The Triratna NYC community welcomed me warmly and has become an important part of my spiritual and meditation practice.
~ Liesl, Upper East Side

People

The greatest strength of the Triratna NYC sangha is its people. We are women and men, old and young, black and white, gay and straight, and everything in between. We are students, professionals, and artists. We come from different places and have different life experiences. But we’re all on a similar path, and we learn from one another by sharing those experiences.

Friends

The Triratna sangha is open to anyone who would like to practice meditation and Buddhism within its community. Everyone who has contact with Triratna, typically through an introductory course or attendance on sangha nights, is considered a friend of the sangha.

Mitras

Once a person is familiar with Triratna and would like to make a more formal commitment to Buddhist practice, he or she may ask to become a mitra, which simply means ‘friend’ in Sanskrit. Mitras continue to interact with the sangha on sangha nights, practice days, retreats, and so on, but they are also invited to attend special dharma study courses specifically for mitras. Whether or not an individual decides to become a mitra is entirely up to him or her. Triratna offers three questions to help each person make that decision: Do you consider yourself a Buddhist? Do you want to live in accordance with the Five Ethical Precepts? Do you believe that the Triratna Buddhist Community is the appropriate spiritual community for you?

Order Members

Some people go on to request ordination in the Triratna Buddhist Order. This is an important decision, and it involves many years of study and deepening of practice. Order members are women and men who devote a great deal of their lives to Buddhist ethics and to teaching the dharma. Within the Triratna community, order members serve as teachers and guides to friends and mitras. They typically lead courses, meditations, discussions, practice days, retreats, and so on.

Here are the order members who call Triratna NYC sangha home.

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Vajramati

Vajramati

When and how did you first come in contact with the Dharma?

I saw a flyer advertising Buddhist meditation in the window of a whole food shop in Ealing Broadway West London. I went along to the meditation class held in the Friends meeting house in Ealing. Vangisa was the Order Member leading the classes. That was a long time ago in 1973.

What was it about Buddhism that drew you to it?

Initially, on meeting Vangisa and hearing Sangharakshita’s recorded talks, I was very suspicious. It sounded too good to be true, but I was prepared to investigate further. I checked out many other Buddhist groups and concluded that the FWBO, as we were called then, had the most thoughtful and considered approach to integrating Buddhist principles to the western environment. I read Sangharakshita’s “Survey of Buddhism” and it blew me away.  After almost every paragraph I had to pause and just take it in. I had not read anything as clear, precise and inspiring on the understanding of the Buddhist teachings.

Why Triratna? What’s special about this movement for you?

Sangharakshita’s unfolding of the Buddha’s dharma. The emphasis on spiritual friendship and the sincerity of practice of the movement, particularly the sincerity of Order Members.

What does your Pāli name mean? 

When I got Ordained Sangharakshita said “Vajra means diamond or thunderbolt Mati means “mind, intelligence or perception”.


 

Padmadharini

 

Padmadharini

When and how did you first come in contact with the Dharma?

I discovered the Dharma thanks to a few close friends who were attending classes at the London Buddhist Centre.  I resisted for a while – I was stubborn (am stubborn), but at 23 finally succumbed and did a meditation course.

What was it about Buddhism that drew you to it?

Partly it was those friends who I trusted and who told me it would be good for me.  But I think the main draw was my own suffering.  I experienced depression from 11 years old. It had become a constant in my life.  I knew instinctively and intuitively that the answers lay in something that transcended psychology or even reason.  That said, I was about 30 before I had a huge aha! moment, coming back from a retreat on New Year’s Eve to my new flat in London, and understanding that no material achievement would ever be enough.  I realised in that moment that I could search my whole life for the answers, and they were always right there under my nose, and not outside me at all.

Why Triratna? What’s special about this movement for you?

In some ways, I just happened to come across Triratna first.  But I do love our emphasis on friendship and community.  Also we are very queer friendly, and have a unique emphasis on women ordaining women.

What does your Pāli name mean? 

The Padma part of my name means lotus, which signifies compassion, receptivity, human potential and all those good things.  Dharini means she who protects that quality for all beings.  I felt very honored to be given this name, and have loved it from the moment my preceptor gave it to me.


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