support our work:meet the team!
Triratna’s Sustainable Buddhist Centre certification scheme is growing and growing, and it’s burst out of Britain! The Dutch sanghas in Amsterdam and at Metta Vihara Retreat Centre are among 10 centres certified so far, with two more pending. (See list below.)
Bristol Buddhist Centre, UK, is the latest of these centres, where Kamalamani is the centre’s Sustainability Co-ordinator. She writes: “Triratna’s Sustainable Centre scheme is another way of reminding ourselves at home and in our public centres that living, working, and practising with metta and mindfulness are critical - quite literally - for life on earth.
Becoming a sustainable centre involves the sort of things you might expect: recycling, buying fair-trade products, using ‘clean’ energy, and so on; as well as taking part in Buddhist Action Month (BAM), in June each year; asking sangha members to take a personal ‘green precept’.
This year Bristol put on a lively programme of BAM events. It caused ripples: for some there was disgruntlement that cow’s milk and biscuits were no longer available; some asked questions about what is and what isn’t engaged Buddhism, or whether BAM is ‘real Dharma’. And there was also a buzz of conversations and a deepening of practice. As one person put it:
‘I’m finding it very integrating to talk about these issues in the sangha. I’ve been concerned about ecology and politics for a long time, but it all seemed separate from my Buddhist practice. It’s so helpful to bring them together in this way. Engaging with global issues is challenging: there are cycles of concern, overwhelm, despair and action. Talking about it as practice helps me to be aware of all this. It’s a process for me; I set a direction in my intentions, and I make the most skilful choices I can on any given day.’
For years I’ve longed for the day when we humans live with a keener awareness of the harm we cause, becoming re-attuned and re-sensitised to our environment. We’ll remember our part in things when we travel, buy food, build and fix our homes, communicate with one another or sit in meditation. Meanwhile, I feel fortunate to be part of a Buddhist movement and order committed to the practice of ethics, meditation and wisdom; to understanding that actions have consequences.
A big thankyou to all of you have been involved in making the Bristol Centre a more sustainable place. I would thoroughly recommend this initiative to other centres wondering about getting involved. Personally, I hope it moves us one step closer to realising our re-attunement and re-sensitisation to ourselves, others and the wider world of human, and other-than-human, life.”
Centres certified so far: Amsterdam, Metta Vihara, Norwich, Sheffield, Brighton, Birmingham, Tiratnaloka, Taraloka, Bristol, Colchester
Pending: Manchester, Ipswich
Read the guide and criteria for sustainability; see the Certificate.
Watch Guhyapati interview Amalaketu on video (10 mins).Read more about Buddhist Action Month (BAM).