Sangha Night

Thursdays 7.00 for 7.30pm

Hosted by Singhamati and Team

At the heart of the Birmingham Buddhist Centre is a community of people that are exploring and practising Buddhism – this is the Sangha. Every Thursday night is Sangha Night, the night we come together each week to create a nourishing place of friendship, connection and depth, whilst enjoying collective meditation, Dharma and devotional practice. Like all of our events, Sangha Night will run on a donation basis.

The usual format will be: meditation, tea break, short talk on the theme then exploration of how these ancient teachings relate to our modern lives.

 

New Series: The Essential Wisdom of the Sangha Jewel

What is the Sangha? Why is it a Jewel? How can we be and build a vibrant sangha here at the Birmingham Buddhist Centre? These are the questions we be exploring throughout the rest of the year at Sangha Night, clarifying and deepening our understanding of the Sangha Jewel and how we can help it shine.

19 October: “The Group and the Spiritual Community” with Parami

What is a Spiritual Community and how does this differ from being part of a group?  This question is fundamental to our understanding of sangha and is of central importance if we want to create a vital spiritual community. Come and explore this core teaching and its implications for our lives.  Parami is steeped in Buddhist practice, having been ordained in 1980, and is currently one of two International Order Convenors, as well as a member of the College of Public Preceptors and the Adhisthana Kula.

26 October: “The Path of the True Individual” with Singhamati

Conformist? Individualist? People-pleaser? Rebel? Approval seeker? An island unto yourself? Sangha goes beyond these labels and is made up of those on the path towards true individuality – Buddhahood. Through workshops and discussion we will explore where we are on this path and how to journey along it.

2 November: Puja with Mitra Ceremonies

Join us for this celebratory evening, rejoicing in the sangha through the practice of puja and witnessing friends becoming Mitras and committing to practise Buddhism as part of the Triratna Buddhist Community.

9 November: “Serving the Sangha: Participation as Practice” with Saddhanandi

Saddhanandi was Chairwoman and Retreat Leader at Taraloka Retreat Centre for Women for over 15 years before moving to Adhisthana to become their Chairwoman about 3 years ago. Through her life, work and friendships she has developed a deep appreciation and understanding of service and participation as practice.  Don’t miss her reflections on this theme, which will explore this essential practice and how we can go deeper together.

16 November:  “Teachers, Friends and the Liberation of the Heart” with Padmavajra

In this talk Padmavajra will explore the fundamental importance of teachers and friends for the living of a full and vital life in the Dharma. He will aim to show how learning from teachers and being with friends on the path creates the necessary culture in which to grow and bring about the liberation of the heart.  Padmavajra, a member of the Men’s Ordination Team at Padmaloka and of the College of Public Preceptors, will be well known to many of you for his wisdom and deep kindness, reflective of over 40 years of Buddhist Practice in Triratna.

23 November: “Generosity as the Path” with Khemadana and Vicky

Giving is the fundamental Buddhist virtue. Before taking up any other practice, one should learn to be generous. (Sangharakshita)

Described as the very essence of the Dharma, generosity is a quality that most of us aspire to cultivate in our own lives as Buddhists. But what does this really look like in practice, and how can we take this on more seriously? Khemadana and Vicky invite you to join them for an evening of practical reflections on working with generosity in our day-to-day lives.

29 November: “Happy Birthday, William Blake!” with Jnanaketu

William Blake was born on 28 November 1757. He became a poet, painter, print-maker, mystic and radical, who was hardly recognised in his own time, but has since influenced many artists, musicians and writers, including Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, Van Morrison, and Patti Smith. Much of the central theme of Philip Pullman’s fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials is rooted in the world of Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.  One respected critic has  referred to him as “far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced”. Several of his poems are very well-known, including The Tyger.

Jnanaketu will explain why many Buddhists have noticed Dharmic resonances in Blake’s works. He dealt vividly with themes such as loss, energy, imagination, post-Christian religion, the meaning of human existence, slavery, societal change, and the role of religion in human life.

7 December: “Gratitude: the Glue of the Sangha” with Subhadramati

Meet Subhadramati, a member of the College of Public Preceptors, Women’s Mitra Convenor at the London Buddhist Centre and author of the excellent book Not about Being Good. A great person to give this last talk in our current series and explore with us gratitude and appreciation and their profound importance in the sangha. Why are they so essential? How do we develop and practise them? Come and explore these questions and help strengthen the sangha.

 

 

14 December: “Pop goes the Puja!” with Sagarasri and Cait Hughes

Buddhism will not really be established in the West until it learns to speak the language of Western culture. (Sangharakshita)

The Sevenfold Puja consists of a series of verses, each expressing a different spiritual mood, such as appreciations of higher values, gratitude and acknowledgement of our own potential. Come and join us as we give it a contemporary twist, bringing together ancient teachings with songs from pop culture.  Weather or not you are familiar with puja, we hope that doing this practice will help you understand and experience its different moods in a fresh and creative way.

21 December:  Winter Solstice Sangha Gathering

After the delight and success of our Summer Solstice Sangha Picnic, let’s gather again as a sangha to mark the winter solstice.  Bring food, friendship and, if you like, a musical or poetic offering.  This is a family-friendly event which is open to all.