Celebrating the Buddha’s Enlightenment – Sat May 25th

Hi everyone, here is advance warning of a date for your diaries

On Saturday May 25th we’ll be celebrating the Buddha’s Enlightenment with a gathering to meditate, listen to a talk, conduct a Buddhist devotional ritual (puja) and an opportunity to share a leisurely lunch and get to know each other better. This will take place in our usual room 12 at the Fairkytes Arts Centre with the following programme…

10.30 arrival and welcome
10.45 meditation
11.30 tea break
12.00 talk and puja
1.15 lunch*
3.00 finish (approx)

* please bring vegetarian food to share – if the weather is good lunch may take the form of a picnic in Langtons’ gardens

Other points of note…

This coming week – April 29th – Aryacitta will visiting and talking about ‘How Not to be Blown Away by the Wordly Winds’. Aryacitta was ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order in 1984 and has led the Southend group for many years.

There will be no classes on the Bank Holidays of May 6th and 27th as Fairkytes is closed giving the wonderful team there a much earned rest.

See you soon!

David and Nandaketu

Conditioned Arising

This being, that becomes
On the arising of this, that arises
This not being, that does not become
On the cessation of this, that ceases

This week we introduced the Buddhist teaching of conditionality, expressed variously in English as Conditioned Arising, Dependent Origination or Conditioned Co-Production but more consistently in Sanskrit as Pratitya Samutpada and Pali as Paticca Samuppada.

This is the profound truth underlying all of Buddhist teaching, that all phenomena, all things whatsoever arise in dependence upon a myriad of interconnecting conditions and pass away when those condition cease.

This applies to the physical universe at all levels of scale but also to our own experience wherein we can, with minds clarified through the practice of ethics and meditation, observe the arising and passing of thoughts and emotions –  joy, anger, craving, happiness, suffering, hatred and so on.

Through observing the truth of this teaching for ourselves, within our experience, we gain faith in the Dharma – the Buddha’s teaching – and begin to understand how, through its practise, we can transform and transcend our limiting views of self, becoming wiser and more compassionate to the benefit of ourselves and others.

Best wishes

David and Nandaketu

Friends in the Good Life

Dear all

I have just posted a document created from Srivati’s notes for her talk given on Monday April 8th concerning Spiritual Friendship and Sangha. This can be found in the Resources section or via this direct link.

The was the first class begun in daylight I think, very welcome.

See you Monday

Best wishes



Green Tara

oṃ tāre tuttāre ture svāhā

The mantra we are chanting at end of the class at the moment is that of Green Tara.  This intimate, approachable, enchanting aspect of the compassion of the enlightened mind is traditionally visualised as a beautiful sixteen year old woman.  She is the colour of verdant vegetation and has long flowing blue-black hair.  Smiling down at us, the figure has her left foot drawn up in cross legged meditation posture and her right extended as if she is stepping down to help us.  Her right hand is making a gesture of giving. Her left is held in front of her heart, the fingers are positioned in a delicate mudra with the third finger and thumb touching.  The remaining fingers are straightened as a reminder of the the Three Jewels. Tara is often depicted as holding her emblem an exquisite blue lotus flower (Utpala). To see some of the ways Tara is depicted try an image search on Google.

Tara is often considered the most approachable of the Buddhist figures and traditionally is said to always respond to cries of help.  She is known as Samaya Tara because she is always faithful to the bond of those who call on her.  She is popular in Tibet (Dolma in Tibetan) where there are said to be other Tara’s. Another popular  figure is White Tara which we will look at on another occasion.

Here is a sound file of the Green Tara mantra.


Best wishes to you all

Nandaketu and David

Establishing a Regular Meditation Practice

Morning all, hope everyone is well

Here is a link to Nandaketu’s handout from Monday the 11th on Establishing a Regular Meditation Practice

A couple of other points to note. There will be no class on Easter Monday as Fairkytes is closed on that date and indeed on all Bank Holidays. Also in the coming weeks both Nandaketu and David will be away on retreat at various times so we’ll be bringing along some other members of the Triratna Buddhist Order to help out and share their experience with the class.

Best wishes to all

David and Nandaketu

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Recognising and dealing with the hindrances in meditation

Hi everyone, I hope that all are well. Please find below the link to this week’s handout, we’ll be continuing to explore this area on March 4th.

Recognising and dealing with the hindrances in meditation (PDF file)

This is a brief summary of the traditional categories of hindrances, the traditional similes for them and some suggestions for working with them. It is good to learn to begin to recognise the hindrances as and when they arise as this then puts one in a in a better position to counter them and move toward deeper absorption in meditation.

One traditional antidote that couldn’t be fitted fully on to on to the sheet is to “Go for Refuge”, which means essentially to call upon one’s confidence and faith in the ideal, the teachings and practices, and in one’s own potential and abilities. The Three Refuges are synonymous with the Three Jewels of Buddhism and are the Buddha, being the ideal of Enlightenment to which we aspire, his teaching and the path of practice known as the Dharma and the Buddhist community known as the Sangha. See also Saluting the Shrine  and a Rough Guide to Buddhism.

Best wishes

David and Nandaketu

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This week and next

Hi everyone.

This week (Feb 18th) we explored the Metta Bhavana – loving kindness meditation in more depth. Here is a link to the aide memoire on the subject that was handed out, this is a PDF document.

Next week (Feb 25th) we’ll be returning once again to the Mindfulness of Breathing and looking more closely at those aspects of our meditation experience that can encourage us to become more concentrated and absorbed, and also those aspects that sometimes inhibit this.

Thank you all once again for helping so much with the tea and the clearing away at the end of the evening. See you soon!

Best wishes

David and Nandaketu

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Mantra on Monday


This Monday we ended the class by chanting the Amitabha mantra. We chose this for several reasons: the previous week a discussion about chanting had arisen in the tea break; it is good to end the class with something meditative; it is the mantra Nandaketu was given at ordination and the simple tune has a haunting, pleasing sound.

A mantra is a sound symbol for a particular quality of the enlightened mind. They also have a written form (see visiblemantra.org if this interests you).  They are associated with a particular Buddhist figure which personifies these qualities in an archetypal way. Try an internet image search for ‘Bodhisattva’ if you want a taste of this colourful symbolic world.

A mantra can be chanted silently as a focus for meditation but can also be chanted (or sung) aloud. It is not as subtle when chanted aloud, however you get the advantage of instant feedback as to the quality of the effort you are making from the sound of the mantra.  If you are chanting in a group the harmony (or otherwise) between those chanting also becomes apparent.  Just as we can return to the breath during the day, to reconnect with our meditation practice, a mantra can be chanted silently for example when walking or  on public transport.  Mantras are a  nucleus around which many symbolic associations and memories of experience can congregate. This makes them a very rich object of concentration. They can even  be experienced as being protective. If your mind is in an unhelpful state, such as animosity then  the positive influence of the mantra, with all it’s positive associations, can help to change your state of mind to one that is more positive.

Here is the basic tune: Amitabha mantra

If you want to hear a more talented vocalist enjoying sung mantra try: http://mahasukha.bandcamp.com/album/longing

For more information on Amitabha and his mantra: http://www.wildmind.org/mantras/figures/amitabha

Nandaketu and David

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