Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
Siddhartha Gautama Buddha
Buddhism is a spiritual tradition that focuses on personal spiritual development and the attainment of a deep insight into the true nature of life. There are 376 million followers worldwide.
Buddhism teaches that life is unsatisfactory. Life can be experienced as painful and frustrating, impermanent and fleeting, or insubstantial. When we experience life as unsatisfying, we tend to crave pleasant experiences and avoid disappointing ones. We do this more or less habitually. Our habits tie us into a reactive cycle of craving and aversion. This exhausting cycle can be broken, when our experience is fully aligned with reality. The Buddha taught that a way to break this cycle is to practise ethics and meditation, and to cultivate wisdom, which is a deep understanding and acceptance of things as they are.
The Triratna Buddhist Community (and Order) was established 45 years ago by Ven Urgyen Sangharakshita, an Englishman who was ordained as a Buddhist monk in India and practised there for 20 years before coming back to Britain. He created a new kind of Buddhist movement, which translates traditional Buddhist teachings into forms of practice appropriate for the modern world. The Order emphasises equal ordination for men and women irrespective of their lifestyle. Commitment to spiritual practice is primary. Other key emphases are an ecumenical approach to traditional Buddhist teachings, spiritual friendship, and appreciation of the arts.
Customs and practices
Meditation practices can be divided into samatha and vipassana practices. Samatha practices develop calm, concentration and positive emotion and are practised as Mindfulness of Breathing and Development of Loving Kindness (Metta Bhavana). Vipassana practices aim at developing insight into Reality. Developing and cultivating wisdom happens through studying and reflecting the Dharma, the Buddha’s teaching. Through study and reflection we deepen our understanding of what Reality is and how we can best live our lives according to that understanding. Buddhist ethics is an ethics of intention in which the key principle is non-violence. Buddhists celebrate a number of festivals timed to the full moon: Parinirvana Day in February, Buddha Day (Wesak) in May, Dharma Day in July, Padmasambhava Day in October and Sangha Day in November. All are important events to celebrate together and to contemplate key teachings of the Buddha.
Silent meditation sessions are offered during term time. There is a lecture or Mindfulness and Meditation talk happening this academic year. Please contact chaplaincy for further information.