The Triratna Buddhist Community

was founded in 1967 as the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (FwBO) by Urgyen Sangharakshita (pictured), an Englishman who realised at the age of 16 that he was a Buddhist and, after a long process of searching, was ordained as a Buddhist monk in India in 1950. After a further 14 years living and teaching Buddhism in India, he returned to England in 1964, and saw the need for a new kind of Buddhist organisation - a community of Buddhist practitioners committed to living a Dharma life, who were neither monastic nor lay. Despite feeling that he was not the ideal person to found such a thing, he felt it was needed and so he did found the FWBO, in 1967, and a year later in 1968, the Western Buddhist Order. 

The Triratna Community is made up of Order members and all those people who attend Triratna Buddhist centres and groups across the world. The idea behind the Community is to make the living principles and practices of Buddhism accessible to people in the modern world, both west and east. It is now represented on all the world’s inhabited continents. For more information on the Triratna Buddhist Community, click here

The Triratna Buddhist Order

three jewels
is a community of men and women who have made the decision to place the practice of Buddhism within the Triratna Community at the heart of their lives - in traditional Buddhist terminology, they have all chosen to Go for Refuge to the Three Jewels - the Buddha, as historical founder, primary teacher and exemplar; the Dharma, or the teaching of the Buddha that points the way to Enlightenment or spiritual awakening, and the Sangha, or spiritual community of men and women throughout the ages who have embodied the teachings of the Buddha in their own lives. Order members live and practise in a wide variety of situations across the world - some live with their families and work in conventional jobs, others live in communities and work together in Buddhist teams, others live and practise in retreat centres with a more monastic focus. What unites them all, however, is this principle of the centrality of Going for Refuge, one of Sangharakshita's key teachings.

The Shrewsbury Triratna Buddhist Centre

Shropshire is currently home to over ten Order members and many Mitras (people who've made a specific commitment to practice within the Triratna tradition) who run the activities of the Shrewsbury Triratna Buddhist Centre. Here is an introduction to some of them:

was ordained in 2009 in the beautiful and wild mountain landscape of Akashavana, a Triratna retreat centre in Spain. She lives in Shrewsbury with her partner Abhayanara and a crazy cat called Muja, and she is the chair of the charity which runs the Centre. 

She loves meditating, baking sourdough bread, listening to Test Match Special, 
growing things on the allotment, going to the gym and lots more besides ...

Jayaratna: I was ordained in 1980, and lived for many years in Cornwall,where I worked first as a lecturer in business studies, then as a counsellor, mainly for people with substance misuse issues. Since moving to Shropshire I have been involved in a slow shift into retirement, to the point where I am now seeing 4 or 5 people each week for counselling, because I enjoy doing the work. I support the Wednesday evening class, and tend to be involved mainly in teaching meditation to beginners, which I find enjoyable. Other parts of my life involve going to the gym, cycling, reading, studying and holidays abroad.

Akasharaja lives in a tall, thin house that more or less backs on to the river, along with his partner Utpalavajri and their sons Sam and Charlie. He is enjoying having a garden and being in contact with so many people who are committed to practising the Dharma. When not engaged in explicitly Buddhist activities he translates for a living from German to English, does the odd crossword, sings in a local choir and goes running. He was ordained in 2001.


Utpalavajri lives with Akasharaja and their sons in that tall, thin house near the Severn. She works for the Triratna Buddhist Order as treasurer of the Triratna Trust and is studying for an accounts qualification. The children still take up a lot of her time and energy, but the presence of family in Shrewsbury, the town where she was born and brought up, makes an enormous difference. She was ordained in 2002. She currently leads a study group for women Mitras once a fortnight.

Abhayanara was ordained in the spring of 2015 at Guhyaloka retreat centre in Spain. He lives in Shrewsbury (from where his family originates) with his partner. He works as an Architect and was very much involved in the recent design and renovation of the new Buddhist centre in Castlefields. Now he helps to run classes and study groups there to spread the Dharma in Shrewsbury and beyond. When not working, teaching, meditating, he loves cycling and walking in the Shropshire hills and mountains of North Wales and further afield.

(By Samantabhadri) In the years that I have known Tejodharini, I have become increasingly aware of two primary aspects of her being. Firstly, she is steadfast, responsible and trustworthy. She has a lot of integrity and is very honourable. She has maintained her vision and faith and never really wavered in her spiritual commitment. For years, Tejodharini faithfully supported the class in Llangollen and now brings these qualities to the Sangha and new centre in Shrewsbury. She is a dharini: a bearer, protector, upholder, one who preserves, possesses, maintains, remembers. These are very fine qualities and are now raised to a mythic level. Over the years, I have also seen Tejodharini's momentum and longing towards the creative and imaginative as something deep within her. As she has progressed, this has developed into a shining resonance with the Three Jewels. This is tejo: light, fire, radiance. It is described as beauty, lustre, ardour, fiery energy, brilliance, clearness of the eyes, dignity, glory and majesty.

I am Shraddhabha and I have just been ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order. My background is in social work management, counselling, SW training and as an Open University tutor. I have lived in Shrewsbury for the past 14 years with my family. I support Utpalavajri with a fortnightly study group as well as attending weekend and longer Triratna retreats several times per year. I hope to offer you the warm friendship extended to me when I first became involved with this community-spirited movement.

Nagamani first came into contact with Buddhism and learnt to meditate whilst in India over 15 years ago. Since then he has been an itinerant Buddhist in Thailand and a few other places before finding his home with the Triratna Buddhist Community in 2004. He became a Mitra shortly afterwards and asked for ordination in 2010. He was ordained in May 2017. Nagamani is part of the team teaching the Introduction to Buddhism course. When not supporting the Shrewsbury group he works as an environmental educator, cycles, plants vegetables (some of which grow) and tries to practise yoga.

Jyotidana lives on the North Shropshire/Welsh border and has been following the Buddha Dharma for over 13 years now, 11 of which have been with the Triratna Buddhist Community. She is full of appreciation and gratitude for how this has transformed her way of being. Jyotidana enjoys dharma study and spending time with sangha. She is currently involved with introductory meditation and Buddhism classes and will soon be supporting a foundation study group. As well as working and sleeping, she especially loves meditation, spending time with her partner & two dogs, nature, solitude, rest, drinking tea, time to be, cooking veggie/vegan food, music, laughter, going on retreats and simplicity.

lives in Corwen and is part of our Full Moon Puja team. She serves as the Mitra Convenor for women, a spiritual appointment which involves watching out for the welfare of all women involved in the centre. Her name means she who illumines or creates light - dispelling the darkness or the hindrances, poisons and all that holds us back. 'Prabhakari' also refers to the third stage of the Bodhisattva Path - the stage which is associated with kshanti or patience, which includes the ability to joyfully bear hardship as well as the aspiration to give up all tendencies to anger and to live completely in the love mode

Samantabhadri: I was ordained in 1995, whilst working as a senior teacher in a sixth form college.  Since then, I have regularly led retreats, given
talks, ordained 3 women, and been privileged to support many in their deepening understanding of the Buddhist path. After caring for my mother and taking funerals as a celebrant, I lived and worked for 8 memorable years at Taraloka Buddhist Retreat Centre for Women in Bettisfield. I now enjoy living in Shrewsbury and the opportunity to give to the Shrewsbury Triratna Buddhist Centre. I continue my love of theatre, literature and the arts, of the countryside, and of sitting in cafes - alone or with a friend - thinking or talking about life.

Vajradevi has been involved with Triratna since 1985 and was ordained in 1995. She has spent many years living in communities
and working in team based right livelihood business' within Triratna, including a vegetarian restaurant in London, fundraising for a womens ordination retreat centre in Spain and as Centre Director of the Cambridge Buddhist Centre. She has been coming to Shrewsbury for many years to visit Vajrapriya's family and moved here a year and a half ago where she lives with Vajrapriya, just down the road from the Shrewsbury Buddhist Centre. She spends her time leading residential retreats, and teaching at various urban retreat centres, including Shrewsbury. She is currently writing a book about meditation. 
She enjoys walking, in hills and by the coast particularly, wild swimming, is a voracious reader, and loves sitting in cafes, chatting, writing or musing

Vajrapriya was born and raised in Shrewsbury, and returned in 2016 after a 32 year spell away. In that gap, he met Triratna in Manchester, became a Mitra at North London, set up a Triratna Group in Milton Keynes, and then moved to Cambridge for the next 19 years, spending most of that time working for the Cambridge Buddhist Centre. He was ordained in 2002. He now lives with Vajradevi a few doors down from the Buddhist Centre. He works from home, managing a Triratna charity, and is also a trustee of the STBC.

Subpages (1): Safeguarding