The weekend of October 20-22, ten of us came together for an inaugural retreat at Blue Sky Refuge, a new retreat center in Stockton, NJ that has been started by NYC Sangha members Padmadharini and Elaine Smith.
The retreat started with Vajramati leading a dedication ceremony of the new shrine. We considered the lessons of the Madhupindika Sutta, also known as the Honey Ball Sutta. Our focus was on papancha, or the seemingly endless mental proliferation that can result when faced with significant life challenges. We also dedicated the retreat center with a wonderful five Buddha mandala ceremony created by Ananta. We wandered through the woods at night to make offerings at unique shrines set up at the four compass points on the property, and in the centre, the shrine room. We wish Padhmadharini and Elaine the best of luck in their new endeavor.
Dhammachari Suvajra spent many years with our sangha in India. In response to comments about the relevance of Sangharakshita’s teaching to Ambedkar devotees, he draws out eight of Bhante’s main contributions to Triratna and links them directly to the Buddha and Babasaheb.
In part one of his first talk, he highlights Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels as the most central act that defines our sangha as Buddhist and thereby links us all as a worldwide community.
WHAT IS Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)? In this program you will learn to access and cultivate your natural capacity to actively engage in caring for yourself and find greater balance, ease, and peace of mind. MBSR uses meditation, yoga, inquiry and informal daily mindfulness practices as a way of training people to relate differently to the stresses in their lives.
The Skills • Practical coping skills • Methods for being more at ease • Strengthen the body and release muscular tension • Greater awareness • Face change with greater ease and creativity • Be more proactive and less reactive
The Process The class meets once a week for 2 ½ hours and is a combination of mindfulness practices, group sharing of experience with practice, and exploration of topics such as mindfulness, stress, and communication. In addition, there is an All Day of practice that occurs between the 6th and 7th week of the 8-week program and some at-home practice.
The History MBSR was created by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn who founded in 1979 the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. It was originally developed for patients in chronic pain, undergoing intensive treatments for cancer, AIDS and other serious illness, but has since expanded and been incorporated into the daily lives of ten of thousands of people, whether they are dealing with the stress of illness or the stress of daily life.
Frequently Asked Questions about MBSR If you are considering taking an MBSR course, take a moment to read this FAQ http://bit.ly/1oJYNht. If you would like further information please contact Savanna Jo Luraschi at [email protected].
Urthona is a lively, glossy magazine packed with reviews, art features, photography features, in depth essays on art, music & literature and much more – everything about the arts from a spiritual viewpoint, written by Buddhists for Buddhists!
Current issue: Goddesses east and west. Anne Baring on the goddess image. Stunning photographs of Tibet by Mariisa Roth. Ted Hughes and the goddess by Dhivan Thomas Jones. Further details in URTHONA SHOP
– Read interviews with remarkable artists like Sahaja who has been painting canvases of Vajrasattva – Buddha of primordial purity.
– See a wide selection of high quality reproductions of work by artists at the cutting edge of turning dharma into image.
– Savour ten pages of poetry by Buddhist and others, plus poetry reivews of your favourite modern poets.
– Be informed about developments and new work in the Triratna arts community.
For editor’s blog with intriguing thoughts on art, nature, society and the universe, plus longer essays on Blake, Seamus Heaney, Aro Paart and much more go tourthonaessays.wordpress.com
A bit more about Urthona (see websites for lots more about our vision and our mission!)
The Blake connection: Urthona magazine takes its name from William Blake’s spirit of the Imagination, Urthona, one of the four Zoas. In his temporal form Los, Urthona is the archetypal blacksmith who labours at his forge to beat out forms which will awaken mankind from spiritual slumber and remind us that this world is ‘all one continued vision of Fancy or Imagination.’
Urthona’s Mission: Our focus is mainly on European and American art, literature and music, from Lucian Freud or James Macmillan to Shakespeare and Sophocles. Most of our writers are buddhists but we do interviews and feature the work of anyone whose work is inspired and relevant to modern spiritual seekers. There are also features on Eastern Buddhist art, for example on Japanese poetry. We explore particularly the work of artists and thinkers who are working to bring about cultural renewal by expressing the sacred dimension of the arts in ways which are relevant to the 21st century. We investigate artists and writers from all eras and cultures who, to borrow a phrase from Nietzsche, ‘grope their way along new experiences, open up new tracks’…Urthona is a magazine for those who are interested in the cultivating the imagination as means to self development. We see the arts as tools of spiritual transformation.
How to find us: Urthona is published annually, in late Autumn. It is sold in all larger Triratna centres & by subscription from the website. If you would like to see it at your centre or group please e mail us! Urthona is a 64 page, A4 format, colour magazine, with a stylish design.
Kamalashila speaks on ‘Where Faith and Wisdom Meet’ in which he “hopes to get us thinking about the volitional side of what dharma practice looks (and feels) like – pre and post insight. Maybe we don’t think of ourselves as a devotional type, but have certain responses and observances that don’t get expressed ritually, but are still about our respect for the ideal”.
A talk given at the Triratna Buddhist Order Men’s UK & Ireland Area Order Weekend at Adhisthana, 6 February 2016. The weekend was exploring Reverencing the Buddha: Devotion and Spiritual Life, through a programme of meditation, puja, discussion groups and two talks.