free counters

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Darklings dance at the Brighton Buddhist Centre

Here’s a slightly belated report from the FWBO’s Brighton Buddhist Centre and their recent success in the July Brighton Carnival.

With the help of 15 volunteers, Lucy Barron and Ady Griffiths designed and created 12 dancing skeletons, or ‘Darklings’ – inspired by images they’d seen of Tibetan Buddhist Skeleton dancers, and based around ‘The Wheel of Life’ which has been the Brighton Buddhist Centre’s Carnival theme since 2007.

The skeletons danced their way around Brighton – amusing, scaring, befriending, playing and performing 8 choreographed dances -which included elements of improvisation and audience participation. The costume creation process encouraged a sense of working together on a creative project in the Sangha which then spread out into the city community - Buddhists being very visible in the community in a positive, fun, participative way!

 And - best of all - they won the Second Best Small Carnival Band award! Over 20,000 people were estimated to have come to the Carnival Village with 800 people parading - 28 different community groups and bands.

Separately, Ady and Tess Howell created a larger ‘Golden Green Carnival Queen ‘ costume which was awarded 1st prize in the ‘Best Individual Costume Award’.

To see more images go to Ady's website or

For more information contact Ady Griffiths at

"As inspiration shines through you
Imagination alights the beauty and truth within you..."

"The secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life and elevating them into art"-Unknown

Labels: ,

Friday, August 01, 2008

Brighton Buddhist Centre's 'Tibet week'

The FWBO’s Brighton Buddhist Centre is playing a major role in Brighton’s forthcoming Tibet 2008 Initiative, which will run throughout August starting next Saturday 2nd.

Pete Fountain, the inspiration behind the Tibet 2008 Initiative said, ”I hope that these events will encourage people to offer whatever help they can to other human beings. They can do this in the full knowledge that they are directly making a beneficial difference to another person's life; potentially to the extent of actually saving it.”

The programme aims to promote an understanding of the issues facing Tibetans, both in exile and in their homeland. It will also offer practical ways in which people can provide support for the Tibetan nationals.

First comes an evening where Tibetan refugees will share their experiences of life in Tibet through song and the spoken word – among those present will be Dorjee, a Tibetan refugee living in Brighton, who will be talking about his reasons for leaving his homeland, his 34-day journey walking over the snow covered Himalayas to India, and his life as a refugee living in Brighton. The Gangjong Doeghar performance group, many of whose performers come from the Karuna-funded Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Cultural Institute ITBCI, will also be performing.

Later in August there will be three Walking Vigils along the Brighton Seafront in Support of the Tibetan People – an opportunity to show solidarity with the Tibetan people's desire for greater freedom, to assemble together on behalf of those who cannot.”

Of special interest to those in the FWBO might be the last event, an evening showcasing “One Lama’s Mission to Preserve Tibetan Culture” – the lama in question of course being Sangharakshita’s friend and teacher Dhardo Rimpoche.

Many other events are also planned – more details on the web at

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Moving Sounds annual report

Being a world-wide community, the FWBO is full of diverse people and projects, all more – or less – closely affiliated with “The FWBO”, and, as a result, all more or less well-known among the wider FWBO sangha.

Moving Sounds is an example - they’re a small but innovative ‘Community Interest Company’ run by Keith, Ed, Caspar, and Jo, four mitras from the UK’s Buddhafield and Brighton sanghas. They specialise in music and drama workshops for schools, everything they do carrying a skilfully-delivered social message but also being a lot of fun - a certain Head of Geography is on record as saying "The only way the students could have enjoyed it more is if they had been stuffing their faces with chocolate at the same time!"

Their recently published annual report is full of gems such as the RECYCLED ORCHESTRA, which combines the experience of playing recycled percussion as a group with performance, video, discussion and group activities about waste and climate-change; the ECO SHOW, which presents broader ecological issues in a fun and entertaining way using theatre, clowning, plenty of music and different characters to explore topics including energy use, global foot printing, oil consumption, and alternative energy sources. They’ve just commissioned a local artist to make a pair of giant feet (for the USA, we wonder why!) and performed music and storytelling workshops about ‘How to Make the Best World Imaginable’ at the World Environment Day

Alongside that, they have a strong link to Africa – Ed and Caspar recently returning from an extended trip there with ‘THE GREAT EMBAIRE’ in their hand luggage. The Embaire is the biggest xylophone in the world, originating in Uganda and played by 10 people simultaneously for several hours – usually accompanied by plenty of dancing and celebration.

In Africa they made a promotional DVD for XPERA UGANDA - Africa’s first opera company. The idea is that this will enable XPERA to apply for funding to run community opera projects in Uganda, there will then be many possible links to Moving Sounds' own community opera projects in the UK through the UK's Knowledge Transfer funding programmes.

As part of their trip Ed and Caspar made many links with people and organisations in Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, Zanzibar, Malawi and Mozambique – all of which could potentially become projects that integrate creative workshops with cultural sharing, documentation and training trainers for capacity building. Moving Sounds plan to focus on funding for these projects in 2008. They're a great example of how Buddhist principles can make a real difference in the world without ever calling themselves 'Buddhist'. We wish them well…

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Brighton Fringe Festival

The Brighton Buddhist Centre is playing an active part in the 2007 Brighton Fringe Festival.

At the beginning of the month they hosted an Open Day entitled "Looking After Our World", followed by an evening of music with international pianists Glen Capra and mitra Joss Peach.

'Zen in the Afternoon', last weekend, brought Japan to the Buddhist Centre, with meditation, poetry readings, Haiku Writing Workshops, a slide show of Japanese temples, tea ceremony, Origami, mini Zen garden making, and even child-friendly sushi-making.

Alongside these all these was 'Emerging', an art installation by Ingrid Plum, which explored the connection between sky and earth using devotional texts, a mirror, origami leaves and lotus blossoms. The fragile beauty of the lotus flowers emerges as if from murky water into knowledge in this installation which changes through time, according to the sky.

Here then, form is no other than emptiness
Emptiness no other than form
Form is only emptiness
Emptiness only form…


Monday, April 16, 2007

FWBO Day in Brighton

On Sunday the Brighton Buddhist Centre celebrated 40 years of the FWBO with a splendid twelve hour extravaganza, spanning all four floors of the centre in which beautiful shrines to the Five Jinas had been created.

The day began in Vairocana’s realm, turning the FWBO’s particular wheel of the Dharma with a series of seven-minute talks on each of the six characteristic emphases of the FWBO. Karunavira talked on ecumenicalism; Amoghavajri on work as practice; Natasha Lythgoe on the Arts; Dharmarkara on the centrality of Going for Refuge; Jo Wace on the FWBO as a unified movement; and Ratnadakini on Spiritual Friendship. This format worked very well, giving six very engaging and succinct windows on the FWBO and its distinctive nature as a Buddhist movement.

Next up was a visit to Akshobya’s realm in the recently renovated Garden Shrine Room. We were treated to some of Suchitta’s mirror-like wisdom through a cracking talk on the importance of study, entitled “What’s the Point?” Suchitta drew our attention to an impressive array of dualities which are relevant within the realm of study such as literalism and metaphor; simplicity and complexity; doctrine and method; and knowing and not knowing, suggesting the need for a Middle Way with which to transcend these polarities. She urged us to abandon the view that study was just for those of a particular temperament, pointing out that there are many ways to study and that the process of study itself is a very good way of noticing one’s temperamental tendencies and perhaps bringing them more into balance. She also emphasised that studying with others in a group can be a transformative practice in which we can really learn from and help one another.

After lunch we entered the sunny abundance of Ratnasambhava’s realm where Akasati showed slides from recent years at Buddhafield, a very unique and distinctive limb of the FWBO. It was wonderful to see retreats taking place right in the midst of the elements and inspiring to witness the colourful spectacle of hundreds of people engaged in the enormous and creative rituals of the Buddhafield Festival.

Following this was a musically impressive and infectiously joyful performance from Mahasukha’s Soulful Singers, which included one of Bodhivajra’s rounds, “Spring” and a beautiful setting in four-part harmony by Mahasukha of the Karaniya Metta Sutta.

After all this stimulating input we headed upstairs to the main shrine room and sat before the Amitabha shrine. Dharmavajra introduced Bhante’s System of Meditation and led us through a practice of the Mindfulness of Breathing. Then Dharmakara and Guhyaratna introduced and led sessions of the Metta Bhavana and the Just Sitting practice respectively.

Next we stepped into the unobstructed success of Amoghasiddhi’s realm. Here we watched the latest video from the Karuna Trust entitled “On the Threshold,” which was both inspiring and moving, and featured some familiar faces from the Brighton mandala. Following this was a Sevenfold Puja (pictured above: in the centre of the photo is our incredible new Shakyamuni triptych, painted by Aloka and ritually opened by Bhante last November.) The puja was dedicated to Amoghasiddhi and included the mitra ceremonies of Melanie Klein and Trisha King.

After a shared supper, those that weren’t completely overwhelmed and overstimulated (and some that were!) settled down for a viewing of Kim Ki-duk’s visually stunning and thought-provoking film, “Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter… and Spring” which was a lovely way to end such a joyful and celebratory day.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

FWBO Projects Receive Community Funding

The UK government recently announced the results of round 2 of the ‘Faith Communities Capacity Building Fund’, which attracted bids from over 1,200 UK faith-based organisations. The funding was given to “groups with practical solutions to build capacity among faith communities to support inter faith work”. The successful applicants were the Brighton, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, and Croydon FWBO Centres, the Clear Vision Trust, Dharmachakra (now known as Free Buddhist Audio), and the LBC’s Globe Community Project.

A full list of the 343 successful organisations is available online (pdf file). The fund is administered to the Community Development Foundation (CDF). FWBO News will be chasing up the recipients to find out how they will be using the money.

Story by Lokabandhu

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,