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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Four women ordained in Spain

Four women were welcomed into the Western Buddhist Order on Tuesday 27th October 2009 at Akashavana, the WBO’s Women’s retreat centre in the Spanish mountains.

Gillian Enlund becomes Aryashila (long first and last 'a', and long 'i'): 'She who has noble conduct or character'. (Private Preceptor: Vijayasri)

Beverley Ellis becomes Jayakara (long second and last 'a'): 'She who has a multitude, or mine, of victories'. (Private Preceptor: Paramachitta)

Seg Gaskill becomes Chandrika (long final 'a'): 'She who has the moon / moonlight' (poetic description: 'she who resembles moonlight; who sheds light on things'). (Private Preceptor: Parami)

Georgie Reiser becomes Sanghamani: 'She who is a jewel (lodestone) of the Sangha' as well as 'she to whom the Sangha is a jewel'. (Private Preceptor: Kalyanasri)

Ratnadharini and Parami were the Public Preceptors


Those interested in statistics might like to know that women’s ordinations into the Western Buddhist Order (outside India) have out-numbered men’s for four of the past five years, 2005-2009. On Sunday we’ll publish some statistics illustrating this and other demographic trends in the Order.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Eight new Dharmacharinis in Australasia

Dharmanandi writes from New Zealand with news of eight recent ordinations there -

At the Public Ordination held at 2pm on Friday October 16th at Shambhala Retreat Centre, Golden Bay, New Zealand, the following Dharmacharinis were born:

Lynda Gill becomes Shamani (long 'i') 'The calming one/the one who calms'. Private Preceptor Chittaprabha, Public Preceptor Megha

Jennifer Jones becomes Carunalaka (long 1st, 2nd and 4th 'a') 'Red lotus'. Private Preceptor Megha.
Lea Richardson becomes Carunetra (long 1st and final 'a') 'Beautiful eyed'. Private Preceptor Megha.
Kath Dubout becomes Vimuttinandi (long final 'i') 'She who delights in liberation/freedom'. Private Preceptor Megha.
Yael Raz becomes Prakashika (long 2nd and final 'a') 'She who is brilliant/shining/bright'. Private Preceptor Chittaprabha. Varadevi was the Public Preceptor for the above

Bethwyn Malcolm becomes Amritaketu 'She who possesses the flame of the deathless'. Private Preceptor Varadevi.
Adele Chapman becomes Taralila (all vowels long) 'She who plays/sports with Tara'. Private Preceptor Varadevi.
Glyniss Cree becomes Akashamani (long 1st and 2nd 'a', long 'i') 'She who has a jewel of space'. Private Preceptor Chittaprabha.  Dharmanandi was the Public Preceptor for the above.

With Metta



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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ordinations at Padmaloka

The following men had their Public Ordination into the Western Buddhist Order at Padmaloka, the FWBO’s Retreat Centre for men in Norfolk UK, on Thursday, 17th September:

Maurice Wright becomes DANASHURA (long first A).  His name means 'Hero of Generosity' (Private Preceptor Ashvajit);

Maurice Carey becomes SAGARADANA, meaning 'He having / manifesting ocean-like generosity' (Private Preceptor Pramudita);

Frank Balfe becomes VIDYAKARA (long first A) - 'He who is an accumulation of Wisdom, or he who accumulates Wisdom' (Private Preceptor Saddhaloka);

Wayne Sampson becomes ACALARAJA - 'The Immovable King' (Private Preceptor Padmavajra).

The Public Preceptor for all four was Satyaraja.

They bring the size of the Order to a total of 1635 men and women. Sadhu!

Padmaloka was the FWBO’s first permanent retreat centre, having been established in 1976 by Sangharakshita, the founder of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order.

Set in the quiet village of Surlingham, on the edge of the Norfolk Broads, Padmaloka (originally known as Lesingham House) is an old country house surrounded by farmland. As well as its own five acres of delightful gardens, there are nature reserves and bird sanctuaries nearby. There is also a well stocked Dharma library and bookshop, a spacious shrine room for meditation which features paintings by local artist Aloka, and a yoga studio and equipment.  Many years have passed, and a considerable wealth of experience in running retreats has been built up.

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

An ordination - and a death in the Order

On Saturday 25 July, in a Public Ordination ceremony at the Bristol Buddhist Centre Kathryn Harriss became Vimalavajri, meaning 'she who possesses a stainless vajra / diamond / thunderbolt'.

She was privately ordained by Paramachitta during a small dedicated ordination retreat the previous week, and Ratnadharini conducted the public ceremony.


And, sadly, we also have to report that on August 3rd Vimalashil, an Indian Order Member, died of heart failure. Vimalashil was ordained in the year 2000. He was one of a small team of Order Members who lived and worked in Modinagar, in Uttar Pradesh in north India.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Women's Ordinations in Dehra Dun, northern India

On Saturday 13 Jun 2009 two women had their public ordinations during the course of a women's mitra retreat at the Gorkha Military School, Dehra Dun.

These are the first women's ordinations in India outside of the state of Maharashtra. Sadhu!

Dhammamitra Sumitra from Dehra Dun becomes Dhammacharini Suvinaya – she of good, honest conduct/ethics. Her private preceptor was Jnanasuri, also from India

Dhammamitra Suman Lata from Dehra Dun becomes Dhammacharini Mettavadita -- she with speech full of Metta. Her private Preceptor was Karunamaya, who has lived in India for many years.

The Public preceptor was Karunamaya. The names were checked by Professors Sushila Muljadhav and C.R. Ingale from the Pali Department of Marathawada Dr Ambedkar University, Aurangabad.

The photograph shows Mettavadita just after her ordination.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ordinations at Guhyaloka

The Three Jewels of Buddhism, displayed on the Kesa received by members of the Western Buddhist Order on their ordinationManjuvajra writes with news of the recent nineteen men's Public Ordinations at Guhyaloka, the FWBO's retreat centre in the mountains of Spain.

Publicly ordained by Surata
Ken Pearson becomes Hridayamani - 'He whose heart is a jewel/jewel-like' - private preceptor Tejananda

Patrick Baigent becomes Vimokshadaka - 'The daka of liberation' - private preceptor Sanghadeva

Publicly ordained by Mahamati
Andrew Harman becomes Shantideva - 'The peaceful deva', also named after the author of the Bodhicaryavatara - private preceptor Buddhadasa

Matthew Burgess becomes Vidyaruci - 'Radiance of Wisdom/ [He who finds] pleasure in mysterious knowledge' - private preceptor Subhuti.

Publicly ordained by Saddhaloka
Murray Sansom becomes Satyadaya - 'Genuine, honest, true kindness, compassion' - private preceptor Maitreyabandhu

Peter Hunt becomes Vidyasiddhi - 'He who has succeeded in accomplishing the Wisdom of aesthetic appreciation' - private preceptor Jnanottara

Rob Thurlow becomes Vimukta - 'Completely free; released' - private preceptor Karunavira

Simon Lovat becomes Vidyadhara - 'He who is the Holder or Bearer of the Wisdom of aesthetic appreciation' - private preceptor Jnanottara

Simon Thunder becomes Sanghasiha - 'He who is a Lion of the Sangha' - private preceptor Satyaraja

Frank Spitzauer becomes Dayajina - 'gentle, kind victor ' - private preceptor Bodhimitra

John Denton becomes Saddhasura - 'Hero of Faith' - private preceptor Surata

Carl Hutchinson becomes Drdhakarin - 'He who acts firmly, resolutely, wholly, steadfastly and with perseverance' - private preceptor Saddharaja

Simon Okotie becomes Manjusiha - 'lovely, pleasing, agreeable Lion (like the Buddha) ' - private preceptor Maitreyabandhu

Francisco Guillermo-Aguilar (Paco) becomes Maitrighosha - 'The voice of loving-kindness/ He who speaks with loving-kindness' - private preceptor Ratnaghosha

Nick Ross becomes Buddhasiha - 'He who is a Lion of the Buddha ' - private preceptor Satyaraja

Robert Evans becomes Satyanatha - 'Truthful Lord or Protector' - private preceptor Kamalashila

David Beard becomes Jnanashalin - 'He who is distinguished for knowledge' - private preceptor Saddharaja

Rob Gibbs becomes Aryadhara - 'He who possesses nobility ' - private preceptor Maitreyabandhu

Richard Norris becomes Arthabandhu - 'Friend of the Good/the Goal ' - private preceptor Dharmadipa

The above names are the Anglicised versions - the scholarly transliteration of the names will appear with the fuller descriptions and photographs in Shabda.

The ordinatons took place on June 15th 2009.
The photograph shows the Dhardo Rimpoche stupa at Guyhaloka.


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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ordinations at Akashavana and forthcoming ordinations at Guhyaloka

The Three Jewels of Buddhism, displayed on the Kesa received by members of the Western Buddhist Order on their ordination
This is to joyfully announce the ordinations of seventeen women, of seven nationalities, during the three-month women's ordination retreat at Akashavana.

Public preceptor: Maitreyi

Jan Birbeck becomes Silanandi (Pali) (both ‘i’s long, long first ‘a’) She who delights in ethics. Private preceptor: Vajragita

Stephanie Betschart becomes Padmadrishti, She having/taking a lotus view.

Private preceptor: Ratnavandana

Julia Kurcin becomes Abhayadhi (long ‘i’) Fearless wisdom. Private preceptor: Ratnadharini

Anona Bhambral becomes Karunadhi (long second ‘a’, long ‘i’) She whose wisdom is compassion. Private preceptor: Ratnadharini

Pia Tapio becomes Liladhi (all vowels long). She whose wisdom is the play (of the bodhisattvas). Private preceptor: Ratnadharini

Claire Owen becomes Padmagita (long ‘i’, long last ‘a’) She who is a song of the lotus. Private preceptor: Srivati

Public preceptor: Parami

Fran Neal becomes Pasannamati (Pali) She who has a bright, clear, virtuous and happy mind. Private preceptor: Samacitta

Linda Hanson becomes Vidyasara (all ‘a’s long) She having (liberative) knowledge as her core or strength. Private preceptor: Ratnavandana

Sharon Mercer becomes Nanasiri (Pali) (first ‘n’ pronounced ‘jn’, long first ‘a’, long last ‘i’) She who has the radiance of knowledge. Private preceptor: Dayanandi

Betsy Stirling Benjamin becomes Kiranada (long last ‘a’) She who gives beams of moonlight (of the moon of the Bodhicitta). Private preceptor: Dayanandi

Public preceptor: Padmasuri

Zoe Stephenson becomes Saravantu (Pali) (long first ‘a’) Valuable (like heartwood) She who values what has true meaning. Private preceptor: Dhammadassin

Hedwig Frerich becomes Jayalalita (long last ‘a’) As beautiful as victory, the goddess of victory. Private preceptor: Kulanandi

Angeli van den Berg becomes Parina (all vowels long) She who crosses to the further shore, she who transcends all duality. Private preceptor: Akasasuri

Public preceptor: Ratnadharini

Mari Brothers becomes Dhiragita (both ‘i’s long, long second ‘a’) Firm, steady song. Private preceptor: Punyamala

Helena Treiberg Claeson becomes Dayadharani (long second and third ‘a’, long ‘i’) Bearing, holding, possessing compassion. Private preceptor: Kulanandi

Public preceptor: Dayanandi

Cheryl McMillan becomes Tejavani (long second ‘a’, long ‘i’) Sound, voice or praise of splendour, brilliance, energy. Private preceptor: Karunadevi

Rachel Kahn becomes Dhivajri (both ‘i’s long) She who has the diamond of wisdom. Private preceptor: Viryaprabha

In addition we're delighted to announce the following 19 men will be receiving their private ordinations at Guhyaloka at an unspecified time between now and June 14th. Their Public Ordination will be at Guhyaloka on June 15th at 12:00 (Spanish time - 10:00 GMT):

Ken Pearson, Murray Sansom, Peter Hunt, Rob Thurlow, Simon Lovat, Simon Thunder, Frank Spitzauer, John Denton, Carl Hutchinson, Simon Okotie, Paco Guillermo, Andrew Harman, Nick Ross, Robert Evans, David Beard, Rob Gibbs, Richard Norris, Matthew Burgess and Patrick Baigent.


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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Two ordinations in Scotland

The Three Jewels of Buddhism, displayed on the Kesa received by members of the Western Buddhist Order on their ordinationDhammarati writes from Scotland -

"I'm happy to let you know that there will shortly be two public ordinations at the Glasgow Buddhist Centre:

"Patrick Nicholson, who is on retreat now with Suriyavamsa, his private preceptor, and Paul Thomson (the ex-Dharmapala), on retreat with Smritiratna, who will privately ordain him.

"The public ordinations will take place at the Glasgow centre on Friday May 8, beginning at 7pm. I'll officiate at the public ordinations, welcoming Patrick into, and Paul back into, the Order."


Smritiratna adds some background -

"Dharmapala was originally ordained in 1969 but resigned in 1999. Six years later in 2005 he returned as plain Paul Thomson, to attend one of my monthly day retreats at Dhanakosa and has rarely missed one since, also attending the local FWBO group in Stirling. We have become very close friends.

"Last year he requested re-ordination, asking me to be his new private preceptor, and the College agreed. His private ordination will now take place in the first week of May, on a dual retreat here in the forest near Dhanakosa. The public ordination will take place on Friday 8th May (eve of Wesak) at Glasgow Buddhist Centre. Dhammarati will be his new public preceptor and will ordain Patrick Nicholson on the same day. Paul Thomson, who has asked to resume his old name, will therefore be the once and future Dharmapala".


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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ordination in Ipswich

The Three Jewels of Buddhism, displayed on the Kesa received by members of the Western Buddhist Order on their ordinationOn Saturday afternoon 11th April Dee Margerison of the Ipswich (UK) sangha became Acalavajri (long i): she who is the immovable vajra or diamond.

Acalavajri's private preceptor was Srivandana who gave a very moving account of how she had arrived at this name and rejoiced heartily in Acalavajri's many qualities. The ceremony took place in the Ipswich Buddhist Centre and was attended by over 70 people, among them Acalavajri's partner, family and friends.

The public preceptor was Parami.


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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Ordinations in Germany and Ipswich

The Three Jewels of Buddhism, displayed on the Kesa received by members of the Western Buddhist Order on their ordinationAt a Public Ordination Ceremony held on Friday 3rd April at the (very beautiful) Minden Buddhist Centre Charlotte Paulus became Saddhabodhi. Her name, which is in Pali, means „She who is realizing, or awakening, through faith“ or „She whose awakening arises through faith“. Her Private Preceptor was Prasadavati and her Public Preceptor was Dayanandi.


Parami writes “I am delighted to inform you that Dee Margerison of the Ipswich sangha will be ordained next week. She is currently on retreat with Srivandana (her private preceptor) and a few close friends. I will join them later in the week. The private ordination will take place on Thursday the 9th April at 16.00h. This is the day of the full moon which is auspicious.

“The public ordination will take place at the FWBO's Ipswich Buddhist Centre on Saturday 11th April at 14.00. All are welcome to attend, but please let Swadipa know if you plan to come along. The then ex-Dee will attend the Akashavana spring 3-month women’s Ordination Retreat in Spain”.

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

An ordination - and a death

The Three Jewels of Buddhism, displayed on the Kesa received by members of the Western Buddhist Order on their ordinationDuring a public ordination ceremony held on January 31st at the Stockholm Buddhist Centre, Sweden, Sanna Frost became Nagajyotis (Sanskrit, long first ‘a’). Her name means‘light, splendour, radiance of the nagas (literally serpent-demons)’. Ratnadharini was private and public preceptor. Nagajyotis ordination was especially significant as it was (we believe) the first ordination to be held in Sweden.


On January 17th at 1.50pm, ex-Order member Gunavati died peacefully at Homerton Hospital in London. Padmaketu and Barbara, a fellow nun of her present order, were with her. Gunavati was 80 years old and had been in hospital for 4 1/2 weeks. She must have been one of the most visited patients there ever. Friends from her FWBO days came, as well as from the Jamyang centre in South London, where she had practised in recent years, including her teacher Geshe La. The name she received in that ordination was Lobsang Choedron.

The person who took most care of her over these weeks was her old friend Ingrid Kerma who looked after her tirelessly, if needed spending nights there as well.

The nurses commented how much Gunavati/Choedron had given to people in the ward and the nurses over the time she was there. And while getting progressively weaker there were many times where she radiated love for us visitors and her fellow patients and the staff. She was extraordinary until the end, including having her humour and cheekiness - and never complaining despite the pain she was in at times.

Gunavati was ordained in 1976 and resigned from the Order in 2001.

FWBO News would like to thank Jayacitta for this report.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fifteen women ordained in India: a record

A group photo of the fifteen women ordained in India in January 2009On January 11, 2009 the following 15 women were ordained at Bhaja, Maharashtra India. This is a record number for Indian women’s ordinations at any one time, and takes the women’s Order in Indsia to a remarkable 88.

The new names are:-

Private preceptor Vajrasuri.
1.Nalini Chabukswar (Yerawada, Pune) becomes Achalasraddha -- she who has immovable faith.
2. Anita Gaikwad (Dapodi, Pune) becomes Maitriratna -- she who has a jewel of friendship.
3. Savita Gautam - (Modinager,Uttar Pradesh) becomes Sraddhavajri -- she who has a vajra of confidence.

Private preceptor Jnanasuri (an Indian Dhammacharini)
4. Vishakha Mane (Pimpri, Pune) becomes Aryachandra -- noble moon
5. Pratibha Shende (Amravati) becomes Danapadma -- Lotus of generosity
6. Shaila Ilamkar (Aurangabad) becomes Kshantichitta -- she whose heart is patience
7. Shushila Ingle (Aurangabad) becomes Kshantimati -- she whose mind is patience
8. Durga Devore (Amravati) becomes Danamati -- she whose mind is full of giving
9. Lata Patil (Nagpur) becomes Jnanasakhi -- friend of knowledge
10.Yashodhara Narvade (Aurangabad) becomes Kshantikirti -- she whose renowned for patience.
11. Shalu Meshram (Wardha) becomes Dipavati -- she who is full of light.

Private preceptor Karunamaya
12. Indubai Shardul (Ghatkoper ,Mumbai) becomes Sanghaprabha --Light of the sangha
13.Rajani Barate (Dapodi , Pune) becomes Mettika (Pali)-- She who has metta
14. Alka Manwatkar (Yerawada, Pune) becomes Bodhisakhi -- friend of awakening
15. Kamal Gaikwad (Dapodi , Pune) becomes Shàntida -- Giver or bestower of peace

The public preceptor was Karunamaya.


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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Public Preceptors' meeting - report now out

the image of a fish, chosen by the College to accompany their latest reportThe College of Public Preceptors is the body of senior members of the Western Buddhist Order charged with overseeing ordinations into the Order.

It currently has about 30 members, most of whom meet twice a year to discuss everything connected with their work – in practice, a very wide range of topics indeed!

They are keen to communicate what they can of their discussions to a wider audience, and have recently posted an account of November’s meeting on their blog. They say -

"We’d like our thinking to be more widely and easily available in the movement. At present our main way of communicating our thoughts and discussions is through retreats, talks and seminars and we'd like to make some of this material more widely available. For the time being we plan to do this through the college website and blog and will hopefully be adding more material over the coming months".

Among other things, the discussions addressed the appointment of Parami as a second International Order Convenor; Order Members and mitras going to other Buddhist teachers; the structure of the Preceptors’ College; training for Preceptors; fundraising for the College; and issues surrounding the topic of domestic violence. Finally some time was spent with Padmavajra in study of some teachings of Geshe Drom, Atisha's main disciple, from 'The Door of Liberation'.

A major topic, in addition to the above, was coherence in the Order and movement. they say -

"A regular topic of discussion in the College is that of maintaining the balance between diversity and unity in our work together, and how we can help the movement and Order to do likewise. This time we particularly focused on the aspect of coherence and wanted to look at the college's role in contributing to coherence and unity in the movement as a whole. Bhante has said recently that he thinks coherence in the movement is threefold: doctrinal, practice based and social...."

Their main website is at , which gives a broad outline to their work - plus a 'who's who' of the College.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

FWBO People: Karunamaya - womens ordinations in India, good news, and an appeal!

This week, in our Saturday ‘People slot’, FWBO News features Karunamaya, a Western Order Member who’s visited India and supported women's activities there for many years. Her name means 'Embodiment of Compassion'; she's a key figure in the Ordination process for Indian women.

Karunamaya's a naturally retiring person, so we don't actually have a 'big picture' of her. Fittingly, however, you’ll find her embedded in the centre of the photograph opposite, or on the Order Mosaic (five people to the right of Avalokitesvara’s elbows!), though there is a close-up here, as part of the Order Mosaic.

We’re especially pleased to feature her because she’s written to FWBO News to say –

We need more Dhammacharinis in India.
Can you help us?

• In September 2008, 11 new women joined the Western Buddhist Order/TBM (in India). The largest number of women ordained in India ever!

• But in January there’ll be even more – 15 women – being ordained. The ordinations will be held at the Bhaja retreat centre 29 December to 11 January. The public ordinations will be January 11, 2009. This is an historic occasion - such a large group of Indian women being ordained at one time. All their names are listed below.

• Also we will be welcoming the first new Dhammacharini from the state of Uttar Pradesh who is resident in the state.

• 700 Indian women + want to train as Dhammacharinis. That’s more than in the whole of the rest of the world!

• There are thousands of women in India who need trained Dharma teachers (Dhammacharinis) to learn the dhamma.

• Our main difficulty is the absence of funds.
• We have just £600/1200 US$ per year for our project. Enough for one team member and a few other expenses.
• We had serious difficulties finding the money to pay for women to attend the two-week ordination retreat.
• And have ongoing difficulties to fund women to come on retreats and to support team members to take the Dhamma out to women in the cities and villages.

• It costs 490 Rupees (£6, 12 US$) for one Indian woman to go on a 1 week retreat.
• A woman in a low income job might earn 400-500 Rupees in a month!
• Or they are dependent on husbands who are not always ready or able to give them the fee.

Could you afford to give £6, (US$12) a month? The cost of 4 cups of coffee? Or could all the members of your group make a 50p, (US$1) donation each week when you meet?

It would all help.

You can help Indian women to help themselves and other women by visiting

Regular donations by direct debit help us plan our work.
For details see or you can e-mail us.

Please state that your donation is for the Arya Tara Mahila Trust Ordination process.

Thank you.

Women's Ordinations in India

Dear Friends
We are pleased to announce the forthcoming ordinations of the following 15 women in India.

The women to be ordained are:-

] Rajani Barate - Pune, Dapodi [2] Anita Gaikwad - Pune, Dapodi [3] Kamal Gaikwad - Pune, Dapodi [4] Alka Manwatkar - Pune,Yerawada [5] Nalini Chabukswar - Pune,Yerawada [6] Vishakha Mane - Pune, Pimpri [7] Shaila Ilamkar - Aurangabad [8] Shushila Ingle - Aurangabad [9] Yashodhara Narvade - Aurangabad [10] Pratibha Shende - Amravati [11] Durga Devore - Amravati [12] Shalu Meshram - Wardha [13] Lata Patil - Nagpur [14] Indubai Shardul - Ghatkoper ,Mumbai [15] Savita Gautam - Modinagar(Uttar Pradesh)

with Metta Karunamaya

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Ordination in Colchester, UK

The Three Jewels of Buddhism, displayed on the Kesa received by members of the Western Buddhist Order on their ordinationOn Sunday October 26th Dave Whiting from Colchester, UK, became Ksantivajra.

His new name means "He who is a diamond or thunderbolt of patience, or forbearance". It is Sanskrit, and is spelt with a dot under the 's' and a macron over the first 'a', its anglicised spelling is Kshantivajra.

His Private Preceptor was Satyaraja and his Public Preceptor Mahamati.


For those interested to know more about the WBO’s system of public and private preceptors, we reproduce here a section from Tiratanaloka’s ‘Handbook’ for those who have requested ordination. They say -

"The private preceptor

"As you continue to deepen your understanding of going for refuge and the F/WBO, you will naturally develop friendships with people who are in the Order and at some point it is likely to become clear that a particular Dharmacharini might become your private preceptor. You can ask any Dharmacharini who has been in the Order at least 10 years to take on this responsibility in relation to your own ordination process. Within the WBO, there is a specific consultation process by which Order members can become private preceptors. This involves everyone in the Order having the opportunity to comment to the person in question on their suitability to take on this responsibility. If the person you ask to be your preceptor has not been through this process, they make undertake to do so when you ask them. If they have already been agreed as a private preceptor then they can take on the responsibility, usually with the agreement of their chapter, if they feel able to do so.

"Again, there is nothing ‘set in stone’ about who should or should not become your preceptor, but it is often helpful to wait until you have naturally developed a good connection with someone before asking them, as it will be a very significant and lasting relationship. It is sometimes also the case that the circumstances of your relationship change over time and you may both agree that it is more appropriate for another Dharmacharini to be your preceptor.

"When you and a Dharmacharini have agreed that she should become your preceptor, then she will be responsible at some point for proposing you as being ready for ordination. This will probably involve gathering information from a number of people in the Order who know you and who also have a sense that your going for refuge is effective and you are ready to join the Order. When this happens, your preceptor will pass the proposal to the College of Public Preceptors.

"The public preceptor

"The Public Preceptors are a worldwide body of senior Order Members who are responsible for overseeing the process of entry into the Order. Other responsibilities that they have include the appointing of private and public preceptors and carrying out public ordinations.

"When your private preceptor proposes that you are ready to be ordained, then someone within the College of Public Preceptors will undertake to be your public preceptor. You may well know this person, but it is unlikely that you will have as close a relationship with them as you do with your private preceptor. It is the public preceptor’s responsibility to ensure that all relevant information has been checked and to follow up anything which she is not clear about in relation to readiness for ordination. Once she is satisfied that everything is complete, she will make a recommendation to other public preceptors who all have to agree that you should join the Order.

"Then at the time of your ordination, your private preceptor will witness your effective going for refuge and your public preceptor will welcome you into the Order".

Tiratanaloka ( ) is the FWBO’s UK retreat centre dedicated to helping women prepare for Ordination into the Western Buddhist Order. Padmaloka ( is the equivalent for men in the UK; they too have a handbook which can be obtained by emailing them.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ordinations at Akashavana in Spain

Ordinations at Akasavana -  a group photo from the first ordination retreat in 2007The following women had their public ordination ceremony at Akashavana, the FWBO’s retreat centre for women, high in the mountains of Spain, on Tuesday 28th October:

Anne Rugg becomes Akashavanda (first, second and last 'a's are long); 'orchid in luminous space'. Her private preceptor was Dayalocana from the USA and her public preceptor was Dayanandi.

Anastra Madden becomes Prasannavajri (long 'i'); 'she who has a vajra / diamond that is pure, clear, bright and tranquil'. Her private preceptor was also Dayalocana and her public preceptor was Maitreyi.

Nancy Lorraine becomes Maitrimani (second and last 'i's are long, dot under the 'n'); 'she who has the jewel of friendliness'. Her private preceptor was Maitreyi and her Public preceptor Parami – who also ordained the next three.

Lisa Mayhead becomes Prajnamala (last 3 'a's are long); 'a garland of wisdom'. Her private preceptor was Vajragita from Holland.

Fiona Littlejohn becomes Suvarnasara (penultimate and last 'a's are long); 'she who has a golden core / essence'. Her private preceptor was Viryadevi from Scotland.

Holley McCoy-Petrie becomes Animisha; 'she who looks steady, is vigilant, she who doesn't wink, eyes open, open as a flower'. Her private preceptor was Padmasuri.

Sarah Brimelow becomes Taramani (first and second 'a' are long, dot under the 'n'); 'she who has the / a jewel of Tara'. Her private preceptor was also Maitreyi and her public preceptor Ratnadharini.


The photograph shows women from last year’s ordination retreat at Akasavana, we include it to show the beauty of the place.

These ordinations bring the total new Order Members joining the Western Buddhist Order this year to 125, almost certainly a record for a single year.

There were twelve ordination ceremonies held on seven countries – India, Spain, Mexico, Belgium, New Zealand, the USA, and the UK. Interestingly, only 3 of the 125 new Order Members were ordained in the UK. There are now approximately 1636 Order Members world-wide, you can see most of them on the Order Mosaic.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ordinations at Padmaloka

The Three Jewels of Buddhism, displayed on the Kesa received by members of the Western Buddhist Order on their ordinationThe following men had their Public Ordination into the Western Buddhist Order on Thursday, 23rd October:

Karl Dettmarg becomes DHARMADEVA = The Deva of the Path (Private Preceptor Bodhimitra)

Edwin Bircumshaw becomes PRAJNANATHA = He whose protector is Wisdom (Private Preceptor Jinaraja)

Luke Watson becomes KALYANAMATI = He who has a (spiritually) beautiful, excellent, skilful, auspicious mind or intelligence (Private Preceptor Satyaraja)

The Public Preceptor for all was Saddhaloka, and the ordinations were held at the FWBO's Padmaloka Retreat Centre in Norfolk, UK.




Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ordinations in India, thirty men join the Order

We are delighted to bring you news that thirty men have recently been ordained into the Western Buddhist Order/Trailokya Bauddha Mahasangha at TBMSG’s Bordharan Retreat Centre, near Nagpur in India. We can also bring you most – not quite all! – of their new names. The ceremonies took place on 5th Oct, the remaining names will be added to this post as soon as we receive them.

Jinasena Yapa Gemunu (from Sri Lanka) becomes Jinasen (He who has the Victor as Master)
Mandao Dhare becomes Aryasangha (Exalted non-attachment)
Sandeep Shende becomes Nagasambhava (Arisen from Nagas)
Dnyaneshwar Shende becomes Gunaraja (King of Virtues)
Rahul Tamgadge becomes Gunasagara (Virtue-Ocean)
Manoj Sakhare becomes Aryahrdaya (Noble Heart)
C. B. Ogale becomes Revatadhamma (Beauty of Dhamma)
Dharmaraj Sanghavardhan remains Sanghavardhan (One who develops Spiritual Community)
Vijay Veer becomes Amoghabodhi (Infallible Wisdom)
Balchandra Ramteke becomes Satyasila (Virtuous Follower)
Arup Singh becomes Vimaladitya (Sun of Purity)
Bhopal Singh becomes Vimalapriya (Lover of Purity)
K. U. Gaekwad becomes Punyaveer (Hero of Merits)
Sadashiva Waghmare becomes Punyakirti (Fame of Merits)
Deepak Meshram becomes Punyadhara (Protector/Holder of Merits)
Sanghamitra becomes Arunbodhi (Mountain of Bodhi/Wisdom)
Tukaram Gaekwad becomes Amrutsen (Army of Nectar)
Nagasen Maitrak becomes Nagaghosha (Voice of Purity/Wisdom/Truth)

Ramesh Gajbhiye becomes Pademashura
Moreshwar Gedam becomes Jnanodaya
Kishore Wasnik becomes Veerabodhi
Pundalik Ramteke becomes Aryaveer
Nagarjun becomes Nagaratna
Shekhar Bauddha becomes Amrutratna
Priyadarshi becomes Akshobhyavajra
Sanjay becomes Amoghadarshi
Ambadas Thaware becomes Akshobhyacitta
Gharade becomes Bodhipriya
Prakash Ratnadarshi becomes Manjuvadi
Sunil Pate becomes Aryasiddhi


Click here for photos of the ceremony.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

11 women ordained in India

The following women had their public ordination on Sunday the 21st of September at the Hsuan Tsang retreat centre, Bor Dharan, central India.
The new names as understood in India are:-

Private preceptor Jnanasuri:
1) Meena Jadhav from Thane, Mumbai, becomes Kshantishri (She whose radiance is patience).
2) Chandraprabha Wankhade from Ulhasnagar, Mumbai, becomes Kshantichandra (Moon of patience).
3) Suman Meshram from Amaravati becomes Achalasuri (Immovable Heroine).
4) Gita Pate from Wardha becomes Amitaprabha (She whose light is immeasurable/boundless).
5) Satya Teltumbde from Wardha becomes Amitasatya (Immeasurable Truth).
6) Vanutai Dofe from Nagpur becomes Aryashanti (Noble Peace).
7) Purnavati Pillewar from Nagpur becomes Aryapadma (Noble Lotus).

Private preceptor Vajrasuri:
8) Sarika Wankhede from Amaravati becomes Abhyanivita (Accompanied by fearlessness).
9) Rama Lanjewar from Nagpur becomes Abhyadana (She who gives fearlessness).

Private preceptor Karunamaya:
10) Savita Shende from Nagpur becomes Prajnasakhi (Friend of Wisdom).
11) Pratibha Sakhre from Nagpur becomes Muditamayi (She who is full of mudita, or sympathetic joy).

The public preceptor was Karunamaya.

This is the largest group of women to be ordained together in India for many years, perhaps even a record.


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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Ordination in Belgium

The Three Jewels of Buddhism, displayed on the Kesa received by members of the Western Buddhist Order on their ordinationFWBO News is happy to report that on Sunday August 24th Bart Van den Berghe from the FWBO's centre in Ghent, Belgium had his Public Ordination.  This was the first Western Buddhist Order ordination in Belgium and an occasion for great rejoicing. 

He joins Dhammaketu, Arthakusalin, and Tarini in the "Vrienden van de Westerse Boeddhistische Orde", or VWBO (as the FWBO are known in Belgium).

He became UPEKSHADAKA, meaning 'daka possessed with equanimity'.
His private preceptor is Ksantivadin and his public preceptor is

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Public Ordinations in California

On 27th JULY three Ordinations took place at the start of the North American Order Convention at Jikoji Retreat Center with 28 Order Members present.

Rita Holmes of Aryaloka Buddhist Center becomes: Saricitta (pronounced Sarichittaa; stress falls on the "i" in citta), meaning: she who has a heart/mind like a waterfall (She who has a loving/kind heart/mind overflowing with metta and compassion that is cascading like a waterfall to all beings.

Sandy Bonin of Aryaloka Buddhist Center becomes: Vihanasari (pronounced Vihaanasaari; sress falls on the "a" in sari, meaning: Thrush at the dawn ( Thrush with a beautiful song singing with joy at dawn as the light of the Dharma enters the world. In both cases the Public Preceptor was Dayanandi and the Private Preceptor Dayalocana.

Dino Papavasiliou of Aryaloka Buddhist Center becomes: Danakamala (pronounced Daanakamala. Stress on Daa and ka, meaning: Lotus of Generosity. The Public Preceptor was Dhammarati and the Private Preceptor Vajramati.


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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Forthcoming Ordinations in the US

FWBO News is very pleased to announce the forthcoming Ordinations of two women, Rita Homes and Sandy Bonin, both from the Aryaloka Buddhist Center, New Hampshire USA.

Their Private Ordinations will be on Wednesday 23rd July during a week long Ordination cum Order retreat in California and the Public Ordinations will be at Jikoji Zen Retreat Center on the evening of Sunday 27th July. Their Private Preceptor will be Dayalocana and Dayanandi is the Public Preceptor.


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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Ordination in Mexico

On Sunday 6th July Rafael Dominguez had his Public Ordination at the FWBO's Mexico City Buddhist Centre.

He became PADMABANDHU, meaning 'lotus friend' or 'lotus brother'.

His private and public preceptor is Moksananda.


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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Public Ordinations at Akashvana

On Tuesday 10th June the following women were ordained at the FWBO's Akasavana retreat centre in the Spanish mountains.

public preceptor Parami:
Sandy Lacey becomes Dharmamrita (long second and last 'a's), 'she who
has the nectar of the Dharma' (private preceptor Maitreyi)

Sophia Young becomes Kuladharini (long last 'i'), 'she who supports or
sustains the spiritual community' (private preceptor Viryadevi)

Tracy McLoughlin becomes Taradakini (all vowels long except first 'i'),
'she who is a Dakini of Tara' (private preceptor Kalyanavaca)

Thea Wiersma becomes Amritapurna (long 'u' and last 'a'), 'she who is
full of nectar (of the Dharma)' (private preceptor Ratnadharini)

Nicky Edmonds becomes Satyajyoti (long 'i'), 'light of truth' (private
preceptor Punyamala)

Hazel Baker becomes Maitrimala (long second 'i', and second and last
'a's), 'garland of metta' (private preceptor Vajragita)

public preceptor Dhammadinna:
Aida Fernandez becomes Rochani (long 'i'), 'she who is bright, shining,
luminous' (private preceptor Parami)

public preceptor Maitreyi:
Teresa del Soldato becomes Lilamani (long 'i's and first 'a'), 'she who
has a jewel of playfulness' (private preceptor Dhammadinna)

Mireille van der Plas becomes Mokshagandhi (long 'i'), 'she who's
perfumed with liberation' or 'she who has the fragrance of emancipation'
(private preceptor Akasasuri)

Jaine Daley becomes Ajayashraddha (long last 'a'), 'she who has
invincible/unconquered faith' (private preceptor Kalyanasri)

public preceptor Padmasuri:
Sue Westbury becomes Viryajyoti (long 'i's and 'a'), 'she who has the
light/radiance of energy in pursuit of the good' (private preceptor

Gail Abbott becomes Vilokini (long last 'i'), 'she who looks, sees,
considers, reflects, is aware' (private preceptor Vajrapushpa)

public preceptor Ratnadharini:
Chris Zakorchemney becomes Amaladevi (long 'i'), 'pure, stainless devi'
(private preceptor Maitreyi)

Julia Simnet becomes Karunavapi (long second and third 'a's and 'i'),
'she who is a lake of compassion' (private preceptor Padmasuri)

Hayley Morris becomes Karunavajri (long second 'a', and 'i'), 'she who
has a vajra of compassion' (private preceptor Dharmottara)


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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ordinations at Guhyaloka


The following men were privately ordained between 27th May and 9th June and publicly ordained at Guhyaloka on June 9th 2008:

Bob Harris becomes Akasamuni (Aakaashamuni):
'He who is a space/sky sage'.
(Private Preceptor: Khemadhamma, Public Preceptor: Mahamati).

Danus Blanchard becomes Jnanarakshita (Jnaanarakshita):
'He who protected by the highest knowledge/awareness'.
(Private Preceptor: Ashvajit, Public Preceptor: Saddhaloka).

David Vasey becomes Swadipa (Swadiipa):
'He who is (or has) his own Light (of Bodhi)'.
(Private Preceptor: Mahamati, Public Preceptor: Saddhaloka).

Edmund Hermes becomes Mokshasiddha (Mokshasiddha):
'He who is accomplished in liberation'.
(Private Preceptor: Ashvajit, Public Preceptor: Saddhaloka).

Geoffrey Newman becomes Aranyaka (Aranyaka):
'He who dwells in the forest'.
(Private Preceptor: Prakasha, Public Preceptor: Mahamati).

Hakan Hermundstad becomes Guhyaraja (Guhyaraaja):
'Mysterious King, Hidden King'.
(Private Preceptor: Satyaraja, Public Preceptor: Saddhaloka).

Jez Cox becomes Paraga (Paaraga):
'He who is crossing to the further shore'.
(Private Preceptor: Saddhaloka, Public Preceptor: Saddhaloka).

Joakim Eneroth becomes Maitrin (Maitrin):
'He who is full of love and kindness'.
(Private Preceptor: Satyaraja, Public Preceptor: Saddhaloka).

Juergen Titz becomes Pramodya (Praamodya):
'He who has joy and delight'.
(Private Preceptor: Bodhimitra, Public Preceptor: Saddhaloka).

Leo Zeef becomes Saccacitta (Sachachitta):
'He whose mind is concerned with reality.
(Private Preceptor: Vajradaka, Public Preceptor: Saddhaloka).

Marcus Dakini becomes Padmapriya (Padmapriya):
'Lover of the Lotus'.
(Private Preceptor: Dhammavijaya, Public Preceptor: Saddhaloka).

Michael Lunts becomes Ratnadhya (Ratnaadhya):
'Abounding in Jewels'.
(Private Preceptor: Satyaraja, Public Preceptor: Saddhaloka).

Santosh Kamble becomes Sanghanatha (Sanghanaatha):
'Protector of the Sangha'.
(Private Preceptor: Arthapriya, Public Preceptor: Mahamati).

Sean Smith becomes Silapiya (Siilapiya):
'He for whom good conduct/ethics is beloved'.
(Private Preceptor: Vajradaka, Public Preceptor: Saddhaloka).

Tom Grant becomes Sthiramani (Sthiramaani):
'He who is an unwavering, resolute, trustworthy, steadfast jewel'.
(Private Preceptor: Saddhaloka, Public Preceptor: Saddhaloka).

Will Sullivan becomes Dharmashalin (Dharmashalin):
'He who abounds in the Dhamma'.
(Private Preceptor: Saddharaja, Public Preceptor: Mahamati).



Friday, April 18, 2008

Hridayavani - the Song or Voice of the Heart - calling all women...

FWBO News is happy to pass on an announcement and request from Helen, Siobhan, & Sue, three women who’ve requested ordination into the Western Buddhist Order and who together produce one of the FWBO’s lesser-known publications – Hridayavani, meaning the Song or Voice of the Heart. They’re looking to make it more widely known and also for new contributors. They say -

“Hridayavani is a monthly e-mail magazine for women who have requested ordination into the Western Buddhist Order. Members can report in, express views and generally get to know other women who are similarly seeking to deepen the effectiveness of their Going for Refuge. It helps them get a wider perspective of the movement and keep in touch with women who might never normally meet, except perhaps on retreat.

"If you want to get involved, its easy – just write something for us. It could be just a brief introduction about you and your local situation, or about how you got involved and what inspired you to ask for ordination. You could report-in on anything you’d like to share with. Then send your document preferably as an email with an attached Word document to

"As soon as your first contribution has been received you’ll start to receive Hridayavani each month and become part of the e-sangha. Apart from contributors, the only people who receive the journal currently are Sangharakshita and the Retreat Team at Tiratanaloka. In order to do what we can to maintain confidentiality, we ask that members don’t circulate their copy. Finally, receipt of the journal is conditional on active participation; please aim to write in at least every 3 months. – you’ll continue to receive the journal for as long as you continue to write in. And if you’re writing for the first time, please let us know your postal address, email address + date you asked for ordination.

"We look forward to hearing from you and hope that you'll join us".

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Monday, April 07, 2008


Fittingly, on the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Western Buddhist Order, 7th April 2008, news has just reached us of the ordinations of thirty-two men in India. These were held on 30th March at TBMSG’s Bhaja Retreat Centre outside Pune, but have only just been announced.

They have brought the total number of Order Members to 1511 world-wide – and the total number of men in the Order to just over 1,000. The women’s wing reached 500 with the recent batch of Dhammacharini ordinations, also held in India.

The Public Preceptors were Sudarshan, Chandrasheel and Suvajra. Private Preceptors were the above plus Adityabodhi, Jutindhara and Amoghasiddhi

Madav K. Jagtap of Thane becomes Tejovajra, meaning Brilliant, Burning Vajra
Prakash C. Fulmali of Ulhasnagar becomes Sanghavajra (Samghavajra), Vajra of the Sangha
Ravi V. Kamble of Panvel becomes Vajrasambhava, Born of the Vajra
Indrajit S. Gayakwad of Ulhasnagar becomes Ratnavajra, Jewel Vajra
Keshav Ganvir of Nagpur becomes Karunasagar (Karunaasaagara, Ocean of Compassion
Madhukar Aate of Nagpur becomes Karunasena (Karunaasena, Having a Compassionate Army
Shivaji P. Awasarmal of Thane becomes Bodhikarma, One who has the Action of Bodhi
Shraddhadhar (Hiwarkar) Siddharth Uttamrao of Wardha becomes Udarasattva (Udaarasattva), Of noble character, generous minded
S.W.Nandeshvar of Nagpur becomes Kshantiwardhan (Ksantiwardhana), Strength of Patience
Kamlesh Tembhekar of Nagpur becomes Tejawardhan (Tejawardhana), Increasing Brilliance
D.J.Jambhulkar of Nagpur becomes Sheelawardhan (Siilawardhana), Prosperity of Ethics
Shivpal L. Panchabai of Nasik becomes Amogha, Infallible
Kisan B. Tambe of Mumbai becomes Manjucitta (Manjucitta), Gentle Heart or Mind
Arun P.Meshram of Wardha becomes Manjukirti (Manjukiirti), Renowned for Gentleness
Suresh S. Meshram of Yewatmal becomes Alokadarshin (Aalokadarsina), Insight of knowledge (light as accepted metaphor for knowledge)
Jinendra H. Gondane of Yewatmal becomes Manjudeep (Manjudiipa), Gentle Lamp
Karunakar Prasenajit of Amaravati becomes Amoghapriya, One who loves the 'infallible' (i.e. Enlightenment)
Eknath Bansode of Amaravati becomes Amritpriya, (Amrtapriya) One who loves the Deathless (i.e. Nirvana)
Bhiku S. Narwade of Amaravati becomes Vimalsiddhi (Vimalasiddhi), Attainment of Purity
Manik H. Gaikwad of Amaravati becomes Vimalratna (Vimalaratna), Pure Jewel
Narendra N. Nagrale of Wardha becomes Vajramani (Vajramani), Jewel Vajra
Kapil A. Shinde of Bhusawal/Dapodi becomes Buddhavajra, The Vajra of the Buddha and the name of one of Sangharakshita's teachers, Chatral Sangye Dorje
Mahendra V. Kamble of Panvel becomes Amoghamuni, Infallible Sage
Prashant S. Kamble of Panvel becomes Maitrisheel (Maitrisiila), Virtue of Friendliness
Praful M. More of Thane becomes Vasitkumar (Vaasitakumaaara), The Prince who lives (the holy life)
Gyaniwant R. Ramteke of Nasik becomes Ratnashur (Ratnasuura), Jewel-like Hero
Chandrakant S. Jadhao of Ulhasnagar becomes Abhayaditya (Abhayaaditya), The Fearless Sun
Dhaibhai C.Parmar of Gandhinagar, Gujarat becomes Dhairyasheel (Dhairyasiila), Virtue of Firmness
Devachand T. Ahire of Nasik becomes Ratnarakshit (Ratnaraksita), Protected by the Jewel
Sumedh V. Kausalyan of Goa becomes Jnanadarshin (Jnaanadarsina), Insight into Knowledge Prakash D. Parsekar of Goa becomes Anandadarshin (Aanandadarsina), Knowledge of Happiness
Kunkerkar Mahadeo Rama of Goa becomes Jinadarshin (Jinadarsina), Knowledge of the Conqueror

(Note: There is already a Ratnavajra in India and, if the two meet, the first one, from Latur, now becomes Maharatnavajra.)

All names have been checked by Prof. M. Deokar Head of Dept. of Pali and Buddhist Language, Pune University (and former Acting Head of Sanskrit Dept, Pune Univ.) and Dr L. Deokar of the Sanskrit/Tibetan Dictionary Project, Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies, Sarnath.


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Friday, March 21, 2008

Dhammacharini Ordinations in India

FWBO News is pleased to announce the slightly belated news of five women's ordinations in India. On 10th of February 2008 there were Dhammacharini Ordinations at TBMSG's Saddhamma Pradipa retreat centre at Bhaja in India. Five women were ordained.

The names are as follows:-

1) Usha Sonone from Aurangabad is now Jayadipa, 'Victorious Light' or 'Light of Victory'.
2) Usha Kedar from Ulhasnagar is now Dayapushpa, 'She who has a/the flower of kindness'
3) Vijaya Kamble from Thane is now Ratnashri, 'She who is/has the radiance/lustre/light of a Jewel', or, 'Jewel Radiance/Lustre/Light'.
Privately ordained by Jnanasuri.

4) Sujata Gaikawad from Ulhasnagar is now Taranvita, 'Accompanied by Tara'.
5) Rekha Gajarmal from Thane is now Taradatta, 'Protected by Tara'.
Privately ordained by Vajrasuri.

The public preceptor for all was Karunamaya, who says "Apologies for the late announcement of these names".


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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Ordination at Sudarshanaloka, New Zealand

On Sunday 17 February 2008, at Sudarshanaloka Retreat Centre in New Zealand, Pierrick Parigot was publicly ordained. His new name is DRIDHAMATI (Sanskrit with a dot below the 'r' and a dot below the second 'd'). 'He who has a firm, resolute or persevering mind'.

Purna was the private preceptor and Buddhadasa the public preceptor.


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Friday, December 21, 2007

Buddhafield celebrates an ordination

On Wednesday a special Buddhafield women’s retreat culminated with the public ordination of Jackie Willson, who became Vishvadakini, meaning Universal Dakini.

Maitreyi conducted the ceremony, and Kalyanasri acted as Vishvadakini’s private preceptor. She gave a very beautiful explanation of the name, which we are happy to reproduce in full.

‘Vishva’ means “pervades, all, every, entire or universal”. And ‘dakini’ has many levels of meaning: it can mean messenger, protectress, inspirer. It can mean a helper, or ally - a sky traveller: the sky dancer, one who protects and serves the truth. Therefore a dakini is a spiritual friend to others, someone who stimulates others to practise the Dharma, who attracts/fascinates others to practise. Or even a trickster: one who pokes us when needed.

And I think Vishvadakini is a trusted spiritual companion who is sincere, open and has an aspiration to be free from all disguises: trustworthy. She is skilled in communication, inspiring one to practise - hence she’s a trusted spiritual friend in her friendships. A dakini too can be the embodiment of our upsurging energies from our depths. She represents our own passionate energies that we can integrate and use for the benefit of the Dharma and Sangha.

Vishvadakini embodied this passion in the early days of Buddhafield, doing her circus course, in looking after her little son Keir and now in her yoga training. But there is a teaching in this too: trying to transform her sometimes rather ‘driven’ energy into more centred energy whilst keeping it free and spontaneous, and to remind her to keep faith in her knowledge that the Dharma is big enough and deep enough to contain all of her in the present, open, moment, as well as to inform all her actions. To remind her that she needs nothing else.

To do that one needs wisdom. So the dakini can be the supreme embodiment of the highest wisdom: the Enlightenment principle: a Buddha in female form. So she can also be a shock therapist: one who shows us Reality, directly. The dakini symbolises freedom. Freedom from everything that binds her to samsara: she tramples on ignorance and conquers all unskilfullness, all ego-clinging.

I wanted to emphasise the Universal aspect of her name, the ‘vishva‘, as well as the dakini. Vishvadakini has had to call on all her resources to face very difficult circumstances in the last few years: finding out she had a long-term illness just after she’d completed her circus training and started getting her trapeze act together; finding out there were very likely difficulties when she was pregnant; and then, of course, calling on all her dakini energies to wholeheartedly and lovingly care for little Keir since his birth nearly 3 years ago - and his story is still unfolding. And more difficult news has come recently. So there have been many times Vishvadakini has had to dig deep to take in more truths, more reality into her life.

Even though her life is totally dedicated to Keir’s care, her motivation is more global. She is a wise lady: who always seems to be able to come back to a wider perspective (as a sky dancer can) even though often totally exhausted and depleted in energy through lack of sleep and hardly any space to herself. And that is quite something. She is an inspiring woman, with a big heart. She does respond to ‘all’. She is a good and loyal friend, she cares deeply for the environment and all life; she is very ethical, she has an innate intelligence and wisdom. So Jackie becomes Vishvadakini: Universal Dakini (spelt with a dot under the ‘d’, long ‘a’s and last ‘i’).

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

The Buddhafield 2008 retreats programme is now available.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ordinations at the Manchester Buddhist Centre

The following men had their Public Ordination on Saturday, 24th November:

Mike Slattery becomes NISHPARA = ‘He who is unbounded/boundless’. For pronunciation, the weight falls on the first 'a' (the long 'a').

Steve Johnson becomes NARAPA = 'He who is a protector of men'. For pronunciation, the weight falls on the first 'a'.

In both cases the Private Preceptor was Mokshapriya and the Public Preceptor Sona.


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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Six ordinations at Padmaloka

The following men had their Public Ordinations at Padmaloka Retreat Centre on Thursday, 22nd November:

Stephen White becomes MAITRIYOGIN = "The spiritual practitioner who is full of loving - kindness" (Private Preceptor Satyaraja)

Stephen Roe becomes DHARMAPALITA = "He who is protected, guarded, cherished, nourished by the Dharma" (Private Preceptor Satyaraja)

Michael Evans becomes DAYABANDHU = "Kind, compassionate brother, kinsman or friend", or just "kind friend" (Private Preceptor Satyaraja)

Stu Orvis becomes CHANDANA = Lit. "Sandalwood". The name reflects Chandana´s ability to positively affect those around him through the qualities of his practice. Also the name of a Buddha. (Private Preceptor Mokshapriya)

Tim Davis becomes SAHAJASIDDHI = "He whose attainment is innate" (Private Preceptor Tejananda)

Howard Dyer becomes HRIDAYAMATI = "He whose heart and mind are unified" (Private Preceptor Ashvajit)

The Public Preceptor for all was Saddhaloka.

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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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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Ordination in Germany

On Saturday November 3rd, Leo J. Zeef was publicly ordinated in the context of a Going for Refuge Retreat in Vimaladhatu, the FWBO's retreat centre near Essen in Germany. He became ANISSITA, a Pali name meaning 'He who is independent, unattached, and free'. The Private Preceptor was Bodhimitra, and the Public Preceptor Surata.


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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ordination in the Netherlands

On Saturday 27th October in the context of a retreat in Schoorl, in the Netherlands, Eric de Ruijter became UJUKARIN, 'He who makes (the mind) straight'.

His Private Preceptor was Dhammaketu, his Public Preceptor Surata.


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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Three ordinations in Berlin and America

In the course of a women's Going for Refuge retreat amidst the pine forests at Vimaladhatu retreat centre, on Thursday 4th October, MARLENE ELTSCHIG from Berlin was ordained and given the name DHARMADAKINI (meaning 'Dakini of the Dharma') by her private preceptor Prasadavati. Padmasuri was the public preceptor.

The public ceremony took place on a glorious autumnal day, and, in addition to sangha friends - some of whom had travelled for many hours to attend - her father, her partner and their 4-year old son joined in the celebrations.

Just before that, on Saturday, September 29, two public ordinations took place at Aryaloka Buddhist Center in Newmarket, New Hampshire, USA.

Buddy Vaughan became ARJAVA (Aarjava), which is a Sanskrit name meaning direct, sincere, truthful, straight toward a goal, as an arrow in flight.

Dave Carr became BODHANA (no diacritics), a Sanskrit name meaning causing to awaken, arousing (as from sleep), bringing to fullness (as a flower to blossom).

Nagabodhi was Public Preceptor for both and Vidhuma the Private Preceptor.

Peace and good wishes.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

An ever-widening circle, the Order grows...

Today five years ago, in India, the ordination took place of the 1,000th member of the Western Buddhist Order. On that day Shilasiddhi, from Aurangabad, become the one thousandth member of the Order and was presented with a huge flower garland and special Buddha rupa. As a result of the most recent ordinations this summer, the Order now stands at 1,465 - a rise of almost exactly 50% in 5 years.

An ever-widening circle, the Order grows... SADHU!


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Ordinations at Tiratanaloka

On Wednesday 1 August, in the context of a Going for Refuge retreat, the following ordinations took place at Tiratanaloka (all names Sanskrit except where indicated):

Public Preceptor Parami:

Fiona Doolan becomes ACHALAMAYI (Pali, long 'I'). 'She whose nature is steadfast, reliant, resolute, unswaying'; (private preceptor

Caroline Glanville becomes SAMADEVI (long 'i'). 'She who is a Goddess of Equanimity'; (private preceptor Ratnavandana).

Su Angel becomes AKASHACHITTA. 'She whose heart is luminous like space'; (private preceptor Ratnavandana).

Margit Vidakovic-Whitton becomes DHARMAJIVANA (long 'i 'and final 'a'). 'She whose vitality, or life-breath, is the Dharma'; (private preceptor Maitreyi).

Maria Jose Mics becomes DHARMANISHTA (long final 'a'). 'She who is grounded on, and devoted to, Dharma'; (private preceptor Paramachitta).

Public Preceptor Ratnadharini:

Susanne Traud-Dubois becomes AMOGHAMATI. 'She whose mind is intent on unerring success'; (private preceptor Kulanandi).

Christina Ganslev becomes ADVAYASIDDHI. 'She who has the accomplishment, fulfilment, satisfaction, complete happiness of seeing that, in essence, things are not different or separate from each other'; (private preceptor Vajrapushpa).

Public Preceptor Maitreyi:

Karin Bluemke becomes DRIDHADEVI (long final 'i'). 'Steady, resolute, persevering goddess'; (private preceptor Kulanandi).


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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Dhammacharini Ordinations in India

FWBO News is happy to announce the latest in a long series of ordinations this year - of men and women in the UK, America, Spain, New Zealand, and India. We believe this brings the total size of the Order to just over 1,500, with approximately 340 living in India. We also believe this marks the first time in our Order - and perhaps the first time ever in India - that Indian women have acted as Preceptors, witnessing the Going for Refuge of other women.

On 16th July 2007 the following women were ordained at the Hsuan-Tsang retreat centre, Bor Dharan, India.

Karunamaya was the public preceptor.

>From Nagpur
1 Kamalasr
Ex Pratibha Moon . She who has the beauty, grace, splendour and radiance of a lotus. Private Preceptor Srimala.

2 Jayaloka
Ex Sitabai Dhavle. She whose light is victory. Private Preceptor Karunamaya

3 Saddhaja
Ex Jamgade Bai. She who is born of faith. Private Preceptor Karunamaya.

4 Sumegha.
Ex Usha Kamble. She who has a good cloud of qualities. Private Preceptor Jnanasuri.

5 Suprabha
Ex Kamal Nagrale. She who is very bright/splendid/glorious. Private Preceptor Jnanasuri

>From Wardha

6 Gunachandra
Ex Chitra Javale. She who is a moon of virtue. Private Preceptor Karunamaya.

>From Amaravati

7 Sujaya
Ex Maya Sukhdeve. She who has a good victory. Private Preceptor Jnanasuri.

8 Suruci (pronounced Suruchi)
Ex Karuna Sonule. She who has great delight (in the Dhamma). Private Preceptor Jnanasuri.

>From Goa

9 Yasomati (pronounced Yashomati)
Ex Archna Sherlekar she who has a beautiful, glorious, renowned mind. Private Preceptor Jnanasuri.

With metta Karunamaya
21 July 2007


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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ordination at Aryaloka

On June 24 at Aryaloka, in front of a large crowd of friends, family, and Order members, Marilyn Dyer was ordained into the Western Buddhist Order as Viriyagita, "Song of energy in pursuit of the good." Her private preceptor was Sanghadevi and the ceremony was conducted by her public preceptor Parami.

Viriyagita currently lives with her husband Kevin in Cape Neddick, Maine and works as a nurse with intellectually and developmentally disabled individuals. She has a son, Sean, from a previous marriage, who lives in Seattle with his wife and three children. In 1985 Viriyagita started practicing Buddhism with a Tibetan sangha in Vermont. In 1986 she encountered the FWBO and was particularly drawn to Sangharakshita's clear exposition of the Dharma, the emphasis on the primacy of Going for Refuge, and the practice of spiritual friendship.

Viriyagita started out by attending several retreats as well as the regulars' class, which was very small at the time. Very early on in her involvement she made a trip to the UK to have a broader experience of the FWBO. She eventually became a mitra, started the first women's community at Aryaloka, and requested ordination into the WBO. She attended several more retreats in the UK and Scotland, one of which was a month-long Going for Refuge retreat.

In 1995 she was ordained along with Varasuri of Montana and Dayalocana of Aryaloka. A little over one year later she left the Order to pursue another spiritual path (Sufi). Within a short period of time she realized that no matter how much spiritual beauty and similarity of practice existed in this other tradition, she was at heart a Buddhist. She returned to Aryaloka, never really having lost contact with her spiritual friends and her private preceptor, Sanghadevi.

After many years of living with the aspiration to rejoin the Order, she made that request in June of 2005 and on June 24, 2007 she was given back her original Order name of Viriyagita.

The photo shows Viriyagita (right) with Dayalocana, current Chair of Aryaloka, with whom she was originally ordained in 1995.


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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Ordination in Berlin - an ever-widening circle, the Sangha grows

Joerg-Detlef Nerkhorn was ordained in Berlin (at the FWBO Centre) on 30 June 2007. He was given the name ARYAMAITRI - 'He whose friendship is noble'. His private preceptor was Arthapriya and his public preceptor Sona.

FWBO News estimates that this bring the Western Buddhist Order to a total number of 1447 - just below the 1,500 mark. In fact, had we not experienced three recent and tragic deaths, the total would now be exactly that.

Thse interested in some simple statistics about the Order are invited to click here, this will take you to a short presentation on our sister site FWBO Discussion.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007


On Tuesday 12th June, in the context of a three-month retreat, the first ordinations took place at Akashavana - the FWBO's new retreat centre dedicated to the ordination of women, in the Spanish mountains.

Public preceptor Parami:

Ethel Findlay becomes AMBARANTA (long third 'a'); literally 'sky-limit'; horizon;'she who is unbounded like the sky' (sanskrit); private preceptor Dhammadassin.

Patricia Jeffrey becomes JAYAVARDHANI (long 'i'); 'she who increases, strengthens, augments her victories' (sanskrit); private preceptor Kalyanasri.

Enid Park becomes SARANAJAYA (long last 'a'); 'she whose victory comes from the Refuges' or 'she who wins liberation through the Refuges' (pali); private preceptor Kulaprabha.

Fionna Yule becomes AMITASHURI (long 'u' and last 'i'); 'boundless, limitless heroine' (sanskrit); private preceptor Maitreyi.

Jo Howes becomes SAMASHURI (long 'u' and last 'i'); 'impartial, equanimous heroine' (sanskrit)' private preceptor Maitreyi.

Sonia Rodriquez becomes ABHAYAGITA (long 'i' and last 'a'); 'she whose song is fearlessness' (sanskrit)' private preceptor Paramachitta.

Public preceptor Ratnadharini:

Judi Simons becomes MANIGARBHA (long last 'a'); 'she who has an inner jewel', or 'matrix of gems' (sanskrit) private preceptor Padmasuri.

Caroline Martin becomes ATAPINI (long first and second 'a', and last 'i'); she who is diligent, ardent and zealous' (pali); private preceptor Kalyanasri.

Public preceptor Maitreyi:

Sabine Lentz becomes SANGHADARSHINI (long last 'i'); 'she who sees the Sangha', 'she who has a vision of the Sangha' in the sense of knowing and understanding (sanskrit); private preceptor Kulanandi.

Pippa Andrewes becomes NAGARAKSHITA (long first and last 'a'); 'she who is guarded, protected by the Nagas' (sanskrit); private preceptor Muditasri.

Carol Bois becomes MAITRIPUSHPA (long second 'i' and last 'a'); 'she who has the flower of benevolence' (sanskrit); private preceptor Ratnadharini.

Emma Styles becomes AMBARAVAJRI (long 'i'); 'sky vajra', 'she who is a vajra like the sky' (sanskrit); private preceptor Dhammadassin.

Public preceptor Padmasuri:

Bianca Boterhoek becomes AMARASHRADDHA (long last 'a'); 'immortal / undying faith' (sanskrit); private preceptor Ratnadharini.

Leonie Luterman becomes SAMAYADEVI (long 'i'); 'luminous one of the vow or bond - the bond of inner relationship with the Three Jewels and her yidam' (sanskrit); private preceptor Karunadevi.


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Tuesday, May 29, 2007


At the Public Ordinations held at 3pm on Friday May 25th at Shambhala in Golden Bay, New Zealand, the following Dharmacharinis were born -


Robyn Blackman becomes KAMALADEVI - pali and skt. "(She who is a) lotus goddess" (long final i) so Kamaladevii

Serena Ann becomes GAMBHIRAJA - skt. "(She who is) born of the depths" (long i and long final a) so Gambhiirajaa

Alison Mann becomes HRDAYAJA - skt "(She who is) heart born" ( dot under r and long final a) so Hrdayajaa


Sue Johnson becomes VIRYADANA - skt "(She who) gives energy in pursuit of the good" (long i and long second a and final a ) so Viiryadaanaa.

Victoria Bel becomes BUDDHANKAPALI - skt "(She who is) embraced by the Buddha" (long first a, long final a and dot over the n) so Buddhaankapaali.

Anita Hirshhorn becomes VIDYATARA - skt "(She who is) a protector of spiritual knowledge ( long first, second and final a) so Vidyaataaraa

Jane Beck becomes PADMADASI (She who is a) "Servant of the Lotus" (long final i) so Padmadasii

Maureen Nicholls becomes SARADARSHINI "She who sees/understands/knows the pith or substance or heart (of things) (long first a and long final i) so Saaradarshinii.


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Monday, April 23, 2007

Ordination at Padmaloka

Western Buddhist Order Kesa EmblemAt a public ordination ceremony that took place at Padmaloka on Saturday April 21, Nicholas Soames became Jinamitra: Friend of the Buddha / Friend of the Conqueror. His Private Preceptor was Kulananda, his Public Preceptor was Padmavajra.

Sadhu sadhu sadhu!

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Ordination in North London

AdarsaThe public ordination of Dryan Kitchener, who lives in London and works for Karuna, took place on Sunday March 10th at the North London Buddhist Centre. He was given the name Adarsha (aadars'a) which means Mirror (as in the Mirror-like Wisdom) and Ideal. His private ordination took place in India at the Bhaja caves - the private preceptor was Suvajra. His public preceptor was Mahamati.

Sadhu sadhu sadhu!

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