Adhisthana 2018 Saddhanandi 4 50 Years On Saddhaloka 8 Our Lines of Acceptance Sahajatara 30 Lokeshvara 56 Vidyamala 74 Vessantara 100
Sikkha Training Events 66
Order Retreats System of Practice 12 Sadhana 22 Lineage 34 Nature of Existence 42 Arts+The Imaginal 50 Community of Enquiry 60
Gatherings Order Weekends 90 Gender-Diverse 92 Parents 94 Elders 96 Young Buddhists 98
Order + Mitra Triratna50 78 Creating Sangha 84
Information Community 104 Calendar 106
Adhisthana in 2018 Saddhanandi, Chair
With every passing year Adhisthana develops further to support the activities and functions happening here. Even whilst writing this, a new shrine has appeared in the main shrine-room using the wood from an old oak tree that had to be felled the year before. That tree took hundreds of years to grow, and it has taken several months to prepare the wood and create a structure for it. Then, when it is eventually put in place, it’s hard to recognise all the conditions at play in its making. This play of conditions, even seemingly quite insignificant conditions, gradually form the culture that is needed for this institution to honour the Sangha that it is serving, and it seems that every visitor adds something to the momentum that is becoming Adhisthana.
06/07 ADHISTHANA IN 2018
I’ve been reflecting on some words from Bhante’s 1979 lecture, Building the Buddhaland:
“We are not passive in relation to the external world. We do not merely register impressions. The world impinges on us, and we also impinge on the world, on our environment... Not only do we impinge on the world; we affect it in various ways. We alter it, we arrange it, we rearrange it – at least to some extent, however slight. And not only that, there is a pattern to the way we impinge on the world. We don’t impinge on it at random, but in accordance with a certain idea, a certain pattern, image, gestalt, or myth, within ourselves – even, we could say, a pattern which is ourselves. It is rare for us consciously to realise this, but what it means is that our relationship with the world is essentially creative. We are creating all the time... there is no question, therefore, of whether or not we should be creative, of whether or not we should create a world. We have no choice. The only choice we have is what kind of world we create.”
Following these reflections, it’s very obvious to me that the development of an institution is a relational process. An institution shapes and directs a community, and a community shapes and directs that institution, and planning the events for 2018 has been a strongly relational process of creativity - trying to create a sense of direction without reaching premature synthesis and allowing that sense of direction to resonate with the needs of the Order and movement right now. I hope the events now listed in our programme reflect something of the vision and receptivity with which it has been created. If you come here, you’ll realise that Adhisthana does not offer the secluded environment of a retreat centre. Instead it offers a participation in the larger mandala of the Triratna community, where different retreats and groupings coincide all the time, making it more obvious that our lives are taking place within a much larger vision. Each morning everyone gathers to chant the Tiratana Vandana and meditate, and through this daily ritual a community is anchored in shared silence and liturgy within an array of diverse activity. Between us an institution and a world is being created and embodied, within which each one of us can participate and trust. In the words of my favourite poet:
“I looked around, and I thought this is the world I want to live in, the shared world... This can still happen anywhere. Not everything is lost.” Within these pages, as well as our programme of events, you will hear voices of the Order giving expression to the Lines of Acceptance we recite during our Public Ordination, the commitment to the Bodhisattva Ideal held at the heart of our Order, in it’s 50th year.
50 Years On... The Triratna Buddhist Order Saddhaloka
Last year we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order/ Triratna Buddhist Community and in 2018 we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Triratna Buddhist Order. On April 7th 1968, on a Sunday afternoon in London, as Urgyen Sangharakshita, our founder and teacher, writes in The History of My Going for Refuge, â€™nine men and three women committed themselves to the path of the Buddha by publicly taking the Three Refuges and Ten Precepts from me in the traditional manner.â€™ Fifty years on there are something like 2,200 Order members all around the world. It has been a remarkable journey. So much achieved, so many lives transformed by the Dharma. Of course it has not always been easy or straightforward. Much good has been done, but mistakes have been made, and perhaps significantly this fiftieth year has been a turbulent one for Triratna. A lot of energy has been going into trying to clarify and understand our past. There is still work to do, and there is a serious commitment to following our difficulties through as fully as possible.
A spiritual community is inevitably an untidy affair. We can have noble ideals and intentions, but we bring with us to the spiritual life all our conditioning, confusion and shadows, and we have to integrate and transform them as best we can. We need a context, a container big enough to hold and sustain this process. The Dharma offers such a container, but it also needs to assume specific forms in the way of teachings and practices and people and places.
10/11 50 YEARS ON
Adhisthana is a place of considerable natural beauty and quiet blessing. Although we have been here barely four years, it has already taken on a remarkable significance in the life of our Order and community. Of course it is Bhante Sangharakshita’s last home and he will eventually be buried here. Order members, Mitras and Friends from all around the world have visited for retreats, events, meetings, or just to see the place and for individual meetings. Many comment on the special atmosphere they find here, and speak of Adhisthana as a sort of spiritual home. Somehow it starts to assume the character of those ‘thin places’ of Celtic mythology, where other dimensions or realms can be touched or more easily accessed. Where the blessings of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are present. “In the song of the birds In the whispering of the trees Even in the dancing sunbeams.” Shantideva The Triratna Buddhist Order is a mysterious phenomenon. Wherever Order members come together on the basis of their shared Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels, something comes alive and is present
between them. Yet we human beings have a need to make things concrete. It can be immensely meaningful to go on pilgrimage to the places of the historic Buddhaâ€™s birth, Enlightenment, first teaching and Parinirvana. At this place, Adhisthana, it can sometimes feel as if it becomes easier to rest at the heart of the Order and sense the presence of the heart of Enlightenment, the Bodhicitta. Bhante has evoked the myth of the Order in the Elevenheaded and Thousand-armed Avalokitesvara, looking out in every direction over our suffering world, and reaching out in love and compassion to beings everywhere, each Order member an arm of Avalokitesvara serving the great task in whatever way they best can. Above Avalokitesvara rests Amitabha, Buddha of Infinite Love and Infinite Light. To the extent that we free ourselves of self-clinging, that love and light can flow freely through us and out into the world. Fifty years have gone by since the founding of the Order. It is difficult to know just what the next fifty years will bring, but they are likely to be very challenging times for the human race. In our Order and Community we have an increasingly effective crucible for spiritual transformation, and we need to work to make it more effective, and available to more and more people, over the coming decades.
System of Meditation, Sangharakshita 1978
System of Practice “Buddhism, the Dharma, grew out of the Buddha’s meditation under the Bodhi tree, two thousand and five hundred years ago; grew, that is to say, out of meditation in the sense of a direct, total, comprehensive, in fact, all-comprehending, vision and experience of ultimate reality. It’s out of this that the Dharma grew, and it is by renewed contact with this that the Dharma continually refreshes itself through the ages.”
Vessantara 11-20 May £333 waged £234 unwaged Order
This is the seventh in the series of very popular retreats on The Mandala of Spiritual Practice that Vessantara has been leading at Adhisthana. During these nine days, we shall again explore the insight, or ‘spiritual death’, aspect of meditation. Insight practice catalyses a process of progressive seeing that frees and relaxes the mind. On this retreat we’ll approach insight in a very practical way, using different meditations to help free ourselves from what prevents us experiencing life in all its flowing, ungraspable and undivided richness. We shall also look into some pitfalls in the insight process – places where we tend to get stuck and bring the dynamic process of seeing and freeing to a halt.
14/15 SYSTEM OF PRACTICE
As usual for retreats in this series, we will mostly be in silence. There will be presentations and guided meditations, the opportunity for meditation reviews, aswell as daily devotional practice.
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Image: Clear Vision
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Saddhaloka + Saddhanandi 22-29 June £259 waged £182 unwaged Order
The Mind Training teachings coming from Atisha and his disciples go to the heart of the Buddhist tradition. They use pithy slogans such as ’Bring every difficulty to the Path’ to encourage a wholehearted and unwavering commitment to the Dharma, whatever one’s circumstances and whatever life throws up. Our ‘reactions’ to life people, emails, responsibilities, media - serve as indicators of self-clinging and again and again offer opportunities for transformation. To make possible this process of transformation we are urged to enter into the deepest Wisdom and to arouse an unbounded Love and Compassion, yet the Mind Training teachings have about them a lightness of touch, a gentle warmth and humour.
16/17 SYSTEM OF PRACTICE
We will be exploring these teachings through presentations, discussion, meditation - including daily Bodhicitta practice - reflection, readings and devotional practice.
The Unwavering Heart: Mind Training + Bodhicitta
Kadampa Precepts Atisha
â€œPractise love, compassion and bodhi-mind toward all sentient beings. Make effort to accumulate merit and wisdom on behalf of them all. Dedicate all roots of virtue to the attainment of Buddhahood together with all sentient beings, whose number would fill the sky. Understand that all these things are empty of self-nature, like a dream or a magicianâ€™s illusion.â€?
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Dhammarati, “She saw that things arose, abided and Dhivan, fell away. She saw that knowing this Prasadavati + arose, abided and fell away. Then she Vajradevi knew that there was nothing more 29 July - 5 Aug than this, no ground, nothing to lean on £259 waged stronger than the cane she held, nothing £182 unwaged to lean upon at all, and no-one leaning, Order and she opened the clenched fist in her mind and let go and fell into the midst of everything.” Teijitsu, 18th century abbess of Hakujuan
18/19 SYSTEM OF PRACTICE
The team have immersed themselves in the Anapanasati and Satipatthana Suttas and practices for many years. In this retreat they will share their perspectives and guide us into the practice of attending to experience, with kindly awareness, energy, and wisdom, as a direct path to awakening.
Satipatthana: the direct path
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20/21 SYSTEM OF PRACTICE
Manjuvajra + “The more radically the teaching removes Bodhiketu from our view the slightest substantial 5-12 August self or world, the more intensely we £259 waged fall in love with living beings regarding £182 unwaged them all without exception as most Order intimately connected to our own existence.” Mother of the Buddhas The Contemplation of the Six Elements is a fundamental insight practice taught within Triratna. By bringing awareness to the five elements of form, and by contemplating them in the light of the lakshanas, we can release our identification with them. Similarly with the element of Consciousness; however some people have also found it helpful to identify the five elements of consciousness and to then contemplate them, also in the light of the lakshanas, to enable liberation. It is assumed that those attending the retreat will know the basics of the practice, so, after a day or two with discussion, the retreat will be mainly in silence - including silent, unled, meditations - so that everyone can follow their own inspiration. Evening group discussions about the meditation have proved very helpful and there will be a devotional strand to highlight that spiritual rebirth follows spiritual death.
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Manjughosa Stuti Sadhana
Sadhana “…and then he should enter the ways of activity; and in the intervals when not meditating too he should make all the ways of activity purposeful through being inseparable from the embryo of Voidness and Compassion.”
We continue our series of Sadhana retreats exploring the practice as a path to insight into the nature of our perception of appearance and voidness - an initiation into the maya way through enacting these profound dramas. The retreats are open to all, regardless of whether you have practised the sadhana before.
Srisambhava, “I felt that in seeing the figure of Karunachitta + Padmasambhava I had become conscious of a spiritual presence that Visuddhimati had in fact been with me all the time… 10-17 August In other words, that magical figure had £259 waged £182 unwaged activated, at a very deep level, a part of me that hitherto had lain dormant and Order ♀ unrecognized. Though I had not seen it before, it was strangely familiar. It was familiar as my own self, yet at the same time infinitely mysterious, infinitely wonderful, and infinitely inspiring. Familiar, mysterious, wonderful and inspiring it was to remain. Indeed, the Precious Guru was to occupy a permanent place in my spiritual life.” Facing Mount Kanchenjunga, Sangharakshita
In 1962, ten years after Bhante’s first encounter with Padmasambhava, he was introduced to the visualisation practice of him by Kachu Rimpoche. In performing this Sadhana practice, and devoting ourselves to the Greatly Precious Guru, we will open ourselves up to the strangely familiar, and infinitely mysterious LotusBorn and enter into the magical display of openness and appearance.
The Greatly Precious Guru: Padmasambhava Sadhana
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Lokeshvara, Parami + Saddhaloka 14-21 Sept £259 waged £182 unwaged Order
“As forms in a glass, deities in ourselves we image: Image and void conjoined are maya’s dance; Dancer like, divers costumes make him fair: Fair, comely, mirrored image of the mind. With single-pointed devotion to the guru above your head… Truly complete Buddha Measureless Light, I entreat you to think of me with a kindly heart... Transmute us that we swiftly gain Buddhahood.” Come and join the dance, down through the centuries, entering into the Sadhana passed to Bhante by Jamyang Khyentse Rimpoche on 24th October 1957 in Kalimpong... passed on to us... and through us… on and on...
Om Mani Padme Hum
Throne of Jewels, Carpet of a Lotus, Disc of a Moon: Avalokitesvara Sadhana
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Vessantara + Punyamala 16-23 Nov £259 waged £182 unwaged Order
The Vajrasattva sadhana is one of the Foundation Yogas that we practise in Triratna. In the course of this week we’ll explore in detail both the view of the world and ourselves that the sadhana reveals to us, and the practical aspects of the visualization and mantra recitation.
The practice is a deep purification: of past karma, of our mind’s unskilful tendencies, and of unhelpful views – both limiting views about ourselves that are common in the West, and views about how things are. Through it we come to a fresher and freer experience of ourselves and the world. Finally, the sadhana takes us into a timeless dimension in which everything is fresh, and even the subtlest alienation from life has been overcome.
Like Sunlight on Freshly Fallen Snow: Vajrasattva Sadhana
To Vajrasattva, Ananda
â€œIn the beginning, before the smouldering sun spoke fire into the quenching sea before the earth woke from dreams of burning and the stars sang in their temples with voices of ice; before the light was divided and the mind bowed with its yearning for things seen and unseen you sat with sun and moon on your brow knowing neither moon nor sun and were at peace...â€?
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With loyalty to my teachers I accept this ordination Sahajatara
At a time when many no longer relate to the idea of discipleship, I remain, unashamedly, a disciple. From the first time I heard one of Bhante’s lectures, 23 years ago, I have been his disciple. The lecture was The Heart Sutra, and as I listened, I spontaneously entered a state of non-duality, or in Bhante’s words, I was able to touch ‘that near far land where all are one’. It means much to me that my teacher is a poet, because I needed someone with the Soul of a poet to translate the Dharma for me. ‘Bright is the ring of words when the right man rings them’. I needed, not just a teacher, but a Beloved. It was Bhante’s Vision that I vowed to serve when I was ordained - the centrality of Going for Refuge, friendship as the whole of the spiritual life, the New Society, the Religion of Art, 1000 Armed Avalokitesvara, the Bodhicitta... I have read and re-read so many times everything Bhante has said about the Bodhicitta. He once wrote that it could be translated as ‘the will to Enlightenment’
or ‘the thought of Enlightenment’, but that it was neither something you could will nor was it a thought. He compared this with how in Christianity there is a world of difference between thinking about God, and the experience of the descent of the Holy Spirit. I loved that he said that. My Soul came forth when he said that. As if I had been touched by an Angel. On retreat a year ago, I had a moment when, seeing Order members walking in pairs, delighting in one another, rapt in mutual transcendence, I thought, ‘this all exists because of Bhante, we have learned what real friendship is because of Bhante’. And I realised I was weeping.
32/33 WITH LOYALTY TO MY TEACHERS
Three years ago, Bhante suggested I read his poem ‘An Apology’ out loud, every day. I have only forgotten a handful of times in three years. I do it every night before I go to sleep. And then I send my love to Bhante. The last thought in my mind every night is Bhante. Perhaps this will serve me in the Bardo, who knows? For me, Bhante gave me the Dharma like the Angel gave Mary the lily. For me, the Dharma is Holy, friendship is Holy, the bond with my teacher is Holy. Some may smile or even laugh at this love of mine I know, yet my love will always rise up, undiminished and unstained, in Bhante’s words: “like a flower, and the perfume of a flower”.
Heartfelt Advice to Rechungpa, Sangharakshita
Lineage “The Dharma originally was the Buddha’s utterance to his disciples under certain conditions. The Dharma was the authentic utterance of the authentic individual you could say. So in other words it’s not a question of learning a set doctrine from a particular person but more an authentic relationship, authentic communication, and an authentic effort to practise whatever has been communicated in that way.”
Padmavajra + “O my own Immediate Sri Lama Rinpoche, team Abiding within the lotus of my heart, 21-28 April May you never separate from me, £259 waged but, on the contrary, remain inseparable.” £182 unwaged Tharpe Delam Order In 1962 Bhante received the Padmasambhava abhishekha from Venerable Kachu Rinpoche. Shortly afterwards he found in Kalimpong bazaar the Tibetan text of the Tharpe Delam or Smooth Road to Emancipation, which describes the preliminary practices for the Padmasambhava Sadhana, in which Kachu Rinpoche instructed him. Among them is a wonderful Guru Yoga. It involves transforming ourselves into the archetypal disciple, Vajrayogini, and then invoking the adhisthana of our teacher, Padmasambhava, the Thousand-armed Avalokiteshvara and Amitabha. It is an intensely devotional wisdom practice, which culminates in merging with the Guru and dissolving into the light of Great Bliss. On this retreat Padmavajra will introduce the practice, but above all we will perform the practice throughout the day, ending each day with celebratory pujas invoking the precious Gurus.
Dissolving into the Light of Great Bliss: The Guru Yoga of the Tharpe Delam
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Subhuti 27 Aug - 2 Sept ÂŁ222 waged ÂŁ156 unwaged Order
At our Public Ordination, we each recited the four Lines of Acceptance, with all their resonance with the Bodhisattva Ideal that is situated at the centre of our Order, the supreme wish-fulfilling jewel held to the heart of the Thousand-Armed Avalokiteshvara. Following the Combined Order weekend, that marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Order, Subhuti will share reflections, rambles and live currents of inspiration around the principles of our Order and how we exemplify those ideals we accepted at Ordination.
For the Attainment of Enlightenment, for the Benefit of all Beings
Saddhanandi + Vajrasara 2-9 December £259 waged £182 unwaged Order ♀
As the Order expands and develops it can sometimes be difficult to find a significant and meaningful way to contribute. Kalyana Mitrata as a living spiritual principle gives us a way of functioning not only in the Order and movement but in the world generally that brings a greater depth and richness to our experience. It is one of the most effective ways we can make a difference to our lives and to the lives of others. On this retreat, we’ll use the Four Tantric Rites (of pacification, fascination, prospering, and destruction) as a framework for exploring ourselves as kalyana mitras, looking at the rewards and dangers of a path that holds at its heart the ‘kalyana’ – the vertical dimension of beauty and authentic values. We’ll also do the Kalyana Mitra practice, a meditation that can take us into the realm of the kalyana in a more mythic way.
The Four Tantric Rites of Kalyana Mitrata
Buddhism + Friendship, Subhuti
â€œWe need someone who can see and draw out who we are, or rather who we are becoming. Each one of us has an inner world, full of thoughts and feelings that are amorphous or embryonic: we can only give them their proper shape through communication. Whenever we succeed in communicating them, we are changed, becoming someone new. Our best friends, the ones who care about us and understand us deeply, are creative listeners, partners in our act of self-creation.â€?
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Nature of Existence â€œAs stars, a fault of vision, as a lamp, A mock show, dew drops, or a bubble, A dream, a lightning flash, or cloud, So should one view what is conditioned.â€?
Adhisthana Vision Team 25 May - 1 Jun £259 waged £182 unwaged Order
The Buddha’s teaching on the three lakshanas offers more than simply a statement about existence for us to believe, or advice about how to live or how to consider the world. These teachings confront us with a perspective that can be developed as a powerful tool for liberation. Unfortunately we have a certain invested interest in staying vague and unclear in regards to any teachings which we find too challenging. On this retreat we will explore these fundamental teachings using material from chapter eleven of The Nature of Existence in The Three Jewels, and the subsequent seminar held in 1982.
44/45 NATURE OF EXISTENCE
Discussing the Dharma with friends in the Order, we can inhabit a deeper understanding and perspective not only of life in general but more particularly of ourselves and the nature of fabrication and views. It is a perspective that can be developed to open up the deepest level of freedom.
The Nature of Existence
Nature of ExistenceSeminar
â€œOne could, I think, put it in this way, that the relative reality is the reality which is conditioned in the sense that it is the reality which is a sequence of effects which have arisen in dependence upon causes or conditions. The whole web of these interdependent dharmas, let us say, which arise in dependence upon conditions and cease when those conditions cease, and the fact of their interdependence, this constitutes their conditionality. It also constitutes their emptiness, their voidness, which, of course, constitutes their Absolute Reality. Do you see what I mean? So there is not that distinction between a conditioned reality and an unconditioned reality. The two are - one can only put it in this way though it is inadequate - interwoven together. The Absolute Reality is the Absolute Reality of the relative reality.â€?
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46/47 NATURE OF EXISTENCE
Saddhanandi + “Perceiving conditioned things as dukkha means realising that even the best of Vessantara them are incapable of giving full and 7-14 Sept permanent satisfaction to the human £259 waged £182 unwaged heart... here, since the true nature of these experiences has been understood Order and there exists neither attraction nor aversion, nor even indifference, no bias or tendency towards greed, hatred or delusion obtains. Nirvana is called the Unbiased because of its complete immunity from these three poisons.” The Three Jewels, Sangharakshita In every moment we look at experience in ways that either create dukkha, or in ways that free ourselves and others from dukkha, and in the process uncover a deeper level of truth. On this retreat we’ll have the chance to explore how awareness of the unsatisfactory nature of conditioned phenomena will lead to liberation, the freedom of the Unbiased, and how our resistance to that awareness will lead to further entrenchment of habits and views. This is a meditation retreat with presentations and some discussion.
Dukkha + the Unbiased
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48/49 NATURE OF EXISTENCE
Ratnaguna “When one sees the Lakshanas with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. 12-19 October This is the path to purification.” £259 waged £182 unwaged The Dhammapada Order The purpose of this retreat is to deepen our understanding of the Three Lakshanas – impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and insubstantiality – by practising the Three Wisdoms: listening, reflecting, and meditating. The Three Wisdoms can be understood either as a progressive sequence or as three different gateways to wisdom. Seen as a sequence, we move from a conceptual understanding of the Lakshanas to what the Buddha called a reflective acceptance of them, and from there to a direct seeing with wisdom. Seen as ‘gateways’, Wisdom can arise equally through learning from another, through thinking deeply, or through meditating. On this retreat Ratnaguna will guide us in practices that will enable us to explore the Three Wisdoms experientially, and thus to begin to see the Lakshanas with wisdom.
Seeing with Wisdom
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Duino Elegies, Rilke
Arts + the Imaginal â€œWho, if I cried out, would hear me among the angelsâ€™ hierarchies? and even if one of them pressed me suddenly against his heart: I would be consumed in that overwhelming existence. For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we are still just able to endure, And we are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us. Every angel is terrifying.â€?
Atula, Ananda, Amitajyoti, Ratnaprabha, Saccanama + Satyalila 13-20 July £259 waged £182 unwaged Order
William Blake’s Marriage of Heaven and Hell fascinated and impressed Bhante when he was 14. Later, the great ‘contrary’ energies of Sangharakshita I, the poet, and Sangharakshita II, the philosopher/monk, manifested, along with his vision of the spiritual life as a creative life in which all our energies can be unified. The Order emerged from this vision and the process of transformation, from ‘innocence’ to ‘experience’, continues. How can we make conscious, and be creative with, the many contraries we embrace as individuals?
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The 2017 Blake retreat co-created a context for exploration, reflection, writing, image-making and music. All agreed we’d barely begun. So Atula, Ananda, Amitajyoti, Ratnaprabha, Saccanama and Satyalila are offering ‘Blake II’ in 2018. No previous experience of Blake required, just a willingness to step into Experience!
Without Contraries is no Progression: Bhante, Blake and creative tension in the spiritual life
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Arthasiddhi, Manidhara + Vipulakirti 4-7 October £111 waged £78 unwaged Order + GFR
Sangharakshita once said “an orchestra is a spiritual community, at least while it is playing”. The same can be said for a choir. Later he said that he would like every centre to have a choir and that the centre choir master was as important as the mitra convenor!
54/55 ARTS + THE IMAGINAL
In the course of this weekend we will be deepening our appreciation of the value of singing together in a choir for our Dharma practice and our experience of Sangha, and exploring the importance of beauty in a Dharma life. As well as raising the horizons of the value of a choir we will be raising our voices and our standard as a choir. The retreat is for music readers and non-music readers and all in between.
Singing the Sangha: Choir as Dharma Practice
Buddhism + Art, Sangharakshita
“The spiritual aspirant is like Shelley’s Skylark: while his understanding soars, his emotions sing. It is in this singing and soaring, in the simultaneous expansion of the understanding and the emotions, that we find the meaning of Buddhism and the value of art, and, in fact, the secret of the spiritual life.”
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In harmony with friends + brethren I accept this ordination Lokeshvara Harmony is a word from music that we use in other areas to denote concord, peace, agreement, and resonance. Harmony among people is very attractive, very appealing but it’s not that common, and very hard to sustain. When we try and promote harmony, we’re trying to counteract our tendency to group together with a few others just to feel safe. It’s a frightening world and the need to feel safe all too often results in a strategy that demonises those who are different to you so you feel safe in the group. This is prejudice and real freedom only arises by overcoming it. Throughout my life I’ve been interested in alternative communities. People who come together for some positive cause that they feel strongly about. What really impresses me is when people take the ‘next step’. That is, they see what is wrong with some aspect of the society they are part of, and they decide to try and live out the positive alternative. This is why I am part of Triratna. I could see the violence around me, the confusion, the lack of meaning, the frustration, the lack of harmony and I knew I had to find some others
58/59 IN HARMONY WITH FRIENDS + BRETHREN
who were trying to live the alternative. When you try that, it’s all too easy to criticise it. Our individual and collective imperfections are all too obvious. But the quiet act of saying, “I will try and live a better life, with these people, and on that basis help others”, that act is rare and precious and not to be laughed away. It can be subtle and delicate but it may also be bold and direct. Real harmony among people needs to include vigorous debate, though debate without debilitating judgement, otherwise it can be a superficial papering over the cracks of community, and you lose the chance to mine the gold buried deep in those fissures. So, we have a community of people ‘having a go at harmony’. There are all sorts of pitfalls along the way. Your sense of urgency may give way to a sense of inertia. There are all sorts of little squabbles and conflicts in our community. It is very, very important to recognise this is inevitable and that maturity is a long term project. I only need to look at myself. Some things I have been able to spot and change quite quickly. Other habits take decades to understand and change. It means keep on looking up at the positive vision, at the mythos and arranging your life around it, a constant dance of perspective - finding it, losing it, finding it, losing it, finding it. So often, losing it simply means that life has narrowed down, the vision has narrowed down again. This is what happens to our ideals, throughout humanity throughout time. We are working with the mind, and the mind has these two aspects: it wants to grow, to expand, to see infinity, to love deeply and unconditionally, to be in harmony with everything around us. And it’s also cyclic and reactive,
it chases after pleasure, and it runs along in ruts. These twin processes are going on in each of us all of the time. We give ourselves the greatest possible chance of growing by seeking out an environment where we can be open about ourselves; and the main way we experience Sangha in our community is through spiritual friendship, kalyana mitrata: friendship that is (or ‘with what is’) good, noble and auspicious. In this open, honest, full-spectrum friendship, you see your friend’s incredible potential and all of their qualities, but you also see all the things that trip them up, all the habits they are still working with. To be seen like this is deeply satisfying. If you keep pointing out their faults, of course that can be helpful but it is very limiting. If you only praise their virtues it will be temporarily affirming but won’t seem realistic. Whereas, if my friend can show me that they see all my faults and all of my potential, the whole glorious-while-messy tapestry of contradictions that make up a human being, all of my complexity, then that, I believe, is kalyana mitrata, and that, I also believe, is the surest way to harmony.
Community of Enquiry The Dharmapala College, founded in 2006 at Madhyamaloka, developed a programme of seminars exploring the background of and contemporary takes on particular Buddhist schools and teachings, as well as a number of arts seminars and other trainings. They initiated ‘communities of enquiry’: open explorations of Buddhist teachings in cultural, philosophical and psychological context. This thread has been picked up and woven through some of our events and retreats at Adhisthana, but this year we’re running two events more explicitly with the purpose of developing a community of enquiry.
Dhivan + Silavadin 19-21 January £74 waged £52 unwaged Order + Mitra
What is Non-Self? The doctrine of Non-Self has been a distinguishing mark of Buddhist philosophy from the very beginning, and has had many different articulations through history. In contemporary philosophy of mind it is also a hotly debated topic.
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In this symposium we want firstly to look at the most important views on Non-Self from the perspective of both ancient Indian philosophy and modern philosophy of mind. How do they hang together, and what are the merits and pitfalls of each? And secondly we want to explore the views that are expressed in Sangharakshita’s works, for example in Wisdom Beyond Words and Know Your Mind, and how they relate to these historical and current views. We want to come together with others who have studied, or have a connection with, philosophy and share ideas and inspiration, giving talks and having discussions, circling around the topic in a loose and creative way. By invitation, expressions of interest welcomed.
Symposium on Non-Self: Buddhism + Philosophy
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Sagaramati 4-7 May £111 waged £78 unwaged Order
“When things become manifest To the ardent meditating Brahmin, All his doubts then vanish since he understands Each thing along with its cause. When things become manifest To the ardent meditating Brahmin, He abides scattering Mara’s host Like the sun illumining the sky.” Udana
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Seeing phenomena arising and ceasing, dependent on conditions, the Buddha dispels Mara’s army and lights up the firmament. Sagaramati will lead a seminar exploring the relationship between conditioned arising and Enlightenment, drawing on some of the earliest sources, Pali and Sanskrit translations of the Udana, as well as later Mahayana texts from Vasubandhu and Nagarjuna which teach the ‘three natures’ and the correspondence between pratitya samutpada and sunyata.
This Being, That Becomes
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SikkhÄ This year Adhisthana hosts a series of retreats that focus on how we can communicate the living truth of the Dharma effectively at Centres. They take up teaching as a practice in its own right. Sikkha is a combined initiative of the College, International Council and Adhisthana, and is funded by FutureDharma Fund. Building on a common body of knowledge on integration, positive emotion and receptivity at Triratna Centres, these retreats draw attention to the effective teaching of spiritual death and rebirth. How can we present the radical and transformative vision of the dharma, and how can we embody and communicate a depth of reflection and wisdom?
Ratnaguna + team 8-15 June £259 waged £182 unwaged Order
Are you recently ordained, or thinking about starting to teach more at your centre or group? Then this retreat is for you. Over the week we’ll explore what it means to teach the Dharma, how to become the best teacher you can be, and how teaching the Dharma is, or can be, a spiritual practice. There is no one ‘right’ way to teach; each teacher will find their own particular style that allows them to communicate the Dharma, and themselves, most fully and effectively. On this retreat we’ll help you to find your own particular ‘voice’, and then develop it. You’ll have the opportunity to try out the different formats of teaching that we currently use in Triratna: newcomer’s meditation and Buddhism courses, leading guided meditations, study and discussion groups, and giving talks, and receive constructive feedback about how you can improve as a teacher.
Ratnaguna will offer further mentoring for you as you take your next steps in teaching the Dharma.
Future Dharma Teachers: training for newer Order Members
The Vimalakirti Nirdesa
â€œA single bodhisattva may establish many hundreds of thousands of living beings in enlightenment without his mindfulness being diminished. In fact, not only does it not diminish, it grows stronger. Likewise, the more you teach and demonstrate virtuous qualities to others, the more you grow with respect to these virtuous qualities. This is the door of the Dharma called The Inexhaustible Lamp.â€?
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Vadanya + Ratnaguna with a team from Sheffield 3-10 August £259 waged £182 unwaged Order
The Dharma is radical. It changes lives. To attract and keep the people who could make a difference, we want to let them feel the challenge and excitement of the Dharma from day one. How do we present the full force of the Dharma, speaking a language people understand and respond to? How do we create a culture and an atmosphere in our Centres that communicates our vision of Sangha and what we have to offer the world? And how do we, as Dharma teachers, stay in touch with this vision as an inspiring part of our practice? This retreat offers an approach to teaching developed at the Sheffield Buddhist Centre in its two introductory courses. These bring in some of the most radical and transformative aspects of the Dharma from the first day, with a strong emphasis on spiritual death, spiritual rebirth, and spiritual community.
What you will take away has the potential to energise your teaching, your Centre, and our Movement.
Radical Dharma: a training in teaching that inspires
Image: Clear Vision
Manchester Buddhist Centre 21-25 May Ratnaguna + team
Aimed at order members teaching at Triratna Centres who want to improve their teaching and help the Dharmaculture flourish at their centre, our intention is to help you teach all five stages/aspects of the path, focusing especially on newcomers, regulars and LBC mitras. These weeks include intensive 19-23 Nov teacher-training, guidance and feedback, Subhadramati, as well as ‘live’ teaching at public classes Ratnaguna + at the LBC or Manchester Buddhist Maitreyabandhu Centre. “The week felt like a continuation of my ordination retreat and I feel once again strongly connected to the deep joy of living a Dharma life.” Danayutta Apply with details of what teaching you are doing and why you’d like to attend the training. For LBC training, apply by the end of October 2017 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For MBC training, apply by the end of March 2018 to email@example.com.
Intensive Teacher Training Week
For the attainment of enlightenment I accept this ordination Vidyamala This is perhaps the most mysterious of the Lines of Acceptance and the most awesome. I remember reciting these lines at my ordination in 1995 and feeling the weight of this commitment. I knew they expressed the true north of the inner compass that I would orient myself around for the rest of my life. Something clear, uncompromising and true. There are many ways to interpret these words but one way that resonates for me is to hear them as an invitation to experience ourselves as tireless explorers seeking new lands and yet, ultimately, to be going nowhere but here - a ‘here’ that is vividly present, loving and illumined when we awaken from the half-life of normal distracted, contracted experience. TS Eliot captured something of this spirit when he said: “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time”. TS Eliot speaks of ‘place’ and, for me, Adhisthana is becoming a magical, special place where the mighty ideal of Enlightenment is kept alive so we can indeed
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‘wake up’ and experience ourselves, others and the world around us as if for the first time. A glance out the window and new gardens are appearing; one sees a friend and the meeting is alive and charged with presence; sitting in the courtyard in the sun can be an intensely alive experience resting in the peaceful, yet dynamic, energy of Adhisthana. So simple and yet vastly rich and satisfying. Why do these experiences of intense aliveness happen at Adhisthana? I think it is, at least in part, because the over-arching aim of the place is so uncompromising. Adhisthana is clearly about Enlightenment – nothing more, nothing less. Those who live, practice and lead retreats there are unafraid to confidently stand true to that aspiration. They do that as dedicated, kind, warmhearted people who work incredibly hard as they each orient themselves around this great journey of freeing the heart and the mind as taught by the Buddha and Sangharakshita. There is a confidence to the whole project that I sense is because the goal and purpose is so clear. Those of us that visit and come on retreat are able to relax into that confidence and in turn contribute to it – and so the ever-deepening mystery of Adhisthana unfolds. I moved to live near Adhisthana in 2015 because of an experience I had during the opening ceremony in 2014. During the puja I had a vision of light pouring down from the heavens and flooding into Adhisthana and out into the world. The light was like gossamer-fine liquid that formed into giant spinning hay bales pouring on and on, up over the hills and down the dales, touching everyone and everything without exception. It was wondrous and beautiful and I knew, deeply, that something astonishing
was coming into being with the establishment of Adhisthana. Adhisthana means something like ‘grace’ and this was indeed what seemed to be happening. Since that time I have immersed myself in the Adhisthana mandala in various ways and got to know it up close. I’ve wondered what word might best describe how I experience it and the closest I can find is ‘portal’ which can mean a magical doorway that connects two locations or dimensions. In moments of openness I sense the portal is continually open and the light is ceaselessly pouring down through Adhisthana and into the world. And so Adhisthana increasingly seems to be a place where Reality is a little bit closer. Enlightenment seems possible, perhaps even inevitable, if one really applied oneself to the clear path of mind and heart training laid out by the Buddha. And we are given so many doorways through Sangharakshita’s translation of the Dharma: the arts, study, meditation, work, play, friendship, time to rest and time to experience nature. Adhisthana offers all of this. Adhisthana offers us the chance to be fully here in each moment. What an extraordinary gift we have been given.
Order + Mitra Weekends This year we are holding two special gatherings in celebration of 50 years of our Order and Community. These weekends will revisit texts on which Sangharakshita led seminars in the early days of Triratna. Come for a weekend of inspiration, and practice with the Order and Mitra Sangha. There are also a few more events for Order Members and Mitras focusing on creating a positive spiritual community and extending outwards into the world.
Saddhaloka + Saddhanandi 6-8 April £74 waged £52 unwaged Order + Mitra
‘If the Bodhisattva Ideal is one of the sublimest spiritual ideals mankind has ever seen, Santideva’s Bodhicaryavatara is one of the sublimest statements of that ideal. It was to the study of this great work that we addressed ourselves on the first FWBO study retreat in 1973…’ On the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Triratna Buddhist Order come and mark this significant moment with Saddhaloka and Saddhanandi entering into the Bodhicaryavatara, the text on which Bhante led the first seminar all those years ago, and bear witness to the sublime ideal that blazes at the heart of our Order and Community. All Order Members and Mitras are invited.
“In order to grasp this jewel of the mind, I offer wish-fulfilling trees, lakes adorned with lotuses, and the endlessly fascinating cry of wild geese; every thing and place of beauty unowned, extending to the boundless limits of space itself.” Bodhicaryavatara
The Endlessly Fascinating Cry
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Parami + Bodhiketu 21-23 Sept £74 waged £52 unwaged Order + Mitra
Over this weekend, Parami and Bodhiketu will revisit the seminar Bhante led in 1976 on Milarepa’s encounter with a young shepherd boy. Milarepa leads the shepherd boy in a direct enquiry into the nature of mind, and his receptive student responds with faith, humility and zeal. His instructions encourage the flowering of the creative mind: alive, spontaneous and free. Come and enquire into the raw material of your own mind through meditation and dharmic exploration over a weekend for Order Members and Mitras in the 50th anniversary year of the Triratna Order.
“The mind is the raw material; the mind is the stuff, as it were, of enlightenment.” Shepherd’s Search for Mind Seminar
Milarepa + the Shepherd’s Search for Mind
The Songs of Milarepa
â€œOne cannot see in full the nature of mind, though he may have a glimpse of it, if it has been pointed out by others. If one relies not on this glimpse, but continues searching for the nature of mind, he will see it fully in the end. Dear shepherd, in this way you should observe your mind.â€?
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Development Team + friends 23-25 March + 11-14 October Order + Mitra
These events are led by a team of enthusiastic order members with many years of experience of running Dharma groups. They are for Order Members and mitras running Triratna Groups or small Centres or those who are thinking of starting a Triratna Group. This is an opportunity to gather with peers to share ideas, experiences, challenges and inspiration. How can we develop a Sangha that is vibrant? How can this deepen our practice? How can we develop the skills and experience needed? The events will include Dharma study, guidance and tips on communicating the Dharma and advice on the practicalities of running a group, as well as meditation and puja. We will be joined by Padmavajra, the overall UK mensâ€™ mitra convenor for the event in March when we will focus on spiritual friendship and inspiring and supporting people to become mitras.
Groups + Pioneers
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Akasajoti, Amalavajra + team 25-28 May ÂŁ111 waged ÂŁ78 unwaged Order + Mitra
A renewed Buddhism needs to confront the modern world as it is, and develop a complete way of life based on the Dharma that is a genuine and radical alternative to an individualistic consumer society. We want to intensify and share our Dharma lives with others, but how to do so happily and successfully? This long weekend will bring together those of us living those questions, whether after decades of experience or with just a dream, and will explore how living in residential communities can deepen our spiritual practice and transform the world.
Successful Community Living
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Amalavajra, Dhiradevi + Subhadramati 30 Aug - 2 Sept £111 waged £78 unwaged Order + Mitra
At our best we’re grateful for all that we’ve been given, and delight in giving to others. In those moments we taste the freedom of the Awakened Mind. So why is it so hard to do?! Yellow is the colour of the sun, of gold, and of fields of grain. On this retreat we will invoke Ratnasambhava, the jewelborn Buddha of beauty, abundance and perfect generosity. One hand holds the jewel of Awakening, and the other is outstretched in a gesture of giving - he represents both our highest ideals and the most fundamental human virtue and shows us a path between them.
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Over this long weekend, we will explore the profound teachings and practices of generosity and gratitude to establish an attitude of abundance, appreciation and connection and so go beyond ourselves to become more like Ratnasambhava.
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Gatherings Combined Area Order Weekend 24-27 August Men’s Area Order Weekends 2-4 February at Padmaloka 2-4 November Women’s Area Order Weekends 1-4 March 29 Nov-2 Dec
Jnanamitra, Kamalanandi, Padmavani, Shraddhasiddhi 22-25 Feb £111 waged £78 unwaged Open
Welcome to our annual weekend retreat, which is for anyone in Triratna who experiences themselves as gender diverse. For example; intersex, trans, genderqueer, non-binary, genderless, gender-questioning, gender-curious… It is a great chance to practise together, discuss the Dharma as it relates to our situations, and connect with other gender diverse people, in a very supportive setting.
The retreat is open to anyone who has at least six months experience of meditation as taught within Triratna.
Gender Diverse Long Weekend
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Karunagita, Upayavira, Kamalanandi, Amaragita + Lilapa 8-10 June ÂŁ74 waged ÂŁ52 unwaged Open to all
This first retreat for parents at Adhisthana is an opportunity to step back from the immediate demands of family life for a weekend and focus on raising children as an effective context for practice. The retreat is led by a team of Order Members who are parents with a range of different experiences. Meditation, talks, ritual, workshops and discussion will explore the inherent opportunities for insight, for going beyond ourselves, heart opening and so much more. There will also be an opportunity to talk about how to meet the added challenges, including finding and creating support and conditions to practice effectively as parents. Open to Order Members, Mitras and other parents practicing within Triratna but please note this is not a family retreat and there is no provision for children.
Weekend Retreat for Parents
The Karaniya Metta Sutta
â€œEven as a mother protects with her life, her child, her only child, So with a boundless heart should one cherish all living beings; Radiating kindness over the entire world: Spreading upwards to the skies, And downwards to the depths; Outwards and unbounded, Freed from hatred and ill-will.â€?
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21-24 Sept ÂŁ111 waged ÂŁ78 unwaged Order
A weekend for all those ordained by Sangharakshita; a weekend of peer friendship and conversation, shared practice, reminiscence, and celebration. This is the third time such an event has been held at Adhisthana, this time in the 50th year of the Order. It is a meeting point for the first generation of Order Members, a chance to sit in a room with those who share a lived experience of the early years of this movement, celebrating and rejoicing, recognising and remembering the years past, letting things go, sharing experience and practice, and continuing to contribute to the discourse and myth of the Order.
Much of what now is can be traced back to the efforts of your generation. These events integrate that fundamental element of history, lineage and longstanding friendship into the mandala that Adhisthana is becoming; and they are hosted here in recognition of you and the conditions you have created that have supported all of us who have followed over the years.
Image: Clear Vision
Young Facilitators 23-25 March Young Order Seminar with Maitreyi 22-24 June Sub25 Retreat 17-19 August Open
The Big One â€“ 11th annual Sub35 retreat: 26-28 October Open
These events are a perfect way to explore Buddhism and meditation with others of a similar age. There is a kind of magic that can arise when a large group of young people gather to practise together: an energy which speaks of ancient times when a young Buddha began to unfold his pioneering vision to his friends; an energy which speaks to the desire of many young people today for meaning and deeper connections in their lives. All of our events are run by teams of younger Order members and mitras who want to share their passion for the Dharma with their peers. With talks, discussion, meditation, rituals, workshops, and lots of space for interaction we create lively and friendly contexts for discovering whatâ€™s best in ourselves, and going beyond even that.
For the benefit of all beings I accept this ordination Vessantara
What a thing to say! When we speak this line in the ordination ceremony, it’s the most outrageous, but utterly amazing, sentence we’ll come out with in our entire life. Our third vow was to accept our ordination for the attainment of Enlightenment, and this fourth and completing one acknowledges that true Awakening is altruistic. When the Buddha saw the truth by the bank of the Neranjara River his response wasn’t to spend his days in solitary meditation. Instead he spent 35 years travelling from place to place, teaching ‘the end of suffering’, helping in every way he could. So this vow is a statement of our intent: to do our best to have a beneficial influence on all the people and situations we encounter in life. It’s acknowledging that we can’t walk away from the suffering in the world, that our heart will never settle for being happy in isolation, when we know that others are still lost and struggling. ‘For the benefit of all beings’ is a phrase you hear or read so often in Mahayana Buddhist circles that you can easily become desensitised to it through repetition. In
any case, our hearts don’t respond well to generalities. Either they’re too vague to affect us, or if not they feel overwhelming. One way to bring this phrase alive and prevent ourselves feeling overwhelmed is to reflect that, from an insight point of view, there is only this moment. This means that in practice much of the bodhisattva life boils down to caring for the actual person, people, or other living beings that we’re with now. It also means looking after the immediate environment in which so many beings are trying, often struggling, to co-exist with us.
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It’s a jaw-dropping thought that this vow is often taken as literally referring to all beings. Could our practice somehow benefit those that we aren’t in contact with even indirectly? Some Buddhist traditions would say that we are all intimately connected on the mental level. They believe that our Dharma practice, such as metta bhavana, has a subtle but definite influence on all beings. There’s no way to prove this, but certainly on solitary retreat sometimes you can feel very definitely not alone. The quietness of the mind in that situation allows you to notice subtle messages being relayed back and forth across a network of consciousness. That aside, at its simplest this vow means promising to do our best to live with an open heart, to take down the barricades between ourselves and life, to meet people and situations with as much kindness as we can muster. If we do that day after day, it will have a liberating effect on us, and a positive effect on the world. In fact, if we keep on long enough, it will help us see that ‘me’ and ‘the world’ have never really been separate. That sense we had of being isolated, cut off from the rest of life, was wrong all along. Finally, this vow leads to us feeling deeply at home in the universe.
The blaze of spiritual practice of those on the same path is blessed.
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Matthew Admin + Bookings
Bodhiketu Finance Manager
Yashodeva Site Maintenance
Rochani Kitchen Manager
Urgyen Annexe Preceptors College + International Council
Future Dharma Fund
Saddhaloka College Chair
Parami Order Convenor
Amalavajra Fundraising Director
Saccanama College Assistant
Lokeshvara Order Convenor
Dhammarati IC Convenor
Vimalamati Convenorsâ€™ Assistant
Shubhavyuha IC Assistant
5-12 European Chairs Assembly 13-19 Adhisthana Community Days 19-21 Symposium on Non-Self
6-8 The Endlessly Fascinating Cry 8-15 Women Private Preceptors 16-21 Presidents 20-26 Women Mitra Convenors 21-28 Dissolving into Great Bliss: the guru yoga of the Tharpe Delam
FEBRUARY 22-25 Gender Diverse Sangha
1-4 Womenâ€™s Order Weekend 9-16 Preceptors College 16-23 Men Private Preceptors 23-25 Groups + Pioneers 23-25 Young Facilitators 28-6/4 The Six Guidelines
MAY 4-7 This Being, That Becomes 11-20 Unfolding Insight 25-28 Successful Community Living 25-1/6 The Nature of Existence
JUNE 8-15 Future Dharma Teachers 8-10 Parents 16-22 Adhisthana Community Days 22-29 The Unwavering Heart: Mind Training + Bodhicitta 22-24 Young Order Seminar
2-12 European Chairs Assembly 13-20 Without Contraries is no Progression: William Blake 29-5/8 Satipatthana: the direct path
4-7 Singing the Sangha 11-14 Groups + Pioneers 12-19 Seeing with Wisdom 19-25 Women Mitra Convenors 26-28 The Big One
AUGUST 3-10 Radical Dharma 5-12 Six Elements 10-17 Padmasambhava Sadhana 17-19 Sub25 24-27 Combined Order Weekend 27-2/9 For the Attainment of Enlightenment... 30-2/9 Ratnasambhava’s Delight
SEPTEMBER 7-14 Dukkha + the Unbiased 14-21 Avalokitesvara Sadhana 21-23 Shepherd’s Search for Mind 21-24 Elders
NOVEMBER 2-4 Men’s Order Weekend 5-15 Preceptors College 16-23 Vajrasattva Sadhana 29-2/12 Women’s Order Weekend
DECEMBER 2-9 The Four Tantric Rites of Kalyana Mitrata
Design Akasajoti + Dhammarati
Cover Detail from a Standing Avalokitesvara holding a golden flower, British Museum
In the 50th year of the Triratna Buddhist Order, the world needs a vision of the Dharma as much as ever. To support Adhisthana to pass on to others what you have been given, visit FutureDharma.org/give
Adhisthana Coddington Ledbury Herefordshire HR8 1JL www.adhisthana.org 01531 641726