West London Buddhist Centre

Pastures green

Published on Mar 26th 2024, in News

From the 12th October 2023 newsletter

Ratnadeva. one of the WLBC’s teachers, mitra convenor, friend and so much more, writes to us of plans

I remember sitting with Bodhilila in L’Étoile Coffee shop on Westbourne Grove in the autumn of 2018. She painted a picture of what my responsibilities would be if I joined the West London Buddhist Centre Team. After the previous decade of working with Buddhafield in the West Country, mainly in a logistics capacity, this was the opportunity I wanted – a chance to focus on teaching the Dharma and building Sangha. The prospect of living in London was exciting, but also had an element of sacrifice about it. I had grown fond of parts rural, running along dinglydell footpaths, staring up into the depths of the night’s sky, being woken-up by the hooting of owls.

In the five years since then, the prospect of extensive and intensive opportunities to teach and to develop Dharma friendships has been more than realised here in London. My cup has been full to overflowing. However, I’ve felt a fish out of water living in the metropolis and my longing for ‘pastures green’ has grown rather than diminished.

There is another dimension to the word ‘green’ here that speaks to another dimension to my longing. For some years, I have been hearing a gentle but insistent voice calling me back to Ireland. In my 35 years on this side of the Irish Sea, I have learned much about the Dharma and, additionally, nature spirituality. The prospect of taking this knowledge back to my home country is an inspiring one. I left Ireland in 1988 a committed Catholic. I will return a Dharma Druid. I hope to bring some benefit to my homeland from what I have learned in my thirty five years away. So my plan is to leave the WLBC in mid-April 2024. I will then be involved with a series of retreats with Buddhafield, Dhanakosa and Tirylan House, before I make my way over the Irish Sea.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my years at the WLBC and will take lots of happy memories as well a much knowledge and experience away with me. I love the WLBC Sangha and will miss you lots. Indeed, 95% of my friends live in the UK, so I have a strong sense of leaving much behind. But the call is stronger.

My future is undefined, but it may well be that I have yearly opportunities to visit the WLBC, to do further teaching and to keep up the connection. Whatever happens, a piece of my heart will  forever be in West London.


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