This is our regular weekly meeting when we come together to meditate, listen to and discuss the Dharma and how it applies to our own practice, as well as catching up with each other on what is happening in our lives. All are welcome!
In 2018, our theme for Sangha night is Great Teachings and Great Teachers. It's a wonderful opportunity to explore the Dharma as well as the many personalities and stories about teachers who have communicated the Dharma through the centuries. We will start the year exploring this theme through the framework of Triratna's Refuge Tree, a visual image of our rich lineage of teachers and teachings, and the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni.
A typical Sangha Night sees us gathering together until around 6:15, when we usually meditate until around 7pm. The period between 7 and 8:15 varies from week to week: we have a devotional practice night and a meditation night once a month as well as a number of Dharma nights which may involve teaching, Q&A time or discussion.
For the month of March our Sunday Program is:
03/04 - Puja - reflecting on the Buddha, led by John
03/11 - Meditation, led by Kerstin and Patti
03/18 - Dharma discussion - Dhardo Rinpoche, led by Kerstin
03/25 - Dharma discussion - Sangharakshita’s teachers and the importance of teachers, led by Manidha
Drop-in meditation practice, suitable for those who are already familiar with the Mindfulness of Breathing and Metta Bhavana meditations.Donations welcome.
Dharma study for those who have become mitras within the Triratna Buddhist Community.
What is a mitra? More information can be found here.
Four main festival days are celebrated by Buddhists the world over on the full moon days in February, May, July and November. We currently celebrate festival days with a special Friends' Night on the Sunday nearest the full moon.
Parinirvana Day, Full Moon in February
This day marks the anniversary of the Buddha’s death, or Parinirvana, and a time when we think particularly of friends and relatives whom we have lost. Attendees are encouraged to bring pictures and other mementos of those who have recently passed away.
Buddha Day, Full Moon May
The Buddha's Enlightenment is the central event in Buddhism, and Wesak, the celebration of that Enlightenment, is the most important festival of the Buddhist year. Many of the Buddha's disciples also attained Enlightenment, and in the centuries that have followed there have been many other enlightened masters. They too are recalled at Wesak with readings of accounts of their lives or from works they wrote themselves. But Enlightenment is also an ideal to which all Buddhists aspire. So Wesak is a chance to reflect on what that might mean.
Dharma Day, Full Moon in July
Soon after his Enlightenment the Buddha rose from where he had been sitting, went to find his former disciples and shared his experience with them. This event, which happened at a place called Sarnath in northern India, might be called the start of the Buddhist religion and it is this that Dharma Day celebrates. On Dharma day there are often readings from the Buddhist scriptures and a chance to reflect deeply on their contents. Above all, on Dharma day Buddhists feel profoundly grateful that the Buddha and other Enlightened masters did share their teachings with other people.
Sangha Day, Full Moon in November
On Sangha Day Buddhists celebrate both the ideal of creating a spiritual community, and also the actual spiritual community which they are trying to create. Sangha Day is a traditional time for exchange of gifts; it has become a prominent festival among Western Buddhists even though it is little known in the East.