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Monday, June 15, 2009

'Visions of Mahayana Buddhism' - new book by Windhorse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sunday, February 08, 2009

FWBO News anthology for January 2009

Every one or two months FWBO News produces an anthology of all recent stories that have appeared on the website. It’s made available in an easily-printable form; this is intended as a way of making the site (and the stories!) more visible to those who don’t find themselves in cyber-space very often.

The most recent edition has just been prepared and covers the period January 2009.

You can download it from the Resources section of the FWBO News website, or directly here.

Comments and suggestions on the site are always welcome.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Windhorse Publications releases 2009 catalogue

Windhorse Publications 2009 catalogue, available from their blogWindhorse Publications, the FWBO’s main publisher, have released their 2009 catalogue – and very handsome it is!

There's lots on Buddhist practice, for instance Paramananda’s pocket guide to meditation focusing on ‘The Body’ – the third book in Windhorse’s best-selling series, which includes ‘The Heart’ and ‘the Breath’, both by Vessantara.

There’s a new edition of Transforming Self and World, Sangharakshita’s guide to the Sutra of Golden Light, aand new edition of the Dhammapada.

Windhorse don’t simply publish books – there’s a growing collection of multi-media introductions to meditation.

To be released are ‘Life with Full Attention’, an 8-week course on mindfulness by Maitreyabandhu; which will accompany the FWBO’s first International Urban Retreat in June 2009, and Nagapriya’s second book ‘Visions of Mahayana Buddhism’, which looks set to be as popular as his ‘Exploring Karma and Rebirth’.

Sangharakshita’s ‘Living Ethically – Advice from Nagarjuna’s Precious Garland’, also due for release during 2009, will join his existing books ‘Living with Awareness and ‘Living with Kindness’.

The catalogue is available on-line or to download from Windhorse’s very handsome new blog, which you'll find at

They are also taking advance orders for ‘The Essential Sangharakshita’, just published by Wisdom. This eagerly awaited selection of Sangharakshita’s writings, edited by Vidyadevi, is available for pre-order now through Windhorse Publications for the bargain price of £16.99.

They say, "Due for release in January 2009, The Essential Sangharakshita is the culmination of over fifty years of one man's study, practice, and personal experience of Buddhism".

And we say, "Enjoy!"

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Outreach work at the Bristol Buddhist Centre

Vitarka’ is the Schools and Educational Outreach project based at the Bristol Buddhist Centre. In 2007 they were successful in a grant application to the UK Government’s ‘Faith Community Capacity Building Fund (FCCB); and this year has seen the fruits of their work.

They have recently been featured in a new book ‘Faith Communities Pulling Together - Case studies from the Faith Communities Capacity Building Fund’, published by the UK's Community Development Foundation and available for purchase or free download.

As the report itself states – “The (Vitarka) project focused on creating practical foundations for the Bristol Buddhist Centre’s outreach work with schools, and then increasing its work with schools. The intention was that the work would contribute to greater community cohesion, by enabling children and young people to learn more about faith and increase their understanding about people of different faiths.

Kamalamani, coordinator of the Bristol Buddhist Centre's Vitarka project“A part-time schools and educational coordinator with experience as a teacher was employed. Her first priority was to create the resource pack for schools. The material was based on what teachers had been asking for, including a guide to Buddhist festivals, meditation and ‘stilling’ exercises, a form of sitting meditation.

“She also built up a database of local primary and secondary schools to which she could then send a mail shot explaining what the Centre could offer. This included lessons, assemblies and materials, for example a Buddhist Shrine Kit which was available for schools to borrow. Follow-up material was made available for the teachers, placed on the Centre’s website”.

In addition Kamalamani - the coordinator of the Vitarka project - has conducted her own review, which is available online here.

See also the FWBO's Clear Vision Trust website for award-winning education packs on Buddhism for all key stages.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

New Book from Breathworks - Living Well with Pain and Illness

The FWBO’s ‘Breathworks’ project is delighted to announce the publication of their first book, ‘Living Well With Pain and Illness’, written by Breathworks’ co-founder Vidyamala, herself a long-term sufferer of chronic pain. They say -

“The book, subtitled ‘The mindful way to free yourself from suffering’, gives a detailed summary of the principles and practice of the Breathworks programme.

"It is intended for anyone looking for new ways to live with pain and illness or other long-term difficulties. The main focus of the book is physical pain, but the mindfulness techniques are relevant to illness of any sort. They will help with managing energy and fatigue; also improve quality of life. The techniques are also relevant to mental and emotional suffering, such as stress, anxiety and depression.

“The book starts with Vidyamala's own story of living with pain. It looks at the nature of pain and describes how we can find a new relationship with it using mindfulness. It explores mindfulness and how it can bring wholeness, even if your body is injured or ill. The book then goes on to practical guidance on how to come home to your body through breath awareness and mindful movement, introduces three formal meditation practices with useful tips, and looks at how you can take mindfulness into your daily life.

“The book has been written in part in response to requests from people unable to attend a Breathworks course. It was also written with a strong sense of how Vidyamala felt when she first faced the loneliness of disability and chronic pain with few skills to help, in the hope that some of the lessons learned can help others find an easier way through their own journey with pain and illness.

Highly recommended!

Reviews and recommendations for the book are already arriving – a selection are printed below:

“The cultivation of mindfulness can make a profound difference in how we relate to pain and whether even chronic pain conditions need to turn into endless suffering and misery. This has been known over the past 2600 years, and is now being supported by studies in both medicine and neuroscience. In this book, Vidyamala makes the practice of befriending your experience through mindfulness, however unpleasant or pleasant it may be, both commonsensical and compelling. I admire her tremendously. This is a beautiful and very important book. It could save your life -- and give it back to you.”
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D.,Professor of Medicine Emeritus, Umass Medical School and author of Full Catastrophe Living and Coming to our Senses

"The book is a moving and compelling invitation to bring a radically new way of working with the fact of our pain. It is a book of enormous tenderness and honesty, offering wise guidance on how we can live with greater ease by turning towards what we most fear about our pain and suffering."
Prof Mark Williams, Professor of Clinical Psychology, Dept of Psychiatry, University of Oxford

"Vidyamala Burch has practiced mindfulness for many years, as well as applying the practice to the relief of physical suffering, both her own and that of other people. She has now embodied the fruits of her extensive experience in a very readable and useful book. I hope that Living Well with Pain and Illness will have a wide circulation, in a world where, despite all our progress, there is still so much suffering, some of it unnecessary."
Urgyen Sangharakshita

"This is one of the most generous and empathic books I have read. Nobody with an open mind could fail to learn from it. Readers with and without pain will recognise eloquent descriptions of the traps we fall into when we struggle to avoid what we don't want in our lives."
Dr Amanda Williams, Reader in Clinical Health Psychology, University College London

There's also a review online from the Irish Times.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Five Female Buddhas: a 'terma' from Vessantara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

FWBO News anthology now available - July-September 2008

Every two or three months FWBO News produces an anthology of all recent stories that have appeared on the website. It’s made available in an easily-printable form; this is intended as a way of making the site (and the stories!) more visible to those who don’t find themselves in cyber-space very often.

The most recent edition has just been prepared and covers the period July-September 2008. You can download it from the Resources section of the FWBO News website, or directly here.

Meanwhile FWBO News’ readership continues a steady growth; the graph opposite shows its progress from 2006 (when the site was launched) to the present.

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Friday, September 05, 2008

New reading lists available from Windhorse Publications

Windhorse Publications have for many years been the main publisher of FWBO books, at least in English, with some 140 books currently on offer. With so many to choose from, where to start...?

Happily, they have just released four new reading lists - one each for those seeking an introduction to Buddhism, those wanting to go deeper, those interested in meditation, and those thinking of taking up the FWBO Mitra Study course (which can be found on the new website

FWBO News hopes to bring you more news of their Autumn publications soon - starting with the new edition of the FWBO Puja Book.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Two lesser-known FWBO journals…

FWBO News is pleased to be able to mention two lesser-known journals published by members of the Western Buddhist Order – Urthona and the Western Buddhist Review.

Urthona ( is the fruit of a small but dedicated band of lovers of the arts; for them, Urthona is “a magazine for rousing the imagination”. It’s been published since 1992 and issue 25 is just out: Celtic Connections.

They say – “It’s an exploration of the myths of the Celtic world, their enduring appeal and their continued relevance. This issue is for those who are trying to make connections with the pagan roots of our culture, who want to make these wonderful old stories meaningful for their lives, and who want to make links with the pre-christian ways of spirituality which existed in the British Isles before the Roman invasion”.

Back issues are available here, and a generous selection of online articles cover such subjects as The Five Storied Palace (A journey around the symbolic cosmos in the company of Dante with some notes for twenty-first-century travellers); A Fountain Sealed (Reflecting on the tragic split in Coleridge’s poetic Imagination); and Experiments and Values: Sangharakshita talking about the arts in the twentieth century, his likes among its artists and writers, and his new collection of poetry.

Urthona is available from FWBO bookshops or by online ordering.

The Western Buddhist Review
Very different – but equally a product of the meeting of Buddhism and the West – is the FWBO’s ‘Western Buddhist Review’. The WBR takes a more academic approach, and in the latest issue, Issue 4, you'll find Abhaya reflecting on Letters of Gold: Imagery in the Dhammapada; Was the Buddha Omniscient? by Nagapriya, author of the well-known ‘Karma and Rebirth’ ; and the related article Kamma in Context: The Mahakammavibhangasutta and the Culakammavibhangasutta by Manishini (Alice Collett). Many other topics are covered, not least a thought-provoking inquiry into Suicide as A Response to Suffering and Jnanavira’s Reflections on the Feminine in Japanese Buddhism

Issue 5 is expected shortly and will be published on the WBR website.

Other on-line FWBO publications include many past issues of Dharma Life and Madhyamavani – at one time the journal of the Preceptors College.

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