 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 and Meditation Days

Yoga, Chi-Kung & Meditation Thursday Evenings

6 May. Led by Esther and Sraddhagita. 10 Jun. Led by Sraddhadita. 1 Jul. Led by Sraddhagita.

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 concs). No need to book.

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.

Days, Courses & Retreats Yoga for Meditation Afternoons for Regulars

These afternoon workshops are for people who already know some yoga and meditation and want to deepen their practice. Check website for the

Immersive practice days are suitable for beginners and regulars. Meditation teaching for both newcomers and regulars, and yoga suitable for all levels. Check website for themes closer to the date.

5 Aug. Led by Danayutta. 10am-5pm. £40 (£30concs). Booking essential. Bring vegetarian lunch to share.

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 practicing yoga and meditation on one’s own. Led by Danayutta and Sraddhagita. Starts Fri 8 June for 6 weeks. 2.30-5pm. £110 (£90conc). Booking essential.

Yoga & Meditation Weekend Retreat

A weekend at our Buddhist retreat centre, working on deepening one’s life. Meditation and yoga teaching for both newcomers and regulars. 10 – 12 Aug. Led by Danayutta and team. At Vajrasana. £210(£160concs). Booking essential.


Programme May–August 2018

Festivals & Special Events Open to all

Buddha Day Festival What the Buddha attained, we too can attain.

Welcome Back Evenings

Sun 27 May, 10am-10pm. Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share.

Led by Vidyadaka and Danayutta

Mon 9 Jul. (ex-Fiona, ex-Holly, ex-Karen) 7.15-9.45pm. Suggested donation £7 Mon 30 Jul. (ex-Alan) 7.15-9.45pm. Suggested donation £7

Check the programme for the day nearer the time. All welcome. No need to book.

108-Year Puja for Bhante

The LBC’s key festival celebrating the Buddha’s attainment of Enlightenment. Join us to explore this attainment through talks, reflection, meditation and ritual. This day is the culmination of the Buddha Day Fringe, a week of events focused on the Buddha.

Dharma Day Festival Call forth as much as you can of love, of respect, and of faith! Enter the Dharma zone and take the chance to hear the teachings of the Buddha, reflect upon the teachings of the Buddha, and meditate upon the teachings of the Buddha. For heroic spirits intended!

Led by Maitreyaraja & Prajnadevi Sun 22 Jul, 10am-10pm. Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share. Check the programme for the day nearer the time. No need to book.


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-Fiona, ex-Holly, ex-Karen and ex-Alan who, all being well, will have recently returned from the long ordination retreats in Spain.

Sangharakshita (the founder of the Triratna Buddhist Community) has set up the conditions for the Dharma to be communicated in ways that we can understand, which can lead to the radical transformation of ourselves and the creation of a new society. Come and join us for an evening of ritual and devotion in celebration of his 93rd birthday.

Led by Vidyadaka Sun 26 Aug, 7pm. Free (by donation). No need to book.

Programme May–August 2018

Buddha Day Fringe Dharma and Meditation Weekend Retreat

What the Buddha overcame, we too can overcome All of our familiar mental states, emotions, opinions, joys and sorrows are not unique to us – Siddhartha, who later became the Buddha, also experienced them. Through a deeper understanding of the Four Noble Truths and inspired by the Buddha’s example, we too can overcome the forces that hold us back and discover what lies beyond. If you are familiar with the Mindfulness of Breathing and the Metta Bhavana join us on this intensive weekend retreat of meditation, ritual, silence and talks.

Led by Vidyadaka and Vandanajyoti 18-20 May. £190 (£150concs). Booking essential.

Lunchtime Course: Meditation Toolkit Open Mind, Radiant Heart

How do you keep your meditation practice alive and vigorous so that your mind remains open, aware and your heart grows in love and expansiveness? Learn how to work in meditation to keep these qualities alive. We recommend you attend all six classes if you can, but you can also drop in. For those that know both meditation practices.

A week of special events in the lead up to Buddha Day (Sun 27th May) to celebrate the Buddha’s enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree over 2500 years ago.

The Life of the Buddha

Join us each evening for an ongoing telling of the historical and mythic life of the Buddha, followed each evening a short puja. Mon 21 May Four Sights & Going Forth with Sīlapiya Tues 22 May The Attack of Mara with Vidyadaka Weds 23 May Enlightenment with Prajnamanas Thurs 24 May Teaching life with Danayutta 9.40pm (after the class). Free. Suggested donation £4. Fri 25 May Puja to Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha. Led by Svadhi. 7 – 9.45pm. Free. Part of the Friday night Class. Suggested donation £7.

Film Night: Our Teachers

An evening to celebrate teachers and the passing on of inspiration. With short personal talks from the Sub25 team, followed by a screening of Brilliant Moon: Glimpses of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Brilliant Moon chronicles the life of writer, poet, and meditation master Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, one Tibet’s most revered 20thcentury Buddhist teachers and a main teacher of Sangharakshita. Hosted by the Sub25 team but open to all ages! Sat 26 May, 7.15-9.30pm. Part of the Buddha Day Fringe. Free. Suggested donation £7.

Led by Suryagupta Mon 21 – Sat 26 May, 1 – 2pm. By donation. As part of the lunchtime drop-in meditation class.


Programme May–August 2018

Sub25 group

Third Friday Sub25 Class

A monthly chance for those aged 16-25 to explore meditation, discover Buddhist teachings and make friends with like-minded young people. Over the summer we’ll be exploring the five spiritual facilities and how they help us to engage with life more fullness, depth and enthusiasm. Led by a group of young people, with an experienced Buddhist teacher joining us each month: 18 May Vīrya (Energy) with Maitreyabandhu 15 June Samādhi (Calm) with Danayutta 20 July Śraddhā (Faith) with Vidyadaka 17 August Prajñā (Wisdom) with Vanadanajyoti 7.15-9.45pm (Tea bar till 10.30pm). All welcome. By donation.

Sub25 Day Retreat: Smrti (Mindfulness)

‘Being a Buddhist really means always trying to avoid slipping into extremes, it means looking for a point of balance, the pivot, as it were, between, or rather above, the extremes’ - Sangharakshita. Spend a Sunday gathered with like-minded people under 25 exploring Smṛti. Expect meditation, ritual, discussion and tea.

Led by Alex and Charlotte Sunday 6 May. 10.30am – 4.30pm (doors open 10am). All welcome. By donation. Bring vegetarian/vegan lunch to share.

Film Night: Our Teachers

An evening to celebrate teachers and the passing on of inspiration. With short personal talks from the Sub25 team, followed by a screening of Brilliant Moon: Glimpses of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Brilliant Moon chronicles the life of writer, poet, and meditation master Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, one Tibet’s most revered 20th-century Buddhist


teachers and a main teacher of Sangharakshita. Hosted by the Sub25 team but open to everyone! Sat 26 May, 7.15-9.30pm. Part of the Buddha Day Fringe. Free. Suggested donation £7.

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/£50. Booking essential.

Sub25 Breakfast Seminars

Join us for croissants, orange juice and a seminar on a classic Buddhist text. A great way to find out more about the teaching of the Buddha in a way that’s relevant in your everyday life. Sat 23 June. 10am-12.30pm. With Devamitra on the Bahiya Sutta: The Fast Track to Enlightenment Sat 28 July. 10am-12.30pm. With Subhadramati on the Maha-sihanada Sutta: The Lion’s Roar

Sub25 Social: Faversham to Whitstable Hike

Join us for a social countryside hike from the historic market town of Faversham to the quirky seaside town of Whitstable, via the beautiful Sales nature reserve. Remember to bring a packed lunch, water and £20 for the train. Everyone aged 16-25 welcome. Saturday 4 August. Meet at London Buddhist Centre at 10am.

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

Programme May–August 2018

PoetryEast is an ongoing series of cultural events at the London Buddhist Centre, hosted by Maitreyabandhu, exploring the meaning and value of the arts. Each event focuses on the life and work of a single guest artist, by way of an interview and a reading. Previous guests have included Antony Gormley, Michael Frayn, Rowan Williams and Colm Tóibín.

Jorie Graham

Jorie Graham is the author of fifteen collections of poetry. Her honours include the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In 2012 she was the first American woman to win the Forward Prizes for Best Collection. In 2017 she was awarded the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. ‘One of the finest poets writing today.’ John Ashbery. Sat 21 April, 7.30pm. £10. Booking essential.

Kei Miller

Kei Miller has written novels, books of short stories, essays and three collections of poetry. A recent book of essays won the 2014 Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature (non-fiction). Kei 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. ‘An extraordinary new voice singing with clarity and grace.’ Olive Senior. Sat 2 June, 7.30pm. £10. Booking essential.

Michael Schmidt

A poet, scholar, critic and translator. Publications include The Novel: a biography, a companion volume to Lives of the Poets and Lives of the First Poets. Poetry collections include The Resurrection of the Body; Collected Poems and The Stories of My Life. He is general editor of PN Review and founder and managing director of Carcanet Press. ‘Vibrant, radiant, Michael Schmidt’s poetry is steeped in modernist tradition (Yeats and Eliot) and questingly new’. John Ashbery Sat 1 Sept, 7.30pm. £10. Booking essential.


The London Buddhist May–August 2018

The London Buddhist - Summer 2018  

Our latest magazine and programme of events.

The London Buddhist - Summer 2018  

Our latest magazine and programme of events.