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Manchester Buddhist Convention 2014: Programme


Renewal and Relevance.

Responding to the challenges of our time.

Manchester Buddhist Convention

Saturday 11th Oct 2014 9.00 am – 17.00pm

 To view this programme as a .doc file, download it here Final Programme portrait 1

Time Foyer 1





Chill out room



  1. (Ground)

Oxford Room







Registration Coffee/tea

Opening Chants



10.05 – 10.15  







10.15– 10.25







Chaplaincy Terry Biddington          

  1. 25




NBO – Jamie Creswell


Tzu Chi


Gender and Buddhism

11.30 12.35 Lunch in the Foyer       (Please DO NOT take any food or drink into the Chapel (Auditorium)

Ist. Sessions

Sessions 1-5



Session numbers and Presenters
  1. Café

FGS- Ven Miao Duo.

  1. Chill Out room


Dh Arthavardin

  1. Library

Stonewater Zen

John Suigen Kenworthy

4.Oxford Room



John Rowan

  1. 5. Walkway Chapel

Womens’ Space



2nd Session


6-10 6.

Manchester Centre for Buddhist Meditation Deborah Raikes


Buddhist Chaplaincy

Keith Munnings

  • Kelvin Ravenscroft




    14.20-15.05 Discussions:                                Discussion   Julie Williams       Discussion: Buddhism in the West     Discussion   MBC

    (Café)                                             (Oxford Room)                          (Walkway Chapel)

    Tea Break

    3rd session





    Community of Interbeing

    Anne Rowbottom


    Faith and Fire and Manchester Group Jacquetta, Daryl Oprey, Frankie, James                   and others


    The Buddhist Society Of Manchester (Sale).

    Paul Shambrook


    Soto Zen

    Ven Alan Smith


    Soka Gakkai




    1. 35



    Announcements. Dedication of Merit.

    16.45 17.00 Chanting     Fo Guang Centre

    One Root Many Branches






    Presenters/workshop leaders (According to slots)


    Ist. Discussion Session: There will be three slots 10.25-11.25


    Network of Buddhist Organisations: Jamie Cresswell will outline some of the things going on in terms of the NBO, the European Buddhist Union and also on an international cross traditional level. In this there would be plenty of scope for projects and volunteers to be involved. Jamie is particularly concerned that Buddhists get together and work together on what might termed Buddhism in action. This will be an opportunity to outline what is possible.

    Tzu Chi: Dr. Frank Lee will speak on ‘Dharma Master Cheng Yen’s view of Buddhism in Action’ and will focus on “What is the Tzu Chi Foundation doing in the UK”. Tzu Chi’s main concern and approach to the Dharma is compassion in Action. This will be a mixture of presentation and interactive discussion.

    Gender and Buddhism: The issue of Gender has been ongoing within Buddhism right from 2,600 years ago. In recent years there is again a groundswell of questioning. Some of these have been articulated in the MBC over the years. This session will be an exploratory one, open to all – men have ‘Gender’ too! Hopefully such discussion will connect with what is happening in other parts of the world and eventually create change within different Buddhist schools with regard to provision for women, full ordination and more recognised lineage-holders. It may be a long, hard slog but it has already happened in some instances and is supported by world renowned Buddhist teachers. There will be a ‘Womens’Only’ slot later in the day.

    Presentation and Practice – 5 slots each session: 12.40-13.25


    1. Fo Guang Shan Centre: Venerable Miao Chen will speak on Meditation, Fo Guang Shan and Humanistic Buddhism, B.L.I.A. related to Engaging Buddhism.

    2.Triratna Buddhist Order (Manchester Buddhist Centre): Title: The Radical Edge: Returning to Buddhism in the 21st Century. Led by Dh. Arthavadin. In the 1960s and 1970s Buddhism gained a foothold in the West. It promised an alternative to the growing hegemony of consumerism and the ‘me generation’. Now, fifty years on, we must ask ourselves – ‘Has Buddhism changed consumerism or has consumerism changed Buddhism? What can we do to return Buddhism to its radical edge?’

    1. Stonewater Zen: Title: ‘Presence in our time: bearing witness to unbearable suffering’. Presented by John Suigen Kenworthy, an ordained monk in the Stonewaterzen sangha (UK) based in Liverpool and led by Dr David Keizan Scott Sensei and is affiliated to the White Plum Asanga. There are now groups across the UK. (See website for more information on Stonewater Zen)
    1. Dechen Centre: Title: ‘The Six Paramitas or the Six Perfections, the heart of the bodhisattva practice’. Led by John Rowan. The Six Paramitas are the practices of bodhisattvas, dedicated to helping all beings attain Buddhahood. If we begin to practice these even in a small measure, we will gradually begin to develop our innate potential, our true nature, our Buddha Nature.

    Dechen is an international association of centres of the Sakya and Karma Kagyu traditions of Tibetan Buddhism with centres world-wide.


    1. A ‘Womens’ Space’: led by Oxana Poberejnaia will explore some of issues that arise in the session in the morning Discussion session and explore some of the challenges that women face and make in relation to Buddhism and the wider world.



    1. Manchester Centre for Buddhist Meditation (Chorlton): Title: Samatha Practice. Speaker: Dehorah Raikes.This is a chance for complete beginners to Samatha breathing mindfulness practice to learn the first basic stage of the practice, discuss what supports Samatha practice and explore the Five Hindrances to meditation as described in the Theravadan Buddhist tradition. Deborah practices Samatha in the Theravada school.


    1. Buddhist Chaplaincy Support Group (Kalayanamitra): Title: BUDDHIST CHAPLAINCY: CANYOUHELP? Speaker: Keith Munnings

    Keith practices in the Samatha tradition and has taught meditation for more than 30 years’. He has also been a Hospital Chaplain for 10 years.

    1. Kelvin Ravenscroft: Title: Maple Leaves in Autumn – Inspired by Zen Master Ryokan’s question “What legacy shall I leavebehind?” this participative workshop will explore perspectives on Engaged Buddhism with particular reference to a Buddhist response tothe effects of the Fukushima nuclear power disaster in Japan.
      Kelvin has taught Religious Studies and Philosophy in a range of educational contexts, developed and taught University courses exploring Spirituality and Personal Development and Ethics, Change and Personal Development and has led workshops internationally exploring the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) dimensions of teaching and learning.
    1. KwanUmZen: Title:  “Just Like This is Buddha”. Presented by Jibul, bodhisattva teacher. Jibul has been a Zen Buddhist for 40 years, in the Kwan Um School for 20 years, and teaching in England since 2011 at The Peak Zen, Kubong-Sa, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire.

    The essential characteristic of the Zen tradition is “Tathata”, translated into English as “Thusness” or “Just Like This”.  Applied in perception, in action and in relationships, this is the heart of Zen practice and awakening, beyond words, before thinking — a special transmission outside the scriptures. This will be a dharma talk and discussion.


    2nd Discussion session. There will be 3 slots 14.20-15.05


    Facilitator/presenter: Julie Williams. Julie is a dramatherapist: Theme: Mindfulness Within The NHS based on experience of delivering mindfulness within the NHS to Managers Clinicians and Patients. We will explore the difficulties and delights of retaining the authenticity of this ancient practice within a secular organization that is driven by targets and outcomes. How we make it accessible without diluting its essence.

    Facilitator: Rita Ashworth. Rita is a long practitioner and is still exploring. Theme: Buddhism in the West Presenter/participants: John Rowan, Irene Wai Lin

    Facilitator: David Cooke. Dave practices in the Samatha school of Buddhsim. Theme: MBC – a decade of work… Gathering ideas for the future


    1. Community of Interbeing: Led by Anne Rowbottom. The Heart of Manchester Sangha is part of the community of Interbeing –practising in the tradition of zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. The Heart of Manchester Sangha invite you to share a session of practice that include guided meditation, walking meditation, silent meditation, and perhaps some sharing or questions and answers –as time permits. Open to anyone who would like to join us.
    1. Faith and Fire: Jacquetta Gomes and Fire Officer Daryl Oprey, will update us on the work of Faith and Fire. Frankie Kington and a group from Manchester will introduce an initiative developing here.
    1. Centre of Buddhist meditation (Sale): Paul Shambrook will speak on ‘Practice in Daily life’. He will aim to cover what the Buddhist Society of Manchester (Sale) teaches in terms of practice and approach to the Buddha’s way.
    1. Soto Zen: Bhikku Alan Smith will speak on the kesa – the robe worn by Soto Zen monks.
    1. Soka Gakkai International: SGI will demonstrate gongyo, their twice daily chanting practice. This consists of two passages from the Lotus Sutra in a Japanese transliteration of a High Chinese translation if the Sutra, and the mantra,’ Nam-myoho-renge-kyo’.




    We will not to use the Auditorium this year. However, we will convene there in the morning and reconvene in the afternoon to dedicate for to dedicate merit and announcements.

    The morning ‘plenary’ has been replaced by a discussion session (3 slots).

    After lunch there will be TWO presenter/discussion sessions with FIVE slots each (rather than six as in previous years).

    This will be followed by another discussion session of THREE slots each before the tea break.

    After tea there will be one more discussion session of FIVE slots each.

    We will re-convene, briefly, in the Auditorium, for dedication of merit and announcements.

    The final channting will take place in the Foyer.

    The Venue is on three levels. The rooms are numbered and colour coded for your convenience.   FOUR rooms (including the Auditorium) are located on the middle (second) floor. Room No 5 is located on the ground floor (Oxford Room). Room No 6 is located on the third floor (Walkway Chapel). There will be people to help you locate these on the day. A programme will be displayed in the Foyer.

    Please note the numbers 1-15 denote sessions, NOT room numbers. Session/room numbers are 1-5.

    The opening and closing chants will take place in the Foyer.

    Lunch will be at 11.30 to allow those for who need to eat early. A short blessing will be said before the start of the meal. Please allow nuns and monks to be served first. There will be a room allocated for Venerables. If they wished to join us after their lunch in other spaces that will be a great pleasure.

    No food should be taken into the Auditorium or Chapel.

    A board and papers for comments and feedback will be provided. Please use them. This is what we use to develop the event.

    There will also be some display tables with literature from some of the Manchester Centres.

    Apologies for any mistakes in titles, spellings, etc. These are unintentional.





    One Root Many Branches


    Manchester Buddhist Convention 2013 Programme

    Download Manchester Buddhist Convention 2013 Programme as a pdf file MBC 2013 Programme

    Intelligent Compassion

    Manchester Buddhist Convention

    Saturday 12th Oct 2013 9.00 am  – 17.00pm

    At St. Peter’s Chaplaincy, Oxford Road M13 9GH


    Time Foyer 1   





    Chill out room



    5. (Ground)

    Oxford Room








    Registration Coffee/tea

    Opening Chant (Samatha Centre)



    10.05 – 10.15  




    Welcome, introduction,

    Jaya  (MBC)

    10.15– 10.25







    Chaplaincy (Hosts)

    Terry Biddington


    11. 25



      Input : Triratna: Vidyamala Burch

    Ketumati: Ven Piyatissa

    Sale: Paul Shambrook

    11.30 12.35 Lunch in the Foyer

    Ist Session 1-6





    Buddhism and Science

    Panel Discussion – two sessions have been combined

    for  more fruitful discussion.

    Jibul, June, Keith Munnings, Chandra Vegunta


    Dharma Topics

    John Rowan 4 thoughts that turn the mind to Dharma.


    Gender and Human Rights

    Oxana Poberejnaia



    Buddhism in Action

    Buddhist group

    of Kendal




    Venerable Pannasami

    (Saraniya Centre) Vipasanna





    Venerable Alan Smith

    (Soto Zen)






    2nd Session




    Ven Cheuh Yun (FGS) Attachment – a Buddhist Perspective


    Jamie Cresswell- Network of Buddhist Organisations



    Dr Lee – Tzuchi

    Boddhisattva Practice in Tzu Chi


    Anne Rowbottom  Walking Meditation (Comm. of Interbeing)



    Ron Adkins: Samatha Practice


    14.20-15.05 Discussions: Dharma Question, Buddhism and Social Action MBC – Annual Event or ongoing engagement and learning
    15.10-15.30 Tea Break

    3rd session





    Eliott Cohen ‘The Psychology of Compassion’




    Title: Just Like This is Buddha


    Jill Brennan – ‘Boddhisattvas of the Earth’. (SGI)


    Keith Munnings

    Update on the work of Kalayanamitra




    Wat Sri ratnaram

    Phra Kru Sri Ratana



    Phra Nicolas – Meditation on Light



    16. 35


    Re convene

    Announcements. Dedication of Merit.

    16.45 17.00 Chanting – – Foyer – Interfaith Women’s Choir

    The Venue is on three levels.  Four rooms are located on the middle (second) floor.  They are numbered for your convenience.  Room No 5 is located on the ground floor. Room No 6 is located on the third floor. There will be people to help you locate these on the day. A programme will be displayed in the Foyer.

    Please note the numbers 1-18 denote session/room numbers, NOT room numbers.  The session/room numbers are 1-6.


    The opening and closing chants will take place in the Foyer. Lunch will be at 11.30 to allow those for who need to eat early.  A short blessing will be said before the start of the meal.  Please allow nuns and monks to be served first.  There will be a room allocated for Venerables.  It would also be wonderful if they wished to join us after their lunch in other spaces. It is an opportunity for us to learn.  No food should be taken into the Auditorium or Chapel.


    There will be a board or papers for comments and feedback from you with regard to what you would like to see happen at, and to, the Convention and also what you can contribute.


    The open discussion fora will be the third session of the day (14.25-15.10)


    The topics for discussion are:


    1. Buddhism and Social Action – facilitated by Dave Cooke

    2. MBC – Annual Event or ongoing and enriching dialogue

    3. Discussion on Dharma Issues


    If you feel there should be different discussion groups please feel free to self-organise. Let us know and we will find a space for it. (There are 6 rooms available so this is possible). However, we would, preferably, need to know in advance or you may like to consider leading a session yourself.


    The opening and closing chants will take place in the Foyer.


    For some years now the MBC has been organised by a small group of people. Last year we asked for more volunteers but it has remained a small group. However, people from farther afield than Manchester attend the Convention both as presenters as well as participants.


    The Convention has moved on from Introductory and ‘taster’ sessions. It addresses questions that have arisen over the years. We organise in a space ‘neutral’ to Buddhism which some of us have welcomed but which brings more organisational issues.


    All in all, this year seems to be something of a turning point.  It would be good, therefore, to have a bigger working group and definitely a reference group so that the event is, and feels, supported and owned by a wider coalition of people and centres and for the organising group to feel we are working in tandem with the support and interests of the Buddhist community.




    Presenter Notes

    Terry Biddington                        St Peter’s Chaplaincy

    Jaya Graves                                    MBC



    Vidyamala            (Triratna) Vidyamala was ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order in 1995. Originally from New Zealand she now works at Breathworks, based in the Manchester Buddhist Centre, offering mindfulness to people living with pain, illness and stress.  Breathworks is based on her own experience of using meditation to manage spinal pain. It is now operating in over 15 countries. Vidyamala has recently published ‘Mindfulness for Health’, co-authored with Danny Penman. She will be talking about how to use Intelligent Compassion in relation to the body, based on her experience and work.

    Venerable Piyatissa             (Ketumati centre) will speak on Intelligent Compassion relating it to speech.

    Paul Shambrook            (Buddhist Society of Manchester, Theravada) is currently its Chairperson. He has been involved with it for 40 years. The society, one of the oldest in the country was established over 60 years ago. It is Theravada in orientation and has strong links with the Sangha in Thailand. Paul has spent most of his working life as a business adviser specialising in creative industries.

    Session Presenters:


    Anne Rowbottam                        Community of Interbeing (COI) based on the practice of Thich Nhat Hanh will lead a Walking Meditation session. (Cambodian)

    Alan             Smith                                    Soto Zen

    Ven. Pannasammi                        Saraniya Centre. Vipassanna Meditation. (Theravada – Burmese)

    Phra Nicolas.                                     North-West Centre for Buddhist Meditation will lead a meditation on Light (Theravada – Thai)

    Rob Adkins            Samatha Trust. (Theravada – Thai). His theme is, ‘The World, the Self and the Truths’. Robert teaches Samatha meditation- an effective and gentle way of training the mind to develop inner strength and freedom from turmoil, leading on to clarity and understanding. This path from calm to insight was followed by the Buddha himself, and is a central tradition of Buddhist meditation.

    Ven Phra Kru Sri

    Ratana Dhamavidhes.            Wat Sri Ratnaram will lead a Vipassana Meditation as for Thai Buddhist Temple. The Venerable has been in the Centre for 7 years. Before this he was based in Birmingham. The Centre is used by Thai, Indonesian, Cambodian Laos, Burmese, English, Chinese and Polish (novice monk) people.

    Dharma Themes

    Venerable Chueh Yun             Fo Guang Shan Centre (Chan) will speak on ‘Attachment – A Buddhist Perspectives- and  links to Four Noble truths’.


    Sensei David Scot             Stonewater Zen Sangha of the White Plum Lineage (Soto and Rinzai Zen.) will speak on, ‘Ego, friend, master or neither?’The development of sense of self, of ego, is vital to each of us. To develop a mature spiritual life we need to go beyond it. How do we embrace and transcend this paradox?

    John Rowan            Kajyu Ling (Tibetan) is a member of the Dechen Centre. His theme is, ‘The four thoughts that turn the mind to Dharma’; an analytic meditation that with practice changes ones focus of attention from being overly concerned with gaining short term happiness, towards an understanding of gaining long term happiness and ultimately achieving unsurpassable enlightenment. The four thoughts form a strong basis to Dharma practice, enabling one develop a genuine and sustainable one based on a firm sense of reality.

    Buddhism in the World

    Keith Munnings            Kalayanamitra – offers Buddhist Chaplaincy to various sectors.  He will update us on new developments in their work. This will include an overview of a number of different areas of chaplaincy in different areas of work using short stories – eg – hospitals, HE, Airports industry etc).

    Jacquetta Gomes Fire Officer Daryl Oprey Brian Rendell, Ven Piyatissa

    Jaquetta (Bodhicarini Upasika Jayasili) is from the BGKT Buddhist Group of Kendal (Theravada) Sangha and an authorized Dhamma Teacher (Theravada), advisor on Interfaith and Multifaith to CFOA Chief Fire Officers Association member, an FRS Fire and Rescue Service volunteer and lead on Equality & Diversity World Congress of Faiths Member. They will be co-presenting the session.

    Dr. Lee            Tzu Chi will speak on ‘Boddhisattva Practice in Tzu Chi’. Compassion and Relief are basic driving forces for Tzu Chi volunteers throughout the world. Their contributions have seen better social and community services, medical care, education and humanism in Taiwan and around the world. The foundation volunteers in 47 countries, with 372 offices worldwide. Dr. Lee is a medical doctor who volunteered for Tzu Chi missions. Now, he is the director of Tzu Chi Foundation UK

    Buddhism, Gender, Human Rights


    Oxana Poberejnaia            Western Chan – has explored many schools of Buddhism and finally took Refuge with the Western Chan Fellowship. She has a Postgraduate Certificate in Buddhist Studies, explores the Sacred Feminine, writes poetry and prose, paints, and plays and teaches frame drum. Oxana writes monthly posts for an international multi-author blog “Feminism and Religion”.


    Jill Brennan             Vice-Regional Women’s Division Leader will lead session on ‘The Bodhisattvas of the Earth’ using personal experiences and thoughts of Soka Gakkai International on the theme of Compassion of the Bodhisattvas of the earth.


    Jamie Cresswell            Network of Buddhist Organisations (NBO) – will speak on – ‘Beyond Sectarianism – United Voices.’ Jamie has been a practicing Buddhist for thirty years, has studied Buddhism broadly, including a degree in Buddhist Studies. He is presently Chair of the NBO and President of the European Buddhist Union. He runs the Centre for Applied Buddhism which has recently organised, along with the NBO and the NEB, a conference on ‘ Transforming Conflict’


    Buddhism and Science


    Eliott Cohen            studied and practiced with a range of Buddhist schools. This presentation considers the transformation of Buddhism into a form of Psychology/Psychotherapy in the West (and increasingly in the East). Having written critically on this in the past ( http://www.discourseunit.com/arcp8/arcp8cohen.pdf) this talk will focus more on the positive and transformative affects the recent emphasis on compassion may be having on Psychological practice and Psychotherapeutic interventions. Eliott is a Chartered Psychologist, Transpersonal Psychotherapist and authorised teacher of Buddhist meditation through the Dhamma Nikethanaya Buddhist Academy.

    Panel Discussion:

    June Williams            June practices Samatha meditation. She is a Clinical Researcher (Human trials research) working in Pharmaceutical medicine currently in the field of Oncology. June has just completed studies in Medical Ethics, emphasis on pharmaceutical regulation and personalised medicine i.e. pharmacogenetics.


    Jibul            Jibul belongs to the Kwan Um School of Zen. His role is: “Jibul, bodhisattva teacher in the Kwan Um School of Zen GB”. For this discussion on Science and Buddhism, it is useful to know that he is an MSc PhD, former Professor of Engineering, (Peter Voke).

    ‘If you want to understand the truth, you must let go of your situation, your condition, and all your opinions. Then your mind will be before thinking. clear mind has no inside and no outside. It is Just Like This.”

    Sarat Chandra Vegunta            Is a Scientist and studied at the University of Manchester. He posed the question that led to the development of this Panel.

    Keith Munnings                                    Kalayanamitra, works with the NHS and other areas of Chaplaincy.


    Discussion Groups                          There will be three Discussion groups. These will run between 14.25 – 15.10.

    Discussion topics are:

    • Dharma Topics: Discussion forum. Hopefully there will be people from different schools to share particular insights and approaches.
    • Buddhism and Social Action: The Buddha himself was involved in social change whether we choose to accept this or not – so what can we do as a group of Buddhists from different schools, here in Manchester? Can we begin by getting to know a little about each other and the different ‘schools’ of Buddhism? focusing on something outside ourselves? Do these questions have too much ‘I’ in them?  Can we observe and do what needs to be done? If so – how?

    Do people have ideas for social action?

    • Manchester Buddhist Convention – Annual event or ongoing learning and exchange? How do we continue to benefit from the mood of inclusiveness and sharing that we experience in this event?

    One suggestion has been that centres could volunteer to host an MBC event on themes that have emerged from the Convention and open it to everyone on a ‘first come first served basis’.














    Manchester Buddhist Convention One Root many Branches



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