5 Years of The Buddhist Centre Online: #1 New Online Spaces and Physical PlacesOn Mon, 29 January, 2018 - 17:56
“Civic spaces are an extension of the community. When they work well, they serve as a stage for our public lives. If they function in their true civic role, they can be the settings where celebrations are held, where exchanges both social and economic take place, where friends run into each other, and where cultures mix.” 
Since The Buddhist Centre officially launched 5 years ago many web spaces have sprung into being which allow greater community building across Triratna as a worldwide movement. There have been over 250 spaces created on our website since we started! Many of these spaces are linked to our physical Buddhist Centres and projects around the globe, and are open to all to join or follow. We also have dedicated online-only contexts like Online Meditators, which aims to help those who don’t live near a Centre or group, or have health issues, to continue to practice the Dharma with others; the new Triratna Buddhist Families space, which aims to support those practicing in family situations; Urthona, the Journal of Buddhism and the Arts and the Western Buddhist Review, our peer-reviewed scholarly journal; BAM (Buddhist Action), a place to explore how to take our cultivation of Metta and Karuna (compassion) out into the world at large… There is even a Triratna Jobs and Volunteering space for anyone who’d like to work with Right Livelihood teams and help support the Dharma in communities from London to Sydney!
Our team at Dharmachakra curates 3 main spaces to help you find the best of what’s on offer:
- Buddhist Centre Features, where you can find all our headline stories and original Buddhist media content, including live streams and in-depth web coverage from major Triratna events.
- Community Highlights, surfacing the best of what people in our community around the world post to the web about their own situations and Buddhist practice.
- Triratna News, lively updates from around the Triratna Buddhist Community internationally.
In addition to these, we’ve recently introduced multi-media ‘Stories’ spaces and new thematic blogs like Triratna50 (watch out for the new Arts & Culture space soon!), drawing content from around the site.
There are also many private groups on the site, which are only open to invited members; like the Mitra Support space and the Mitra Study leaders space where those studying and leading Mitra Study can share reflections and resources. Some are dedicated spaces for Order Members – such as Ask A Scholar! where Dharma teachers can ask a Triratna scholar any question they like about the Buddha’s teaching or about Sangharakshita’s translation of it.
All these different spaces reflect the diversity of Triratna and hopefully enable there to be an exchange of ideas, support and friendships right across our community. And our myriad social media spaces (check out the home page for just some of them!) help us keep those connections deeply engaged and properly vital.
Of course, most people first encounter the Triratna Community when they walk in the door of a physical Centre or go on a retreat. In the last five years many new centres and retreat venues have been opened, and The Buddhist Centre has been the place where many of these auspicious events have been recorded. Mostly significant, perhaps, was the establishment of Adhisthana, which is the home of Sangharakshita, the founder of the Triratna Buddhist Community and Order, and a gathering place for all involved in our movement and the base for the College of Public Preceptors. Adhisthana was dedicated in 2013 after a long search by a team of key people. The dedication happened in three stages, firstly for local people, then the order, then the wider Sangha. More recently the Adhisthana shrine was re-dedicated following a re-design to better display all the rupas received from across the world from various Triratna groups and Centres.
But Adhisthana has not been the only development! In the last five years centres, many other groups and retreat centres have been established (or renovated). There’s been the complete renewal of Vajrasana, the London Buddhist Centre’s retreat centre, a notable architectural achievement which has won critical acclaim for being a “magnificient, modern Buddhist haven”; the establishment of Southampton’s (UK) new Centre in a former pub; Barcelona’s first Triratna Centre; Spain’s first Sangha retreat Centre; a new Centre in Shrewsbury, UK; a Centre in Malmo, Sweden (Sweden’s second Centre); a third Buddhist centre in Mexico; and the re-dedication of the shrine room in the Croydon Buddhist Centre. This expansion right across the world gives us a sense of a thriving sangha. And if that weren’t enough, there are plans for a women’s retreat centre in India, as well as fundraising well underway to buy a new Centre in Paris.
Find out where the Triratna Buddhist Community Centres near you are are on our ‘find us’ page. We look forward to 5 more years of opening all our Triratna spaces to you and to the world!
 Project for Public Spaces: https://www.pps.org/article/public-space-benefits