Moving Beyond Newcomers
Once you have been attending The Centre for a while and have become familiar with our two main meditations, opportunities become open to you to learn more and deepen your practice. Most activities include elements of meditation and exploring the Dharma (the teachings of the Buddha).
Six Week Beginner Courses
The two six week courses ‘Buddhism for Beginners’ Level 1 and Level 2 provide the perfect step up from attending the drop-in Introductory sessions that we offer on Saturday mornings and at Friends and Newcomers Night. Browse courses for dates and details of the next course.
There are five important festivals in the Buddhist calendar. On these days there is generally a day-long event at the Centre which will normally include meditation and puja (Buddhist ritual). We also share a vegan lunch on these days.
- Parinirvana Day (Feb) – to mark the end of the Buddha’s earthy existence and an opportunity to reflect on the life and death of our teacher and our own experience of impermanence.
- Buddha Day (May) – to celebrate the day that Siddhartha Gautama achieved enlightenment in India 2500 years ago and become the Buddha whose teaching we follow.
- Dharma Day (July) – to mark the day that the Buddha started to deliver his teachings.
- Padmasambhava Day (Sept) – Padmasabhava is a semi-legendary figure who overcame malicious local deities to introduce Buddhism to Tibet in the 8th Century. We draw inspiration from Padmasabhava for our own effort to follow the Dharma.
- Sangha Day (Nov) – the support of a Sangha (spiritual community) is more or less essential to following the Dharma and is the third of the three jewels of Triratna. This day is an opportunity to celebrate and strengthen our spiritual community in Ipswich.
We host regular Friends Nights (also know as Sangha Nights) mostly attended by people who have been attending the Centre for a little while. Their format varies but they will often include meditation, puja (Buddhist ritual) and time for socialising.
Becoming a Mitra
People who have been attending The Centre for a while often decide that they want to make a public commitment to Buddhism by becoming a Mitra. Mitra simply means ‘friend’. There is a beautiful ceremony in which the new Mitra is welcomed into the Sangha (our spiritual community) and they declare a commitment to Buddhism and to following the five main ethical precepts which will support their spiritual development within the Triratna Buddhist movement.
Most new Mitras are motivated to learn more about Buddhism and follow four year programme as part of a study group.
We support each other in our practice and spiritual development through forming study groups that meet regularly together to progress their understanding of the Dharma (the Buddha’s teachings). Groups tend to be either men or women and are generally lead by an Order Member.
Foundation Study Night is a good place to start. Topics are taken in 6 week modules and together form the first year of the four-year Mitra Study programme. Bodhivamsa can give details or try courses
Going on retreat
The conditions of a retreat usually help you to make rapid progress with your meditation, mindfulness and Dharma practice. The Centre organises several residential weekend retreats each year. So long as you have some experience of our two main meditation practices, these retreats are a great way to deepen your involvement. You can also attend retreats organised by the many Triratna retreat centres around the UK. Check the calendar for dates our our next Sangha retreat.
Almost all of the work of the Centre is delivered by volunteers. Working alongside others as part of an event ‘Team’ or ‘Kula’ not only helps the Centre but is also a really good way to develop the spiritual friendship that will support your practice. There are lots of opportunities to participate. How to volunteer.
We are fortunate that the four day camping retreat Buddafield East is held every summer on the Norfolk/Suffolk border. This is a more informal retreat with a family-friendly atmosphere and festival-like flavour. Buddhafield East website
Our Centre is led by members of the Triratna Buddhist Order. Any Mitra can ask to become an order member however it represents a very serious life-long commitment to Buddhist practice (we call Going for Refuge -GFR) and involves a significant programme of training.
You can speak to any Order Member about ordination but at our Centre, Swadipa (men) and Carumani (women) have specific responsibility for GFR Mitras. The two retreat centers that support ordination training are:
Sangharakshita, the founder of Triratna, taught us an approach to Buddhism that is uniquely suited to the conditions of the modern world. We recommend these resources if you would like to find out more. We also have a small shop at The Centre which sells books and products to support your Dharma practice.
Free Buddhist Audio – A superb resource of talks and lectures from Triratna’s early days in the 1960’s to today.
The Buddhist Centre – a central resource with information about the Triratna Buddhist Order and Community.
Clear Vision – image and video archive for the Triratna Buddhist movement.
Recommended Reads – books recommended by members of the Ipswich Sangha.
IBC YouTube – the Ipswich Buddhist Centre YouTube channel
Going on Retreat – an essential guide to going on retreat with links to Triratna retreat centres in the UK and Europe.
Windhorse Publications – a charitable company based in Cambridge which publishes and retails books and resources on Buddhism.
Clear Vision Education – image and video resources for teachers.
Triratna Resource Pack for Newcomers – all the basics in one document
IBC Resource Library – archived video and other resources from the Ipswich Buddhist Centre.