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A new Triratna Buddhist Centre is currently taking shape in the heart of historic York in the UK, just round the corner from the famous Minster.
This will be the new home of the York Buddhist Group which was started in November 2017 by Shakyapada, and three mitra friends: Mark Jones, Kate Readman and Ley Robinson, using a hired room in a York community centre. As the Group grew, it moved to the York Quaker Meeting House in 2018 where more facilities were available.
It is now a lively, active and growing sangha with 11 mitras. The Group runs several newcomers courses each year, day retreats, sangha retreats, and study groups, in addition to the weekly sangha night.
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis the Group has also reached out to the local community by offering regular online meditation sessions. These virtual sessions have been an important source of support to many suffering from the effects of stress and isolation, with people from the York area, and even further afield joining in regularly. They have also been an excellent way of building the sangha at a difficult time.
Shakyapada is currently the only Order member in York so Order members from other centres - Khemasuri, Amoghavamsa and Mahasraddha - have generously given up their time to help form and run Triratna Buddhist Community (York) - a new charity registered in June this year. They are joined on the council by Shakyapada who becomes the Chair of the new Centre with Mark as Treasurer and Kate as a Trustee.
Now, established as a charity, and with the easing of restrictions, members of the sangha are busy decorating the premises, erecting shelving, building a new shrine and generally, creating a beautiful new centre for the sangha and for the people of York.
Shakyapada, who lives in York, says: “This is a really exciting time for us and a great reward for the commitment and dedication of the York sangha over the last two and a half years. Many strong spiritual friendships have been formed in that time, lives have been changed, and all the time, new people are joining us and experiencing the benefits of the Dharma and of friendship.
We have a very committed, supportive and growing sangha and we are all very excited about moving into a ‘home’ of our own and creating a really special place where the Dharma can thrive in York. We’ll be able to increase our activities with more open meditation sessions, day retreats and open days. The new centre will also include a small shop selling ethically sourced products.
Shakyapada adds, “I am so grateful for the support of all the Order members who have visited us in the past two years and given talks, run evenings, and been so supportive to our young sangha”.
The Group recently received a generous grant of £2,000 from Future Dharma Fund supporters which has has boosted other funds raised by the sangha over the last two years, through skills auctions, sponsorship and stalls at local events.
Obviously, the cost of decorating and fitting out a brand new Centre is expensive, and while the grant helps a great deal towards the setting up expenses, the sangha still needs to raise another £2,000 to cover the costs and get the project off the ground.
So the York sangha is appealing to the wider movement for donations to help make this new Centre a reality and ensure that it can open as soon as the lockdown restrictions end.
Watch video about the York Buddhist Centre