Buddhist Voices

Fifty Years, Fifty Voices: Sanghadhara (Highlights)

On Tue, 8 November, 2022 - 15:51
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“Every day I need to communicate, every day get into communication with people… Within that, holding lightly to my own views and sometimes just letting it go and ‘not taking myself so seriously. So that’s an area of explicit practice for me.”

Sanghadhara’s Annals:

In 1968 I was… still in Deva reals of my previous life

In 1978 I was… fading away from lower devalokas

In 1988 I was… born in this human body that year on the 25th of March, right in the centre of Mexico City. I must have had some choice of my birth parents. At that time, they were into the I Ching, doing Tai Chi and they must have been doing some sort of meditation I remember leading through a meditation to a classmate when I was about 5 years old (haha). Around year 6 or 7, I had some very existential dreams that hunted me for decades to come and fuelled my spiritual inquisitiveness. A different fun fact, I was a child actor, I did TV adverts, and a music video and was cast into the Latin American version of Sesame Street. But my TV career was interrupted as my mum moved us out of the city. But I continued doing theatre and that’s how I first met Bodhikamala, she was 7, and I was 8, I think.

In 1998 I was… I was ten years old, around the first time I read Siddhartha by Herman Hesse; this was perhaps the first time I encountered the Buddha and the idea of awakening. Also, with Bodhikamala, we were doing Meditations to align my chakras so I could heal with energy and read auras.

Being in fairly alternative education, I was exposed to classic literature and philosophers from a young age. And after being busy being a rebel and reading Harry Potter, I go interested in awakening and spiritual Truth. Aged 15 I decided to re-read Siddhartha and a year later, Bodhikama and I would encounter the FWBO, I asked my dad to take me to the Centre in Mexico City, and she was taken to a yoga retreat by her grandma. I think that was 2004. On my first retreat, I decided I’d move to the UK for a few years to explore the moment and join the Order. After 2-3 years of coming to the Buddhist centre, I started sharing what I learned in meditation and Buddhism with classmates and eventually a weekly meditation group.

In 2008 I was… Facilitating a meditation and Buddhism group with Bodhikhamala in Toluca as we’ve been doing for a couple of years while I was saving money to learn English so I could go to Windhorse:Evolution in Cambridge. That year my first visa application was refused so I applied to go to university to study Dramatic Literate and Theatre. I also remember fondly starting a project at the Buddhist Centre called “Lotus Azules”, aimed to explore the place of the Arts in our system of practice. I was passionate about the place of the Arts as a way to communicate the Dharma through the Arts with my friend Pablo Sierra.

2009 I moved to Cambridge, UK to join Windhorse:Evolution, where I spent 6 years. A lot of it was a bit frustrating in the warehouse and much more frustrating in the ordination process, but I enjoyed community life and the creative projects I managed to get involved in. Street meditations, Buddhist pantomimes, sangha picnics, festivals and shrine decorations.

After the closing of Windhorse:Evolution in 2015 I moved up north, Manchester, and joined Clear Vision. After 9 years in the ordination process, I was given my name by Keturaja. I’m so grateful to my friends in this process, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one that found it frustrating at times. Without my preceptor and Kalyana Mitras Suvajra and Arthapriya, I just would’ve left the country and distanced myself from the Ordination process. Thanks too to Dharmashalin and Bodhiketu.

2016 I set up a new residential community (Gosinga), reclaiming the flat above the Manchester Buddhist Centre, still very much passionate about the creation and development of spaces conducive to practice, friendship and beauty.

In 2018… Directing Clear Vision Trust, based in Manchester, living in Gosinga. Involved in the documentation and communication of our Order and Movement, I feel passionate about the diversity of our internationality and shared and emerging culture. It’s richness, depth and breadth, successes and challenges.

In 2020 we decided to close Clear Vision Trust before we were forced to by a pandemic recession and an underfunded Movement. So I’m training as a Graphic Designer while working at Dharmachakra. I’m still interested in learning new skills and adding tools to my tool kit to keep building this ambitious and amazing Triratna project creatively.

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