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The Wellington Buddhist Centre is moving, but not very far! Just across the hall from our old premises!
Our new premises will be twice the size, with a quiet, well insulated environment and more suitable for those who come to practise meditation and learn about Buddhism with all the courses, drop-in classes, and events we offer.
We have been in our current Centre for 6 years now, after a short period of homelessness from our previous premises. Over these 6 years we’ve gradually been outgrowing our present space and soon realised we needed to look around for a larger one.
Lots of people were involved with many ideas discussed and at some point Varadevi suggested that we looked at renting the entire warehouse space sitting disused in the back of the building. It was twice as big as our current space and oddly shaped but we started imagining where walls could go to turn it into just the space we required. The space lacked natural light as the windows were high but an advantage of the space was that we could create dividing walls for how many rooms we might need, as well as their size and shape. We would also be staying with the same landlord, in the same building, and our imagined new entrance would only be 3 metres from our current entrance.
Other rental options were still being looked at but a group of us began talking to the landlord about a refit and with Asangamati and Trace’s involvement, our basic design was improved immensely. It soon became obvious that we couldn’t find a better rental option especially as our Sangha was growing and our need for a bigger space was becoming urgent.
The refit agreement and the terms and form of the lease were agreed in July 2017; with the plan to sign the lease when the refit was complete. As we agreed to a 5-year initial lease, the refit was paid for by the landlord and is being carried out by his builder. That doesn’t mean to say we have nothing to do! A GFR Mitra Chris Bicknell is project managing from a customer perspective and Asangamati is our aesthetics adviser. Our current lease ran out at the beginning of January but we are able to stay on until we move.
In February, with building work continuing, we began planning our Dedication Ceremony of our new premises to coincide with a visit from our President Nagabodhi during his visit from the UK. Sadly, Nagabodhi can’t be with us for the dedication as he had to return to the UK following the death of his mother. Achala, the original founder of the Wellington Buddhist centre 40 years ago, will now lead us in the Dedication Ceremony.
It is a very exciting time at the Wellington Buddhist Centre. Our Sangha is growing, our sub 35 group is feeling much more established with four young people taking responsibility for it, and our present meditation and Buddhism course was over-subscribed.
The move to our new space feels very exciting. Although our current Centre has been a wonderful interim space as we have adapted to high rents while wishing to stay close to the centre of our city, it has been too hot in summer and too cold in winter, with road noise as well as the revving engines from the motor mechanics next door!
Over the last few months I’ve been regularly checking out the progress in the back room. Away from the road, and backing onto a remote corner of the Gardens of Government House, I feel a beautiful stillness and silence with dappled sunlight and blue sky shining down from the windows high up. Our beautiful new premises promise to be a true refuge of inspiration for all who enter our doors.
Ps we’re planning to move in at the beginning of March