Buddhism

KeyBased in Frome, Vajrasara and Nagamudra share the Buddha’s teaching in a relaxed way, trying to apply ancient wisdom in our busy 21st-century context. We draw inspiration from all schools of Buddhism, as well as from the arts, the wider culture and nature. We are both ordained in the Triratna Order (formerly the Western Buddhist Order) and look to Sangharakshita as our primary teacher. Our aim is to create a vibrant and supportive community of practising meditators and Buddhists. We are joined occasionally by a number of other Triratna Order members in Somerset, Dhammdassin, Karunika, Rijumani and Kamalini. And are linked into a thriving worldwide Buddhist sangha – in which we participate by attending and leading retreats around the UK. We also have a number of local mitras or committed friends.

Our approach

Over the centuries, as the Buddha’s teaching reached each new country, it adapted to the prevailing culture – and often these countries had no contact with each other. As a result Asian Buddhism is extremely varied. Most of these traditions have now come to the West and present westerners with a bewildering variety of teachings, practices and forms.

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Rather than adopting one specific form, Sangharakshita, founder of the Triratna Buddhist Community and Order, was keen to clarify what all Buddhist schools held in common: the essential principles and practices that run through the whole tradition. He suggests the key unifying factor is the historical Buddha and his experience of Enlightenment.
 All Buddhist schools aim to teach a path to freedom from suffering that will help practitioners become more like the Buddha. The differences between them are basically a matter of means, not ends – however different they may look from the outside.
 Sangharakshita’s approach is based on the perception that the diverse Buddhist tradition has an underlying unity.

The overall purpose of Buddhism is cultivating compassion and insight, leading towards Enlightenment for the sake of all beings. Traditionally Buddhists express this aspiration by actively making central in their lives the Buddha, his Dharma (or teaching) and the Sangha (spiritual community).

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The Buddha is regarded as an exemplary human being (not a god). Something we can all aspire to become. He is sometimes called a ‘refuge’ not because he helps us to escape life, but because his example and teaching represent practical and reliable responses to facing the challenges of life. They teachings can help us develop awareness, contentment and wholeheartedness; they free us from unrealistic expectations and looking for happiness and security in things that are ultimately unable to provide them. The Buddha’s vision and example are fundamental. Following his advice helps us to become warmer, clearer, more energised and integrated.

In seeking to follow the Buddha’s path to awakening, Buddhists try to understand all the teachings that express his wisdom, from the whole of the Buddhist tradition throughout time. These are collectively known as the Dharma, and are revered as the best guide to reality there is. The sangha or community of Buddhist practitioners offers vital inspiration, support, guidance and friendship on the path. The Triratna community especially emphasises the value and enjoyment of building community and developing friendship with like-minded individuals.

Contact Vajrasara if you would like to learn more about Buddhism or our approach.

Dharma talks by Vajrasara

Audio Talks

Tales of a Free Spirit – 45 Years of the Buddha’s Life – This talk was given in 2006 and explores the life and teachings of the Buddha as they’ve come down through the stories…

The Power of Empathy – In this excellent talk, Vajrasara explores metta (loving kindness), the subtle art of listening, and Kuan…

Building Sangha, Creating Harmony – Vajrasara explores the value of spiritual community, ways to encourage fuller harmony, and the many opportunities…

Beyond Heaven and Hell – Vajrasara has ideas for managing the highs and lows of the 8 Worldly Winds; talk given October 2011 at Bristol…

The Muni and the Moonlight – Vajrasara reflects on the Buddha, his victory over pleasure and pain, and how we might bring him alive in…

Embracing Love – Vajrasara explores the joys and challenges of love, empathy, passion and compassion on the spiritual journey…

Enough Is More Than Enough – Vajrasara explores sufficiency, attitudes around plenty, and the creative spiral of abundance.

Video Talks

Discipleship – Vajrasara shares some reflections and practices around being a disciple. Short talk given at the Convention of the Western Buddhist Order, 2009

Enough is more than enough – Vajrasara explores sufficiency, attitudes around plenty, and the creative spiral of Abundance.  Talk given at Buddhafield festival 2011

Embracing Love – Vajrasara explores the joys and challenges of love, empathy, passion & compassion on the spiritual journey. Talk given at Buddhafield festival 2012