Triratna News

Triratna's Order Conventions 2011

On Sun, 21 August, 2011 - 05:39
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lokabandhu
Triratna’s biannual Order Conventions have been in full swing these past ten days, with over 500 Order Members – the largest number ever – currently gathered at Wymondham College in Norfolk, UK to explore the theme of ‘Meeting the Buddha’.

In the first of a series of three talks, Vishvapani spoke on ‘Seeking the Buddha through History’ – a fascinating inquiry into the nature of the man ‘behind’ the scriptures. Subsequent talks have included Dhammadinna on ‘Seeking the Buddha through Symbol, Myth and Archetype’; and Jnanavaca on ‘Seeking the Buddha through Reality’.

A transcript of Vishvapani’s talk is available in full on his new website www.wiseattention.org and the recordings will be available soon on Free Buddhist Audio and the Triratna Videosangha site.

As one illustration of the flashes of biography that appear here and there in the Pali Canon he chose the Attadanda Sutta (4.15 in the Sutta Nipata), which paints a vivid picture of a man “incomplete and highly emotional” – as well as “intense, passionate, determined and fiercely individual”. Here’s an excerpt, from Andrew Olendzki’s translation on the Access to Insight website:

Fear is born from arming oneself.
Just see how many people fight!
I’ll tell you about the dreadful fear
that caused me to shake all over:


Seeing creatures flopping around,
Like fish in water too shallow,
So hostile to one another!
— Seeing this, I became afraid.


This world completely lacks essence;
It trembles in all directions.
I longed to find myself a place
Unscathed — but I could not see it.


Seeing people locked in conflict,
I became completely distraught.
But then I discerned here a thorn
— Hard to see — lodged deep in the heart…


It’s only when pierced by this thorn
That one runs in all directions.
So if that thorn is taken out —
one does not run, and settles down.

Afternoons have included ‘special interest’ groups on everything: meditation practice and teaching, co-housing, focussing, fundraising for India, dance, NVC, the new Sila Network, support for new Triratna groups, poetry readings, the Karuna Trust – and plenty more! In the background has been a sizeable art exhibition, an even larger ‘shopping mall’, and the ‘Imaginarium’ – a “most wondrous collection of curiosities for the inspiration, provocation, delight and delectation of the Imagination”. One evening saw the traditional welcome to all new Order Members – well over 100 – plus a remembering of all those resigned or died since the last Convention. Sangharakshita has been present in the background and will be here tomorrow for the celebrations marking his 86th birthday.

Triratna Order Conventions come in three parts – Men’s, Women’s and Combined. The Men’s and Women’s were held last week, and the short video shows the salutation to the shrine at the Men’s, in the Padmaloka shrineroom. More from these three rich Sangha gatherings tomorow!

If the embedded player isn’t visible you can catch it on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=STD4vUvMsSM
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