Triratna has been established in India for well over thirty years now, with a dozen or more Buddhist Centres, several hundred Order Members and well over 5,000 Mitras. In recent years, however, it has begun to expand more vigorously from its base in Maharastra, central India - and today we bring you the first of several reports from some of its more pioneering activities in that great county. Central to Triratna’s expansion is the Nagarjuna Training Institute in Nagpur where every year a ‘batch’ of young men and women are given a year’s intensive training in the fundamentals of Buddhism and social work. Nagaratna, from south India, a Triratna mitra and one of their graduates, writes with his story, saying -
“I am Nagaratna writing from Kerala, an ex-trainee of Nagarjuna Training Institute, Nagpur. I hope you are fine and your spiritual practices are going on well. I am happy to share the progress of our Triratna Dhamma work in Kerala, south India, particularly in Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala.
Since August 2011 I have started regular Dhamma activities every Sunday and Wednesday. In the beginning I rented rooms and then a few generous people helped us borrow an amount of Rs.30,000 (without interest) for deposits. We have to repay this, by collecting it from local people interested in Buddhism. We have to pay monthly Rs 4,500 rent. The location of our center is in the heart of the city, only 4 kilometers from the Central Railway station. We have one hall, two rooms and a kitchen. About 25-30 people can do meditation in the hall and we have basic accommodation facilities for guests. Right now I am staying in the center full time. Many people are visiting and learning Dhamma. It is such a good thing that we can spread the Dhamma here and introduce more people to Lord Buddha and Babasaheb Ambedkar’s thoughts.
On every Sunday, 8 to 15 people come together. We do Puja, meditation, Chi-kung, Dhamma study and discussion. In the last few weeks, many Order Members, like Ashvajit, Shakyajata, Priyadaka, Ratnasiddhi, Bodhipriya and other friends of theirs, visited our center and conducted retreat and Dhamma activities.
In February we Dhammamitras (Rejimon, Arunboudh, Binoj Babu, and myself) organized a three day retreat for 9 Dhammamitras, for the first time in Kerala. It was led by Dhammachari Ratnasiddhi on the “Padhanasutta” and Dhammachari Bodhipriya led Meditation sessions. Then Dhammacharini Shakyajata and Dhammachari Priyadaka from the UK conducted a dedication ceremony and named our center the “Ratnaloka Spiritual Community”.
Now, we just need some hard working youngsters and some help. I am keen to accommodate a few mitras in “Ratnaloka”, who are interested to learn and practice Dhamma. They will be free to do their academic studies or to find a job to support themselves. Also we are looking to acquire some basic materials for the Shrine and community center - a Buddha statue, cushions for meditation, a shelf or bookcase to keep Buddhist and Ambedkar literature, and also to purchase more books for a Library.
Dhamma work in Kerala is at a rudimentary stage, but we have begun. So it is difficult for us to raise funds for above mentioned needs. If some generous people in our world Sangha would like to contribute financially and thereby help us in our work of training Dhamma workers for the Dhamma revolution in Kerala, then please help us. You can donate on our Young Indian Futures page with JustGiving.
With much metta, Nagaratna”
Another group of Nagarjuna graduates have started a second centre in Kollam, in the north of Kerala - we hope to bring to a report on them soon.