Still to come are talks on Buddhism and sexuality, climate change, and the entertainments industry. They’ve had up to 70 people attend each talk, with the series generating a definite buzz. Suryaka, who organised the series, explains how it works: “I wanted to see something more happen at the weekends, and get some new energy flowing around the centre. Getting the speakers wasn’t that hard… I was amazed to have so many quick and positive replies from those I asked. The Saturday 2-3pm slot works well; lots of the regular sangha have come as well as new people. “I’ve seen it as a sangha project; asking folk to put up posters/flyers in local libraries and cafes, and also having a team of folk who set up the room, make tea, and welcome people. As we’ve gone along things have just developed. We also laminate lots of posters to tie to the railings outside the centre about 2-3 weeks before each talk.
“I just try to make folk very welcome, and create a very relaxed, informal atmosphere. I think there is an art to giving a good public talk. Having experienced speakers and Dharma teachers has made a big difference. The audience need to feel engaged with, not lots of new terms, but language that they can understand and relate to and something new to their ears too! I want people to get an experience of something new or something being stirred in them. I have seen that happen and it has happened to me too!”