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Friday, February 19, 2010

Lama’s Pyjamas are go!

Padmalila writes from the FWBO’s London Buddhist Centre with news of the opening of their new Right Livelihood business - the Lama’s Pyjamas. Which is a charity shop, in case you were wondering. And you’re invited...! She says -

“The new charity shop for the London Buddhist Centre will be opened officially on Saturday 20th February at 2pm by Jnanavaca, the chairman of the London Buddhist Centre. There will be live music and a special window display of garments designed by Holly. We sell clothes and bric-a-brac and plan to have workshops for the local community teaching basic sewing skills and crafts. We have a mixture of affordable clothing and better quality garments at reasonable prices.

“Holly who is designing garments and doing our window display for the opening has just finished filming a programme for BBC2 , part of the ” Mastercraft” series about traditional British crafts which will be shown in February. She has just finished designing the launch collection for a new shop in the Brick Lane area called "123, Bethnal Green Road" which will be opening later in February. She is interested in sustainability. Her garments are made with care and attention to detail and made to be worn over and over again, known as slow fashion, as opposed to much of the cheaper mass produced fast fashion today which is made to be briefly used and then replaced.

“Please come and see us anytime we're open. Opening hours 12-6pm Monday-Friday and 10.30am-6pm Saturday. Please bring us donations of clothes and bric-a-brac during opening hours and help to keep the LBC providing Meditation and Buddhism teaching, MBCT courses, TBRL and communities which together create the "Buddhist village" of Bethnal Green.

“Lamas Pyjamas is at 83, Roman Road London E2. Tel: 020 8980 1843. Web site:

Thanks Padmalila

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

‘Poetry East’ at the London Buddhist Centre

Maitreyabandhu writes from the LBC with news of a new Buddhist poetry venue in East London. He says -

“I'm creating a new poetry venue at the London Buddhist Centre. It’s called Poetry East. I plan to invite very good contemporary poets every 6 weeks or so - so far I have Mimi Khalvati (founder of The Poetry School) on 30th January and Fiona Sampson (editor of Poetry Review) on 24th April... also I've asked Bhante to do one and he seems willing!

“I say this about it in the publicity:

“Each poet will be asked to provide two or three poems from the canon that have influenced their poetry; these poems will be read at the beginning of the evening. There will be a short interview with the poet, asking them about their creative life and work with emphasis on their influences, and poets they admire. This will be followed by a poetry reading and questions and answers from the floor. The evening will be preceded by a short led meditation in order to provide the best listening conditions externally and internally. We’ll meet in one of the LBC’s shrinerooms.

“It has a website - please do have a look.

“Love Maitreyabandhu

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Monday, January 25, 2010

The Lama's Pyjamas: now for sale at the London Buddhist Centre!

Claudine Edwards writes from the LBC to say -

“Padmalila and I are very excited to announce the start of a new Team Based Right Livelihood business in Bethnal Green, just along the road from the FWBO's London Buddhist Centre. It's a charity shop called Lama's Pyjamas which is located at 83 Roman Road, in the premises previously occupied by Friends Organic.

“We opened our doors a week ago and plan to have a Grand Opening next month. In the mean time do visit our website

“We're still very much 'work-in-progress' (with quite a lot still to do!) but already we've had a very positive response from the local community and great support from everyone at the LBC. We did the shop fitting ourselves (with lots of help from the wonderful Ibon) using recycled materials donated by members of the sangha - our only major new purchases were a steamer and a till!

“Our vision is for the business to be more than simply a charity shop - we hope, in time, to run training workshops, for instance teaching people the skills they’d need to turn old clothes into new - but for now we're both trying to get the shop up and running as a viable business as well as a place for spiritual practice.

“We're looking for volunteers, so if anybody has a regular amount of time they could spare please do get in touch with us -

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Sub-30 retreat at the London Buddhist Centre

SuYen Tan writes from the FWBO’s London Buddhist Centre with news of their new ‘sub-30’ group. He says-

“Dear Friends,

“Young people at the London Buddhist Centre are getting ready for an under-30s retreat. The ‘Sub-30’ weekend retreat will take place at Vajrasana, the LBC's retreat centre in Suffolk, from the 29th to the 31st of January. The retreat provides an opportunity for men and women under the age of 30 to make connections with other young Buddhists, discuss the Dharma, and practice together in a retreat environment. The focus of the weekend will be on meditation and communication.

“The retreat is open to everyone under the age of 30, and who know both the mindfulness and metta bhavana meditation practices as taught within the FWBO. The retreat will be co-led by Knut Wilmott and SuYen Tan.

“There are still a couple of places left on this retreat - please contact the LBC at 0845 458 4716 for bookings. More information can be found at

The LBC’s Sub-30 group is one of a number of young Buddhists’ groups (eg Birmingham, Brighton, Sheffield) that have sprung up around the FWBO in the past year, many in response to a realisation that action needed to be taken to make sure the Dharma in the West was handed on to the coming generation.

There’s a Young FWBO Facebook group that aims to be a one-stop shop summarising what’s events are coming up - it’s also of course a way to connect with other young Buddhists.  You’ll find this at .  Looking beyond the FWBO for young Buddhist resources, try the American-based Buddhist Geeks site at

Meanwhile ClearVision are hard at work on new video material specifically aimed at communicating Buddhist teachings to a younger generation.  A central component of their work is a forthcoming DVD on Buddhism and Citizenship .  Already available is the wonderful  Ask a Buddhist’ service for students (one-minute answers to all those difficult questions!); plus material for children and young people of all ages - 

ages 5-11 (with some wonderful stores from the Jataka tales), 
11-14 (with an interactive Wheel of Life), 
15-16 (with sections on religious authority, and citizenship, and finally 
17-18 A-level students (where there's sections on human rights and responsibilities, also sex and relationships).

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

MBE for London Order Member

FWBO News has just received a tipoff from our Taraloka mole, who says -

“Just discovered that Sraddhapushpa has just collected her MBE at Buckingham Palace!”

Thanks, mole…! It’s true - Debrett’s says so, where we learn that the Queen has been graciously pleased, on the occasion of the Celebration of Her Majesty's Birthday, to give orders for the following appointments to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire...

Sraddhapushpa (whose English name is Suzy Powesland) is a 79-year-old Order Member living in an FWBO women’s community around the London Buddhist Centre, and was for many years a teacher in some of East London’s roughest schools. She was nominated for the award (a Member of the British Empire)by her community, which was awarded for “voluntary service to Black and Minority Ethnic People in East London”.

Sraddhapushpa featured prominently in Ed Husain's 2008 book ‘The Islamist: Why I Joined Radical Islam in Britain, What I Saw Inside and Why I Left’, shortlisted for both the Book Prize and Orwell Prize 2008.

To quote from Chapter 1, Ed Husain says  - “Sir William Burrough primary school in Limehouse was almost an extension of my home. The teachers would often visit my parents and I remember going to Ms Powlesland’s house to pick cherries in her garden. She loved her pupils so much that even her social life revolved around us. At weekends she often took us to theatres in the West End, where many of the stories we read in class came alive on stage. My particular favourite was Peter Pan. I liked his ability to do the undoable: to fly.

“Growing up in Britain in the 1980s was not easy. Looking back, I think Ms Powlesland was trying to create her own little world of goodwill and kindness for the children in her care. We grew up oblivious of the fact that large numbers of us were somehow different – we were ‘Asian’.

"‘Pakis! Pakis! F— off back home!’ the hoodlums would shout. The National Front was at its peak in the 1980s. I can still see a gang of shaven-headed tattooed thugs standing tall above us, hurling abuse as we walked to the local library to return our books. Ms Powlesland and the other teachers raced to us, held our hands firmly, and roared at the hate-filled bigots.

"‘Go away! Leave us alone,’ they would bellow to taunts of ‘Paki lovers’ from the thugs. Little did I know then that one day I, too, would be filled with abhorrence of others..."   (click here to read the rest of the first chapter online).

Sadhu Sraddhapushpa!

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

London Buddhist Centre starts Buddhist Sunday School

A small news item for any readers who might be in London...

This Sunday, 27 September, the FWBO's London Buddhist Centre are starting their own Buddhist Sunday School.

They say - "Bring your child along for Buddhist stories and teachings, related craft activities and short meditations adapted for children".

The times are 10-11.15am, and the school will run every Sun up to 13 Dec (except 1 Nov and 6 Dec).

They're not the first FWBO children's class - a couple of years ago the Little Buddha Children's Club started in Nagpur, central India.  Since their initials are LBCC perhaps they should become twins!

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Female Buddhas celebrated at London Buddhist Centre

Maitrivajri writes with news of a cycle of celebration at the FWBO’s London Buddhist Centre: an honouring of the little-known Five Prajnas, the ‘female’ counterparts of the Five Buddhas in the well-known Five-Buddha Mandala.

She says - “This year we are ritually celebrating the female Buddhas, or Prajnas, on the day and time of the year associated with each of them. We began the cycle with the Summer Solstice and female Buddha Mamaki. We are performing outdoor rituals.

“The rituals are open to those who know both our meditation practices and have some experience of Buddhist ritual. It would be great if the Prajnas received more attention! The Mandala of the Five Prajnas is a symbol and image for the wisdom of the Buddhas.”

Next up, on September 20th, the Autumn Equinox, is a ceremony dedicated to Pandaravasini, the female Buddha of the Western direction associated with dusk and the wisdom of uniqueness.

Later in the year it is the turn of Samayatara, the female Buddha of the Northern direction associated with midnight and the wisdom of action (to be held over the weekend of Halloween/Samhain); and Akasadhatesvari, the female Buddha at the centre of the Mandala beyond time and space. She is associated with the ineffable wisdom of the Transcendental. Her ceremony will take place at the time of the Winter Solstice, Sunday Dec 21st.

For more details check the London Buddhist Centre website.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

London Buddhist Centre Grand Reopening

The FWBO's London Buddhist Centre (LBC) held a grand public reopening on 8th and 9th May - after the biggest refurbishment in its 30-year history.

The newly enlarged centre includes a dedicated venue for its Breathing Space ‘Mindfulness for Health’ programme, plus a new bookshop/reception and improved facilities and disability access throughout.

At a private function on Friday 8 May, influential public health policy commentator Lord Layard opened a new venue for the Breathing Space programme, which teaches Mindfulness Based Approaches (MBAs) to help prevent relapse into depression and addiction, and to manage stress and anxiety.

On Saturday 9 May the LBC held an open day – with all events free and open to anyone. The day included meditation sessions and talks about Buddhism and wellbeing. There were also lots of great offers at local businesses in the surrounding ‘Buddhist Village’, including the Wild Cherry Vegetarian Restaurant, Friends Organic Health Food shop and Evolution gift shop. In the evening there was a celebration, with presentations, live music, and refreshments.

The core course at Breathing Space is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Drawing on CBT, it uses mindfulness meditation to help challenge negative thinking that can lead to depression. MBCT is recommended by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and has been shown in clinical trials to be more effective than antidepressants in preventing repeated relapse into depression.

Lord Layard, Emeritus Professor at the London School of Economics and a high-profile commentator on mental health policy, said: “Depression and anxiety are the biggest causes of misery in Britain today, with one in three families affected. As a society we need to act now. There is strong evidence that both CBT and MBCT are effective in preventing relapse. That’s why I warmly welcome this new venue for Breathing Space at the LBC to provide MBCT.” Lord Layard is well known for advocating a new ‘science of happiness’, which embraces philosophy, economics, and psychology. In his best-selling 2005 book ‘Happiness – Lessons from a New Science’ he cites meditation as one of a number of tools we can use to develop happiness from within.

Since its inception in 2004 Breathing Space has helped more than 600 people, through 20 MBA courses and 20 two-day retreats teaching local carers mindfulness-based tools for managing stress and anxiety. It is funded by Tower Hamlets Social Services to provide free places on MBCT courses for people living in Tower Hamlets on a low income, and has contracts with Tower Hamlets and other London Boroughs to provide retreats and drop-in sessions for carers. For more information about Breathing Space and Mindfulness Based Approaches (MBTs) go to

There is a fast-growing body of medical research to show the beneficial effects of meditation on mental health. Studies have shown that it can have positive effect on regions of the brain related to emotional processing and on the nervous system and neurochemicals released in the brain. Breathing Space has produced a summary of some of these recent findings - see .

The photographs show the new entrance to the LBC and Paramabandhu (the outgoing chairman) meeting Lord Layard during the opening.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

LBC celebrates as building work ends

The FWBO’s London Buddhist Centre (LBC) has had the biggest refurbishment in its history – and they’re celebrating.

The newly enlarged centre includes Breathing Space, a new health and wellbeing venue, plus a completely rebuilt bookshop/reception area; with improved facilities and disability access throughout.

Week-long celebrations are planned for May, to include a ritual blessing of the new spaces, open days for both Breathing Space and the LBC, an opening party, and a grand re-opening of the LBC itself. There’s even a VIP - Lord Layard – coming to open Breathing Space. Lord Layard is the UK Government's "happiness" tsar and author of the influential ‘Depression Report’ which advocated a substantial increase in non-chemical treatment for people suffering from stress or depression.

They say “If you feel a connection with the LBC come and have a look round on our Open Day or join us to celebrate Wesak!”

The public programme is currently –

Open Days: LBC and Breathing Space
Free meditation classes, talks on Buddhism. Free introduction to our Mindful Based Approaches (MBSs) to depressions, anxiety and addiction. A chance to introduce friends and family to the atmosphere and the activities of the LBC & Breathing Space. Sat 9 May. 11-5pm. Free of charge.

Celebratory Evening.
An evening to celebrate and rejoice in the people who have made the building project happen; a chance to enjoy the spacious new Centre. With live music and food. Sat 9 May. 7.15pm

Wesak Festival Day
A celebration and exploration of the most significant event in Buddhism: the day the Buddha attained supreme Enlightenment. With meditation, talks and ritual. Subhuti will be giving a Dharma talk as a part of the celebrations, with the title: Meeting the Buddha. Sun 10 May. From 10am. Dana/Donation. Led by Paramabandhu and Maitrivajri.

Grand Opening Party.
Rejoicing in all those who have helped create the new centre with music and film. Mon 11 May. 7.15pm

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New painting unveiled at the LBC; Sangharakshita interviewed

Aloka at work in his studio in NorwichReaders of FWBO News will know the LBC recently suffered a major flood in its basement on the eve of its 30th anniversary.

Very shortly before that, they had welcomed Sangharakahita, who on November 8th had unveiled a unveiled a major new shrine painting by Aloka to celebrate the opening of
Breathing Space, a third shrine room at the FWBO's London Buddhist Centre.

As part of the opening and unveiling ceremonies, Sangharakahita was interviewed by Maitreyabandhu about his time at the LBC, and a video of this and the unveiling itself can be found on the 'talks' section of the LBC website.

Aloka's new painting installed in the LBC's new basement shrine roomThe beautiful triptych painting of the Buddha, his immediate disciples, and the Arya Sangha, includes figures from the Refuge Tree of the Western Buddhist Order.

It is designed to be closable to allow the space to be used for MBCT courses as part of the LBC's new Breathing Space project.
The two photographs show Aloka, the painter, at work in his studio in Norwich, and the finished painting as installed in the LBC.

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Friday, December 05, 2008

Flooding at the LBC

Maitreyabandhu has written to let us know of a major flood at the FWBO's London Buddhist Centre - on the very eve of their 30th anniversasry. They are appealing for donations to help cover the cost. Maitreyabandhu says -

"Dear Friend,

"Today is the 30th anniversary of Bhante Sangharakshita opening the main shrine room of the LBC. Last night, on the eve of that anniversary, we had a burst water-main in the street outside, which has flooded the basement causing substantial damage. It looks like we will have to take the whole front elevation of scaffolding down so Thames Water can dig a hole big enough to fix the pipe. The builders will be up all night trying to finish the work on that elevation of the building. Someone will be continuously mopping the basement. We don't know the full extent of the damage yet, but it will be something around £15 and £20,000. Added to this, during our 30th anniversary celebrations in November, a fire was started in the doorway to the new entrance of the LBC causing substantial damage. We have to pay the first £2,500 of any insurance claim.

"Of course for a Buddhist this is a teaching: all things are impermanent, Samsara is not perfect, things go wrong. It reminds me of all the work happening right up to the moment of the opening of the LBC in 1978 – they had their share of disasters! But they created a centre that has benefited so many people.
"It also reminds me of the story about Buddhism going to Tibet. How the building of Samye monastery was constantly disrupted by the local demons. They would come out at night and demolish the work that the builders had done during the day. Our fire and the flood both happened at night. According to the story the only person who could convert the demons to help and not to hinder was the Tantric master Padmasambhava. We need to convert the local demons. But we do not have Padmasambhava. We need to create him together. We can do that meditation and devotional practice – sending well-wishing to the success of the project. We can also direct our energy and connect with our faith in the benefits that the new space will bring.

"A very practical thing you could do to help is give money. I want to urge everyone to donate to the LBC and if you have already given, to consider giving even more. Money is a really clear mark of confidence and care and faith. In many ways we become what we give our money to. It’s how we show that things are important to us. So please give and help convert, by our care, the local demons into protectors of the Dharma. We really need your help and support.

"Thank you in advance,


To donate please click here.

coming soon - news and photos of the recent unveiling by Sangharakshita of the LBC's new painting - a very beautiful triptych of the Buddha, his disciples, and the Bodhisattvas - and hung in pride of place in the LBC's basement...

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

London Buddhist Centre celebrates 30th anniversary

The FWBO’s London Buddhist Centre celebrates its 30th anniversary this week.

To mark the occasion they’ve arranged a ‘30th Anniversary Urban Retreat’ running from 9th –16th November; it started Sunday with a period of ‘setting intentions’ for the week ahead. They then moved into more ceremonial mode with a Grand Unveiling, by Sangharakshita, of a new 12-foot triptych, painted by Aloka, for their new basement shrine room.

This will form part of the LBC’s new ‘Breathing Space’ area - Breathing Space is the London Buddhist Centre’s growing programme for health and wellbeing; it teaches meditation and mindfulness techniques that can help people who have struggled with depression, addiction, stress and anxiety to look after their own mental health. It’s also a resource center for carers in the area, helping local carers learn how to reduce the stress that can come with intensive caring responsibilities. They’ve produced a video, ‘Caring for the Carers’ and been featured in the UK’s ‘Guardian’ newspaper.

On the Urban Retreat itself - in which 146 people are participating - they say “you decide what commitments to take up while going about your usual routine. We will support your efforts by opening the Centre for morning meditation, hosting special classes, and sending you daily text messages and audio downloads. We start with a day retreat in which the new shrine room painting will be unveiled, and we finish with a day retreat and then Sangha day.

“In the evenings there will be free classes all week, including newcomers’ meditation classes from 7.15 to 8.15pm, followed at 8.30pm by a series of very special events celebrating the people and positivity of the LBC.
“We want everyone who comes to the LBC to attend this year’s 30th anniversary Urban Retreat – so the week is free of charge for all".

More details of the retreat - and Breathing Space - are available on the LBC's website.

Breaking News - next June FWBO centres across the world will running an International Urban Retreat to which all members of the whole FWBO Sangha are invited. The dates are June 20-27th; watch this space for more details…

There’s an introduction to the theory and practice of Urban Retreats- as developed by the FWBO’s Sheffield Buddhist Centre - on FWBO Resources here.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Sangharakshita interviewed live on-line

A recent photograph of Sangharakshita, photographed by AlokaviraMaitreyaraja, manager of the FWBO’s London Buddhist Centre, has contacted FWBO News to tell us -

“On Sunday at 4pm GMT Sangharakshita, founder of the Western Buddhist Order and the FWBO, is being interviewed live on-line by Maitreyabandhu. This event is part of the London Buddhist Centre’s 30th anniversary celebrations.

“The interview will explore Sangharakshita’s vision for the London Buddhist Centre, his life in Bethnal Green, the building of the Centre in the 1970s, and his hopes for the future.

“This event will be streamed live on the internet starting at 4pm GMT - click here to join us”.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Environmental Audit and action plan at the London Buddhist Centre

In 2007 the FWBO's London Buddhist Centre celebrated the year of Amoghasiddhi, the Green Buddha of Action and Fearlessness.

As part of this they focussed attention on taking practical action to address environmental issues, exploring how Buddhism teaches us to lead a more simple and less wasteful life, more in harmony with the environment.

And as part of that, over the last few months a series of ‘environmental audits’ have
been carried out in and around the LBC’s ‘Buddhist Village’, covering many of the businesses and
communities that are linked to the LBC as well as the centre itself. They have now produced a report summarising the main findings of those environmental audits – all of which include commitments to action, whether reducing direct environmental impacts, working in partnership with others on environmental issues, or by raising awareness of why and how we can all take action on the environment.

The report can be read in full here. Thanks to the LBC for permission to reproduce

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Friday, May 30, 2008

London Buddhist Centre begins major building work

builders go to work on the LBCThe FWBO's London Buddhist Centre this week moved into top gear as the largest building project in its history really got underway. Over the next 8 months over UK £1,5 million will be spend transforming every floor of the building (all 6 of them!) into facilities worthy of the 21st century and the next 100 years.

Planning and preliminary works have been going on for well over a year and already ‘Phase 0’ has been completed – a major project in its own right. This entailed moving the offices out of the basement and up into ‘Bhante’s Flat’, which had lain empty for several years. Sangharakshita’s old bedroom, which he used for most of the 1990’s while living at the LBC, has been transformed into the ‘Sangharakshita Study Room’ and is now a self-contained space available for study or hire. The rest of his old flat has become beautiful new light and airy offices for the LBC team – a welcome new home after many years in the relative darkness of the basement.

carvers in India create the LBC's new fountainWork on the project is multi-facetted – as the builders smash up the old concrete flooring in the LBC basement, Aloka, in Norfolk, is working on a large new painting which will be the shrine backdrop in the new meditation room. And in far-away India, carvers are shaping a stone fountain that will bring a touch of natural beauty into the basement waiting area. This is scheduled to be shipped in July and installed in time for their opening in mid-September.

The biggest challenge of the project is to convert the basement into the new ‘Breathing Space’, the LBC’s flourishing programme for health and wellbeing.

Aloka shows off work so far on his new painting for the LBC's basementAn indication of the success of the Breathing Space project – even before its new premises are ready – is their waiting list, currently standing at 65 for their next MBCT course. They are looking at ways to offer more courses in response to the demand. As well as MBCT, Breathing Space will offer programs for carers – ‘Caring for the Carers’; also Relapse Prevention; Meditation for Depression, Meditation for Addiction, and Bereavement courses – plus training in all the above for future trainers and counsellors. Breathing Space looks set to add a valuable and much–appreciated dimension to the LBC’s work.

You can read recent articles about the Breathing Space project here - in The Times about addiction courses; in the Guardian about carers retreats, and a short BBC film about the LBC's work with people suffering from depression.

Finally there is a more general interview with Futurebuilders England, a UK government investment agency which has provided some of the funding of the project.

FWBO News wishes the LBC well on what is likely to prove a busy and demanding time - and looks forward eagerly to seeing the new facilities!

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Dharma Marathons on April 13th

In just two week's time, Tim Segaller and Simon Okotie from the London Buddhist Centre will be running the London Marathon to raise funds for the LBC’s Breathing Space project and for the mental health charity Mind.

“I decided a couple of years ago while I was on solitary retreat that I wanted to run a marathon before I was 40.” Simon (who is treasurer of the LBC) said. “I didn’t realise quite what a commitment it is!” This year is the ideal opportunity with all the fundraising going on at the LBC. “As well as creating Breathing Space – a health and well-being centre in the basement of the LBC – the building project will make the centre accessible for people in wheelchairs, provide an expanded reception room / bookshop and kitchenettes, make the community on the top three floors of the building habitable again, provide central heating to both communities above the Centre for the first time, provide a new office for the LBC team…the list goes on.” In short, it will transform the LBC, hopefully in time for its 30th anniversary at the end of 2008.

“I feel particularly inspired by the Breathing Space project,” says Tim. “This project is already making a real difference to people’s lives, whether they are carers in the local area of East London, which is one of the poorest in the country, people who have suffered from depression or those coping with chronic pain. The new space will allow us to do so much more.”

Please support Tim and Simon
You can sponsor them securely and speedily on-line at There will be a prize draw for all sponsors and you could win tickets to a premiere at the Royal Opera House, tickets to the forthcoming Hadrian exhibition at the British Museum (kindly donated by Padmadhara), an organic food hamper and other prizes! Please also cheer them along on the day, 13 April, if you can. Check out Simon’s marathon blog in the coming weeks for fundraising and training updates and for news about the race.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Feature article - the new Buddhist parents

FWBO News is happy to present another in its occasional series of feature articles, this time looking at the intriguing topic of the new wave of Buddhist Parents. Karmabandhu, a new parent himself, looks at the whole area both from the point of view of the Buddha’s own advice to avoid the ‘dusty sphere’ of the household life, and, more pertinently, at the real-life experience of a number of new parents, all members of the Western Buddhist Order living around the London Buddhist Centre, as they struggle to take their practice into their new circumstances.

here to read the article, or simply visit the ‘Features’ tab above.

By happy coincidence, Wildmind, in New Hampshire USA, have focussed their Febuary meditation newsletter on the theme of "Family Practice: Parenting with mindfulness"; it includes two in-depth articles on parenting and practice. In the first, Mindful Moms, Dharma Dads, Sunada asks "Is it possible to have children and a spiritual practice at the same time?" and talks with some friends who are managing to raise a family while staying committed to their spiritual lives. In Parenting and practice Steve Bell, Buddhist practitioner and social worker, speaks from his experience of meditating while parenting two young boys in answer to the questions "How do we maintain an active practice while being immersed in the world of parenting and work? Are children a hindrance to spiritual practice? Or can parenting also be a path?"

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ordinations at the London Buddhist Centre

On Thursday 8th November, at the London Buddhist Centre, two ordinations took place, in a ceremony attended by family and many friends.

Julie Rankin became Kamalini (Pali, with a long second i), meaning (She who is) Rich in the qualities of the Lotus Family, or Like a pool covered with lotuses. Her private preceptor was Dhammadassin.

Diana Cliff became Kamalasiddhi (Sanskrit & Pali), meaning She who is successful, like a lotus. Her private preceptor was Srivati.

The public preceptor in both cases was Parami.


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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Breathing Space - the LBC’s Compassion in Action project - wins major grant

The London Buddhist Centre (LBC) has been awarded a £50,000 grant by the City Bridge Trust, which gives money from the City of London to charitable projects benefiting the inhabitants of Greater London.

This grant is for accessibility works in the basement, where the LBC will run its Breathing Space health and wellbeing programme. Specifically, this will include a lift going from the ground floor and a disabled toilet in the basement. This is – as far as the LBC is aware – the biggest single grant it has ever received. The work will create a beautiful new venue for courses that help people who've struggled with depression, addiction, stress and chronic pain to look after their own mental health. This will also give them the opportunity of making the LBC much more flexible – so they can attract a more diverse range of people.

Maitreyabandhu, Breathing Space Project Director, said: “It’s a fantastic endorsement from a very well respected grant-making body for what we are trying to achieve with our Breathing Space programme – helping prevent people from relapsing into depression and addiction, and reaching out to more people in East London.”

The creation of the new Breathing Space in the basement of the LBC is just one part of the programme of building works taking place next year, ahead of the LBC’s 30th anniversary.

The LBC team is currently having intensive fortnightly progress meetings with its architect and team of building experts. It is also carrying out extensive health and safety planning. The target for the building work to start is Spring 2008, with completion by the end of that year.

The LBC will be holding a Mandala Evening on Thursday 6 December at 7.15pm, which will be a chance for people to see all the finalised plans – including drawings and computer generated photos – for the building programme.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

24-hour fundraising drawing at the LBC

Aaron Matheson, an artist from the London Buddhist Centre mandala, has recently completed a 24-hour-long fundraising marathon - drawing the view from the balcony of the centre looking out onto the road. He says -

"We raised over £700, which is incredible. Thanks to those who sponsored me. The drawing itself was a lot more fun than I expected it to be! It felt all absorbing, a huge task. And I loved the sense of completing one cycle of the earth- (that natural rhythm which defines our lives), which I didn't think about before. It felt exhilarating much of the time. Who says you've got to suffer to raise money?

Lots of people came to see me, and some posed. Drawing them under pressure of time lent an urgency to it. I got interested in the perceptual space - shown by the way the railings seem to bend away from you in peripheral vision. Our vision as a whole isn't a flat screen but more like a sphere. Also, the way that things that are distant seem compressed when you draw them.

I also like the way everybody is looking out of the Buddhist Centre towards the rest of the world. Seems to echo the other-regarding nature of the LBC and our 'Breathing Space' project. I admire the altruism of the people here, so it came into the drawing naturally. The Dharmachakra, central in the first page of the drawing, is also in their gaze - the turning wheel of the path of wisdom and compassion. Contemplating all life through this vision, the people on the balcony are trying to find kinder and more positive ways of living. That's how I see it, I think.

Click here for a glimpse of the completed drawing on the LBC's weblog.

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