Celebrating Enlightenment – Wesak Festival with Mitra Ceremonies
We have a threefold celebration this coming Sunday (23 May, 2-5pm) including the Festival of Wesak, that marks the Buddha’s attainment under the Bodhi Tree 2,500 years ago, when he desconstructed his sense of a fixed, separate self:
‘Housebuilder you have now been seen.
You shall not build this house again.
Your rafters have been broken down.
Your ridge-pole is demolished too.’
Secondly, we will be launching the Year of Amoghasiddhi. The WLBC will have a focus on the ‘Buddha of Action’ over the next twelve months. On Sunday there will be an introduction to this archetypal Buddha, followed by an invocation and a chanting of his mantra.
Thirdly, we have the joy of welcoming two new mitras to the Sangha, Jenny and Peter, during a Sevenfold Puja, to make our Festival celebration complete. Both Jenny and Peter have kindly written short self-introductions, which I copy below. Please do join us for this happy occasion!
I took an 8 week introduction to meditation course with Paramananda in April 2015 at the WLBC. And the 8 weeks turned into another course, and more delightful sangha nights, dharma days and potluck Sundays. When I moved to California in September 2015, I continued practicing, and have done so ever since. My practice wasn’t necessarily “exciting” but rather a steady companion.
When the whole world came to a screeching halt last year and WLBC moved online, my meditation practice blossomed, my heart opened and I have been filled with so much joy. I felt that I found “my” sangha back, and I was able to hear the dharma again, alive and well. I didn’t realize that the loss of a community, the absence of live, evolving, and diverse teachings were such key parts of my practice, until they were gone. The commitment to deepening my practice within the Triratna community, and to practice the five precepts isn’t a difficult one at all, although it has profound meaning to me. I am deeply moved and grateful for the opportunity to make this commitment in front of “my” sangha.
I have been around the West London Buddhist Centre for a number of years now. Many years ago, I attended a beginner’s meditation course run by Ratnaprabha, but Buddhism eluded me (or maybe I successfully avoided it). More recently, I was drawn in by the death café, followed by the Saturday men’s group, then sangha night, puja night etc., etc., as it gradually became a place of refuge for me when the wheels came off what now seems like a previous life. When I moved out of London, WLBC had become so important to me that I was frequently catching the first train into town so that I could still attend the early morning sit.
I resisted the Mitra call, perhaps guilty of the Groucho Marx quip, that I wouldn’t want to join a club that would have someone like me for a member (I remember telling Sophie one day that I didn’t want the t-shirt). Um, well, here I am. I think the combination of the loss of my biological and acquired families brought me to an awareness that my orphan status was the wake-up call to make conscious choices about those with whom I wished to align myself, and there is a faith I have in you (who are taking the time to read this) that goes far beyond the simple fact as to whether we get on or not. This is a community that I am proud to be part of, and I have the utmost faith that you would all wholeheartedly permit me to mix my spiritual metaphors in saying bless you all.
To find log-in details and programme visit: https://westlondonbuddhistcentre.com/event/buddha-day/