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I started visiting the Norwich Buddhist Centre in 1992, having decided to explore Buddhism during an extended cycling tour of Ireland in the summer of the previous year. I became a Mitra and asked for ordination in 1993, the same year in which I participated in my first door-knocking appeal for the Karuna Trust. A year later I had the good fortune to move to Padmaloka and join the Support Team as gardener and second cook, where I remained for six years. In 1997 I was privately ordained at Guhyaloka by Ashvajit.
A week or so after the ordinations my public preceptor Sona gave a talk on “Breaking out of Britain”, in the course of which he encouraged every new Order Member to leave their native land within two years in order to start a Buddhist centre overseas. (This was the year of the “Break out of Britain” campaign in the Order intended to foster an expansion of the Movement beyond the United Kingdom.) A few days after Sona’s talk I awoke with a very strong sense of ‘knowing’ I would move to Berlin, despite never having been to Germany before.
After attending a weekly German language course in the intervening years, I moved to Berlin in September 2000, where Anomarati and Dayaraja had already started activities and the first centre had opened in 1998. I co-founded the Chintamani men’s community, where I still live with six other men, and three years later Anomarati moved to Nepal, and I became Chair of FWBO/Triratna Berlin. Working to help establish a thriving Triratna presence in Berlin has been the main focus of my practice in the last sixteen years, and I am proud to have overseen the purchase of new premises for a significant new centre into which we moved in 2013.
Early next year, when I turn sixty, I will hand on my responsibilities as centre chair, although I intend to continue supporting Triratna activities in Berlin in whatever ways I can.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of my life in Berlin has been exploring the arts, especially the world of classical music. Since 2012 I’ve been learning to play the piano. Apart from my involvement with Buddistisches Tor Berlin I’ve partly supported myself since 2003 by teaching English.