Newsletter - Editorial

From Jnanadhara

May 2017

Dear Friends,

One of the aspects of my work that I enjoy is responding to enquiries from journalists. Because we are one of only a small number of Buddhist communities in Ireland, we regularly get asked for comment on a range of different issues.

There are a few questions that come up repeatedly. For example, most years in December one or other of the newspapers will do a feature on what people from non-Christian religions do at Christmas.

Also, when the census results are released every five years there are enquiries from the media about the steady rise in the number of Buddhists in the country. Recent figures indicate that between 2011 and 2016 the number of Buddhists has risen by 11%. I've recently been talking to a journalist who is asking why there is increasing interest in Buddhism and I've been pondering this question.

What is attracting people to Buddhism?

My sense of why people are attracted to Buddhism arises mostly from the conversations that I have with people who are investigating Buddhist teachings and who decide to practice them.

The immediately appreciable effect that the practices have is probably the most common reason why people are attracted to Buddhism. Many people come to learn to meditate, without any interest in Buddhism, and through the course of a class they experience states of mind that are more expansive, creative and calm than those with which they arrived. So having tried out Buddhist meditation for themselves a curiosity develops about other aspects of Buddhism.

In many cases, people find answers to significant personal questions, conundrums and dilemmas. For example, people are often deeply puzzled by the question of what it means to live an ethical life without the existence of a creator god.

They might be affected by past traumas, and are looking to live a life free from having their present and future defined by the events of their past. Many are simply profoundly curious about the purpose of human life and the potential for growth that lies within it.

One of the things that we are trying to do at DBC is create a space where people, at all levels of involvement, can delve deeply into questions such as these, and hear what the Buddhist tradition has to say in relation to them.

The Buddhist tradition places a high store on honest enquiry and exploration, and it is a functional necessity that we don't just take the teachings at face value but reflect on our experience in the light of them. We also need to engage strongly with others in conversation and discussion to really get to grips with what the teachings are saying, and to realise the ramifications of these teachings.

This kind of open dialogue is one of the features of the Sangha – the Spiritual Community – and this is another aspect of Buddhism that people positively respond to. They also respond to the good qualities of the people that they meet: we may respond to qualities such as kindness and wisdom when we hear about them in Buddhist teachings, but it's that much more immediate and inspiring when we encounter them embodied, to whatever extent, in an actual person.

Buddha Day

These qualities are of course fully present in the Buddha and it is he who gives us both a vision of who we can grow into as a human being and a path of practice that we can engage with to get there. Every year we celebrate the Buddha and his achievement of awakening on Buddha Day. This year we'll be celebrating Buddha Day on Sunday 21st May and I'd love to see you there.

Summer Retreat

The Buddha will also provide the focus for this year's Summer Retreat, which is entitled The Golden Light of the Buddha. On the retreat Prajnagita and I will be exploring the different aspects of his enlightened personality in the silence and peace of the Cavan countryside.

Ordinations

And we have just heard news about two ordinations that I want to rejoice in. The two new Order Members are Aryanaga (ex-Greg Kelly from Westport) whose name means The Noble Serpent and Amalayodhin (ex-Kevin Croke who got involved in Triratna through the DBC and who now lives in London) whose name means He who is a Warrior whose aim is Purity. Congratulations guys! (Mairead Keane is also on her ordination retreat and we will hear her new name in June.)

Also, congratulations go out to Keith Hogan, who has been invited to be ordained on 7th October here in Dublin in what will be the first ever Triratna ordination on Irish soil! Sadhu Keith!

All the best,
Jnanadhara.
Chair.

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Newsletter - Editorial

From Jnanadhara

May 2017

Dear Friends,

One of the aspects of my work that I enjoy is responding to enquiries from journalists. Because we are one of only a small number of Buddhist communities in Ireland, we regularly get asked for comment on a range of different issues.

There are a few questions that come up repeatedly. For example, most years in December one or other of the newspapers will do a feature on what people from non-Christian religions do at Christmas.

Also, when the census results are released every five years there are enquiries from the media about the steady rise in the number of Buddhists in the country. Recent figures indicate that between 2011 and 2016 the number of Buddhists has risen by 11%. I've recently been talking to a journalist who is asking why there is increasing interest in Buddhism and I've been pondering this question.

What is attracting people to Buddhism?

My sense of why people are attracted to Buddhism arises mostly from the conversations that I have with people who are investigating Buddhist teachings and who decide to practice them.

The immediately appreciable effect that the practices have is probably the most common reason why people are attracted to Buddhism. Many people come to learn to meditate, without any interest in Buddhism, and through the course of a class they experience states of mind that are more expansive, creative and calm than those with which they arrived. So having tried out Buddhist meditation for themselves a curiosity develops about other aspects of Buddhism.

In many cases, people find answers to significant personal questions, conundrums and dilemmas. For example, people are often deeply puzzled by the question of what it means to live an ethical life without the existence of a creator god.

They might be affected by past traumas, and are looking to live a life free from having their present and future defined by the events of their past. Many are simply profoundly curious about the purpose of human life and the potential for growth that lies within it.

One of the things that we are trying to do at DBC is create a space where people, at all levels of involvement, can delve deeply into questions such as these, and hear what the Buddhist tradition has to say in relation to them.

The Buddhist tradition places a high store on honest enquiry and exploration, and it is a functional necessity that we don't just take the teachings at face value but reflect on our experience in the light of them. We also need to engage strongly with others in conversation and discussion to really get to grips with what the teachings are saying, and to realise the ramifications of these teachings.

This kind of open dialogue is one of the features of the Sangha – the Spiritual Community – and this is another aspect of Buddhism that people positively respond to. They also respond to the good qualities of the people that they meet: we may respond to qualities such as kindness and wisdom when we hear about them in Buddhist teachings, but it's that much more immediate and inspiring when we encounter them embodied, to whatever extent, in an actual person.

Buddha Day

These qualities are of course fully present in the Buddha and it is he who gives us both a vision of who we can grow into as a human being and a path of practice that we can engage with to get there. Every year we celebrate the Buddha and his achievement of awakening on Buddha Day. This year we'll be celebrating Buddha Day on Sunday 21st May and I'd love to see you there.

Summer Retreat

The Buddha will also provide the focus for this year's Summer Retreat, which is entitled The Golden Light of the Buddha. On the retreat Prajnagita and I will be exploring the different aspects of his enlightened personality in the silence and peace of the Cavan countryside.

Ordinations

And we have just heard news about two ordinations that I want to rejoice in. The two new Order Members are Aryanaga (ex-Greg Kelly from Westport) whose name means The Noble Serpent and Amalayodhin (ex-Kevin Croke who got involved in Triratna through the DBC and who now lives in London) whose name means He who is a Warrior whose aim is Purity. Congratulations guys! (Mairead Keane is also on her ordination retreat and we will hear her new name in June.)

Also, congratulations go out to Keith Hogan, who has been invited to be ordained on 7th October here in Dublin in what will be the first ever Triratna ordination on Irish soil! Sadhu Keith!

All the best,
Jnanadhara.
Chair.