Contexts for Intensity
I have just returned from the European Chairs’ convention at Adhisthana. This is a twice yearly event where over 50 chairs of Centres around Europe come together to share ideas and discuss Centre related matters.
This meeting was special in that we set the priorities for the next 3 to 5 years for Chairs and Centres. One of those priorities was increasing the ‘Contexts for Intensity’. In simple terms this means how can Centres provide the opportunity for Buddhists to come together, be it work, living or just in a Dharmic context and develop spiritually. This relates to the 5th Distinctive Emphasis of Triratna, ‘The Importance of Work’, especially Team Based Right-Livelihoods (TBRL’s).
In Ipswich we don’t currently have TBRL’s or Communities, but we do have other opportunities. So what are our ‘Situations of Intensity’? We have many volunteer teams, we call them ‘kulas’, who do much of the work necessary to keep the Centre running smoothly. A couple of examples, we have a bookshop kula and a publicity kula, but there are several more that the Centre relies upon. These small teams give us the joy of working with other Buddhist for the good of the Centre and those who attend it. Being able to interact with other Buddhists in our kulas is a great way to learn how to put Buddhism into practice in our lives and make lifelong friends who are also trying to deepen their spiritual lives.
Other intensive situations are going on pilgrimage, coming along to a regular study group and going on retreat.
On pilgrimage you would spend a couple of weeks physically exploring the history of Buddhism, learning first-hand about the type of life the Buddha lived and walking in his footsteps in India. There are great opportunities for meeting up with Buddhists from other traditions, also on pilgrimage, and maybe a chance to visit some Indian Triratna Centres and meet their sanghas. Next year there is a chance to join the Ipswich sangha on pilgrimage.
Our study courses, including ‘Buddhism for Beginners’ courses and Mitra study groups, are regularly run at the Centre.
Finally, our next sangha retreat is coming up in March.
If you are interested in taking advantage of study or volunteering at the Centre then do get in touch.
Have a great month.
Bodhivamsa, Chair of Ipswich Buddhist Centre