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As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread across the world, how have Triratna Buddhist Centres and team-based right livelihood businesses been responding?
By now most Triratna Buddhist Centres and groups have closed their doors - but many have opened up on the digital universe and invited their sanghas to join them online. Various Triratna Centres across the world are now offering courses classes, pujas, urban retreats and other events online. Now is a great time to try out joining in some of the activities of a completely different sangha! Several Triratna practitioners have also begun to run online classes, including yoga and meditation.
You can let us know what your sangha is offering online by replying in the comments below or info [at] thebuddhistcentre.com (email us the details!)
Visit the ‘Online Events Around Our Community’ page
One significant impact the coronavirus has had on our community has been the cancellation of both the women’s ordination course at Akashavana retreat centre and the men’s course at Guhyaloka retreat centre, in Spain. Ordination represents a significant step point in the life of our community: the moment when a person’s commitment to their Buddhist practice is recognised and witnessed by those in our community as being effective. Twenty three women from seven countries were due to attend the women’s ordination course, starting on 20th April for three months. This was to be largest ordination retreat yet held at Akashavana. Sixteen men from UK, Ireland, Spain and Sweden were also invited on the four month ordination course at Guhyaloka.
Listen to Parami, one was due to lead the women’s ordination course this year, talking about the difficult decision to cancel these courses.
However, not all ordinations have been cancelled. On Saturday 28th Itir Binay will have her public ordination in Melbourne, Australia, having been privately ordained on 12th March. While the ceremony will be attended in person by just two Order members, the local sangha have been invited to witness the ceremony on Zoom. And the public ordination of one of the men who was due to attend Guhyaloka in April will take place in the coming weeks at the London Buddhist Centre - keep an eye on Triratna News for further information!
All the retreat centres in the UK have also closed: Padmaloka, the men’s retreat centre in Norwich, have cancelled all their retreats until the end of June. Tiratanaloka retreat centre in Wales, finished a retreat a week early and closed on 20th March. Similarly Taraloka retreat centre has closed until the beginning of June. Dhanakosa retreat centre in Scotland have created an online programme involving videos, talks, online live sessions, and pictures, to keep us all inspired and connected through this difficult time. And, at Adhisthana, the burial place of Sangharakshita, the founder of the Triratna Buddhist Community and Order, the community there are using this time as an opportunity for work and practice together - you can take a look at their ‘home schedule’ and follow them on instagram to see how it’s all going.
And of course, it’s not just urban Buddhist centres and retreat centres that have been affected by this global crisis. Lama’s Pyjamas, the charity shop for the London Buddhist Centre, has closed its doors for a time. Likewise, Karuna Trust - which exists to end caste-based discrimination, poverty and inequality in India and Nepal - has taken the significant step of postponing all their door-to-door appeals until the autumn in order to look after their volunteers, supporters, staff and other members of the public. The majority of their fundraising is done by Buddhist volunteers who give six weeks of their time to live and work together, raising money through door-knocking appeals, so this decision will have a serious impact on Karuna’s ability to work with the poorest communities.
Some Triratna businesses have responded by generously offering some of their resources for free. Windhorse Publications, which is Triratna’s main publishing house, are giving away a free eBook each week, for as long as is needed, in order to help make the Buddha’s teachings and practices more widely available whatever your situation. This week’s free eBook is Solitude and Loneliness: A Buddhist View by Sarvananda. Breathworks, which runs courses and training around mindfulness for those living with stress, pain and illness, are offering a free, self-paced online course, Mindful Self-Care for Troubling Times to support those who might be feeling overwhelmed or who are isolated at this time.
And for Order members now experiencing hardship as a result of the Covid-19 virus, the Abhayaratna Trust, which supports Order members experiencing financial hardship through illness, old age or disability, has begun offering small grants.
Find out more about the grants for Order members affected by the coronavirus
Lastly, here at The Buddhist Centre Online, we have set up a ‘community toolkit for uncertain times’ to bring you a daily supply of the best Dharma content from around the world – new features and teaching, and highlights from our extensive archives - to keep you connected with the Dharma and with the sangha. You can join our twice daily online meditations (with about 150 others each day from all around the world), tune into our daily podcasts, sign up to our newsletter or just take a look at the resources on offer in the community toolkit space.
We hope you stay well in these uncertain times and look out for each other, however you can, whether it’s by reaching out to any elderly, disabled and ill members of your sangha confined to the home, doing the Metta Bhavana for all beings, helping with delivering shopping to those vulnerable or self-isolating, and or even helping others set up Skype or Zoom on their computers so they can stay connected online. 🙏
Find out what Triratna Centres and individuals are offering online
+Follow the Community Toolkit