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Monday, February 15, 2010

second FWBO International Retreat - update

fwbo  international  retreat  2010
‘Turning Arrows into Flowers’
Friday 28th May to Tuesday 1st June 2010

Vajragupta writes with an update for FWBO News readers on the second FWBO International Retreat -  a big family-friendly event run by the FWBO Chairs Assembly in conjunction with Buddhafield and Taraloka.

He says - 

"It's shaping up to be another huge opportunity for a very imaginative collective celebration of Buddha Day (Wesak) - the festival of the Buddha's Enlightenment. 

"It'll also be a great way to experience the depth and breadth of our international Sangha, and to get a taste of just how satisfying it can be to live together for a short time immersed in a Buddhist context - practicing together, working together in teams, and so on.

"Here's some of what we've arranged so far -  

Story-telling, chanting and ritual: to create an atmosphere of magic and beauty, re-enacting the story of the Buddha’s Enlightenment.
Meditation: teaching and time to practice how can we see-through negativity and free our own hearts and minds.
Talks and discussion: looking at the society we live in and what helps and what hinders our attempts to move towards Enlightenment. How can we help turn “arrows into flowers”?
Sangha: an experience of the breadth and depth of the FWBO with hundreds of us from all over Europe living, practising, and creating sangha together over a long weekend.
Family Friendly: facilities and activities for children and teenagers.

"Places are limited so book soon!

"The event commences on the Friday evening and goes through to Tuesday lunchtime. There will be a full programme of talks, meditations, storytelling, and rituals, plus free time for meeting up with friends or going for a walk. Some of the FWBO’s most experienced teachers will be there, including Jnanavaca, Maitreyabandhu, Padmavajra, Saddhanandi, Sona, Tejananda, Vajradarshini, Vidyamala, with more to be confirmed…

"There will be two childcare sessions each day when those with children can bring them along to be looked after,allowing them to go to the talks, meditations and so on. Also, in the evening we'll have storytelling that they  can come to, sometimes join in with, and sometimes stay for part of the ritual/puja that follows on from it... Children aged 3 or under can come for free, and 4 to 16 year olds half price".

For the latest updates - and to book - please check the retreat website

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Second FWBO International Retreat planned for May 2010

Here’s an early heads-up for FWBO News’ readers on a major FWBO retreat coming up next year - the second FWBO International Retreat.

Dates are Friday 28th May to Tuesday 1st June 2010, the place is Taraloka, the FWBO’s retreat centre long-established on the English-Welsh border (and twice winner of the Good Retreat Guide’s ‘Retreat Centre of the Year’!

More details on the special retreat website

Vajragupta, one of the main organizers, says “The International Retreat is a collaboration between the FWBO Chairs Assembly, Buddhafield, and Taraloka. We aim to have 500 people from all over the FWBO in Europe practicing together over the Wesak weekend.

“The Friday the event starts is actually the full-moon of Wesak. This gives us the opportunity to have a large, collective celebration of Wesak in 2010. “he theme is going to be "turning arrows into flowers".

“ We'll begin with the story of the Buddha's overcoming of Mara, and then explore the spiritual transformation of our own lives and the world we live in. This will involve a mixture of talks, meditation teaching, story-telling and ritual, as well as activities for children. We'll be welcoming people from all over Europe, and providing priority booking and translation facilities for those from overseas.

“The feedback from the last event was overwhelmingly positive - it gave people a great experience of practicing with the wider FWBO.

“Please get involved to make the 2010 event even more of a success”.

Director, FWBO Development Team

The photos are from the 2007 International Retreat: inside and outside the main shrine marquee.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

First retreats for FWBO groups in Kent and Dusseldorf

Here’s a couple of updates from two of the FWBO’s newer groups. Proving, perhaps, that small is often beautiful!

Danapriya writes from Kent, UK -

“Dear Lokabandhu,

“Here’s a little something for the FWBO News.

“The East Kent Sangha based in Deal, Kent have just had their first Sangha Retreat called 'Loving Life' at Vajrasana Retreat Centre.

There were 25 of us on the retreat and we had a fantastic time and it has really had a positive effect on bringing the Sangha together even more. You will get a feel for the retreat from the photo. We had a fabulous team Siddhishvari, Sraddhagita, Suryaketu, Phil Daly and myself (Danapriya).  Love from Danapriya.”

You’ll find them at

And from Düsseldorf in Germany, Sraddhabandhu writes -

“In the last two months the development of „FWBO Düsseldorf”  has made further steps. On the first weekend of August we booked the Retreat centre “Vimaladhatu” and had our first retreat especially for the Düsseldorf Sangha. 12 people attended, plus 4 people in the team. For some people it was their first retreat ever, but everything went smooth. All enjoyed themselves, felt inspired and are eager to go on the next retreat. We haven’t booked jet, but perhaps it will be a “less-than-typical retreat” insofar that we sail on the Dutch Ijsselmeer and meditate on the ship.

“A month later we went for a walking tour just in the vicinity of Düsseldorf. Extraordinary about this is, that this time it was not organized by a member of the team. Tanja planned and led the hike, and it was an enjoyable afternoon. I look forward for more initiatives from the Sangha.

“Yours in the Dharma, Sraddhabandhu”

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Friday, September 18, 2009

New Retreat Centre in Holland: first resident moves to Metta Vihara!

There's great news just in from the FWBO's Dutch and Belgian Sanghas, where for more than 20 years they’ve been hiring accommodation to hold retreats.  Parina, their newly-ordained project manager, writes to say -

“We've finally signed a contract to start building an FWBO retreat Centre here in The Low Countries. Our Chairwoman Karin van Kesteren signed the contract on Friday morning 4th of September on behalf of our charity Metta Vihara. And in the afternoon, Akasasuri opened the door of our future retreat place!

“It's an old pig farm and we will have to demolish the barns first before we can start the building work in spring 2010. We hope to open the doors of our centre at the end of 2010.

“In the meantime, there’s more work to be done, and more money to be raised - but our spirits are up! Both our Sanghas are very supportive of the project and willing to help in all kinds of ways. In fact, the network of friendship and interconnectedness just grows and glows.

“Thank you to all who've supported and encouraged us”.

Metta Vihara’s new address is Hengstdijkse Kerkstraat 36; on the outskirts of a small village near the sea and well-placed for all the local Sanghas, being more or less midway between Gent, Antwerp, and Rotterdam, south of Amsterdam.

There’s lots more about what’s going on there on their (Dutch) website In fact, we can’t resist copying some if here, translated courtesy of Google Translate. Apologies for any inaccuracies! They say -

“On September 4 we had the keys of the future retreat centre and then we immediately got to work with cleaning and painting of the house. The next step is to move all the stuff from Bilthoven to Hengstdijk (September 12) and then in October following the demolition of the old barns. If everything goes to plan we will start the spring with the new construction.

“Meanwhile, we continue to the final design for the retreat centre, and the building permit application. 

"For the future, sustainability is a topic of conversation: the care for the earth is dear to our hearts and we explore all possibilities that exist for sustainable building and focus.

“Yours, Dhammaketu, Karin van Kesteren, Akasasuri, Manigarbha”.

Meanwhile their fundraising goes on, and they’d like to draw attention to one thing especially - the Urgyen Sangharakshita tulip bulbs. They say (also in translation) -

“BUY THEM NOW!!! And help the fundraising campaign of € 80,000 together for the establishment of the brand new retreat centre. This unique tulip was named after Urgyen Sangharakshita, the founder of the Friends of Western Buddhist Order, which Metta Vihara is part of.

"You can get 15 bulbs for € 10 and 7 bulbs for € 5. The bulbs can be planted from October to December on balconies or in the garden and bloom in the spring. Click here for photos and ordering."

The photos show Metta Vihara's latest poster,  the contract-signing ceremony, and an architect’s impression of the new retreat centre building.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Belgium celebrates mitra ceremony on the International Urban Retreat - all invited!

Arthakusalin writes from Belgium to say -

"This is to inform you that on the evening of Thursday 25th, during the FWBO International Urban Retreat at the Ghent Buddhist Centre, there will be a mitra ceremony.

"Steven Heyde will become a mitra that evening, the ceremony will be led by the two Urban Retreat leaders Upekshadaka and Arthakusalin.

"We thought it would be a great moment for Steven to have his ceremony in this wider, international context with so many people attending the retreat all over the world...

"all my best wishes, Arthakusalin

If you're reading this - why not send them a message of support - just email the Centre!

The photograph shows the Order Members from the Ghent Centre.

Click here for more on the International Urban Retreat: happening this week!

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Urban Retreat - shrines from around the world

Lokabandhu, one of the organisers of the FWBO International Urban Retreat, writes to say -

"Hi, just to say the Mosaic of Shrines and Sanghas for the Urban Retreat is now complete and can be downloaded as a high-quality PDF from the Resources page of FWBO News:

"It's printable as an 8-page full-colour poster that should look great on your shrine. If you prefer you can enjoy it on-line at the FWBO Photos site:

"The Mosaic contains over 50 photos of Buddhist shrines from around the world; also many of the FWBO sanghas participating in the retreat. Thanks to everyone who sent in their photos - more are welcome but I can't guarantee they'll be included in this edition of the mosaic!"

The retreat is going well, both online via Facebook and at over 40 FWBO Centres and groups large and small around the world. To quote an email at random, Barbara from Lyon in France writes:

"Please find attached the photo of our small group who attended the 1st day of Urban Retreat near Lyon in the French Region of Rhones Alpes (South east).

"We are a small group of 3 people practising with the FWBO. Many thanks for all your support (and all the project team) to make this happen. People find it very supportive and helpful. And it was for me a great occasion to lead a day retreat for the 1st time!"


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Urban Retreat starts today

The FWBO's first International Urban Retreat starts today with over 40 Buddhist Centres from around the world - and an unknown but substantial number of individuals on Facebook - coming together for a week of shared practice.

Over the past weeks we've been collecting short talks and videos from individuals from around the world talking about their life and practice; you'll find these on the Talks and Resources page of the Urban Retreat website. Latest additions are talks and videos from India, America, New Zealand, Australia, UK, and Germany. Many thanks to FreeBuddhistAudio and VideoSangha for hosting these.

Coming soon is the Urban Retreat Shrine Mosaic: a large downloadable printable montage of Urban Retreat shrines from all over the world - it should be available Monday afternoon. Plus more talks and videos…

If you want to participate it's still possible to join the Facebook version of the retreat - visit the 'Preparation' event at and follow the links…


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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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

FWBO International Urban Retreat update: talks uploaded and Facebook event launched

The FWBO International Urban Retreat starts this Saturday, with over 40 FWBO Centres around the world participating - plus another 250 or more people on Facebook.

To help illustrate the internationality of the event - and of the FWBO Sangha as a whole - a series of talks and videos is gradually being uploaded to the retreat website

These are short '10-minute-talks' by Order Members around the world, each talking about their life and practice. Already up are three very different talks by three widely-separated Dharmacharinis:

Karunaprabha (an Indian woman Order Member) telling the story of how her love of medicine led her to the Dharma;

Viveka, chair of the FWBO's San Francisco Buddhist Center describing, in a very personal talk, the challenges and opportunities in the areas of marriage, work and ethnicity; and

Suvarnamaitri, from Dinslaken, Germany, reflecting on her practice as a teacher.

Last but not least is a German talk by Mokshasiddha, on his life and practice as a physician living in Berlin.

You'll find all these on the 'Talks and Resources' page of the website .

On Facebook the 'Preparation' Event has been released, where people not living anywhere near a participating FWBO Centre can still participate fully. This links you to material on meditation, on creating a shrine, finding a retreat 'buddy', suggested daily programmes, retreat diaries, and lots more.

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Kshitigarbha project: Outreach in Central India

For this week's personal profile, FWBO News presents Karunashur, an Indian Order Member living and studying in Cambridge UK.  He has sent us this inspiring report of his recent four-month-long Dhamma tour in the dusty plains of central India.

With Saddharaja, also from Cambridge, they have created the Kshitigarbha project, which raises funds to run retreats for the very poorest Buddhists in rural areas of India.

Karunashur says -

"I left UK for India on 2nd of Jan. Three days later I started giving talk in every village in my region - this is near Wardha, in Central India. It is very poor and suffers for a long time from drought. Many farmers are committing suicide. Saddharaja and I (photo, left) led a big 'Kshitigarbha' retreat at our retreat centre 'Bor Dharan' near Wardha. This is an annual retreat especially for poor people - we raise money in UK to make it possible for anyone to come. We also led the Kshitigarbha retreat last year. That time around five hundred people turned up. This time there were altogether seven hundred retreatants. They were coming from rural area and poor families.

"Before that I had been giving talks many different villages. In total I gave 70 talks while I was in India. After finishing the retreat, Saddharaja and I together gave six more talks around Wardha district. While we were giving the talks, people were saying to us that a few Hindu people also came our retreat. It was very pleasing news for us. Then I realized more than fifty Hindu people were in Kshitigarbha retreat. It’s a good sign for us. Not only Buddhist people are coming but non-Buddhist people also.

"Saddharaja left India then I was giving talks again. Most of my talks are based on Dhammapada. I realised it is good to tell Dhammapada stories rather than high principle or philosophy. People in rural areas like listening to stories! They were enjoying my story telling. Dhammapada stories are related to human beings. Most of talks were arranged for the evenings when people were free.

"Also this visit I led a day retreat with TBMSG people and non-TBMSG people. The people were already Buddhist; they know how to chant the Pali Canon and do puja. But they don’t know about meditation. I was teaching them two kinds of meditation Anapanasati and Metta Bhavana. A day retreat used to start at 11 o’ clock and finish at 5 o’ clock. Buddhist people were coming from different villages.

"After that I led a Holi retreat (Holi is big Indian "colour festival"). The theme was the Maha Vagga from the Dhammapada. I gave talks every day in that retreat. Four hundred people were there. It was a great experience to lead that retreat. Afterwards again I started giving talks and leading a day retreat. And then I went to Gujarat gave a talk, and led a day retreat in Valsad. It was my first talk in Hindi - normally I speak Marathi.

"And after that I went to Sikkim for eight days. It was very cold weather and showering. It felt like English weather! I visited Namachi monastery in Gangtok, Ghoom monastery in Darjeeling, and Bhante’s 'Bhikkhu cottage' in Kalimpong. Three Order Members were with me. It was a very great experience travelling with them.

"I came back from Sikkim on 25th of April in Wardha. The Sun was pouring fire, it was 46 degrees temperature. I felt sick for three days and spent a couple of days with my family. I left India for UK on 29th of April.

"Thanks to Lokabandhu for this. He told me to write for FWBO news.

"I will write again. Karunashur"

Next year they hope for 1,000 or even more people on their retreat. They have a fundraising page at which readers of FWBO News are warmly invited to contribute to.

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Friday, June 05, 2009

FWBO International Urban Retreat: June 20-27th

Coming up very soon is a major new FWBO event: the movement's first ‘international urban retreat’.

Vajragupta, who works for the FWBO's development team, explains -

This year we are running the first ever FWBO international urban retreat. All over the world, over 40 FWBO centres in 12 countries will run ‘urban retreats’, all during the same week in June. On an ‘urban retreat’ you carry on living and working in your normal circumstances, but with a difference...

The week starts on Saturday 20th June with a day retreat at your local centre. During that day you'll be helped and encouraged to set up the conditions to take your practice deeper.

During the week, to support you there'll be talks, led meditations, and other resources available, both locally and on-line.

The retreat ends with another day event on 27th June – this will include the opportunity to reflect on how it went, and where you want to take your practice next…

It’s simple enough but the benefits are many –

* you can gain confidence in your practice... The urban retreat shows you how you can create positive states of mind in the midst of everyday life.
* you can go deeper... Link-up with other people at your centre and help each other to practice more intensively for a week.
* you can be inspired... You'll be part of an international event, practising with people from fwbo centres all over the world.

For those who can't attend the urban retreat at an FWBO Centre, there is the chance to do the retreat on-line - for details check the website  or via the FWBO page on facebook .

As part of the retreat we’ll be collaborating with various FWBO projects – Wildmind , Free Buddhist Audio , and Videosangha .

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

FWBO gains 1,000 fans on Facebook

The FWBO page on Facebook  has recently gained its 1000th 'fan'. The page was created late last year to give the FWBO a presence on Facebook - since then it's multiplied!

There are now FWBO groups acting as contact points for the FWBO in Denmark, Finland, Karuna, Vajraloka, Padmaloka, Buddhafield, New Zealand, Scotland, San Francisco, and even India - and probably quite a few more we haven't found yet. There's a special group for young FWBOers which now has nearly 150 members (147 to be precise!).  To access any of these you'll need to join Facebook if you haven't already - then simply click the links above. 

It's also proving a rich medium for interaction between individuals - friends old and new - in the FWBO Sangha around the world. This looks set to expand yet further when the FWBO's International Urban Retreat comes around in June, when a special version of the retreat will be offered via Facebook.

Anyone wanting to participate in the Facebook version of the retreat is invited to visit the Facebook page, become a 'fan' (sorry about the terminology - not our choice of word!) and click through to the International Urban Retreat event.

From there, just follow the links… The retreat will run from June 20-27th and we'll be posting more information soon.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Taraloka's 'Great Gathering'

It seems the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are gathering this month in Shropshire, UK - in readiness for Taraloka's annual Great Gathering, to be held over the late May Bank Holiday weekend, ie May 21st - 25th.

Taraloka ( being, of course, the FWBO's women's retreat centre in Shropshire, UK - and the proud holders of two "Retreat Centre of the Year" awards from the Good Retreat Guide.

They say -

"The programme this time will be based on Tsongkapa's Three Principle Paths : Renunciation, Bodhicitta and Wisdom. The weekend includes a talk on each of the three paths; led reflections; discussion groups; pujas; and conversation cafes. This last being a conversational process that Parami and Kuladharini have been using successively in various situations - on the women's day of the Indian convention was one occasion, for those of you who were there. See for details".

All women Order Members and Mitras are welcome, please see their website for details and booking.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Urban Retreat piloted on Facebook

June sees the first-ever International FWBO Urban Retreat, in which some 40 FWBO and TBMSG Centres around the world will be taking part. It's open to all, and all readers of FWBO News are warmly invited to take part.

The retreat has a special website, at , on which there's links to the participating FWBO Centres and where you can find basic information on what an Urban Retreat is. We are expecting well over 1,000 people world-wide to participate.

If you don't live near a Centre, that's not a problem, as there is also an on-line version of the retreat. This will start from the FWBO's page on Facebook  and lead participants through a series of day 'Events', each containing a full programme of Dharma and meditation material. Already over 150 people have signed up.

If you're interested in the on-line version, click the link above (you may need to log in to Facebook), go to the FWBO page, become a 'Fan', and look for the Events in the left-hand column… You'll see an 'Urban Retreat' event, and if you register as attending it we'll keep you fully-informed as it unfolds.

This will be the first time we've held a 'virtual retreat' and this week a group of 10 volunteers have been piloting it: in fact the pilot retreat ends today - it's gone very well and a lot has been learned about how to make it 'flow'.

To wet your appetite, here's a retreatants diary from an Urban Retreat held at the LBC in London earlier this year, held to mark their 30th anniversary -

Notes on the LBC Urban Retreat

"I thought Sunday would be the highlight with Sangharakshita being interviewed & unveiling the triptych but I was wrong, everyday was a highlight in its own way, each as special as the last.

"Sunday morning we set our intentions for the retreat. After sharing a picnic lunch in the new Breathworks space in the LBC's basement, we head upstairs for Sangharakshita's interview, he talks about the early days - fascinating! We then troop back down for the grand unveiling of the 12ft triptych. It is breathtaking.

"Monday morning my flatmate leaves for the daily morning meditation at the LBC while I head off to work chanting a manta as I go. This is to be our routine for the week. Monday evening Parami gives a rousing talk during which I feel rather envious of the people who helped make this all happen back in 1978 - it seems a very passionate and idealistic time.

"Tuesday night Subhadramati gives a moving account of what it means to go for refuge, five order members speak about the point in their lives at which they realised that their going for refuge had been effective. I love the talks on retreats and hearing of peoples own personal experiences - I come away with something from every speaker, feeling very inspired.

"Wednesday night the 'circle of friendship' talks are kick started by Maitreyabandhu giving a very funny account of the difficult start to his friendship with J---. My friend A---- and I have been thinking about starting a new community and the talks of friendship and community life confirm that this is definitely something we want to pursue. A---- and I both give a talk, I feel nervous but enjoy the experience of sharing the joys of our friendship with everybody in the room. I love her talk which is funny and all about me.

"On Thursday the theme is team based right livelihood, Maria who has taken over the management of the Wild Cherry symbolically lights a candle from Padmasri, who has just told us about the early days of the Cherry and Priyadaka lights a candle from Ratnaguna's candle I have a mental image of Ratnaguna driving around in a van with the side door open selling his wares out of open-topped sacks at markets - I sincerely hope the two businesses survive these tough times. The evening ends on a positive note with Claire handing over a donation from Evolution's profits to the LBC. The full moon puja follows.

"On Friday evening Atula calls up the forces of darkness and later that night there is a fire in the doorway which is to be used as the new entrance - coincidence?

"On Saturday we spent the day reflecting on the retreat and the commitments we made at the start of the week. What an incredible experience this week has been. A huge big Sadhu to Subhadramati and Maitreyabandhu for leading it."

The International FWBO Urban Retreat will run from June 20-27th. If you want to take part, please contact your local FWBO Centre via the retreat website, or register for the on-line version via the FWBO's Facebook page.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Archive photos from early days of FWBO now on-line

For the past two years Padmakara, an Order Member from Manchester UK, has been occupying himself in his spare time scanning hundreds and even thousands of historic photographs from the FWBO Archives, held by ClearVision.

Four collections of these have now been uploaded to the FWBO Photos website, covering-



and Team-Based Right Livelihood

We hope a further collection, covering the early days of TBMSG in India, will be added soon.  Further contributions are very welcome - please email FWBO News.

Any statisticians among FWBO News’ readership might be interested to know FWBO Photos
( currently contains 3,767 photos related to the FWBO, which have been viewed 70,002 times.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Kindred Spirit applauds FWBO retreat centres

Kindred Spirit is a long-established alternative magazine, describing itself as “the ultimate global guide to positive change”. Each issue covers a range of diverse subjects such as spiritual growth, personal development, complementary therapies, travel, health and much more.

Their latest issue picks out five ‘top spiritual retreats to nourish your holistic health’ – and two of the five are FWBO retreat centres. There’s the ‘Jungle Club’ in Thailand offering outdoor Scaravelli yoga; there’s meditation in Marrakech, there’s Findhorn’s ‘Experience Week’ in Scotland – and there’s our own Rivendell and Dhanakosa retreat centres… They describe the FWBO approach as “making Buddhism and meditation accessible as a living tradition in the modern world and open to people of all cultures and heritages”.

About Rivendell they say “surrounded by picturesque grounds, fields and woodland, with a library and garden, introductory group weekend retreats here are the ideal way to experience Buddhist values and principles for the first time”. Dhanakosa is described as “the most beautiful retreat centre I have been to, sitting on the shore of Loch Voil, with the Highlands just a short walk away”. Dhanakosa runs a wide range of retreats where meditation is allied with other activities – Kindred Spirit specifically mentions their ‘meditation and clowning’ and ‘meditation and hill-walking’ retreats.

The FWBO has some eight retreat centres in the UK, and details of all can be found on our website

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Order Convention in Bodh Gaya in pictures

Mahamati, International Order Convenor and organiser of the Order Convention at Bodh Gaya, sends us this update –

“Hello all, a brief note from Bodh Gaya where the Convention is going exceptionally well. We have nearly 350 Indian Order Members here and 160 Order Members from outside India – in fact it could be slightly more as we have not yet got the final figures from the registration of the Indian Order Members.

The interview with Bhante went down very well – and as some of you will have heard if you have watched the video, at the end of the interview he gives the new name for the land

It is "The Three Jewels Centre". Amazingly, the name is already up on the signboard, with our big Three Jewels order emblem as instructed by Bhante!

We are all doing refuge tree practice beneath the Bodhi Tree each morning, and puja beneath the Tree each evening.

In fact here is the programme below...


Daily events:
Refuge Tree practice in front of the Bodhi Tree.
Evening Puja in front of the Bodhi Tree.

Tuesday 24th February
“Seven events after the Enlightenment”: Talk by Sudarshan
TBMSG Day: Book launches: Vimalasara’s Hindi edition of “Broken Voices”; Prajnajit’s book of Marathi poetry
Screening of Interview with Bhante: “The Legacy of Sangharakshita”.

Wednesday 25th February:
“The Significance of Bodhgaya”: Talk by Nissoka
Dedication of land with new name given by Bhante.

Thursday 26th February
Women’s Day and Men’s Day:
separate programmes

Friday 27th February
Celebrating 30 years of TBMSG: “30 Years On”: Talk by Lokamitra
“Panorama of memories: 30 Years of TBM”: Symposium of talks chaired by Bodhisen

Saturday 28th Feb
The Unity of the Order - Talks by Parami and Silavati:.
Tabla recital by Mukesh Jardo with accompaniment on our land.


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Saturday, February 14, 2009

FWBO People: introducing Vajradarshini

This Saturday’s ‘FWBO People’ post features Vajradarshini. 

Until recently she was Chair of Tiratanaloka – the FWBO’s retreat centre dedicated to helping women prepare for ordination – and now – she’s an itinerant Dharma teacher, moving between Spain, the UK – and anywhere!

She says – “as of this year i am spending my time as a dharma teacher on the move, communicating sangharakshita's teachings in different venues around the FWBO. i'll be doing retreats, urban retreats, weekends and talks in various places around the uk and europe concentrating on some of my favorite dharma themes.  when not on the road i'll be living in a very simple life in spain where my cost of living will be low and i hope that this will enable me to have some quiet time to do my own study and reflection.


Vajradarshini has always been a bit of a techno-whizz, and she runs her own website, blog, and on-line photo archive to help people get to know her in her new incarnation. 

The website is full of gems, reflecting Vajradarshini’s many interests, especially wabi sabi, and the yogacara – plus, of course, her upcoming retreat schedule for 2009.

In a bold step into the unknown, she’s decided to rely wholly on dana, or generosity, to support herself – you can read her dana statement on her website.  To make this easier for would-be patrons, she has a page on the popular ‘JustGiving’  fundraising website – check  All contributions gratefully received!

She describes her blog as a “diary of ordinary life, of things close to home, close to the heart”.  Most recently she’s been covering her move from the busy life of a retreat centre to a new country and a far more solitary life in the mountains.  She writes –

 I do feel rather that I have disappeared, temporarily, into the mountains. I haven’t felt all that communicative and am rather more out of touch than I used to be with what is going on in the world. I am making the most of this opportunity as I will be emerging, all being well, in March and from then until the end of October I have a pretty full schedule of retreats, weekends and events all around Europe. Feels like a slightly scary thought given that these days I hardly see a soul, oh well I’ve always enjoyed extremes”.

 She continues – “Another project that I have on the go is learning CSS, which is the ‘language’ that you design websites in. I seem to have got that hang of html enough to have made my very simple website, I enjoyed it so much that I thought I would like to learn a bit more so I am in the process of learning CSS and of redesigning my website with it. It is like a rollercoaster of despair and euphoria!

 A little, perhaps, like life itself…

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Monday, February 09, 2009

Upcoming: Buddhism and creativity conference - call for artists and performers

June will see the second conference in the ‘British Buddhist Landscape’ series. Entitled “Buddha Mind: Creative Mind?”, it’ll look at the relationship between the creative life, artistic expression and Buddhist thought and practice.

Areas to be covered include exploring the work of artists who have drawn on Buddhism in their creative practice, the twin topics of Buddhism influencing Art and Art influencing Buddhism; Buddhism and the creative life; and Buddhist Art through the ages – all to be explored via lectures, workshops, demonstrations, dialogues, performance, and exhibition.

The weekend will be of interest to anyone with an interest in Buddhism, creativity, art, performance and the creative life. A number of FWBO artists from the London Buddhist Arts Centre are already planning to take part.

The organisers are putting out a call to artists and performers – anyone interested in exhibiting work or performing (on a voluntary basis) is asked to contact them now at .

The conference is organised by the Institute of Oriental Philosophy-UK in conjunction with the UK’s Network of Buddhist Organisations, of which the FWBO is an active member. It will be held at Taplow Court, IOP-UK’s beautiful headquarters, set in 85 acres of grounds overlooking the River Thames near Maidenhead.

For full details, click here.

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Monday, February 02, 2009

FWBO International Urban Retreat: plans take shape

Plans are taking shape for a major new FWBO event: the Movement's first ‘International Urban Retreat’.

Vajragupta, who works for the FWBO’s Development Team, says -

“This year we are running the first ever FWBO International Urban Retreat. All over the world, local FWBO Centres will run ‘urban retreats’, all during the same week in June.

"On an ‘urban retreat’ you carry on living and working in your normal circumstances, but with a difference...

"The week starts with a day retreat at your local FWBO Centre – this will be on Saturday 20th June. During that day you'll be helped and encouraged to set up the conditions to take your practice deeper. To support you during the week, there will be talks, led meditations, and other resources available, both locally and on-line.

"The urban retreat ends with another day event at your Centre on 27th June – this will include the opportunity to reflect on how it went, and where you want to take your practice next…

It’s simple enough but the benefits are many –

* you can gain confidence in your practice... the urban retreat shows you how you can create positive states of mind in the midst of everyday life.

* you can go deeper... link-up with other people at your Centre and help each other to practice more intensively for a week.

* you can be inspired... you'll be part of an international event, practising with people from FWBO Centres all over the world.

"For those who can't attend an urban retreat at a FWBO Centre, there is the chance to do the retreat on-line - for details check the website (coming soon) or via the FWBO Page on Facebook.

"As part of the retreat we’ll be collaborating with various FWBO projects – Wildmind, Free Buddhist Audio, Videosangha, and hopefully Breathworks. Watch this space - we’ll be posting more details over the coming weeks".

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

FWBO People: 'Hen's Solitary Retreat'

This Saturday’s ‘FWBO People’ post features a lady known only (on-line at least) as ‘Hen’. She’s a “Singer, permaculture designer, basket maker, aspiring children's story writer and illustrator, bivouac-er, hill walker - and Buddhist”.

Hen lives and practices somewhere between the Cotswolds and Exmoor, in England – and last Autumn went on her first two-week solitary retreat, having been to a number of FWBO retreats and centres over the years. On retreat she kept a journal and afterwards turned it into a blog, which we’re delighted to feature here.

She writes –

“Many people have said to me that they wish they could do a solitary retreat, because 'they really need one'. That's why I decided to share my experience, to hopefully make going on retreat alone, a bit less mysterious and a bit more 'doable'. “Offered with much love for your continued happiness!”

Hen’s blog is at

Just to whet your appetite, she begins –

“The journey here was long, but totally uneventful and when I pulled into the last bit of track to take me up the hill to the cottage I was relieved not to feel stressed out from driving.

“Well, that was until my car broke down half way up a very steep stony bit of the track. The little computer on my dashboard told me that it was the alternator and that I should take it to a workshop. EEEEEK!”


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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

BoeddhaNatuur releases programme for 2009

The cover image of the BoeddhaNatuur program for 2009

Mokshagandhi, a Dharmacharini living in Amsterdam, has sent us the 2009 program for the FWBO's BoeddhaNatuur project - BoeddhaNatuur being the Dutch Sangha's version of Buddhafield, running camping retreats in the Dutch or Belgian countryside.

If the retreats are anything like as beautiful as the programme, they should be a treat - though long-standing readers of FWBO News may remember their retreats in 2007 suffered from the water and wind elements!

Their website is or you can contact them by email at

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Jumbo Retreat in India - report, photos, and upcoming...

Ashvajit was in India from late September to early November this year. The visit began to take shape when Amitayus asked him, at the Indian Order Convention early this year, if he would lead a ‘Jumbo’ retreat in Amaravati, a town in the Vidarbha area of central India.

Knowing that there were a considerable number of Order members in the area who would be keen to help, and following the age-old Buddhist tradition of accepting all invitations to teach the Dharma, Ashvajit said yes, he would. Thus began eight months of preparation involving more or less continuous communication with Amitayus and quite a few other Order members both Eastern and Western.

One of the first tasks was to raise funds, and so, with a few hints from Lokabandhu, a JustGiving Appeal was set up on the Web under the auspices of FWBO Dhammaloka, and an email sent to all non-Indian Order Members inviting them to take a look at it. Within a few days, funds started pouring in. It was a very heartening experience to witness such generosity, but there was a long way to go.

And then one day a donation came in for £3,000 from a donor who wished to remain anonymous! Ashvajit wondered for a moment if he was dreaming, but no, it was real. Such generosity was deeply affirming, and from that point on, all involved in the preparation for the Jumbo Retreat shared an even greater sense of enthusiasm and possibilities than that with which they’d begun.

Once in India, in early September, Ashvajit began a whistle-stop tour around Vidarbha. Each day for about 14 days leading up to the Jumbo retreat he and his team travelled to one or another outlying place, giving about 20 public talks, including one to a crowd of 100,000 people in Chandrapur, and many much smaller ones – which, he says, he preferred.

some people from the 2008 Amaravati Jumbo Retreat, with the large shrine in the backgroundThen came the Jumbo Retreat itself, which 1,200 people attended. It was held under canvas in pleasant countryside outside Amaravati and very well-organised by the team of local Order members. Mornings saw double meditations, which, Ashvajit said, went deep considering the number of people present, followed by a Dhamma talk, translated of course. This was followed by study groups which were very much appreciated, and question-and-answer sessions in the afternoon. These proved especially popular, the answers often attracting applause.

The pre-retreat tour had managed to attract hundreds of people who were experiencing the Dharma for the first time, and at the end of the retreat some of them were weeping, they had enjoyed themselves so much.

Ashvajit commented afterwards he felt that he’d gained quite as much from the tour and retreat as he had given, and expressed his deep gratitude to the Amaravati Order members and to all those in the West who had contributed so generously and made the whole thing possible.

Photos of the event and some of the tours are available on Flickr and Picasa.

A series of other major retreats are coming up fast in India – next being the International Full Moon Sponsored Meditation night on Saturday December 13th. This is open to all, wherever in the world you live, and is a fund-raiser for India’s National Network of Buddhist Youth. Click the link to take part or to donate…

In early March there’s the 7th International Dhammakranti retreat; this will be held at Buddhagaya from 1st March evening to 6th March evening 2009, straight after the International Order Convention. They too are seeking sponsors – please see their website for more details.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Date for your diary: FWBO International Urban Retreat 2009

June 2009 will see the first ever International Urban retreat run by the FWBO. Urban retreats have been pioneered at a few FWBO centres over the past few years, and have proven both popular and effective.

The dates – set after consultation with FWBO Centres worldwide - are 20-27th June 2009.

All readers of FWBO News world-wide are welcome to take part, whether or not they are near an FWBO Centre.

The plan is for individual FWBO Centres across the world to run their own retreats ‘in parallel’ with one another, with some shared teaching from leading FWBO teachers, plus special arrangements for all those not living near Buddhist centres. We hope this will offer the best possible combination of local flexibility and international solidarity.

Typically an Urban Retreat starts with a day spent on retreat, if possible at the local Buddhist centre. During this, participants are encouraged to think about how they’d like to practice over the coming week – unlike ordinary retreats however, for the retreat itself they are not required to leave their normal homes or work. This means the urban retreat takes place within people’s everyday lives and it’s therefore a great way to bring Buddhist ideals more effectively into one’s daily life – whatever one’s daily life consists in.

Preparation on the day retreat will include things like becoming aware of what may help and what may hinder one’s practice, beginning to keep a ‘practice diary’ for the duration of the retreat, agreeing to ‘buddy up’ with someone to exchange notes on how things are going; and perhaps making arrangements to come to daily morning and evening meditations at the Buddhist Centre - and so on. Another important element is performing an “aspirational puja”, which includes chanting a mantra that can then be used through the week. At the end of the week there is another day retreat to review and learn for the future.

If you’re interested to take part, we suggest three things – put the date in your diary now (June 20-27th 2009); talk to your local Buddhist Centre if you have one to see if they will be taking part, and if not, keep an eye on FWBO News and also the FWBO Facebook page where more information – and contact details - will be posted nearer the time.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Retreats in Spain...

The FWBO operates many retreat centres around the world; with some eight in the UK alone (see for details) .

There’s also four FWBO retreat centres in Spain – Guhyaloka (the Secret Realm) and Akasavana (the ‘Forest Retreat of Luminous Space’) being the two best-known, focussing on long ordination retreats for men and women respectively.

Less well known is Amitavati, a small retreat centre near Valencia, run by two Order Members Suratna and Vidyasri. They’re having a Working Retreat in December and are inviting anyone interested to join them.

The fourth, and newest, is Eco-Dharma. High in a remote part of the Catalan Pyrenees and home to three Order Members - Guhyapati, Kamalashila, and Yashobodhi; EcoDharma aims to offer courses, events and retreats which “support the realisation of our human potential and the development of an ecological consciousness honouring our mutual belonging within the web of life – drawing on the Buddhist Dharma and the emerging ecological paradigms of our time”. They too have some events coming up – and everything they host is on a ‘dana’ basis (Dana = Generosity, or the principle of ‘give what you can’)

Early next year Guhyaloka have their annual month-long working retreat for men, you can find details here

PS - we've been asked to mention a FIFTH retreat center in Spain, this is SOLTERRENO, a small retreat centre run by Order Member Bodhin and his partner. It's situated between Guhyaloka and Valencia, and among other things has a lovely solitary retreat cabin. With the new shrine room it can accomodate small retreats of up to 8 to 12 people. Bodhin says, "Have a look at the photos!"

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

A letter from the Forest: Insight retreats in Scotland

Smritiratna is an Order Member who has for some years now been a resident teacher at the FWBO’s Dhanakosa Retreat Centre in Scotland. Between retreats, he lives in the woods as a hermit, and has written FWBO News a ‘Letter from the Forest’.

In it he describes his coming three-month retreat at Guhyaloka in Spain and his hopes for the ‘Stilling and Seeing Through’ insight retreats he will be leading on his return. At the end of his letter you’ll find links to fuller descriptions of his approach to his practice - and to the development of insight.

“Dear All,

“I am writing this at the window of the forest cabin where I spend much of my time these days, a mile from Dhanakosa Retreat Centre in Scotland. Looking up, a profusion of green leaves meets my gaze, thousands of grasses and ferns, spruces and larches, oaks and willows, birches and rowans, lichens and mosses. This rich variety arises in response to the rains that come so often here. Without the rains there would be only rock and sand as far as the eye could see. But the rains give life to the earth and green things flourish.

“This puts me in mind of the first teaching of the Buddha, the one celebrated by Dharma Day at the full moon of the Indian month Asalha (June/July). I believe the torrential rains of the Indian monsoon commence around mid-June. So this first outpouring of the Dharma teaching of the Buddha was accompanied by ‘the soft thunder of the rain on leaves’. It came to be known as the Dhamma-cakka-ppavattana Sutta, (the ‘Dhamma-wheel-set-rolling’). The new Buddha has sought out the five ascetics who had shunned him before. Now deeply moved by his appearance and the quality of his presence among them, the five open their hearts once more and their teacher expounds the Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Path. Transcendental Insight arises first in Kondanna. The Truth is out, the Dharma Wheel set rolling, and, eight-spoked like the Eightfold Path, it has rolled down the centuries, rolled through the lives of generations of the Buddha’s disciples and is rolling still.

"Two years ago I spent the Autumn at Guhyaloka, Spain, on the Vihara retreat for Dharmacharis. We were in silence for ten weeks. As the basis of my daily practice, I chose this first Sutta of the Buddha, together with his second. Following the Eightfold Path as my system of practises, I cultivated vision and devotion, made efforts to maintain good moods, practised mindfulness and a range of meditations in accord with Bhante Sangharakshita’s system. Day and night I returned to the theme of impermanence, a pile of animal bones on my shrine, laid out like a skeleton at the feet of the Buddhas. Every day I sat before them in meditations – letting go the aggregates as best I could, and opening my heart to the Buddhas and All.

"This system proved effective so the following year, when I introduced insight meditations on the ‘Stilling and Seeing Through’ retreats at Dhanakosa, they were framed within the Noble Eightfold Path. Practised as a spiral path, you wheel around it over and over. Each new glimpse of the Vision sends a new ripple through devotion, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, meditation, stirring new insights into the Vision that in turn send a new wave though the eight spokes or limbs of the Dharma life.

"By the time you read this I’ll be at Guhyaloka for another three month retreat. During the life of the Buddha, many of his disciples were forest renunciates for whom the annual Rains Retreat was regarded as an essential part of their practise. For nine months they’d wander from place to place, living the Dharma life in the open air, sharing the Dharma with the people. But for the three months of the monsoon rains, when the roads and paths were impassable, they would camp together in communities, dwelling in caves or temporary huts. These were the annual Rains Retreats. Inspired by their example, I plan to do a three month retreat every year from now on. This year at Guhyaloka seven Dharmacharis will attend for the whole three months while another nine will attend for one or two months.

"I’ll return by December, in time to lead another Stilling and Seeing Through retreat, and then another at Vajraloka Retreat Centre, Wales. These retreats assume prior knowledge of the mindfulness of breathing and metta bhavana, also a basic understanding of the Dharma and of the Sevenfold Puja. For the first few days we’ll be settling and softening, in mindfulness and metta. Then we’ll contemplate the natural elements and spend a day on ‘transience and true refuge’ before returning to ‘visionary devotion’ at the end. If you would like to know more about these retreats, you could either read my long and detailed article (click here) or Joe’s short one (click here) or else try the websites of Dhanakosa or Vajraloka.

"Bye for now!

"Yours truly,

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Clowning and Insight in Scotland

Jayachitta has sent FWBO News this report of the FWBO's first-ever 'Clowning and Insight' retreat, held recently at Dhanakosa retreat centre in Scotland. She writes -

"Dhanakosa in early autumn was the perfect venue for this first ever 'Clowning & Insight' retreat. The skies gave us clear and calm skies and the loch was often still like a mirror.

"'It's all about space' was what inspired both Tejananda and myself, co-leaders of this retreat. Central to 'Open Awareness' meditation is the experience of ever-present space that is always available. It is this space that allows ever-changing experience to arise and pass, being just what it is, and not the 'I' that we so often construct out of it with our habitual minds. Whilst in the quiet of our meditation we turn towards this experience with interest and care. Clowning allows us to share what goes on from moment to moment publicly - with everyone!

"Body-work, dance and partner exercises led us - on a road of much play and laughter - to discover our very own clown. We found out what he or she likes, how they dress, what moves them, and just which other clown might set them of to discover joy, longing, jealousy or vulnerability. Our clowns even learned to meditate! All of that was shared and shown, and appreciated by an empathetic audience, who only knows too well what those states are like!

"Clowning allows us to be so much more that we usually do. The 'smallest mask in the world' (Jacques Lecoq) - the red nose - liberates us from our ideas of what we should be (or what we are afraid we might be!), and allows us the great space to be whatever is arising - without fixing it into a personal identity. So insight and clowning go hand in hand: it is not just a concept that we are ever-changing and without a fixed self. As a clown it is an tangible fact - and it becomes obvious through the naivety of the clown and the possibility of laughing at oneself.

"The central theme of the clown is the flop, the failure to accomplish even simple tasks. Owning that and allowing ourselves to mess up again and again we free ourselves from so much fear! Especially for Buddhists - aiming for Enlightenment, no less! - it can be hard to admit how often and how regularly we make a mess of things. The clown, with great humility, can be just what they are - no better, and no worse. And that is the starting point to discover just what fascinating and multifaceted beings we all are!

"So the main flavour of the retreat was delight in each other. We delighted in what everyone showed of themselves, be it laughter or tears, being shy, bold, loving or confused. What was revealed, was each person's poetry, their own individual way of being themselves, with the struggles and successes of their own lives. - I felt very honoured to receive so much!"


For more about clowning see Jayacitta's website:

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Friday, September 19, 2008

7th International Dhammakranti retreat to be held at Buddhagaya

Nagaketu, Executive Director of the TBMSG’s ‘Dhammakranti Project’ in India, has written to FWBO News to say –

“We are very happy to inform you that the TBMSG's Dhammakranti Team is organizing the 7th International Dhammakranti Retreat at Buddha Gaya (in the State of Bihar, India) from 1st to 6th March 2009. All readers of FWBO/TBMSG News are warmly invited to attend.

“This is a good opportunity to practice in the most holy place for Buddhists in the world. It is a rare opportunity to practice and learn the Dhamma with hundred of other Buddhists from India and the World.

“This will be the third and largest International Dhammakranti Retreat in Buddha Gaya organized by the Dhammakranti Social Institute, TBMSG, India. These retreats have made a considerable impact throughout India, giving people from all castes and classes an opportunity to practice Dhamma together and form a Casteless Society in the true sense. In India this is truly a precious opportunity.

“Many people from very poor economic backgrounds, from many Indian states, are going to participate in the retreat. A donations scheme is being set up to assist many of them to attend, and this report is an appeal for donations – see the contact details below or our special fundraising website Your donation will help hundreds of India’s new Buddhists to have this unique experience in their life.

“Come and join this historic event to transform our society to a New Society – one based on Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, and fulfill the dream of Bodhisattva Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar.

“The major attractions on the retreat are Meditation under the Bodhi Tree, Dhamma Talks, Buddhist Rituals, Group Discussions & Cultural Activities. All present will be making a contribution to reviving the Dhammachakra (Dhamma Revolution) in the World. Dhammachari Subhuti will lead the Retreat. The retreat will be held at the Nyingma Monastery in Buddha Gaya.

“For more details please contact us at, tel 0091-9371181404, or check our website

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Vijayamala and Vessantara begin three-year retreat

Last month FWBO News posted a piece by Vessantara outlining his plans and preparations for the three-year retreat he is beginning with his partner Vijayamala. They have now arrived, and we’re pleased to reproduce this update from Vijayamala herself.

She says -

“So here we are deposited with various retreat supplies in the foothills of France’s Massif Central mountains, on the brink of a 3-years-or-so retreat. It's actually a stunning location. I already knew we were on a beautiful hillside, quite far up (!), but doing a little bit of exploring soon revealed just what it meant to be where we are. We’re in undulating country, part of a massive plateau and if you go a couple of kilometres south or east this quickly falls away into deep deep gorges with a wide river looping through vast stretches of forested wilderness only accessible to the buzzards and kites. It's so quiet! It was good to look around a little. I won't see all this during the retreat of course, but it makes a difference to know what I am meditating on! We also climbed the Puy de Dome, not far from here, which is a stand-alone mountain from which you get 360 degree panoramic views. Again a very good place to get a sense of the mandala of beings stretching so far out all around.

“Everything here is very deeply green and lush, quite a tonic after all the last-minute preparations for leaving, which seemed to go on for months and quite different from the harsh weather conditions of the winter here (and to some extent spring and autumn too). There are preparations to do here too: weather proofing and painting the circus wagons in which we’ll be living, getting in supplies, finishing off bits of work, but it's all much simpler somehow and it feels wonderful to know I don't have to go anywhere for a very long time.

“My retreat program is shaping up. It's a real luxury to have so long, although when I look at what I want to engage with it doesn't seem very long at all!

“I will spend the first while focusing on the human condition; using the Four Reminders (the preciousness of human life, impermanence, conditioned co-production, and the sufferings of samsara) and also Bodhichitta. It's easy to reel off lists, but I want to spend real substantial time exploring these things in my actual experience, turning every stone to see what blocks my acceptance of these rather obvious truths. I started this process on the pre-retreat earlier this year and could take all of the next three years to scratch the surface, but I suspect there will come a time when it feels right to move on.

“I would also like have a good chunk of time, at least six months, focusing on metta and Bodhicitta. I'll probably keep it quite simple, using breathing alongside metta as a connection to life and also doing tonglen ‘exchange’ practice. Let's see if that can make any dent at all in my deep self-centredness - I hope so. At least I know that that way lies freedom!

“Then, if the time feels right, I will then enter a phase of focusing more fully on sadhana practice. What a chance to live so completely in a world flavoured by an enlightened perspective - again let's see what rubs off...

“It's all so much of an exploration. 3 years seems like a drop in the ocean, given that I have been attempting to practice now for nearly 30. Who knows what I will learn, maybe just a lot more things not to do, but I am ready for the adventure…

“We close the doors on August 5th and start retreat on the 11th (a Padmasambhava day), Probably by the time you read this. So it only remains to wish you all joy, health and wisdom over the next few years and in due course I look forward to finding out what trajectories some of your lives have taken over that time.


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