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MAY – AUGUST 2019


‘Reverencing the Buddha, we offer flowers – Flowers that today are fresh and sweetly blooming, Flowers that tomorrow are faded and fallen. Our bodies too, like flowers, will pass away.’


E M O C WEL Flowers are one of the three traditional offerings to the Buddha. As Spring blooms into Summer, the courtyard at the London Buddhist Centre is rich with offerings. But flowers are not just a thing of beauty; they’re a reminder of change. Buddhist practice helps us to engage with things as they really are. The fact of change can be uncomfortable but it needn’t be cause for despair – it’s a reality that also empowers us to change ourselves, our experience and the world around us. It might just be the source of our greatest joy. As well as writing on this theme from some familiar faces around the centre, we’ve featured some sayings of the Buddha from the chapter of the Dhammapada titled ‘Flowers’. We’ve also filled the following pages with photographs of the LBC and its retreat centre, Vajrasana, in bloom.

London Buddhist Centre 51 Roman Road Bethnal Green London E2 0HU contact@lbc.org.uk + 44 (0)20 8981 1225 www.lbc.org.uk 

From page 19, our programme of events lays out the rest of the LBC’s offerings from May to August.

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IN SEARCH OF BEAUTY by Devamitra

Devamitra tells his story of a life lived in pursuit of beauty and truth and the role that films have played in guiding him in the right direction. In late 1966 I was living in a dreary bedsit in West Hampstead. Skint, stage-struck and eighteen, I was excessively lonely – especially on Sunday evenings when theatres were dark. Walking up to Hampstead one day, I noticed the Everyman, a dowdy little cinema showing foreign films. I liked the atmosphere; there were no ads or trailers, and there was a new film every week. It was my salvation. I worshipped there religiously with its small, select congregation most Sunday evenings – initially because it was inexpensive, but quickly because I loved the films, which were a revelation to me. I never knew what to expect, but trusted their selection. The best of world cinema showed me that film could be much more than what I knew from Hollywood. The young hero’s questioning eyes, as he looks back in the final shot of Jansco’s My Way Home, reflected my own deeper thoughts, rousing them from their slumber. Over fifty years later that glance is still vividly alive in my imagination.

When directors seek to empathise with all the characters they create – good or bad – then we too can enter their lives and broaden our human sensibilities.

To the bewilderment of my north-eastern working-class family, by my mid-teens I had developed an insatiable appetite for the great works of Western literature and was intent on becoming a Shakespearean actor. This was bad enough, but when the arts were displaced by the Buddha-Dharma as the central focus in my life, it was beyond their comprehension. They must have thought I was a changeling. The moment I first stepped into the FWBO (Triratna) centre in Archway in 1972, I felt at home in a much deeper way than I had ever felt in a theatre company. A vibrant stillness seemed to 2


London Buddhist Centre | May – Aug 2019 hang in the atmosphere of the small, converted piano factory. The idealism and inspiration which the arts had given me now found a limitless context for engagement and expression. Although I left the theatre behind, I have always retained my love of the arts. Indeed, the Dharma has deepened and broadened my appreciation of all aspects of the best in Western culture. Film which is merely light entertainment cannot further our understanding. When it is didactic or driven by ideology it will fail to engage our deeper sympathies. But at its best, film is the modern art form. It does not displace earlier forms, but adds something new, perhaps more readily accessible to a wider audience. When a film-maker seeks to show the reality of things, without judgement or blame, it may help us to see the deeper reality behind them. When directors seek to empathise with all the characters they create – good or bad – then we too can enter their lives and broaden our human sensibilities. In whatever context they do this, they will create a thing of beauty which may move us profoundly and perhaps even help to transform our lives. 

Devamitra teaches on Monday and Wednesday evenings at the LBC (see p.20). He also hosts a regular ‘Film Night’ at the LBC, showing a range of films that he’s particularly enjoyed (see p.27, p.30, p.33 and p.36).

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London Buddhist Centre | May– Aug 2019

your work, Don’t bring r computer ou d your lover, y An open min ink you’ve ets… y th t or your p an c If you alread e p x e ’t n o d yourself as g t, n u o ri b fe t li s d ju e … work other wise it Come with . l, h a c u u id m iv d rn a in to le at! y a nd a lly be a retre y rg a e re n e ’t t, n s o w re it inte an oppor tun y things! is w t e a n e r tr fo re e A ir de s rself awa u o y e c n e ri e to exp n e p d sual pulls of n u a e k o th o m b o e t fr o An n what the your life. Writing dow n w o r u o y and leaders say n ns t your life ca u o b a h expectatio ore than ts ig h H ig ins f o be much m ing source be an on-go r the retreat. You can ou can, so don’t fte you think y inspiration a too low. set the bar

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R E M SU M T A S T A E R RE T A N A S A R J VA ETRE AT: SU M M E R R 18 AUG F RI 9 – S U N

T H E DR A M A O F C O S MI C M E N T ENLIGHTEN ka. yada gupta & Vid a ry u S y b d Le p.34 rmation see For more info

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E N T E RI N G E M P T IN ES S

sa. a & Satyada c a v a n a Jn y Led b p.26 rmation see fo in re o m r o F

ITATION NSIVE MED E T IN ’S N E WO M RETRE AT: G – SUN 4 AU FRI 26 JUL

V E RI N G E R Y L T E I U Q ABLE M O H T A F N THE U lasara. d Kusa adramati an h b u S y vajri b d e L mani, Maitri a h a M , a tt With Danayu tara. 3 and Vishvan ation see p.3 rm fo in re o For m 7

London Buddhist Centre | May – Aug 2019

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ITATION NSIVE MED E T IN ’S N E M RETRE AT: 16 JUN F RI 7 – S U N


MORE TO LIVING THAN LIFE by Subhadramati Subhadramati draws upon anecdotes from her own life to reflect on death, our relationships to others and the central problem that we face in trying to live meaningfully. A few weeks ago, the community of women I live with spent a Saturday afternoon sitting in our living room with home-made vegan chocolate cake and mugs of Rooibos tea, talking about death. The eldest of our number started by sharing her first experience of death, that of her grandmother. What stayed in her mind all these years was the vicar’s saccharine eulogy which did no justice to her grandmother’s colourful character. Everyone chipped in with funeral experiences of their own: Irish Catholic, Lithuanian Catholic, Italian Catholic, Caribbean; some of us had been to Triratna Buddhist funerals too. We debated what the ingredients of a satisfactory funeral were and what kind of funeral we wanted for ourselves. Then, warmed up to our theme, we moved onto death itself. Some recalled sudden deaths or near-deaths of relatives – the details fresh as if they’d happened only days before.

Life will try to save itself and rejoice when it has, but then the deeper issue is exposed: ‘Yes, I’m alive, but what is life for?’

It was at this point in the conversation that I was startled into a new kind of alertness when my friend slowly said, ‘I guess there has to be more to living than life’. The context could hardly have been more dramatic; as a young girl she’d seen her father collapse from a heart attack and remembers how she and her sisters tried to comfort each other as they watched her parents disappear in the speeding ambulance. Thankfully her father survived. She remembers how elated he was for weeks afterwards. But after the elation came depression. Apparently this isn’t uncommon – life will try to save itself and rejoice when it has, but then the deeper issue is exposed: ‘Yes, I’m alive, but what is life for?’ 8


London Buddhist Centre | May– Aug 2019

dles are the

and can nse, flowers ce in h it w g Alon a shrine offerings to

traditional

Reflecting on impermanence and death is a traditional Buddhist practice, and a key one. The idea is not to just reflect in a general sort of way, but to take on board that this thing called death really will happen and it will happen to me. My ashes will one day be interred in the stupa at the LBC’s retreat centre, Vajrasana, and my name will be painted upon one of the hundreds of bricks on the commemorative wall to its side. One of the main reasons for doing this is to put our lives into perspective. Strangely, such reflections, rather than being gloomy or frightening, can be freeing. When we were planning the wall at Vajrasana, the artist responsible for the lettering had to be sure that even the longest Buddhist name would fit onto a brick. Maitreyabandhu (who is very much alive!) has one of the longest names so his was picked for the trial run. One day we received a very heavy oblong package. It was a brick! Inscribed on this brick in beautiful golden calligraphy was ‘Maitreyabandhu 1962 – 2016’. 9


asana

yard at Vajr

Stupa court

We knew that Maitreyabandhu was next door in the Larder meeting someone for coffee and we couldn’t resist running in, there and then, brick in hand. I must admit, I was a tiny bit nervous. I wondered if he’d be upset. But as soon as he saw the brick he burst out laughing! When he could speak again he said, ‘I’ve been dead all this time – I needn’t have been so worried about things!’ Although not morbid or gloomy, there is a serious side to these reflections as well. One of the most important ancient texts of Buddhism, the Dhammapada, has as one of its opening verses: Others do not realise that we are all heading for death. Those who do realise it will compose their quarrels. I read these words aloud at my own father’s funeral: Buddhist words in a Catholic chapel. As I spoke them over my father’s body and out into the congregation, they seemed to ring out beyond any religion and reverberate with unalloyed truth. I still remember the vibrant, even joyful, silence after I spoke them – the joy of knowing the truth when we hear it – what Buddhists would call the joy of lucid faith or shraddha. 10


But this perspective, expressed in the Dhammapada, is in many ways just the beginning. The Buddha taught those words, but he taught more than those words. When I heard my friend say, ‘There has to be more to living than life’, I sat up in my chair because I realised that she had hit on something vital: unless we have a vision that goes way beyond our own lives and find Unless we have a vision that a way to commit ourselves to it, we won’t fulfil our deepest human potential. goes way beyond our own

lives and find a way to commit ourselves to it, we won’t fulfil our deepest human potential.

I was twenty-three when I started coming along to the Buddhist Centre. I thought I was quite a nice person – I sometimes got irritated, but basically I was quiet, conscientious and never got into any trouble. I’d signed up for a sixweek Buddhism course and it was week three. The Order member leading asked us to think about our relationships with others – were we relating to people as people in their own right or, at the back of our minds, were we thinking, ‘What can I get from this person, this relationship; what’s in it for me?’ Suddenly my mind started spinning. I realised that every relationship in my life was based in some way on selfishness. Even when I helped people it was driven by an attempt to relieve my own unease at their suffering. Much later I realised that I’d stumbled across a problem that has vexed religious seekers through the ages. My own teacher, Bhante Sangharakshita, had gone much deeper with this issue when he was about the same age. An Englishman in India, recently ordained as a Buddhist monk, he was studying under a teacher, Jagdish Kashyap, and exploring the depths of meditation. Around this time, he became greatly preoccupied with the question of how to get beyond this hard-wired selfishness. You could say this is what Buddhism really is – 11

London Buddhist Centre | May – Aug 2019

Death puts things in their proper place. Things that bothered us before are suddenly irrelevant. I had a friend who always used to talk in the silent periods on retreat. She even used to pass remarks in the shrine room when we were about to meditate. It drove me crazy! Then she suddenly died. I remember the first Order weekend without her. I found myself wishing, ‘Oh, if only you could come back, you could talk as loudly as you like and I wouldn’t mind!’ The tragedy, of course, is that we often learn too late. A truly wise person wouldn’t wait until their friend – or even their enemy – was dead to have this realisation.


attending to this issue of how to stop our life, no matter how ‘good’ we are, simply circling around ‘me-at-the-centre-of-everything’. Buddhism is clear that this isn’t a moral issue (we’re not to blame for it), but an existential one. At the same time, if we don’t do something about it, it’s a knot that will only get tighter and, crucially, will stop us fulfilling our deepest potential.

Jagdish Kashyap © Clear Vision Trust

So for Bhante this question wasn’t theoretical; it was an urgent spiritual need. It was clear to him that simply practising meditation wasn’t enough and that, ‘Something more drastic and more down-to -earth was needed’. Eventually, reading the Trappist monk Thomas Merton’s ‘Seeds of Contemplation’, he found what he wanted. The instruction was that the disciple should surrender his will absolutely to the will of his spiritual superior and Bhante resolved to apply this straightaway to his relations with Jagdish Kashyap. At first this wasn’t easy because Jagdish Kashyap was an unassuming man and not all that assertive, but at the end of a visit to Kalimpong he did ask something of Bhante – to stay there and ‘work for the good of Buddhism’, adding that the people there would look after him. Bhante wasn’t quite sure how he would work for the good of Buddhism, nor was he so confident that the people would want to look after him, but he writes, ‘There was little I could say … the word of the guru was not to be disobeyed. Bowing my head in acquiescence, I paid my respects in the traditional manner, Kashyap-ji gave me his blessing and the jeep drove off.’ This may seem very extreme to us. We may not even think of ourselves as having a teacher, never mind surrendering our will to them. But perhaps there is another way of thinking about it. Instead of surrendering our will, we can think of times when our will has blended with the will of another’s. When someone we 12


And what if, as well practising looking out in friendship and generosity, we practised looking up in gratitude? Gratitude isn’t passive. It starts with an awareness of benefits we’ve received from others – it’s a natural response to that. But gratitude itself opens us up even more to the qualities of the person we’re grateful to, so those qualities become blended with our own. We grow through gratitude. Both generosity and gratitude help us to realise that we’re not as separate from the rest of life as we thought we were, making them the emotional counterpart of wisdom. After I gave up on Christianity I put my hopes on science to provide me with answers to questions that all began with ‘Why?’ From my very first encounters with Buddhism I revised the very questions I was seeking answers for. Rather than focus on why the universe is as it is, the crucial issue became how I should live my life as a part of it. I began to see that the first steps are to practise generosity, and to practise gratitude. In doing so, we’ll be committing ourselves to something beyond ourselves and opening up to the realisation that there’s more to living than life. 

Rather on focus on why the universe is as it is, the crucial issue became how I should live my life as a part of it.

Subhadramati teaches on Monday and Wednesday evenings at the LBC (see p.20). From Weds 10th July, she’ll be co-leading ‘How to live: What to do’, a six-week course based on her book ‘Not About Being Good: A Guide to Buddhist Ethics’ (see p.31).

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London Buddhist Centre | May – Aug 2019

love asks us to do something, we can find ourselves not just doing it but delightedly doing it. We want to make them happy. In fact, their happiness is our happiness. So who’s will is being carried out here? It’s not wholly true to say it’s our will, because we’ve been asked to do the thing by our loved one. But it’s not wholly their will either because we have (willingly) carried out the action. It’s a blending of wills. If we practice expanding this process to include more and more people, then we’ll be loosening the knot of ‘me-at-the-centre-of-everything’; we’ll be breaking out of that closed circle of self-interest.

Instead of surrendering our will, we can think of times when our will has blended with the will of another’s.


tiful flower, Like a beau ured but brightly colo nt, even without sce the wellso useless is ech of uttered spe es not act one who do . accordingly

tiful flower, Like a beau ured and brightly colo n so useful scented, eve ttered is the well-u ne who acts speech of o . accordingly

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ood As a great fl ya carries awa lage, so sleeping vil off the death bears s se s se d o ne w ho, p o plucks of longing, wers of only the flo existence.

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London Buddhist Centre | May– Aug 2019

ada p a m m a h D — The


N O I T A N I ORD

nt ost significa m e th ly b a prob e Ordination is lives of those who decid p e ste moment in th e Buddhist path. It’s a th on to commit to ity united by the comm un into a comm towards enlightenment ing same. Here e goal of mov th o d to rs o othe o people wh tw and helping m o fr s n o flecti the Triratna are some re in jo to ts a e re g retr d two who a n went on lon a r, a e y t s er la Buddhist Ord ! on them now

d whole-hearte e ’r u o y n e h W ing positive, th e m o s t u o ab but have a it can’t help on the ct positive effe life. ur people in yo

Garavavati you work mething that so is n io at Ordin of time. As long period a er ov s d towar d to see me family star te d an s d n ie my fr g for them. a bit unsettlin as w it when g n gi chan and present ore available m iate I’m ec w pr no But really ap d I think they an k ac em b th e e I se welcom came to the ily m ey fa th y d M . that t Centre an the Buddhis ceremony at erience, when d! In my exp ou pr ry ve e wer t something earted abou h eol h ive w e ’r you have a posit n’t help but ca it e, iv it pos your life. e people in effect on th

perience It’s a rich ex n’t all as because it w rd and lovely a w r o tf h ig a str mething – there’s so ut that. bo necessary a

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t wasn’t Amaladana ination retrea d or e th d, or what In the en ed to attain ag an m I e t ha about w – it was mor ations I had it ed m l u e. rf pl wonde ith other peo could live w have ’t n id about how I d d ildren an ch h it w y ed ri I’m mar a communit ce of living in n ie er p en ex much t by the d ary at first, bu w as w I t. ne. It was contex wards everyo to m ar w ry I felt ve it wasn’t all ce because n ie as er p ex a rich at times it w and lovely – d ar rw ry fo sa ht straig ething neces there’s som difficult and about that.


Practising the Dharma has shown me that what I can’t yet imagine can be far better than anything I can.

Sarah I’ve not been on a retreat for longer than two weeks before. This is an extra ten! The whole thing has got this mysterious potential to it that I feel really drawn to. It’s like something right in the depths of my being knows that this is the best thing I could do with my life. I see joining the Order as taking part in a force for goodness in the world. There’s a little bit of fear – I feel like I’m in a process of letting go of who I currently am – but I’m excited to move into something new.

The whole thing has got this mysterious potential to it that I feel really drawn to.

You can welcome back this year’s new Order members and hear them talk about their time on retreat on 15th July (ex-Sarah and ex-Hanka, see p.32) and 5th August (ex-Todd, ex-Alex and ex-Barry, see p.34). 17

London Buddhist Centre | May – Aug 2019

Todd I’ve always liked my name, so I’m not looking forward to waving it goodbye. But however I feel about the new name when I hear it for the first time, I know that it will symbolise something that I want more than anything else, which is transformation. I know I need to transform my life. I think transformation is bigger than personal development or growth. It’s something you can’t imagine. Practising the Dharma has shown me that what I can’t yet imagine can be far better than anything I can.


One should pay no heed to the faults of others, what they have done and not done. Rather should one consider the things that one has oneself done and not done. ­— The Dhammapada

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E M M A R G PRO

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London Buddhist Centre | May – Aug 2019


EVERY WEEK

MONDAY TO SATURDAY LUNCHTIME MEDITATION TASTER Drop in and learn some of the principles of meditation or join the regulars to take your practice deeper. 1pm – 2pm. By donation.

WEDNESDAY MORNING DAYTIME DHARMA & MEDITATION CLASS A friendly and diverse class offering teaching and inspiration to newcomers and experienced practitioners alike. The first Wednesday of each month is a practice morning devoted to meditation and ritual, without meditation teaching for beginners. 10.35am – 12.30pm. Crèche facilities for children 6 mths – 5 yrs, supported by experienced staff. By donation.

MONDAY EVENING DHARMA NIGHT Þ Explore Buddhism through 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 means, drop in any Monday evening. 7.15pm – 9.45pm. Suggested donation £7.

THURSDAY EVENING REGULARS YOGA CLASS A 90-minute class providing a chance to progress deeper into your yoga practice. Not suitable for beginners. Wear warm, comfortable clothing. 7pm – 8.30pm. £12.

TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY EVENING MEDITATION Meditation is a way of creating a fit and healthy mind and a positive and creative world. Drop in either to learn meditation from scratch or to take your practice further and cultivate clear awareness, peace of mind and emotional positivity. 7.15pm – 9.30pm. Suggested donation £11/£6.

FRIDAY EVENING MEDITATION & PUJA Þ Devotional practice helps us to engage with ideals and strengthen our confidence in the Dharma. Bring the week to a contemplative close with meditation and ritual. 7pm – 9.45pm. Suggested donation £7. 20


London Buddhist Centre | May – Aug 2019

Let the silent sage move about in the village as the bee goes taking honey from the flower without harming colour or fragrance.

WEEKDAY LUNCHTIME & EARLY EVENING YOGA Drop-in sessions of yoga for meditation, encouraging flexibility, strength and awareness of bodily sensations. Suitable for all levels. Weekday lunchtimes, 12pm – 12.45pm & 1.15pm – 2pm. By donation. Mon/Tue/Wed/Fri evenings, 5.45pm – 6.45pm. £8.

­— The Dhammapada

SATURDAY MORNING YOGA First session: 10am – 11.15am. A longer class, including some meditation. Second session: 11.30am – 12.30pm. £10 per class. MONDAY & THURSDAY VOLUNTEER SESSIONS Following the lunchtime class, join in with the work period, cleaning the Centre and looking after the shrines. Every Monday & Thursday, 2.20pm – 3.30pm

Þ Suitable only if you’ve been taught the Metta Bhavana and Mindfulness of Breathing meditation practices.

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MAY

p Retreat  Course

FRI 3 – MON 6 MAY p INTRODUCTION TO BUDDHISM & MEDITATION WEEKEND RETREAT An ideal way to encounter meditation and the Buddhist vision for the first time. Join us to learn two far-reaching meditation practices and live communally in the countryside for a long weekend. Led by Mahamani & Maitreyaraja. £225 (£178 concs). At Vajrasana. Book online. SAT 4 MAY SUB25 BREAKFAST SEMINAR Join Dhammadinna as she brings her wealth of experience in Buddhist teaching and practice to exploring the Kasibharadvaja Sutta. In this early text, the Buddha describes the skill and effort needed to lead a truly meaningful life. 10am – 12.30pm. Followed by café lunch. For those aged 16 – 25. Suggested donation £7.

Þ Suitable only if you’ve been taught the Metta Bhavana and Mindfulness of Breathing meditation practices.

SUN 12 MAY PARENT DROP-IN DHARMA A class to give parents, non-parents and prospective parents the opportunity to practise together. 10.35am – 12.30pm. Second Sunday of the month. Crèche for children 6 mths – 5 yrs and activities for children 6 plus. Babies under 6 mths are welcome in the adult session. Suggested donation £7.

SAT 4 & 11 MAY

 MORNING MEDITATION INTENSIVE: AN EVER INCREASING FREEDOM Þ Meditation is an art. We learn the basics, then spend a lifetime deepening our ability to work effectively with our minds. Come and learn how to deepen your experience of meditation over two drop-in intensive mornings. Led by Maitrivajri. 9.30am – 12.30pm. (Doors open at 9.15am). Suggested donation £15.

SUN 12 MAY

 INTRODUCTION TO MEDITATION DAY Spend a day discovering how to keep your mind and heart in focus. You’ll learn two meditation practices that cultivate openness, clarity and courage. 10am – 5pm. £40 (£30 concs). Bring vegetarian lunch to share. Book online. 22


London Buddhist Centre | May – Aug 2019 SAT 18 MAY DISCUSSION MORNING FOR WOMEN WHO HAVE ASKED FOR ORDINATION Þ A wonderful opportunity to come together to discuss and reflect on your practice, meet up with old friends, make new ones and deepen your practice of going for refuge. With Subhadramati, on Spiritual Death and Rebirth. 10am – 12.30am. By donation.

STARTS TUE 14 MAY

 MEDITATION FOR LIFE Þ Meditation is not just for the cushion – its practice should permeate your daily life. This four-week drop-in course will teach you how to keep your meditation alive and effective and your life invigorated and transforming. Expect practical instruction, lively discussion and an intensification of your practice (both on and off the cushion). Led by Vidyadaka and Mahamani. 7.15pm – 9.45pm. Suggested donation £11/£6

SAT 18 MAY FULL MOON PUJA In coming together for a short ritual on the full moon of each month, we are joining Buddhists across the world in a tradition that goes back to the Buddha himself. After lunchtime class. 2.30pm. By donation.

FRI 17 MAY SUB25 CLASS: MASTERING FRIENDSHIP Meditation, Buddhism and discussion led by a group of young Buddhists, with an experienced teacher joining us each month. In May, Subhadramati explores how it was that the Buddha made friendship ‘the whole of the spiritual life’. 7.15pm – 9.45pm (Tea and cake ‘til 10.30pm). For those aged 16 – 25. Suggested donation £7.

SAT 18 MAY THIRD SATURDAY WOMEN’S CLASS Þ A meditation and Buddhism class for women. Discuss the Dharma, deepen the mind, cultivate friendship. Led by Maitripuspa and Padmalila. 3pm – 5.30pm. Free. Suggested donation £7. 23


MAY (Contd.)

p Retreat  Course

SAT 25 MAY TRANSFORMING SELF AND WORLD: EMPATHY IN ACTION Þ Join Shantigarbha who will share from his new book I’ll Meet You There: a practical guide to empathy, mindfulness and communication. With guided reflections, stories from the Buddha and practical exercises to help you develop your listening skills. 10am – 1pm. Last Saturday of the month. Suggested donation £7.

SUN 19 MAY BUDDHA DAY Everything we now call ‘Buddhism’ started with the Buddha’s Enlightenment two-and-ahalf thousand years ago. A day to celebrate and explore that remarkable achievement through talks, reflection, meditation and ritual. Concluding with Mitra ceremonies. Led by Subhadramati & Amalayodhin. 10am – 10pm. See full programme nearer the time. Bring vegetarian lunch to share. By donation.

SUN 26 MAY BUDDHIST SUNDAY SCHOOL Encouraging and developing our children’s mindfulness and kindness through Buddhist teaching, practice, storytelling and crafts. For 3 – 12 year olds. Parents/carers are welcome. Led by Jyotismati and team. 10.30am – 12.30pm. Last Sunday of every month. Suggested donation £7.

STARTS MON 20 MAY

 INTRODUCTION TO BUDDHISM & MEDITATION COURSE A six-week course led by experienced teachers offering an overview of Buddhist principles and an introduction to two meditation practices that cultivate selfawareness, open-heartedness and spiritual insight. Mon evenings, 7.15pm – 9.45pm. £110 (£90 concs). Book online.

FRI 31 MAY – SUN 2 JUNE p PADMALOKA’S GREAT GATHERING FOR MEN Þ Join Jayaka to gather with men from across Triratna for a weekend at Padmaloka on Milarepa: the no-nonsense hermit for our confusing times. £135 (£95 concs). At Padmaloka in Norfolk. Book online at padmaloka.org.uk

Þ Suitable only if you’ve been taught the Metta Bhavana and Mindfulness of Breathing meditation practices.

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London Buddhist Centre | May – Aug 2019

The Learner of the Transcendental Path shall make out the welltaught Verses of Truth as an expert picks flowers. — The Dhammapada 25


JUNE

p Retreat  Course

STARTS SAT 1 JUN THE MANDALA OF THE IMAGINATION Þ Find out how the imagination can lead us into deeper levels of being, understanding and insight. A course for Mitras to explore the imagination over three full days with meditation, reflection, talks and simple painting exercises. Led by Amitajyoti. Saturdays 1, 22 Jun & 13 Jul. 10am – 5pm. Bring vegetarian lunch to share. £140 (£120 concs). All materials included. Book online.

STARTS THU 6 JUN

 YOGA AND MEDITATION FOR BEGINNERS A four-week course suitable for beginners. Learn the principles of yoga and meditation in a small group with clear, comprehensive guidance and a supportive atmosphere. 7pm – 8.30pm £40 (£30 concs). Book online.

SAT 1 JUN YOGA FOR MEDITATION WORKSHOP Yoga has been used for centuries as a preparation for meditation; in this workshop we’ll explore the relationship between the two. We’ll start with a dynamic yoga practice and end with a restorative session for balance and relaxation. Led by Danayutta. 3pm – 5.30pm. £25 (£20 concs). Book online.

FRI 7 – SUN 16 JUN p MEN’S INTENSIVE MEDITATION RETREAT: ENTERING EMPTINESS * 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 such a 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. Led by Jnanavaca & Satyadasa. £461 (£349 concs). At Vajrasana. Book online.

SUN 2 JUN BUDDHISM & 12-STEP RECOVERY Þ A day for people interested in Buddhism and meditation who are also in 12-Step Recovery Groups. Led by Sanghasiha. 10am – 5pm. Bring vegetarian lunch to share. Suggested donation £30.

Þ Suitable only if you’ve been taught the Metta Bhavana and Mindfulness of Breathing meditation practices.

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SUN 9 JUN PARENT DROP-IN DHARMA A class to give parents, non-parents and prospective parents the opportunity to practise together. 10.35am – 12.30pm. Second Sunday of the month. Crèche for children 6 mths – 5 yrs and activities for children 6 plus. Babies under 6 mths are welcome in the adult session. Suggested donation £7.

SAT 15 JUN FILM NIGHT That Obscure Object of Desire (1977). Buñuel’s final film is funny, unpredictable, engaging and disturbing. Two very different women alternate in the same role as the object of one man’s lust. Led by Devamitra. 7.15pm. Suggested donation £7.

SAT 15 JUN THIRD SATURDAY WOMEN’S CLASS Þ A meditation and Buddhism class for women. Discuss the Dharma, deepen the mind, cultivate friendship. Led by Maitripuspa and Padmalila. 3pm – 5.30pm. Free. Suggested donation £7.

 INTRODUCTION TO MEDITATION DAY

SUN 16 JUN Spend a day discovering how to keep your mind and heart in focus. You’ll learn two meditation practices that cultivate openness, clarity and courage. 10am – 5pm. £40 (£30 concs). Bring vegetarian lunch to share. Book online. 27

London Buddhist Centre | May – Aug 2019

SAT 15 JUN DISCUSSION MORNING FOR WOMEN WHO HAVE ASKED FOR ORDINATION Þ A wonderful opportunity to come together to discuss and reflect on your practice, meet up with old friends, make new ones and deepen your practice of going for refuge. With Sraddhagita, on Padmasambhava’s teaching to the three fortunate women. 10am – 12.30pm. By donation.


JUNE (Contd.) SUN 16 JUN YOGA & MEDITATION DAY These immersive practice days are essential for boosting inspiration and maintaining a sense of creativity in yoga and meditation. Suitable for beginners and regulars. 10am – 5pm. £40 (£30 concs). Bring vegetarian lunch to share. Book online. FRI 21 – SUN 23 JUN p INTRODUCTION TO BUDDHISM & MEDITATION WEEKEND RETREAT An ideal way to encounter meditation and the Buddhist vision for the first time. Join us to learn two far-reaching meditation practices and live communally in the countryside for a weekend. Led by Prajnamanas & Garavavati. £195 (£154 concs). At Vajrasana. Book online.

MON 17 JUN FULL MOON PUJA In coming together for a short ritual on the full moon of each month, we are joining Buddhists across the world in a tradition that goes back to the Buddha himself. After Dharma Night Class. 9.45pm. By donation. FRI 21 JUN SUB25 CLASS: CONQUERING HATRED Meditation, Buddhism and discussion led by a group of young Buddhists, with an experienced teacher joining us each month. In June, Padmavajra makes a special visit from Padmaloka to talk about the Buddha’s radical loving-kindness and the social revolution it started. 7.15pm – 9.45pm (Tea and cake ‘til 10.30pm). For those aged 16 – 25. Suggested donation £7.

SAT 22 JUN

 CHI-KUNG WORKSHOP Learn some warm-ups and standing postures of Chi-Kung, then bring the energy generated into meditation. For health, inner strength and tranquility. Suitable for all levels. Led by Jnanadaya. 10.00am – 12.30pm. £15. Book online. 28


London Buddhist Centre | May – Aug 2019

p Retreat  Course

Þ Suitable only if you’ve been taught the Metta Bhavana and Mindfulness of Breathing meditation practices.

SUN 23 JUN OPEN DAY On these stimulating and lively days, you can get a sense of what goes on at the London Buddhist Centre. Find out about Buddhism, learn to meditate or try a taster session in Breathing Space. 11am – 5pm. See full programme nearer the time. All events free with refreshments provided. FRI 28 JUN – FRI 5 JUL p YOGA & MEDITATION RETREAT Come and join us for a week in the countryside, practicing yoga and meditation. Over the retreat we will be working to integrate our body and mind to create a positive and unified whole. Suitable for complete beginners as well as those familiar with meditation and yoga. £427 (£322 concs). At Vajrasana. Book online.

SAT 29 JUN DHARMA FOR THE PLANET Þ A special Transforming Self & World day for Buddhist Action Month exploring Buddhist perspectives on consumerism, waste and ethical practice. How can we respond individually and collectively to transform both ourselves and the planet? The day will include meditation, discussion, a collective green action in the community, creativity and ritual. Led by Yogaratna and Tareshvari. 10am – 5pm. Bring vegetarian lunch to share. Suggested donation £30. SUN 30 JUN BUDDHIST SUNDAY SCHOOL Encouraging and developing our children’s mindfulness and kindness through Buddhist teaching, practice, storytelling and crafts. For 3 – 12 year olds. Parents/carers are welcome. Led by Jyotismati and team. 10.30am – 12.30pm. Last Sunday of every month. Suggested donation £7. 29


JULY

p Retreat  Course

STARTS MON 1 JUL

 INTRODUCTION TO BUDDHISM & MEDITATION COURSE A six-week course led by experienced Þ Suitable only if you’ve been taught teachers offering an overview of Buddhist the Metta Bhavana and Mindfulness of principles and an introduction to two meditation Breathing meditation practices. practices that cultivate self-awareness, openheartedness and spiritual insight. Mon evenings, 7.15pm – 9.45pm. £110 (£90 concs). Book online. SAT 6 JUL FILM NIGHT FRI 5 – SUN 7 JUL The Road Home (1999). Zhang Ziyi’s p SANGHA INTENSIVE WEEKEND: captivating debut performance, at the age WORLDLY MIND, ENLIGHTENED MIND Þ of nineteen, is the heart of this visually How do we liberate our mind and expand our exquisite film by Zhang Yimou. heart when the pulls of the world, and the Led by Devamitra. grooves of habit, are so strong? On this mostly 7.15pm. Suggested donation £7. silent retreat for those who are consistently deepening their Dharma practice at the SUN 7 JUL LBC we will explore ways to find the point of DEEP ECOLOGY DAY Þ freedom amidst a world of attachment. A day of practice exploring our relationship Led by Vidyadaka & Garavavati. with the natural world through ritual, £195 (£154 concs). sound meditation, talks, poetry, music and At Vajrasana. Book online. discussion. Led by Sanghasiha. SAT 6 JUL 10am – 5pm. Bring vegetarian lunch to SUB25 BREAKFAST SEMINAR share. Suggested donation £30. ‘Here then, form is no other than emptiness, emptiness no other than form.’ Baffling to our SUN 7 JUL everyday mind, the Heart Sutra cuts straight TOTAL IMMERSION DAY Þ to the essential paradoxes in the nature of A day exploring how to bring more love into reality. Join us for a seminar with Jnanavaca our lives through a deeper awareness of to discuss this famous and important text. ourselves and our connection with others. 10am – 12.30pm. Followed by café lunch. Led by Prajnamala. For those aged 16 – 25. Suggested 10am – 5pm. Bring vegetarian lunch to donation £7. share. Suggested donation £30. 30


SAT 13 JUL YOGA FOR MEDITATION WORKSHOP Yoga has been used for centuries as a preparation for meditation; in this workshop we’ll explore the relationship between the two. We’ll start with a dynamic yoga practice and end with a restorative session for balance and relaxation. Led by Garavavati. 3pm – 5.30pm. £25 (£20 concs). Book online.

Get down to basics and learn meditation from the ground up with this four-week course. A chance for beginners to systematically discover the purpose and practice of meditation. You’ll be supported with handouts, home practice and simple, straightforward teaching. Led by Sanghasiha and Prajnadevi. 7.15pm – 9.45pm. £100/£80. Book Online. STARTS WED 10 JUL How do we make the most of life? Your everyday life might be wildly ecstatic, unbearably agonizing or just plain dull. Whatever your starting point, you can engage with a practical path to harmony and fulfilment, helping yourself and becoming a positive force in the world around you. A six-week course using Subhadramati’s book Not About Being Good: A Guide to Buddhist Ethics as our guide. Led by Subhadramati and Prajnamanas. Weds evenings, 7.15pm – 9.45pm. £110 (£90 concs). Price includes the book.

SUN 14 JUL DHARMA DAY: KONDAÑÑA KNOWS The Buddha was overjoyed when his old friend Kondañña became the first person to truly understand the Dharma he was teaching. This spark of Truth has passed to the present day, from person to person, in friendship. Join us for a day of meditation and celebration of the precious gift of the Buddha’s Dharma. Concluding with Mitra ceremonies. Led by Satyadasa & Sraddhagita. 10am – 10pm. See full programme nearer the time. Bring vegetarian lunch to share. By donation.

SAT 13 JUL MANTRA & MEDITATION MORNING Þ Mantras are sound symbols that point towards the mystery and beauty of Enlightenment. On this morning, through meditation and chanting, we will attempt to explore that mystery. Led by Dayabhadra. 9.30am – 12.30pm. Suggested donation £15.

SUN 14 JUL PARENT DROP-IN DHARMA A class to give parents, non-parents and prospective parents the opportunity to practise together. 10.35am – 12.30pm. Second Sunday of the month. Crèche for children 6 mths – 5 yrs and activities for children 6 plus. Babies under 6 mths are welcome in the adult session. Suggested donation £7.

 HOW TO LIVE: WHAT TO DO

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London Buddhist Centre | May – Aug 2019

STARTS TUE 9 JUL

 MEDITATION STARTUP COURSE


JULY (Contd.) SAT 20 JUL DISCUSSION MORNING FOR WOMEN WHO HAVE ASKED FOR ORDINATION Þ A wonderful opportunity to come together to discuss and reflect on your practice, meet up with old friends, make new ones and deepen your practice of going for refuge. Theme and leader TBC closer to the time. 10am – 12.30pm. By donation.

MON 15 JUL WELCOME BACK EVENING Ordination is a highly significant aspect of the Dharma life which has the potential to radically transform the lives of many. In this special celebratory and devotional evening will welcome back ex-Hanka and ex-Sarah who, all being well, will have recently returned from a long ordination retreat in Spain. Led by Suryagupta. 7.15 – 9.45pm. Suggested donation £7.

SAT 20 JUL THIRD SATURDAY WOMEN’S CLASS Þ A meditation and Buddhism class for women. Discuss the Dharma, deepen the mind, cultivate friendship. Led by Mahamani & Padmalila. 3pm – 5.30pm. Free. Suggested donation £7.

TUE 16 JUL FULL MOON PUJA In coming together for a short ritual on the full moon of each month, we are joining Buddhists across the world in a tradition that goes back to the Buddha himself. After Tuesday Night Class. 9.30pm. By donation.

SUN 21 JUL

 INTRODUCTION TO MEDITATION DAY Spend a day discovering how to keep your mind and heart in focus. You’ll learn two meditation practices that cultivate openness, clarity and courage. 10am – 5pm. £40 (£30 concs). Bring vegetarian lunch to share. Book online.

FRI 19 JUL SUB25 CLASS: MEETING GRIEF Meditation, Buddhism and discussion led by a group of young Buddhists, with an experienced teacher joining us each month. In July, LBC Chair Suryagupta explores the Buddha’s kind but uncompromising response to grief and loss. 7.15pm – 9.45pm (Tea and cake ‘til 10.30pm). For those aged 16 – 25. Suggested donation £7.

SUN 21 JUL YOGA & MEDITATION DAY These immersive practice days are essential for boosting inspiration and maintaining a sense of creativity in yoga and meditation. Suitable for beginners and regulars. 10am – 5pm. £40 (£30 concs). Bring vegetarian lunch to share. Book online. 32


MON 22 – FRI 26 JUL

 MEDITATION TOOLKIT: BODY LIKE A MOUNTAIN, HEART LIKE THE OCEAN, MIND LIKE THE SKY Þ How do you keep your meditation practice alive and vigorous so that you remain alert, open and aware? Learn how to work in meditation to keep these qualities alive over five lunchtime drop-in classes. Come to all five classes or just as many as you can. Led by Jayaka. Every day, 1pm – 2pm. By donation. FRI 26 JUL – SUN 4 AUG p WOMEN’S INTENSIVE MEDITATION RETREAT: QUIETLY REVERING THE UNFATHOMABLE Þ Through meditation, silence, reflection, ritual and poetry we will try to approach realms ‘beyond the reach of thought’. You’ll need to have an established, regular practice of the meditations taught at the LBC to come on this retreat – and there will be plenty of opportunity to deepen this, supported by meditation reviews and long periods of silence. Led by Subhadramati and Kusalasara. With Danayutta, Mahamani, Maitrivajri and Vishvantara. £461 (£349 concs). At Vajrasana. Book online. 33

SAT 27 JUL TRANSFORMING SELF AND WORLD Þ A morning exploring a Buddhist perspective on the social issues of the day. How can we apply the Dharma to transform ourselves and our communities? 10am – 1pm. Last Saturday of the month. Suggested donation £7. SAT 27 JUL FILM NIGHT The Fog of War (2003). Candid, moving and insightful, Robert McNamara, US Defence Secretary during the Cuban missile crisis and the Vietnam war reflects on lessons learnt from his long life. Led by Devamitra. 7.15pm. Suggested donation £7. SUN 28 JUL BUDDHIST SUNDAY SCHOOL Encouraging and developing our children’s mindfulness and kindness through Buddhist teaching, practice, storytelling and crafts. For 3 – 12 year olds. Parents/carers are welcome. Led by Jyotismati and team. 10.30am – 12.30pm. Last Sunday of every month. Suggested donation £7.

London Buddhist Centre | May – Aug 2019

Þ Suitable only if you’ve been taught the Metta Bhavana and Mindfulness of Breathing meditation practices.

p Retreat  Course


AUGUST

p Retreat  Course

FRI 9 – SUN 18 AUG p SUMMER RETREAT: THE DRAMA OF COSMIC ENLIGHTENMENT The greatest of all transformations is the growth and development of human consciousness. Personally we can change our mind and our day-to-day lives; universally we can enter into a cosmic drama that will illuminate our imaginations and resonate at the deepest core of our being. Come on this retreat and discover the personal and universal significance of the Buddha’s Enlightenment. Aimed at those who are new to meditation and Buddhism. Led by Suryagupta & Vidyadaka. £461 (£349 concs). At Vajrasana. Book Online.

SAT 3 AUG MORNING MEDITATION INTENSIVE: SEEING REALITY Recently returned from leading a four-month ordination retreat, join Maitreyabandhu for this intensive morning exploring how the cultivation of a ‘fit mind’ and a ‘fit heart’ can help us to see into the truth of reality more and more deeply. Led by Maitreyabandhu. 9.15am – 12.30pm. Suggested donation £15. MON 5 AUG WELCOME BACK EVENING Ordination is a highly significant aspect of the Dharma life which has the potential to radically transform the lives of many. In this special celebratory and devotional evening will welcome back ex-Alex, ex-Barry and exTodd who, all being well, will have recently returned from a long ordination retreat in Spain. Led by Suryagupta. 7.15 – 9.45pm. Suggested donation £7

STARTS MON 12 AUG

 INTRODUCTION TO BUDDHISM & MEDITATION COURSE A six-week course led by experienced teachers offering an overview of Buddhist principles and an introduction to two meditation practices that cultivate selfawareness, open-heartedness and spiritual insight. Mon evenings, 7.15pm – 9.45pm. £110 (£90 concs). Book online. 34


London Buddhist Centre | May – Aug 2019

Þ Suitable only if you’ve been taught the Metta Bhavana and Mindfulness of Breathing meditation practices.

THU 15 AUG FULL MOON PUJA In coming together for a short ritual on the full moon of each month, we are joining Buddhists across the world in a tradition that goes back to the Buddha himself. After Thurs Night Yoga Class. 8.45pm. By donation.

SAT 17 AUG

 CHI-KUNG WORKSHOP Learn some warm-ups and standing postures of Chi-Kung, then bring the energy generated into meditation. For health, inner strength and tranquility. Suitable for all levels. Led by Jayaka. 10.00am – 12.30pm. £15. Book online.

FRI 16 AUG SUB25 CLASS: LEAVING HOME Meditation, Buddhism and discussion led by a group of young Buddhists, with an experienced teacher joining us each month. In August, Amalayodhin discusses comingof-age stories and the Buddha-to-be’s first big step on his spiritual quest. 7.15pm – 9.45pm (Tea and cake ‘til 10.30pm). For those aged 16 – 25. Suggested donation £7.

SAT 17 AUG THIRD SATURDAY WOMEN’S CLASS Þ A meditation and Buddhism class for women. Discuss the Dharma, deepen the mind, cultivate friendship. Led by Maitripuspa and Padmalila. 3pm – 5.30pm. Free. Suggested donation £7.

FRI 16 – SUN 18 AUG p NATIONAL SUB25 RETREAT Travel with a group of us from London to the beautiful Herefordshire countryside where we’ll join others from across the country on this big annual retreat. A chance to deepen our engagement with our minds, our lives and the world, through meditation, discussion, friendship and ritual. At Adhisthana in Herefordshire. £74/£52. For those aged 16 – 25. Book online.

SUN 18 AUG

 INTRODUCTION TO MEDITATION DAY Spend a day discovering how to keep your mind and heart in focus. You’ll learn two meditation practices that cultivate openness, clarity and courage. 10am – 5pm. £40 (£30 concs). Bring vegetarian lunch to share. Book online. 35


AUGUST (Contd.) SUN 18 AUG YOGA & MEDITATION DAY These immersive practice days are essential for boosting inspiration and maintaining a sense of creativity in yoga and meditation. Suitable for beginners and regulars. 10am – 5pm. £40 (£30 concs). Bring vegetarian lunch to share. Book online.

p Retreat  Course

MON 26 AUG 108-YEAR PUJA FOR BHANTE Bhante Sangharakshita, who died last year, was the founder of the Triratna Buddhist Community whose members are pioneering a ‘living Buddhism’ which can lead to the radical transformation of ourselves and the creation of a new society. Each year, on his birthday, we celebrate his life and work with a special puja. This is the seventeenth year of the 108 years that the puja will be taking place. All are welcome! 7.15pm. Part of Dharma Night. Suggested donation £7.

SAT 24 AUG FILM NIGHT This Must Be the Place (2012), Sorrentino’s first film in English is characteristically quirky, humorous and beautifully shot, its resolution as extraordinary as Sean Penn’s performance as an ex-rock star. Led by Devamitra. 7.15pm. Suggested donation £7.

The Transforming Self & World Class, Parent Drop-In Dharma and the Buddhist Sunday School will all take a break in August. Join them as usual from September.

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London Buddhist Centre | May – Aug 2019

As many garlands are made from a heap of flowers, so one who is a mortal born should perform many ethically skilful deeds. ­— The Dhammapada

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poetryEast at the London Buddhist Centre, explores the meaning and value of the arts. Previous guests include Antony Gormley, Alice Oswald, Rowan Williams, Jorie Graham, and Colm Tóibín. poetryEast is on a sabbatical over the summer while Maitreyabandhu is away on retreat. Diary dates: After Cezanne, a launch of Maitreyabandhu’s new poetry collection (Sat 21 Sep), poet and broadcaster Paul Farley (16 Nov), Kei Miller (date TBC) and Anish Kapoor (date TBC)

Mindfulness-based approaches to prevent depression, addiction, stress and anxiety MINDFULNESS-BASED STRESS REDUCTION COURSES Change the way you relate to stress and anxiety MINDFULNESS-BASED COGNITIVE THERAPY COURSES Learn tools to prevent relapse into depression. CARERS DROP-IN Tuesdays 11.15am – 12.45pm Guided meditation, sharing circle and stress reduction. For more info and to book: breathingspacelondon.org.uk

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Led by a group of young Buddhists, these events are a great way to discover meditation and find out more about the teaching of the Buddha in a way that’s relevant in your everyday life. THIRD FRIDAY SUB25 CLASS This Summer we’re exploring stories from the life of the Buddha and drawing inspiration so that we can meet the primary challenges of our own lives in the light of his teaching:

SUB25 SATURDAY MORNING BREAKFAST SEMINARS 4 MAY: Kasibharadvaja Sutta with Dhammadinna 6 JUL: The Heart Sutra with Jnanavaca 10am – 12.30pm. Followed by café lunch. Suggested donation £7.

17 MAY: Mastering Friendship with Subhadramati 21 JUN: Conquering Hatred with Padmavajra 19 JUL: Meeting Grief with Suryagupta 16 AUG: Leaving Home with Amalayodhin

NATIONAL SUB25 RETREAT FRI 16 – SUN 18 AUG £74 (£52 concs) At Adhisthana in Herefordshire. Book online.

7.15pm – 9.45pm (Tea and cake ‘til 10.30pm) Suggested donation £7

Turn to the monthly listing pages to find out more about the events on this page. To join the mailing list or to ask any questions, you can contact the Sub25 team on Sub25@lbc.org.uk.

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London Buddhist Centre | May – Aug 2019

(Ages 16-25)


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Editor: Gus Miller Design: Idoia Acha Photography: Sam Roberts, Idoia Acha and Vidyadaka Contributor portraits: Gus Miller Proofreading: Barry Copping Thank you: Sam Roberts, Jayaka, Nandaraja, Amaradaya and Clear Vision Trust

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Profile for London Buddhist Centre

The London Buddhist Centre - Summer 2019  

Our latest magazine and programme of events.

The London Buddhist Centre - Summer 2019  

Our latest magazine and programme of events.

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