Brighton Buddhist Centre celebrates 40th anniversary
On Tue, 18 November, 2014 - 09:17
Over the weekend of 18th and 19th October 2014, Triratna’s Brighton Buddhist Centre celebrated its 40th anniversary. Centre Chair Mokshini writes:
“Our sangha and guests had a very moving couple of days together. The place was packed, and it was a very strong experience to have practitioners from all generations coming together to share their stories and practise together. You can watch, listen and read further about the event following the link at the bottom of this piece.
We heard from former Chairs Mangala, Yashodeva and Khemanandi, as well Ratnaprabha, the current President, who had come along whilst a student at Sussex University in the 70s; and Jinapalita, men’s mitra convener for many years. Indrabodhi, Jnanottara and Sripada shared stories of joy, excitement, friendship and ideals as well as disappointments and hurt. What learning we’ve done over years of practice!
Padmavajra gave a cracking talk. He had come along in 1974, aged 17, shortly after Buddhadasa started FWBO classes there – and was ordained just two years later.
We very much appreciated the presence of Buddhadasa himself, our founder, who had given the money to rent our first Centre in George Street, Kemptown, including the Windhorse Bookshop, later the Windhorse Emporium. Devaraja, too, was rejoiced in, in his absence. Earning well, he had given virtually all his money to the Centre, while living very simply.
Karunavira, Vessantara and Vijayamala regaled us with tales of secret bookshelves, 1970’s-style politically incorrect male attitudes to women and early attempts to deliver Dharma talks which stalled when the speaker’s notes turned out to be a shopping list!
There appeared to have been a lot of magic around in the early days: on one occasion Bhante gave a talk and a psychic in the audience asked who the man in red standing behind him was, describing a figure very much like Padmasambhava. On another occasion people clearing out a bread oven from the Centre premises at George Street, which had been a baker’s, found an initiation vase! Others talked of the witch who frequented the Windhorse shop, who sounded positively frightening.
It is probably fair to say that all the women who spoke, who had been around in the early days (Khemanandi, Sripada and Vijayamala) highlighted that although this weekend was a time for celebration, it was also a time to acknowledge hurt and disappointment. In the light of this, I led a forgiveness meditation before puja on Sunday afternoon.
We had wonderful cake on both days, and much laughter. To end the celebrations, Vessantara, our first President, let off 40 golden balloons bearing messages of well-wishing, echoing the balloons let off when the Centre opened in Tichborne Street in 1999.
May the Dharma flourish, may all beings be well and happy, may the Brighton Buddhist Centre continue to spread the Dharma and may the Bodhicitta arise!”
Hear the talks; see more pictures. Visit the Brighton Buddhist Centre’s website. Follow Brighton Buddhist Centre on The Buddhist Centre Online. Make a donation to the Brighton Buddhist Centre.