Category Archives: Buddhism in the world

Choji Akong Rinpoche

It is a week since the murder of Choji Akong Rinpoche in Chengdu, Tibet, shuddered through the Buddhist community and further. But a week ago, we hadn’t quite got there.


It is 6.30 am on Wed 16th Oct, and a grey dawn breaks grudgingly, bringing neither light nor warmth.  It settles into a dismal drizzle and the news that first shocked and then settled just below the surface of the mind re-emerges – implacable and inexplicable.

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Maitreya Heart Shrine Relic Tour in Manchester 5,6,7 October 2012

Heart Shrine Relic Tour

Heart Shrine Relic Tour (Photo credit: StigAlbansson)

“A precious collection of sacred relics of the Buddha and many other Buddhist masters is touring the world. The relics were found from among the cremation ashes of Buddhist masters. They resemble beautiful, pearl-like crystals. The relics embody the master’s spiritual qualities of compassion and wisdom.”

“The purpose of the Relic Tour is to inspire people of all spiritual traditions and paths to come together to experience the blessings of the relics.”

5, 6 & 7 October 2012

Manchester, England, UK

Friday: 5pm to 7pm Opening Ceremony
Saturday: 10am to 7pm
Sunday: 10am to 5pm

Shree Radha Krishna Mandir
Hindu Religious Society
Gandhi Hall
Brunswick Road
M20 4QB

Contact: Dr Kim Gandhi
Telephone: (+44) 07801 708878
Contact: Mr. Krishan Kumar
Telephone: (+44) 0161 445 8355

More information on the official website Maitreya Hearth Shrine Relic Tour



1995 BEP Buddhist Embroidery Project

Anne Wynn-Wilson the late founder of the Quaker Tapestry made the wonderful suggestion that a Buddhist Embroidery project would be beneficial. The BEP Buddhist Embroidery Project was started by attendees of the London Buddhist Vihara (Monastery) in 1994. The BEP decided to teach embroidery to people who had not learnt it in childhood.

The late Venerable Apparakke Jinaratana, a Theravada Buddhist Bhikkhu (monk), who lived in a cave in Sri Lanka , near a very poor village, was using very old newspapers (supplied by villagers) as tablecloths. The BEP decided to embroider tablecloths, wall hangings and sitting cloths for his use. Although items are given to one monk they actually belong to the whole of the Bhikkhu Sangha (Order of Buddhist Monks) according to the Vinaya (Buddhist Monastic Discipline). In Asian villages, washing is done in streams and waterfalls, and hung to dry in the hot sun, so items do not last as long as they do in the west.

Anne Wynn-Wilson commented in 1994, “Sharing the making of such a gift enriches both the giver and receiver.”

Cave Sri Lanka 1995 presentation of BEP embroideries

Materials were donated by Buddhists and Quakers after requests for donations were made in The Friend: The Quaker Weekly, The Devon Vihara [Buddhist Monastery] Newsletter, and The Middle Way: Journal of The Buddhist Society.

A photograph of the monk receiving the embroideries appeared in The Friend: The Quaker Weekly on 28 June 1996, and the August 1996 issue of The Middle Way: Journal of The Buddhist Society.

Isigilikanda Ven Jinaratana 1992 Dec

Bodhicarini Upasika Jayasili Jacquetta Gomes Secretary BGKT Buddhist Group of Kendal (Theravada)

Kendal Unitarian Chapel/Transition Town Embroidery 

Flower embroidery Unitarian Chapel Tranition Town Service

Bodhicarini Upasika Jayasili Jacquetta Gomes (Secretary BGKT) is a member of the Kendal Unitarian Chapel’s Craft Circle . She embroidered a picture of flowers for the Unitarian Chapel’s Transition Town service on 8th May 2011. This embroidery now hangs in the Unitarian Chapel’s vestry.

Photo of the embroidery on display at the serivce in the Chapel

Ketumati Tapestry of the Buddhapresented by BGKT 

Ketumati Vesak presentation of Tapestry of Buddha by BGKT 2006

  Vesak celebrations were held at Ketumati Buddhist Vihara Oldham on 14th May 2006. BGKT Buddhist Group of Kendal (Theravada) presented a tapestry of the Buddha (designed and sewn by Fiona Walker of BGKT) to Venerable Piyatissa. This now hangs in the main hall of Ketumati Buddhist Vihara.

The plaque reads “Designed and stitched by Fiona Walker Presented to Ketumati Buddhist Vihara by The Buddhist Group of Kendal (Theravada) Vesak May 2006”






Ketumati Tapestry presented by BGKT of Buddha 2006


Venerable Pidiville Piyatissa Head of Ketumati Buddhist Vihara Oldham and Jacquetta Gomes Bodhicarini Upasika Jayasili Secretary BGKT Buddhist Group of Kendal (Theravada) will lead a session at the Convention about their work in Kendal.

Retreat at Kendal Fire Station Community Room led by Venerable Pidiville

Piyatissa for BGKT.Venerable Pidiville Piyatissa led a retreat for BGKT Buddhist Group of Kendal (Theravada) at Kendal Fire Station community room in 2011. As far as we are aware, this the first retreat led by a Buddhist Monk to take place in a Fire Station in the UK . BGKT Buddhist Group of Kendal (Theravada) Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service are developing a pilot project at Kendal Fire Station with Cumbria Fire and Rescue. This is led by Steve Healey, Will Richardson and Gloria Warwick from the Fire Service and Jacquetta Gomes from BGKT.

Chief Constable Stuart Hyde is working with local Buddhists and interfaith forums. He hopes that the Police will develop closer links with all faiths and religious organisations present in Cumbria . There is an urgent need for Buddhist Chaplaincy provision for major emergencies. Keith Munnings from Kalyana Mitra Buddhist Chaplains is offering his experience in Buddhist and multifaith Chaplaincy to CC Hyde.

Mayors Parlour Kendal Town Hall 15 September 2009 after meeting for agencies and faith representatives at Kendal Fire Station.
Mayor of Kendal Councillor John Bateson, Islamic Sufi Nuh Nazir, Venerable Pidiville Piyatissa.

Mayor Councillor John Willshaw, Gloria Warwick Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service BME & Migrant Workers Advocate, Jacquetta Gomes Secretary BGKT Buddhist Group of Kendal (Theravada) at Mayors Parlour Kendal Town Hall 31st May 2012

‘Buddhism, Sexuality and Identity’ by Munisha

Three Jewels or Triratana in Buddhism.

Image via Wikipedia

Buddhism, Sexuality and Identity by Munisha

A video of a talk given by ordained member of Triratna, Munisha, at the Manchester Buddhist Centre, Northern Quarter, during Manchester Pride 2011

Buddhism in the World by Jaya Graves

Buddhism in the World

English: The worlds largest tibetan stupa

Image via Wikipedia

Forty years ago, you could arguably, fit the number of Buddhists teachers, if not on the tip of a needle, then on the square platform of a Saxon church.  All this has changed as the number of Buddhist centres grow exponentially. Two major causes are cited for this. One is the post-war occupation of Japan which brought Zen to the West.  The other is the Chinese invasion of Tibet. Alongside the carnage, this created a huge exodus of Tibetan lamas to India from where they and the teachings spread across the world. 

Buddhism is often defined as a religion. Books on the subject are tumbled into “religious” sections of libraries and bookshops.  Occasionally, they appear on philosophy shelves. But how does it define itself?   Buddhists refer to the “dharma” – the way. Buddhism is not a theistic “religion”. There is no creator god issuing commandments, judging or punishing. Nor is there anyone who promises salvation. Salvation is possible, even inevitable, but we will reach it through our own efforts.  Neither is Buddhism a philosophy. It aims to go beyond concepts, the domain of Western philosophy. To do this it uses a thorough and rigorous investigation of inner and outer phenomena that include ideas, emotions, actions and interactions.  Phenomena are unstable and impermanent – a dance of particles – an instability we are unable to control. We cannot create permanence.

Imagining we can control phenomena creates many of our current delusions and anxiety. And from this stems our conflicts with ourselves, with each other, between neighbourhoods and nations. Since the data of our human situation is subject to continual change it follows that our investigation must also be continuous and our conclusions must be adjusted. This personal investigation is central to Buddhist practice.  There are no laboratories.  No contrived replication. For this reason the process is sometimes dismissed as “subjective” and unscientific. It is not “evidence-based”. I am arguing that it is tested.  It is evidence based but not necessarily within the Western framework of investigation. It is personalbut it is not subjective. We have the support of teachings and commentaries. Investigative practices have been explored and established. Skilled and wise researchers have “peer reviewed” these over millennia and continue to do so. But in the end it is our own inner tenacity, our passionate intention through which we must judge our path and progress.

This core practice is undertaken not only to create a degree of ease in ourselves but through a commitment to everything that lives. The development of compassion for all things is part of being human and cannot be conditional. It must include those with whom we agree, whose belief systems are congruent to our own as well as those we may traditionally see as “enemies” or who harm us, or whose belief systems challenge our own or whose interpretation of life is alien to ours. We need to be judicious but we cannot judge the person only the action.  On this Buddhism takes no hostages. Our concern must include all living things (not only human).

Buddhism is moving from the fringes to centre stage. It offers strategies to deal with fraught lives.  Meditative practices can be oases of calm at home or in centres. It is not a continuous assault to make choices, make judgements, accumulate information, juggle loyalties. It turns the attention inward.

The binary frameworks generally used to explain or explore our experience are flawed.  By this I mean that there is an ideological split between spirit and matter; theism and atheism. (Buddhism is non theistic not atheistic.) The dichotomies of either/or, good/evil, black/white, lies/truth, for us or against us, need not coalesce into destructive factions within us and between us in which there is no accommodation and between which we must choose, sometimes on pain of death.  Contradiction is is the stuff of our human condition. We are not asked to repress and destroy these. Instead it is suggested that they obscure our true nature. We are urged to investigate these obscurations and are offered methods to transform them. So anger can become energy. Afflictive desire can become compassion for all beings. (Not only for humans.)  Pain can teach us sympathy and concern for all.

Buddhism recognises that suffering is our inheritance and will be our legacy. It makes demands in how we locate ourselves in the world. For me, in this context, it raises questions about the infliction of a model of infinite growth on a finite system; of our assumptions of entitlement to resources; our profligate use and treatment of land and water. It challenges the notion that our main concern is “the family”.  It isn’t.  There is a family beyond the family, beyond the neighbourhood, beyond the state, the country.  Nuclear families are only a microcosm of this.  Our care has to be embedded in the wider context.  It is not a competition. It is reconfiguration.

Tried and tested methods of making an inner journey are offered. These enable us to change our own responses to a world in flux. It can harmonise relationships and enable us to maintain a degree of equanimity in personal adversity as well as in our engagement with the world. This exploration merges seamlessly into the metaphysical.  Beyond worldly flux with which we must engage there is a timeless truth.

Jaya Graves: I was born in India and work with Southern Voices, a small educational organisation concerned with issues to do with the South or “developing world”. I am involved in activities involved with refugees and the movement of people and have been active in anti-racist activities, the womens’ movement and the peace movement.

Buddhist Creatives at Not Part Of Festival

Aryamati (Olga Kenyon) of Triratna Buddhist Community and Oxana Poberejnaia of Western Chan Fellowship are participating in an exciting Manchester-based creative initiative called Not Part Of Festival.

Both events will take place in Earth Cafe. Both events are free.

Oxana’s is on 7 July at 7 pm-9pm.

Aryamati’s is on 15 July at 7 pm-8.30pm.

Oxana’s event is called Sherlock Suite – a joint event with Daddies Girls. Oxana is going to read her poems inspired by the BBC drama Sherlock. Daddies’ Girls is a collection of short stories, for which nine women of different backgrounds contributed a story of their relationship with their Fathers. Oxana’s story is called Waking Up.

Aryamati’s event is called Eat Drink Poetry. ‘Two Thinking Mancunions share advenorous language. Olga Kenyon has published 8 books on women, launches her first poetry collection. Steve Waling is entertaining, versatile, aware of life’s aburdities, joys and slants. He’s author of 6 books, from ‘Calling Myself on the Phone’, ‘The Travelator’ Bring a poem.’


Dhammaloka: Humorous and insightful podcasts

I enjoy listening to the podcasts by Dhammaloka Buddhist Centre (operated by the Buddhist Society of Western Australia). The podcasts are available for free from their website and on i-tunes. There are two sets: Dhamma talks and Sutta talks.

I really like the style of their teaching Venerable, Ajahn Brahm. He is humorous and although he himself is a Theravadin monk he is very much non-sectarian and often talks how he enjoys being in the company of practitioners from different traditions.

Apart from being quite often funny, the Venerable’s talks are also full of practical down to earth advice and beautiful insights into Buddha‘s Dhamma.


18 June 2011, Saturday, 8 pm – the Moment of Peace

“The Moment of Peace” is on Saturday, June 18th 2011 at 8:00pm (in your local time-zone).

“The Moment of Peace” is an ambitious project to get 1 million people worldwide involved in an hour of mindful silence in an effort to help people find more meaning in their lives. It is the biggest single gathering of meditation, prayer and mindful silence in the history of the world … ever! Join in today!

The Moment of Peace

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