The Hornchurch Buddhist Group was initiated in January 2013 by two local Buddhists; Nandaketu and Saddhabhaya. The aim is to provide ongoing classes in Buddhism and meditation. Hopefully, in time, it may also become a focal point for the emergence of a local Buddhist community (Sangha).
The group is part of an international Buddhist movement called the Triratna Buddhist Community. Please see further down the page for details of other Triratna groups and centres in the immediate region.
Triratna means ‘Three Jewels’ and refers to the Three Jewels of Buddhism; the Buddha, his teaching known as the Dharma and the Buddhist community known as the Sangha.
My name, Nandaketu, is made up to two parts. ‘Nanda’ (rhymes with ‘panda’) means bliss and the ‘ketu’ part (sounds like ‘Kay2’) suggests something bright and shining. It is sometimes translated as ‘torch of bliss, or ‘banner of bliss’. It is inspiring to have such a positive name.
In the late 80’s I began to get more seriously interested in Buddhism. I turned up to a beginners class at the London Buddhist Centre in Bethnal Green in 1990 full of ideas, idealism, shyness and confusion. Patiently I was shown how to channel my energies into a more effective practice for which I am extremely grateful. Like many others, after a few years I made a commitment as a ‘Mitra’ (the Sanskrit for friend) to what was then called the Western Buddhist Order. I also began more systematic study and moved into a small residential Buddhist community. A few years later I asked for ordination and moved to Norfolk. During my time there I was involved in the Norwich Buddhist Centre and spent five years in another community. In 2000 I was ordained at a retreat centre in the Spanish hills in the course of a sixteen week retreat.
I am trained as a primary school teacher and have earned my living from school teaching as well as working at various times for Buddhist businesses and charities. When not directly involved in Buddhist activities I like writing and playing songs, visiting the gym, messing around in the countryside and seeing friends. I live in Thurrock with my partner Christine.
I spend quite a bit of time at the London Buddhist Centre, this is sometimes to teach or lead study but often to enjoy the life of the community, to gain knowledge, to challenge my own understanding and as a source of inspiration.
Saddhabhaya and Nandaketu
I was ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order in September 2013 and given the name Saddhabhaya by my preceptor which means ‘one who is fearless through faith’. Prior to this my first name was David so if you see some references to that name on this site or our facebook page that will have been me (just to clear up any possible confusion).
I live in Hornchurch with my wife Deborah and have two grown up sons. I have lived in this area practically all of my life and hence feel a strong connection to it. I have had an interest in Buddhism for a large part of my life but only began actively practising and to regard myself as a Buddhist some eight years ago, something which has enriched my life immensely. Like Nandaketu I spend a lot of time at the London Buddhist Centre and in recent years have beeen teaching meditation at the Centre’s West End outpost in St. Martin’s Lane. Locally I have been involved in the Havering Inter Faith Forum and the Coopers’ Coborn Inter Faith Forum for a number of years and have also undertaken school visits introducing Buddhism and meditation. I think it would be wonderful to see a community of Buddhists flourish in the Havering area.
Where else can I go?
You may wish to visit other groups or find a group closer to where you live or work. Both Nandaketu and Saddhabhaya have been involved for many years with the London Buddhist Centre in Bethnal Green. This converted fire station is a large thriving centre with many activities happening. There are many events like the lunchtime classes (1-2pm Monday to Saturday), the Wednesday morning class and Tuesday and Wednesday evening classes that are on a drop in basis as well as courses (usually 6 or 8 weeks long) that you can book. You can just pop in to have a look or visit the excellent bookshop, the centre is open Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm.
Colchester has a Buddhist Centre that is well worth visiting, as does Cambridge, please check the opening times if you are planning to visit. There are many other small groups for example the Hertford Sangha and the Southend Buddhist Group led by Aryacitta….and new for 2015 but it’s taken a while for us to remember to list it here the Mid Essex Buddhist Centre
Each Triratna group or centre will have its own character due to geography, local culture and personalities, however the practices and vision that inform the teaching will stem from the same tradition, so even in other parts of the country and beyond much will be familiar and you will be welcome.