Category Archives: Buddhism in the world

Human Revolution Orchestra performs in Manchester 17 November

Copyright HRO

Copyright HRO

Check out this multi-faith ensemble called Human Revolution Orchestra.

They are performing in Manchester soon:

17.11.2015 Live In concert at Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester  featuring Robin Eubanks

On their website they say:

Based on a Buddhist concept of Itai Doshin (many in body, one in spirit) the ensemble seeks to create the type of unity which is not a mechanical uniformity. Rather, it is a unity that has at its heart respect for the diverse and unique qualities of each individual. We treasure, and work to bring the best out of each other.

 

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Final Update – Manchester Buddhist Convention 2015

Final Update

Greetings to all. I hope you are well and found spots of sunshine in the summer…

This is the final update for the MBC Convention 2015. You should have seen the

Programme on the Website, or you will see it soon!

This is the 10th anniversary of the Manchester Buddhist Convention so I hope people

from earlier years will be encouraged to attend. There will be some looking back and

some looking forward!

As you know, the theme this year is:

From Stillness to action:

Peace in the Heart

Peace in the world.

We identified the theme early in the year and recognise it as an aspiration and need

following on from the painful events that occurred last year and which continue. (The

first anniversary of the killing of David Haines took place recently.)

All of us who have our eyes open and our ears attuned will be aware of the lack of

peace that continues to haunt our world. Alongside that is the courage with which

people encounter and deal with what they are dealt, globally as well as on our own

doorstep. I don’t aim to catalogue these but this is always a humbling experience for

me. Some images have galvanised ordinary citizens worldwide into action. One of

these must be the picture of the young Turkish soldier and the tenderness of his

demeanour as he carried a drowned child to a place of rest. Acts of compassion are

being replaced by border clampdowns across Europe as crisis deepens.

We can aim to be aware of this and hold it in our hearts as we meet on October 10th.

For instance, seekers already here often need a place to stay if their appeal fails. We

can also remember people in our practice and may be able to identify ways to offer

practical assistance.

One thing where we may find consensus is the belief that the path we practice,

whatever the lineage, offers positive alternatives to deal with conflict. The MBC

planning group acknowledges that we need to begin with ourselves so, to some

extent, this has begun among the group. For myself, I ask how we can put this to

practical use. It was with this in mind that we have taken two initiatives.

 We have organised two ‘mini-events’ attended by some of you. There have

been short reports on the Website. The aim of these is to bring Buddhists

together in a smaller context than the large event in October and to set up a

process.

 Recently we established Sangha in Action (SIA) – again from different

Buddhist lineages. SIA will work in tandem with the MBC. (More information

will be available on the 10th.)

With regard to the Programme, we have tried to present one that looks back on the

last decade and are happy that Joy Bose – one of the MBC’s Founder members will

be visiting. He will do a short reflection on the MBC’s early years. I will look as some

of the things that have happened in the last few years. ore importantly, I think we

need to look a little bit ahead at where we want the MBC to go and what we can do to

make it happen. Some of us on the MBC are approaching our ‘sell by’ date so this is

important.

The programme will, as usual, have a range of speakers and presentations from

different lineages. Some of these will be Practice sessions; some will be Dharma

themes and some will present social action underpinned by an ethical framework. If

you look at the Programme before the 10th it may help you make a choice. There will

be programmes posted on the walls. There will also be people to hand to help.

It has been pointed out that the acronym MBC is already in use by the Manchester

Buddhist Centre (Triratna) and in this tenth year it may be appropriate for the MBC to

think about another name. A couple that have been suggested are:

 The North-West Buddhist Forum (as increasingly the Convention is attracting

people and centres from outside Manchester).

 Manchester Maha-Sangha (it has been indicated that people won’t

understand what ‘Maha’ means but it could be a case of learning…)

Within this, the Manchester Buddhist Convention could still retain it’s name as one

event, just as SIA or the smaller events that are becoming part of what we do.

Please register if you haven’t already done so. It is useful to keep a record and

people will then get information of other events. It also helps to cater with minimal

waste. Please also de-register if you have registered and CANNOT make it.

Several individuals make up a dozen or more (!) This makes a difference when we

want to keep the event on a Dana basis. But don’t let non-registration prevent you

from coming if suddenly find you have a spare day. It may change your life and ours!

Now it just remains for me to say that I’m looking forward to seeing many of you from

earlier years as well as some new faces that will bring a fresh impetus to the MBC

process (and maybe help us think up a new name!)

May we come in trust to share ideas, thoughts, similarities and differences with

peace, and willingness to listen. Whether we agree or not may then become

peripheral to how we engage and live with each other and could increase the

possibility of ‘Peace in the World.

Blessings and Dharma/Dhamma greetings,

Jaya- Co-ordinator and Programme development.

One Root Many Branches

Programme for Manchester Buddhist Convention

Please click on the link below to open up, view and download a PDF of our 2015 event programme:

MBC 2015 Programme final

Thanks,

MBC

Lojong – Second MBC Event at Dechen Centre 12th July 2015

This year (2015) the Manchester Buddhist Convention has organised two smaller events apart from the large event we organise in October. These events have two basic aims:

  1. To bring together Buddhists from different lineages
  2. To learn something about a practice or examine a theme in the context of Dharma.

This is the second of these events and offered a Tibetan practice known as Lojong; a practice that aims to transform mundane mind into one of loving kindness and compassion for all sentient beings – a basic concern to all schools of Buddhism.  This term is sometimes translated as ‘Mind-training’ which in my view does not convey the depth, power and efficacy it has to do so. This is how it is described by John Rowan. ‘Lojong, is a comprehensive practice; suitable for all types of students. It contains the entire path and does not depend on a person’s background. It nourishes and cultivates Buddha Nature that is at the very heart of all beings and has the power to transform even self clinging into selflessness.’

The event was hosted by the Kagyu/Dechen Centre on Manor Road.  It was a delight to be in this beautiful garden with elegantly set tables, flowers and food. We also had a chance to visit the Shrine room with an exquisite Buddha Rupa from Nepal.

Venerable Chueh Ru from the Fo Guang Chan Centre started the session with an inspiring meditation ‘workout’. I suspect that many of us will be going to the FGS to experience her approach to loosening the ‘chi’ prior to sitting. Thanks also to Simon who led us through the Lojong.

After the ‘workout, there was a ritual creation of a Mandala or sacred space. After this Simon explained the basic practice.

To generate compassion, the practice traditionally focuses on our mother of this life. It reminds us that she has been our mother in many lives; talks us through the care she has given us and the sacrifices she has made to help us grow and bring us to maturity.  It encourages us to extend the love we feel for her to all beings thereby broadening the extent of our compassion.  A guided meditation led us through the process. He suggested that we take as our focus anyone for whom we felt great love.  

The second part of the practice is called Tonglen in Tibetan (roughly translated as taking and giving). Through this we, symbolically, take on the suffering of the world in exchange for our well-being. We breathe in the suffering represented by black smoke and send out fine bright light.. This can seem challenging but in reality we can’t, in actuality, take on everyone’s suffering. I think what we/I do is acknowledge interconnectedness and the vow to be of service to all beings. We didn’t do the actual practice as one person was uncomfortable with the idea. However, many of us do Tonglen on a regular basis. (My personal experience is that the practice does deepen compassion. However, it is indeed effective in dealing with actual distress. It does not necessarily relieve grief but it has helped me deal with it better; connects me with the source of external pain -I used it regularly during the nightmare earthquakes in Nepal and I ceased to be a bystander.  I believe it has consolidated my personal commitment to action, embedded in Dharma, in the environment in which I now live. At least two other practitioners have made a similar observation.)

The day ended with some but, to my mind, insufficient discussion.  One observation was that the event did not connect sufficiently with the next step – ie- social action. This was indeed the case as it hadn’t been planned in. Several notions were raised in relation to this:

  • Animals in the scope of our concern for, ‘all sentient beings’.  For this reason, many people are beginning to move from vegetarian to vegan diets.  The MBC, in its October event offers Vegan, ethically-sourced and bought food. (As best we can.)
  • Social action – we mentioned some of the work MBC has been involved in, including contact with the camps for homeless people. A newly emerging social action group that was due to meet the next day. This has now happened and there is likely to be a short report on the Website in the next few weeks.
  • Buddhist Action Month was mentioned.  
  • The work of Tzu Chi is an example if Compassion on Action. They are deeply involved in working in the community.
  • Problematic relations with mothers were raised in email feedback. This is a reason for the suggestion to use any loved person. I’ve read one account of a woman who focused on her new-born baby and learnt understanding and love for her mother with whom she had a conflicted relationship.
  • Secular mindfulness was mentioned and the possibility of developing this in the future. This also figured in personal conversations.
  • The idea of looking at compassion and metta from different perspectives, and aligning Venerable Chueh Ru’s breathing methodology to therapeutic work was suggested.

These are all good ideas. Some could be taken up by MBC. It is also possible for a centre to take the lead in organising an event with the MBC.

MBC Planning Group has said one of the spin-offs of working together is that the people involved have learnt more about each other and the different approaches to Buddhism and to let go of assumptions. Our home is that this will begin to permeate into the different centres and allow us to engage creatively with each other and be of greater service to the needs of the age.

I don’t know of another way of developing relationship and confidence other than by creating process so this is my approach rather than racking up a series of events so it was good to see so many familiar faces and a few new ones.  I would love to hear of other ideas and thoughts for the future especially as MBC moves into its second decade…

Our thanks to everyone for coming and being involved and enthusiastic

Jaya – Co-ordinator MBC.

Genius of the Ancient World

On Wednesday 5 August at 21.00 BBC 4 television are broadcasting an hour long TV programme entitled Genius of the Ancient World which may be of interest. Further details about episode 1:Buddha can be found at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b064jf28

Jacquetta Gomes – World’s First Female Buddhist Fire Chaplain

Read this article from The West Morland Gazette:

A Buddhist teacher from Kendal has made history as her faith’s first ever female fire chaplain.

This is the news item about this by Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women

This is the link to BEWES website

Click here for the MBC Faith and Fire Page

MBC 2014 Update: September 9th

by Jaya

This update may seem to be following hard on the last one but I want to keep you updated with what it happening with the MBC. Things move on.

I am waiting for details from various presenters for the Programme. It will be posted on the Website by the end of September – but expect last minute changes. This happens.

Mo, one of the new planning group members reminded us that it is not 2016 that it the 10th anniversary but 2015. 2016 is the start of a new decade of MBC work. I don’t know how many of you have been attending from the beginning but it would be interesting if those who have, could reflect on how the MBC has changed/developed over the years – what have been the good things; what has been not so good? What should be the way forward? This will be the theme of one of the afternoon discussion sessions.

In this article, I will update you on the structure of the Convention which has been slightly changed.
The next update will give a few more details on the programme.

As usual the Programme is full. Some strands have strengthened and there are new initiatives which we can hopefully develop/support over the years.

In response to people’s suggestions, we have decided to suspend the ‘Keynote’ inputs. Instead we will have three slots in the morning session that will focus on this year’s theme. These will be a mixture of presentations and facilitated discussion which will, hopefully, take us into the rest of the day. We will assemble in the Auditorium and then move into other rooms. (Of course, all this may change another year …)

The Gender strand has been strengthened in response to requests from people attending the Convention as well as to the gender challenge that the Dhamma/Dharma is facing generally. I wrote about some of these in the last update but they can never be repeated too often till there is a response to some of the issues and an intention to change. (Please do respond/challenge whatever you disagree with in anything that we write on the website.) This will be one of the opening discussions this year. Later in the day, Oxana will lead a ‘womens’ space’ with drums (quiet ones!) and shakers.

A new initiative is a group aiming to work with the Emergency and caring services. ‘Faith and Fire’ (Cumbria), who work with the Fire services is supporting this work in Manchester. The Manchester group aims to work with a wider network of services but the Fire Services will be the starting point. People from outside this Service are already involved in the group who are taking this forward. The details of this will be up to those who are interested in informing the process or supporting the group with contacts, ideas or anything that is useful. This will be presented at the ‘Faith and Fire’ slot.

We have begun to think that we should/could have smaller events under the MBC banner but held at different centres. This will keep the MBC visible and provide a space for those Buddhists who think we have things to learn from each other and would like to participate in a ‘pan-Buddhist’ forum (that also includes all people who are exploring an ethical framework within which to live). We may have two such events next year. We have already had an offer from one Centre and a provisional offer from another.

Another slot that could be mentioned is one that will look at a poignant and brave initiative taken by monks in Japan after the Fukushima nuclear power disaster. This will be facilitated by Kelvin Krikona a knowledgeable and good friend of Buddhists of all denominations.

Details of other slots will come in the next Update and will, in any case be posted on the website.

Finally a few practical points (that I will remind you of again!):

PLEASE REGISTER – especially if you plan to be at the Convention for lunch. We need this in order not to be wasteful. Also, please de-register is you subsequently decide not to come.

The Convention is organised over several months and is run entirely on voluntary time and donation but we have overheads that need to be covered. These include food, contribution for the venue, publicity, some ongoing funds to run meetings. We don’t ask for food contributions as we cannot manage the logistics of organising this for 200+ people in a confined space. We ask for Dana (donations of money) to provide this and also as a contribution to the aims of what the MBC is trying to do – ie – to develop a creative and inquiring space for Buddhists of different sasanas (schools) as well as people of different faiths or none to come together to learn and support each other. Please donate even if you are volunteering time on the day with your Centre or with organisation. This is an opportunity to practice generosity one of our basic paramitas. We would like to continue to run this event on a Dana basis. Many thanks for this.

The Katina Festival falls on the 12th of October this year so we will be missing many good friends and monks who will be busy preparing for this ceremony at their specific centres. However, we hope some will be able to attend for, at least part of the day and that other MBC events will offer opportunities for us to meet before the next Convention. Next year’s Convention will be on the 10th of October (second Saturday, as usual). I hope this doesn’t clash with the Katina festival or with events at other Centres.
Looking forward to seeing many new faces as well as meeting old friends.

Jaya – MBC co-ordinator.

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