What we offer


What we offer is the context for a path to the ultimate fulfilment of our human potential. This path leads to the state of Enlightenment exemplified by the Buddha: a state of complete freedom from any sort of emotional or psychological suffering, without craving, hatred or even the vestiges of spiritual confusion. We share this aspiration with Buddhist groups throughout the Triratna movement - and the Buddhist community worldwide.

This may sound very grand, but it's important to put what we do in its proper context. We are not a kind of evening college offering courses and qualifications in meditation and Buddhism, although we do teach those things. What we offer is nothing less than a context and a set of tools for the living of a truly satisfying and happy life. To find out what these are, read on.




Spiritual community


Most people coming along to Triratna are struck by how friendly everyone is. The Buddha once said that spiritual friendship is
the whole of the spiritual life. You might think that meditation and spiritual development are solitary activities, and it's certainly true that you have to do them on your own. But the fact of the matter is that the Dharma life - a life led in accordance with the Buddha's teachings - is all about relationships. It takes an exceptional person to discover and realise the truth alone - the Buddha was such a person - and we shouldn't kid ourselves that we can do what he did. We need the support and encouragement of other practitioners - both those who are more experienced than ourselves and those who have roughly the same level of experience and understanding as we do. This is Sangha - the spiritual community. It is not for nothing that this is one of the Three Jewels of Buddhism, alongside the Buddha himself and the Dharma - the truth he realised and the teachings he gave us to follow his example.


Meditation courses

meditation
Meditation is not the cultivation of a trance-like state or the forcible emptying of the mind of thoughts. What it is is a way of using the mind to work on the mind. We meditate to cultivate clarity and positive emotion with the ultimate aim of transforming our mind altogether, so that we can leave negative and unhelpful habits behind and develop positive states characterised by love and awareness. In Triratna we primarily offer two practices. One of these is anapanasati, or the Mindfulness of Breathing, in which we use the breath as a way of directing the mind to our actual experience in the present moment and developing mental clarity. The other is the Metta Bhavana, which is concerned with the cultivation of Metta, or loving-kindness, to ourselves and all beings. We offer regular courses in both of these practices: click here to find out when the next course is taking place.



Click here to go to our page of recorded meditations. 

 

An evening for regulars

Every Wednesday evening at 7.30 pm, a group of regular Dharma practitioners meets for meditation, discussion of Buddhist themes, Buddhist ritual, tea and conversation! Over the years, some very good friendships have developed within the Sangha, and the regular Wednesday meeting is a good way to continue to develop these and to forge new connections. We welcome anyone who has prior experience of meditation and Buddhism within the Triratna context or has attended a meditation and/or Buddhism course.

Retreats

Most of us lead very busy lives characterised by a great many pressures and demands. This can make it difficult for us to deepen our practice of meditation in particular and Buddhism in general. What is sometimes needed is a period of withdrawal from our everyday lives to give us the space and the opportunity to engage more intensively with practice: a period of retreat. In tranquil and beautiful surroundings such as those offered by a retreat centre our minds will gradually settle and our experience will clarify. As a sangha, or spiritual community, we take part in retreats several times a year at various different retreat centres in the UK, most notably Vajraloka, near Corwen in Wales, and Adhisthana, the new headquarters of Triratna near Ledbury in Herefordshire.



Study

To find out why study is significant, please check out the "Why Buddhism?" page.


In addition to the regulars' meeting, there are separate study groups for men and women which meet regularly to exploreBuddhism in somewhat greater depth. On the second Sunday of every month there is a study and practice day which is open to all men who have been attending the main evening for some time and would like to deepen their knowledge of Buddhism; there are various other study groups, some of which are reserved for Mitras: that is, people who have made a public commitment to practice as Buddhists within the Triratna Community in the context of a simple ritual (click here for more information, taken from the website of the Norwich Buddhist Centre).