There are many people in this world that we have cause to thank, to whom we should show gratitude. This is especially so when those people and institutions help us progress on a spiritual path. It is sometimes good to look back at those that have helped us along the way. Maybe when we were at the beginning of our journey, trying to make sense of the dissatisfaction we felt with the world around us and looked for some meaning or greater understanding about the nature of reality. The same is true of a whole community, such as the Ipswich Sangha.
Buddhism in Ipswich has been going since before 1985. This was when I first came along to a little group of Buddhists meeting in Rex’s, (now ordained as Saddharaja*) – house in Spring Road. (*DON’T MISS HIS TALK AT FRIENDS NIGHT ON 25TH MARCH).
We were enthusiastic but didn’t really have a clue as to how we should be establishing Buddhism in the town. We met each week, meditated together, listened to cassettes of Sangharakshita talks and increased our understanding of the Dharma as best we could.
Luckily we had contacts with Padmaloka, the men’s retreat Centre just outside Norwich, which was then one of the few bases for the developing Triratna movement. So each week a couple of Order members from Padmaloka would come down to Ipswich to run a course and teach us basic Dharma. I can vividly remember one of the courses they led on the Wheel Of Life. That was the first time I had met that teaching and was astounded by how much that model described my own life.
After a few years of patient persistence from Padmaloka the group began to grow, we filled the front room of Saddharaja’s house and held our first day retreat in my garden. So from those small beginnings the thriving Sangha we have now has grown.
It is always good when gratitude can be honoured by action. During this year of Covid the Triratna retreat Centres have been some of the most affected. They rely upon retreatants, such as you and I, paying for our retreats, to keep their buildings and support teams going. Padmaloka has found it difficult, and although they have eventually moved many of their retreats online they have found it hard to make up for the losses they incurred early on in the pandemic.
So, in gratitude for all the help that Padmaloka has given us in Ipswich, right from the beginning to the present day, supporting the men who have asked for Ordination, and in response to their current appeal for funds to help them out of a difficult time, we, on the IBC council, decided that we were in a position to make a donation of £500.
We also were aware of other Triratna institutions that are financially suffering at this time, spread around the world. So we have decided to give £1,000 to the Future Dharma Fund’s Thrive online appeal. The money that we gave will be distributed amongst our Centres that are most in need, wherever they are within the wide world of Triratna. If you would also like to make a donation or are interested where that money will be used then visit https://futuredharma.org/thrive-online/
With Metta, Bodhivamsa
PS. Saddharaja, who I mentioned above and who founded the Ipswich sangha, is giving a talk on Friends Night on 25th March. Come along and find out more about his views on building sangha. It seems to have worked! Friends Night