On Sunday, 11th March 2018, we rejoiced the life of our dear friend Brian Waldbillig.
We met at the Lucid Body House on Lexington Avenue, ant the event was well attended by Brian’s sangha and non-sangha friends. Guests of honor were Brian’s dear friend, Stephen, and his beloved dog, Dante. Dante padded around during the proceedings, personally greeting the guests.
The program was led by Vajramati, Brian’s close friend and mentor. Vajramati gave an overview of Brian’s life and followed with an explanation of the Buddhist view of death.
Vajramati then led the Refuges and Precepts call and response chanting.
Anne followed with a reading of the Karaniya Metta Sutta, the Buddha’s teaching on the development of loving kindness.
Ananta then recited the Amitabha mantra in chanting style.
We then reflected silently for a short period.
Vajramati rang the bell for the first time, and we began rejoicing in Brian. Friends celebrated by sharing loving thoughts and memories of Brian and reading poems in his honor. Contributors included Vajramati, Laura, Anne, Fay, Liesl, Gary, Padhma Dharini, Danakamala, Zack, Alyssa, Lara, Savannah, Ananta, Byron and Kim.
The bell was rung again, and Fay and Laura performed another original piece by Brian, titledIn Nativitate, vel Kalyāṇamitratā.
Vajramati then led the Transference of Merit.
The bell was rung a final time, and everyone was invited for a period of socializing and food.
Padmavajra and Ratnaguna converse about their early involvement, getting ordained and their appreciation of Sangharakshita on the occasion of the Triratna Buddhist Community Triratna Day 50th Celebration in the Northern England Region at Sheffield Buddhist Centre, 8 April 2017
Subhuti at The London Buddhist Center, April 2017.
The fire of peace has been ignited in the world by the Buddha. It burns brightly today in the Triratna Order and movement, and inspired by Sangharakshita’s vision will burn well into the future – but how do we fan the flames so that the heat of practice transforms the world?
Two days celebrating 50 years of Triratna Buddhist Community through a mixture of talks, workshops, panel discussions with older + younger generations, interviews, Desert Island Discs, rituals, meditation, a new exhibition in the Sangharakshita Library + more…
Come for a day or come for the whole event, but please book and let us know when you will be here. There will be overnight accommodation available on Friday and Saturday nights if you’d like to stay over. The whole event will be run on a dana basis, with all donations going to the FutureDharma Fund
Beyond acceptance and rejection:
the dharma of radical inclusivity.
Feb 17th– 20th 2017
A 3 Day Week-end Retreat led by Dharmacharini Viveka
Near Hudson, New York (Won Dharma Center)
“Hatred does not cease through hatred at any time.
Hatred ceases through love.
This is an unalterable law.”
“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best, is love correcting everything that stands against love.”
~ Martin Luther King, 1967
Many of us are moving through worlds churning with confusion and conflict, be it internal struggles with parts of ourselves; discord within our families, communities and sanghas; or the deeply polarized forces characterizing society and public discourse at this time. What does it mean to engage creatively in these times, coming from love, no matter what?
Discomfort arises when we encounter situations and beliefs that don’t confirm our pre-existing beliefs. Awakening requires a heartfelt embrace of what we don’t yet know, and what we thought we knew but might be mistaken about. Inclusivity becomes truly potent when it includes that which makes us uncomfortable, a wonderful pointer to the edge of ignorance where awakening can emerge.
In polarized situations, the charged and protective emotions of fear and aversion easily arise. Activating awareness, we can listen for the underlying distress and root causes of suffering, which the Dharma points out, is always in a divided mind, the mind that creates “other”, and fears “other.”
On this retreat, we will draw from Buddhist teachings, meditation and contemplative practice to increase our ability to relate to discomfort, fear and aversion with a compassionate interest. This kind of active love and tolerance is a creative alternative to withdrawal and passivity and a crucial practice for navigating uncertainty and conflict.
“Unconditional love and compassion may seem like quite a distant vision. Yet in each moment, there is the immediate possibility of opening to the whole of experience. From the perspective of an anxiously self-preserving mind, this can appear overwhelming and even hostile. To the trained mind of a practitioner, this love can become intimately trusted as a path to uprooting limiting views, the habits of racism, and all sorts of “othering” in how we relate.” ~ Viveka
LOCATION AND TIMES
Februrary 17th-20th (President’s Day Week-End) This retreat is organized by the Triratna Buddhist Community of New York City, and will be held at the beautiful Won Dharma Center in Claverak, near Hudson, NY. Start time: 7pm on Friday February 17th End time: noon on Monday February 20th
THE GIFT OF SILENCE
The retreat will be mostly silent except for instruction and mindful communication practices. The practice of silence, including taking a pause from electronic communication, is an invitation to simplify our activity, allowing stress to calm, and awareness to open and deepen.
FOOD AND WORK PERIODS
The food served will be vegetarian and mostly Korean menus, as we are hosted by the Won Buddhist Community. Cleaning tasks are shared by everyone on the retreat. If you have any dietary restrictions, please let the organizer know in advance, at [email protected]
The Won Buddhist Retreat Center near Hudson, NY lies on over 400 beautiful acres and there will be time to explore the area, hike and/or just relax and enjoy nature. Acupuncture is also available by appointment.
EXPERIENCE WITH MEDITATION AND THE TRIRATNA BUDDHIST COMMUNITY
This retreat is designed for people with an established meditation and dharma practice, and is primarily for people who have some degree of experience or interest in the Triratna Buddhist Community. If you are unsure if this is suitable for you, we recommend getting in touch with the organizer at [email protected]
The sliding scale is $325/350/390 for spacious double or quad rooms, which are all on the ground floors and adjacent to bathrooms. Paying the higher end of the scale helps those who need a lower rate. Fees cover the 3 nights and all meals, but do not include optional dana for the teacher (Viveka is a volunteer – all fees go to support running costs.) Also, a limited number of single rooms are available on a first come first serve basis for a unique fee of $550, and cannot be discounted. If you are concerned about being able to come due to lack of funds please contact the organizer. We do have a modest scholarship fund that will be allocated, supported by the Council and the donations of community members.
Make your request to: [email protected]
Please register as soon as possible.
ABOUT DHARMACHARINI VIVEKA CHEN
Ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order in 1997, Viveka teaches Buddhism and meditation at the San Francisco Buddhist Center, as well as internationally. She is a certified coach, a facilitator and a nonprofit consultant; for over 25 years she has worked for social justice as an integral expression of her dharma practice. Viveka is engaged in making Buddhist teachings and meditation available to activists and people of color, and collaborating with other Buddhist traditions and social change organizations.
As private preceptor, Viveka mentors and trains individuals for ordination. She actively develops emerging teachers within Triratna, and held the role of Chairwoman of the San Francisco Center for 16 years. She is also a facilitator and on the Steering Committee of the Triratna’s International Council of 50 order members from around the world meeting to promote connection and development across the Triratna tradition.
Viveka has longstanding connections to the wider Buddhist world, supporting the effort to engage communities more actively and collaboratively around the pressing matters of our times, racism and climate change to name a few. Within a multi-lineage team of leaders from different communities, Viveka planned and facilitated the 2013 Generation X Buddhist teacher’s conference. She also served on the steering committee of the 2015 Dharma Teachers Gathering, which brought together 200 Buddhist teachers across traditions.
The teaching in her name given to her at ordination, is to continue to practice socially engaged Buddhism in world while becoming free of conventional limitations. Today, she continues to weave a life of social and racial justice work, community building and family connection, and a contemplative practice deeply rooted in meditative experience. She teaches with an open and compassionate presence, and deep respect for those she works with.
Her writing appears in Dharma Culture and Color: New Voices in Western Buddhism, The Buddha’s Apprentices: More Voices of Young Buddhists, and Record of the Hidden Lamp: 100 Koans and Stories from 25 Centuries of Awakened Women.
The Vajra Bell is a quarterly newsletter covering events and news at Aryaloka Buddhist Center and other Triratna Buddhist centers in North America. In each issue you’ll find insightful articles on Buddhist topics, updates from around the continent, reviews of Buddhist books and other media, poetry and artwork created by sangha members, and a full list of local upcoming events.
What does Vajra Bell mean? Vajra means thunderbolt or diamond, that which cuts through all obstacles to Enlightenment. The vajra is the symbol of a union of opposites, the ultimate expression of wisdom and compassion. A vajra bell rings out far and wide the melody of transcendental reality. As a newsletter, the Vajra Bell is a rich and rewarding read that brings our sangha together in common spiritual practice.
Each issue is available for download in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format or can be viewed online here at The Buddhist Centre Online. To view the full archive online, please visit http://www.aryaloka.org/category/vajrabell/
If you are a member of the Triratna Buddhist Community in North America and would like to create print copies for your local sangha, or if you would like to contribute or comment on the Vajra Bell, please contact the Editor-in-Chief, Eric Wentworth, at [email protected].
A Few Glimpses – Triratna NYC’s Fire Island Retreat 2016
Each morning, we rose early to watch the sky and sea slowly brighten, offer a shifting array of colors from the deepest greys and blue to pinks, yellows, and oranges. Then the sun seeming to pop up over the horizon in seconds, and the day had begun.
Our days were dedicated to meditation and study, with Kamalashila instructing us in the elements practice, including a unique visualization meditation. We made strong connections between each of the elements and our surroundings
Of course, there was also plenty of mindfulness and metta.
Throughout, the sound of the surf was ever-present, crashing, subsiding, always changing.
Our program left us plenty of time to enjoy the island, with walks on the beach, and simply lying in the sun. Several of us swam in the cold, pounding surf, keeping an eye to make sure that everyone who went into the water came out.
By the light of a very full moon, we held an elements puja, and finished it on the beach, dancing, singing, and generally cavorting as the pale but bright light reflected off the surf.
Neal organized an impromptu ceremony on impermanence, reading from the tiny book in which he had been writing a line from the Heart Sutra, “Gone, gone, gone beyond gone” over and over. Then moving us to the fireplace, where we watched it burn. Neal also put his firemaking skills to use throughout the retreat.
Vajramati demonstrated his skills as a chef as well as our Sangha leader, keeping us well-fed throughout. Fay regaled us with tales of her family’s history with the old house, and her childhood summers spent playing on the beach. Russ shared a poem inspired by our days of study and practice on the elements. Even the trip itself was an important part of the journey. On the ferry ride out, the sun set behind us as the moon rose ahead. Beautiful.
Very inspiring day on Sunday at the new Vajrasana Retreat Center. The London Buddhist Center, Retreat Center. Thought the Buddha figure was stunning and the place well laid out and very pleasing. Amoghavajra
The Tacoma Buddhist Center officially launches on March 8, 2016. The new center, located in America, has been Manidha’s vision for many years. She always imagined building a community with others and offering the Dharma where she lives.
In developing the website, she and Erika Narkiewicz panicked when they discovered the desired domain, tacomabuddhistcenter.org, was already taken. They thoughtfully discussed how much money they’d be willing to offer for the domain name, and then laughed their heads off when they found out Manidha already owned it! She bought it years ago and had forgotten all about it. Dreams do come true and we’re pleased to welcome you to our dream!
Manidha works full-time as a Deputy Director of Human Resources for a large organization in Seattle with 14,000 employees. She owns Skill for Mind, a local business that offers mindfulness training for children and adults. Manidha is also a senior trainer with the Potential Project, bringing mindfulness to the corporate world. As you can imagine, she could use your help!
Erika, a mitra from Norwich, was just here for three months. She was an invaluable resource and support. Learning how to snowshoe, she and Manidha became good friends and worked together to launch the new center.
If you’re looking for a wonderful opportunity to make a difference, pioneer a new center, have fun, and enjoy waterfront living, it doesn’t get any better than this!
Held on Martin Luther King weekend every year at Aryaloka Buddhist Center, Newmarket, NH Led by: Sunada, Vajramati, Padmadharini, Sravaniya & Dharmasuri This retreat is exclusively for the sanghas from Boston MA, Portland ME, and NY City.