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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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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Next Sunday, July 12th, Padmaloka will host a festival day for Dhardo Rimpoche, Sangharakshita’s teacher and friend in India.

It is open to anyone (men and women) who feels a connection with Dhardo Rimpoche and would like to come and celebrate his life and teaching with the Padmaloka community.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

'Buddhafield East' sangha celebrations

The FWBO's 'Buddhafield East' sangha have just celebrated their first-ever long retreat. It seems to have been a hit! Jon Heddle writes -

"Set in a sun-drenched buttercup meadow in North Norfolk, the first ever Buddhafield East long retreat was a triumph. The perfect blend of play and Dharma practice. Padmavajra's talks on developing 'The Mind of Wisdom and Compassion' were very well received by both those new to retreats and 'old' hands alike.

"In addition to talks, meditation, ritual and discussion there was also plenty of time for frisbee, volley ball, circus games, yoga and what can be best described as dry field sledging. After the evening Puja people either sat round the main camp fire and/or enjoyed the sauna, whilst the field was bathed in a mist made silver by the waxing moons gentle glow.

"On the final evening of the retreat we held a soiree in the round house. Warmed by a log fire we shared poems, stories, jokes, dance, song, Capoeira and a lot of laughter!

"The feedback was very positive, ranging from 'the best retreat ever' to 'I never knew retreats would be so much fun'.

"Roll on the 2009 Buddhafield East Summer Gathering!"

Buddhafield East are based in East Anglia, UK, you'll find their very beautiful website at - or their blog at

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Amitabha at Padmaloka: new painting by Aloka

Aryapala, manager of the FWBO's Padmaloka Retreat Centre in Norfolk, UK, has written with news of their new and very beautiful Amitabha painting -

"As Buddhism establishes itself in the west it will develop its own form of iconography - just as happened throughout Buddhist Asia.

Padmaloka has a special relationship with Aloka, a Buddhist artist who used to live in the Padmaloka community. Aloka thinks this development of a western Buddhist art will probably take 200 years or more. He is one of the people who are starting this process, drawing on more than 30 years experience as a Buddhist and an artist to produce images that can inspire, challenge and transform us. We have commissioned Aloka to produce a series of Buddha and Bodhisattva images for our shrine room.

"The most recent painting Aloka has just completed is a wonderfully rich 12ft by 6ft image of the red Buddha, Amitabha, that we have hung on the western wall of the shrine room.

"Thank you to all who helped contribute to the purchasing of this inspiring painting. On a meditation Order practice retreat in November, we will ritually unveil the new painting. The retreat is offered on a dana basis and all donations for this retreat go toward the next painting that we will commission from Aloka".

Note: Click the image above for a larger version.  

All Aloka images Copyright Padmaloka.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

New FWBO Dharma Training Course for Mitras launched

Saccanama, creator of the FWBO's new Dharma Training Course for MitrasThe new FWBO Dharma Training Course for Mitras was launched on a recent Order Weekend at Padmaloka. This is an important new development for Dharma teaching within the FWBO.

The full course is four years long and comprises a Foundation Year followed by a three-year study program. The Foundation Year is based around the three declarations people make on becoming a Mitra: being a Buddhist; practising the Dharma; and participating in the FWBO. Each section contains material extracted from the Buddhist texts, Sangharakshita’s writings, and writings by other contemporary Buddhist teachers, backed up with reference material and teacher’s notes.

The course has its own dedicated website at, where the Foundation Year and part of Year 2 are now available. Subsequent modules will be rolled out over the next few months, and the whole course should be on-line by the summer.

Saccanama, the course’s creator, has been working on it for the past 18 months; it's a major new 'synthesis of the FWBO's approach to the dharma.  He launched it at Padmaloka with a talk entitled ‘Giving the Gift of the Dharma’, which you can listen on FreeBuddhistAudio here: 

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

'Garland of Mantras' event raises £3,500 for Padmaloka paintings

Padmaloka, the FWBO’s retreat centre for men, in Norfolk UK, recently completed their first-ever ‘Garland of Mantras’ weekend retreat, during which they raised over £3,500 for their Aloka paintings fund.

Aryapala, Padmaloka’s manager, reports -

“I'm delighted to tell you we completed the 24-hour chanting on our Garland of Mantras weekend retreat, with a sort of shift system beginning at midday on Saturday and going non-stop until midday on Sunday.

“A BIG THANK YOU! to all who contributed to this weekend. We collectively raised over £3,500 and our plan is to commission the next paintings in the series as we now have sufficient funds. Our vision is to fill our shrine room with Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

“To this end we have commissioned Aloka to produce a series of large paintings – already we have Padmasambhava, Vajrasattva, White Tara, and Green Tara. Aloka ’s paintings are a unique and valuable contribution to the imaginative life of a modern Buddhist. While he is still able to produce art we want to allow him to fill the walls of the shrine room with images so that the whole room becomes the shrine
. "

There’s a video snippet of some of the event on Aryapala’s Facebook page; fans of Padmaloka might also like to join their Facebook group.

Coming next in the series of paintings is a large Amitabha – 6’ by 12’.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

New Paintings for the Padmaloka Shrine Room

In 2007 the FWBO's Padmaloka Retreat Centre began a new project to fill their main shrine room with large paintings of buddhas and bodhisattvas painted by the Buddhist artist Aloka. The main shrine room at Padmaloka is the heart of the retreat centre and is a source of inspiration to all who spend time there. And this project will make it even more inspiring!! It will become a place that progressively expresses the mythic depths of Padmaloka.

Aloka has been painting for much of his life and is concerned very much with creating images that speak to Buddhists living and practising in the modern world. So not only will this project create a wonderful environment at Padmaloka to practice in, it will also be creating a legacy for the future by providing the FWBO with inspiring images for the modern Buddhist practitioner.

In autumn 2007 Aloka began the first two paintings. Recently these were completed and are now hanging in the shrine room. They are of White Tara and Green Tara, both feminine figures of compassion, and are situated to either side of the shrine room entrance. There is no definite plan for what paintings come next – these will emerge as time goes on.

In order to continue this project Padmaloka is initiating a number of fundraising projects over the coming years. This year in August there is a special fundraising weekend event called “The Twenty Four Hour Garland of Mantras” .

Open to all men, this will involve among other things an intensive 24 hour period of mantra chanting, for which the participants will be sponsored. This will be a fantastic opportunity to deeply immerse yourself in the mysterious world of mantra and also to help call forth the paintings yet to come! If you would like to attend this event click the link above for more details.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Padmaloka's Twenty Four Hour Garland of Mantras

Padmaloka, the FWBO’s retreat centre and home of the men’s Ordination Team, has long been known as the home of a series of wonderful paintings by Aloka, the FWBO’s most prolific and much-loved artist. Over a lifetime of painting, he has pioneered a unique fusion of Buddhist iconography and Western artistic styles, yet his health is not good and he knows his time left for painting is limited.
Last year Padmaloka began commissioning Aloka to produce a series of large paintings to fill their shrine room with images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas – adding to the three already there. In order to do this they are aiming to raise around £10,000 per year for the next few years.

All men involved with the FWBO are therefore invited to join the Padmaloka community for a unique weekend fundraising event - the Twenty Four Hour Garland of Mantras. This will take place over the UK’s August bank holiday weekend, ie 29 Aug - 31 Aug 2008.

The weekend will begin with a talk by Padmavajra, after which the core of the event will consist of an intensive 24-hour period of mantra chanting. During this those present will alternate between chanting, meditating, sleeping, eating etc. Samudradaka, Padmaloka’s Chairman, says “This will be a fantastic opportunity to deeply immerse yourself in the mysterious world of mantra and help call forth the paintings yet to come!”

He goes on to add, “When booking for this event you will receive a sponsorship form. The challenge then is to find people to sponsor you to take part in the 24-hour mantra chant. If you are able to raise at least £108 worth of sponsorship before coming you can attend the weekend for free. Otherwise Padmaloka will ask for their usual weekend rate”.

The weekend is open to all men – but numbers are limited to 108!

To book please contact Padmaloka in the usual way. If you'd like to donate directly, please go direct to the Padmaloka appeal.

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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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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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