Harshaprabha recently returned to Britain from the latest of many Dharma-teaching visits to Ontario, Canada. He writes:
“This was my best visit so far. I ran newcomers’ sessions in Guelph, Toronto and Goderich. Average newcomer attendance figures of 3, 0 and 7 could have been depressing but old friends turned up and made them rich and engaging occasions. Quite a few would like me to be living there full time to run Dharma classes.
I’ve been visiting Ontario since the 1990s when my father moved there. Having been Chair of the Colchester Buddhist Centre in Britain, I was ready for a new project. I remember going for a run one morning near where my father lived and thinking, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a Buddhist Centre here in a bungalow with a basement?!” The seed was sown.
The friends I’ve made there are lively, loyal and kind. What they lack (as was also the case in Colchester) is the experience of sangha and what it means to Go for Refuge. The place is like a big spiritual supermarket but it is difficult to nurture what is special about Triratna without being there full time.
Like Colchester, it needs time, patience, kindness, generosity, persistence; the ability to face setbacks. My friendship with Sangharakshita has been key, a grounding that has been inspiring, encouraging and insightful. Our friendship goes back to 1975 I believe, and he has been hugely patient and kind.
The biggest financial support has been my father, though he has been dead for three years. I am living on the money he left me, and I’m also grateful to a number of generous donors.
It’s certainly the toughest project I have taken on. I wonder where it will lead!”