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Friday, July 31, 2009

launch of 'Life with Full Attention'

Maitreyabandhu writes from the London Buddhist Centre, the FWBO's largest centre outside India -

"I'm delighted to announce the launch of my new book, Life with Full Attention - a practical course in mindfulness.

"My book is about paying attention.

"Mindfulness is something you can practise on a plane, waiting in a queue at the post office, or eating a takeaway. It's not religious. It's about paying attention.

"I explore the different levels and dimensions of mindfulness. I address the issues a reader might face when they try to put mindfulness into practice. But don't worry: I'm not assuming you have plenty of free time. I assume you have work to do, people to see, things to accomplish, children to get to school. The art of mindfulness will be learning to bring more attention to the sort of things you already do. I'm not trying to add another task to your jobs list".

Launch dates
London Buddhist Centre, 7.15pm, 2nd September
Manchester Buddhist Centre, 7.15pm, 7th September
Birmingham Buddhist Centre, 7.15pm, 29th September

For more information, and to order, check Windhorse Publications on

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Monday, June 15, 2009

'Visions of Mahayana Buddhism' - new book by Windhorse

Sarah Ryan from the FWBO's Windhorse Publications writes with new of a new book, 'Visions of Mahayana Buddhism' -

“Mahayana means 'Great Way' or ‘Great Vehicle’ and refers to a powerful current of Buddhist thought, practice, and culture. Mahayana Buddhism spread across Asia, settling deeply in China, Korea, and Japan in particular. Its emphasis on wisdom and compassion continues to be deeply felt today.

"In a unique overview of this inspiring tradition, Nagapriya introduces its central themes and huge spectrum of practices, literature, and movements. Charting the evolution and expression of the Mahayana as a whole, he tracks its movement across South and East Asia, uncovering its history, culture, and doctrines. In doing so, he blends extensive knowledge with a strong element of lived practice.

"Ideal for both educational and personal use, this far-reaching and imaginative guide provides a solid foundation for any study in Buddhism and a valuable perspective on Asian history.”

"I hope you’re well and congratulations on the anniversary of FWBO News – long may it continue! Sarah

Nagapriya is already well-known as an author thanks to his critically-acclaimed 'Exploring Karma and Rebirth'. He lectures in Buddhist studies at Manchester University in the UK, specializing in Mahayana Buddhism.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Five Female Buddhas: a 'terma' from Vessantara

Back in June FWBO News reported that Vessantara was embarking on a three-year retreat in the mountains of France. He has now gone, but we have recently been alerted to a ‘terma’ left by him, and wanted to share this with readers who may be interested.

Specifically, his book ‘The Five Female Buddhas is available in full on his website. This is a detailed commentary on five pujas, one to each of the Five Female Buddhas. These are mentioned as part of the extended family of figures in the well-known Five Buddha Mandala and appear in many other places in Tibetan Buddhism, for instance in the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

The five pujas were also written by Vessantara and are also available on his website here. Of the project as a whole, he says -

“Writing the sadhanas and the pujas was a strange process. There were times when rationally I felt very presumptuous – who was I to be doing such things? Yet at another level it felt very right – as if the figures just needed a channel to communicate themselves, and I happened to be that channel.

“And I decided early on in the process that I needn’t worry about the outcome. If there was no spiritual power in the figures then, perhaps after some initial interest, they would die away. But if they spoke to people’s spiritual needs, and helped them to engage with the spiritual adventure, then they would find a way to do so despite any imperfections that I might have introduced”.

Vessantara’s many other books are all available from the FWBO's Windhorse Publications.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Green Eros: a new novel by Dhivan

Order member Dhivan, from Cambridge, UK, has just self-published his first novel - 'Green Eros'. He writes -

"GREEN EROS is a novel about love, philosophy and men. Juniper Johnson is living the good life with his girlfriend in a cottage in northern Lancashire. But when he begins studying philosophy at Greyston University, everything starts to change. Splitting up, leaving his home, falling in love and making strong bonds of friendship with fellow philosophers, Juniper finds a new vision of life and love while in exile. Moving among professors, shamans and Buddhist monks, he learns the wisdom he needs to go home."

Dhivan, ordained in 2004, completed a PhD in the philosophy of love at Lancaster University back in 1995, and says he wrote this novel as a way to explore some of the themes he had been thinking about during his philosophical research. Is this the first novel to be published by a member of the Western Buddhist Order?

Green Eros is available via Amazon, or through Dhivan's own website at, where it is for sale at £9.95 including postage.

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

New poems...

FWBO News normally publishes exactly that – news, but it’s hard for mere pieces of news to capture the breadth and depth of people’s practice within the FWBO Sangha. We’re therefore pleased to offer you a poem, selected from ‘Is It OK Now?’, a new book of poems by Valerie Witonska (Val Blomfield), an LBC mitra and an experienced poet and playwright.

The poems track her progress through life and her exploration of Dharma practice. Manjusvara writes of them in his Foreword:

'Here are poems of love and poems of laughter. Poems of longing and poems of letting go. Gently funny and carefully wise, I hope they bring you as much pleasure as they have brought me. Let them break your heart and then rebuild it again'.

You can’t stroke me like a horse’s back.
I am nothing to do with ghosts.
There are no nativity scenes;
no curves and curlicues of theatre ceilings.

Don’t listen for reverberating chords.
Making sense of me won’t work.
When you try to look
your eyes swim.

I’m not interested in your stories
about me;
about yourselves.
You may chant into my silence:
I am the space in between the rocks.

‘Is It OK Now?’ was edited by Val's son Vishvapani and published using, a print-on-demand service. It’s available at

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Monday, June 02, 2008

The Buddha at Bedtime...

'Buddha at Bedtime' is a new book written by Nagaraja, a member of the Western Buddhist Order living in Glasgow, Scotland. It's sub-titled "Tales of Love and Wisdom for You to Read with Your Child to Enchant, Enlighten, and Inspire".

Nagaraja goes on to say "Growing up in the modern world, our children have to cope with an ever-increasing amount of stress, which can have a negative impact on their development. The ancient wisdom of Buddhism, with its emphasis on peace, mindfulness and compassion, is the ideal basis for helping any child to face these challenges with inner confidence and calm. Building on the age-old art of storytelling, this beautiful book re-tells 20 ancient Buddhist tales in a way that is thoroughly fun and accessible to children.
"Featuring superb, full-page illustrations the stories will transport children into an imaginary world of enlightenment and discovery where they will meet delightful characters and discover an easy-to-understand Buddhist message, which will help them think about how they can apply values such as patience, perseverance, honesty and generosity to their own lives. Designed to either be read aloud by parents or by children on their own, these compelling narratives focus the mind and provide a soothing transition into sleep."

This is Nagaraja's first book - he's probably better-known to FWBO News' readers for his long-standing appearances on Terry Wogan's 'Pause for Thought' slots on BBC Radio Two.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Land of Beautiful Vision: Making a Buddhist Sacred Space in New Zealand

Land of Beautiful Vision: Making a Buddhist Sacred Space in New ZealandSudarshanaloka is the FWBO’s retreat centre in New Zealand – a most beautiful spot, set in 200 acres of native bush looking down the valley and out over the sea. It appeared most recently on FWBO News in February, when it hosted the ordination of Dridhamati.

The story of Sudarshanaloka’s creation is a rich and complex one – and is now the subject of a book-length study. Land of Beautiful Vision: Making a Buddhist Sacred Space in New Zealand , by Sally McAra. The book (available from Amazon or elsewhere) is an academic work, and not cheap – but you can read a review here, by Jayarava, who was himself involved in its creation and is a friend of the author.

And for those who’d like to visit, but don’t plan on flying – you can take a ‘virtual journey’ from Thames, the local town, all the way up the valley to the retreat centre, and on up through the site to the Stupa itself – and then look out over the bay… Just click here to begin…

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Monday, March 17, 2008

'Broken Voices' book launch continues in UK, US

Last month FWBO News reported Vimalasara, an African British Order Member, was on tour in India, launching her new book showcasing stories of Indian ‘Dalit’ women. The title, ‘Broken Voices: 'Untouchable' Women Speak Out’, speaks for itself, the book presenting a series of moving stories gathered by Vimalasara on an extended visit to India in 2007. Click here to buy the book on Amazon.

Back in the UK an extended book launch tour is about to begin, with the following schedule - catch it if you can!

Monday March 31st - London Buddhist Centre (LBC) regulars night
Tuesday 1st April - Birmingham Buddhist Centre – regulars night
Thursday 3rd April - Manchester Buddhist Centre – regulars night
Thursday 3rd April - Cambridge Buddhist Centre – regulars night
Friday 4th April - Norwich Buddhist Centre – regulars night
Saturday April 5th Nottingham Buddhist Centre – special evening
Sunday 6th April – Sheffield Buddhist Centre – special afternoon event
Monday 7th April - Bristol Buddhist Centre – regulars night
Thursday 10th April – Cardiff Buddhist Centre – regulars night
Saturday 12th April – Croydon Buddhist Centre – mid day event
Monday 14th April - University of East London - 5pm
Tuesday 15th April – Brighton Buddhist Centre – regulars night
Friday April 18th Glasgow Buddhist Centre – special evening event

And finally, the OFFICIAL LAUNCH -

Thursday April 17th – Borders Bookstore, Charing Cross Road, 6.30pm

Each evening will consist of a talk followed by panel discussion and questions.
They will be hosted by the film maker/producer Pratibha Parmar; panellists include Sharmilla Beezmohun (Deputy Editor Wasafiri) , Dhammacharini Karunadeepa (from TBMSG, who has worked for many years in our women's social projects), Karunamaya (member of the TBMSG's Arya Tara Mahila Trust India), and Vimalasara (aka Valerie Mason-John, the author), who says – “We hope you will be able to join us at one of these events”.

After the UK comes the American launch, with a couple of dates arranged so far and more to come -

Saturday 26th April - 6pm San Francisco Buddhist Centre - everyone welcome
Monday 28th April - 6pm - Modern Times Book Store - the Mission San Francisco
Again a great opportunity for American Buddhists and others to learn more about their brothers and sisters in India.

The book itself is attracting positive critical reviews - 'one of the few books to write about casteism and the situation of Dalits in India impartially' Professor Bhau Lokhande (india); `these stories break the heart and stir the passions. Rage against this injustice is long overdue' Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.

Vimalasara has asked FWBO News to mention that all royalties are being donated to the work of the uplift of Dalit women in India.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

'Broken Voices' book launch in India

Vimalasara, an African British Order Member, is currently on tour in India, launching her new book on the stories of Indian ‘Dalit’ women. The title, ‘Broken Voices: 'Untouchable' Women Speak Out’, speaks for itself, the book presenting a series of moving stories gathered by Vimalasara on an extended visit to India in 2007. Click here to order it on Amazon.

The book is presently being launched in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Pune, and Nagpur, and in most places the evening will include panel debates on the theme of “Caste - Does it still Exist?” Click here for more details of her itinerary – all are welcome to attend.

Another book with equally moving stories has recently been published, this time by Baby Kamble, a Dalit woman, whose writings were accidentally discovered by American sociologist Maxine Berntsen. Her book is titled "The Prisons We Broke", and you can read a moving interview with her here - beginning with the chilling words “I hid everything I wrote for 20 years”. She goes on to acknowledge her debt to Ambedkar - 'Dr Ambedkar had said, “You believed in god. You gave away generations to him. Now give me a chance. Give me this generation! Make sacrifices for 20 years. Enroll your children in schools. Go hungry if you must! But educate your children. After twenty years, you yourselves will come and tell me what is better— god or education?' These words of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar touched the hearts of our women".

It is the first autobiography by a Dalit woman in Marathi, probably even the first of its kind in any Indian language. The book itself can be ordered here.

After her Indian tour, Vimalasara will be heading for San Francisco to take part in a pioneering conference organised by the FWBO’s San Francisco Buddhist Center. The conference is ‘Buddhism: Beyond Race and Caste’ and will be held on April 26th, click here for more details.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

FWBO Authors

Tricyle Cover ImageYou might want to read the Summer 2007 edition of Tricycle magazine which features three FWBO Authors. Bodhipaksa's exposition on the six-element practice is an "editors pick" and therefore on the website. He introduces the practice which he describes as both highly analytical, and intensely poetic. Vishvapani who is becoming a regular in Tricycle wonders whether our new Buddhists in India hold the key to ending Sri Lanka's decades-long civil war. And finally Montreal based mitra Vanessa Sasson writes about conflict and the images we have of foreigners. The articles by Vanessa and Vishvapani are only available online to subscribers.

The issue also includes an article about Michael Dillon who was possibly the first person in the UK to have gender reassignment surgey from female to male. He studied medicine and became a medical doctor. Seeking to escape the glare of publicity Michael fled to India with the intention of becoming a Buddhist Monk. He headed for a monastery in Kalimpong run by an Englishman known as Sangharakshita who gave him the Buddhist name Jivaka. Jivaka lived with Sangharakshita for a time and acted as his secretary. He actively opposed Dillon's ordination on the basis that he was born female and was therefore not eligible. Jivaka died in India in 1962.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Vimalasara’s Indian itinerary

Vimalasara’s Indian itinerary, launching ‘Broken Voices: 'Untouchable' Women Speak Out’

Friday 22nd February
Crosswords Book store - the Mulund store

25th FebruaryNew Dehli
British Council Division
British High Commission
17 Kasturba Gandhi Marg
New Delhi 110001
Tel: +91 (0)11 23711401
Fax: +91 (0)11 2371 0717 or 2371 9616
Contact: Raksha Kakar / Amitava Datta
1800 hrs Arrive at British Council
1900 – 2030 hrs Launch of Valerie Mason-John's book at Charbagh
Broken Voices: 'Untouchable' Women Speak Out
Followed by a panel discussion on the subject with
Dr Malashri Lal (Professor, Department of English & former Director Women's Studies & Development Centre, Delhi University), S Anand (Navayana Publisher), Vasundhara Shende and Valerie Mason-John.

Tuesday 26th February Kolkata (Calcutta)
British Council Division
British High Commission
1900 – 2030 hrs Launch of Valerie Mason-John's book in the library
Broken Voices: 'Untouchable' Women Speak Out
Followed by a panel discussion on the subject with
Ruchira Goswami (Faculty, National University of Juridical Sciences), Sanjoy Ganguly (Theatre personality), Vasundhara Shende and Valerie Mason-John.
2030 – 2130 hrs Cocktails with invited guests.

28th February - Pune
British Library
917/1, Fergusson College Road
Shivaji Nagar
Pune 411004
Tel: +91 (0)20 25654352 / 2567 5909 (Direct – Kajari Mitra)
Fax: +91 (0)20 2565 4351
Contact: Kajari Mitra / Savitry Iyer
1730 hrs Arrive at British Library
1800 - 2000 hrs Launch of Valerie Mason John's book in the library
Broken Voices: 'Untouchable' Women Speak Out
Followed by a panel discussion on the subject with
Sharan Kumar Limbale (Dalit Writer), Prof Anil Kumar (Lecturer, Marathi Department, Fergusson College), Lata Bhise (Feminist, Dalit Mahila Forum), Aseem Sarode (Lawyer & Human Rights Activist), Rahul Chandavarkar (Journalist & Activist), Vasundhara Shende and Valerie Mason-John.
2000 – 2100 hrs Cocktails with invited guests

4th March - Nagpur
Crosswords Book Store - 6pm
Details to be arranged

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