Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas/New Year retreat

Christmas retreat at Tiratanaloka


20th December 2010 to 2nd January 2011

This two week retreat will take us from the solstice to the new year, and offers a chance to reflect and to deepen our understanding of this precious Order.

From the archetypal symbol of the Order – Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of compassion, to the nitty gritty of spiritual friendship, we will explore what it means to be part of the Triratna Buddhist Order, why we need to join a group to support our practice of Buddhism, and looking at the significance of the private and public ordinations.

A place to share your dreams and develop your personal path with your ‘friends in the good life’, in the beautiful surroundings of the Brecon Beacons.

Ratnadharini, Maitreyi, Kalyanasri, Sridevi, and Vajrasakhi will be on the team for this retreat.

Cost: waged £475, low-waged £415, unwaged £350. Please book by sending a non-refundable deposit of £50 to Retreat Bookings, Tiratanaloka, Talybont-on-Usk, Brecon, Powys, LD3 7YS

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Is the start of a new year when you make resolutions to change the way you live your life, to put better conditions into place to support your practice?

What better way to begin a new year than to come on an Ethics to Insight retreat at Tiratanaloka, in such beautiful surroundings and with like-minded women, and explore how to radically change our lives and move towards more positivity and openness.

Bhante states that without the Ten Precepts the Dharma could not exist. Based on Sangharakshita’s “Ten Pillars of Buddhism”, we will be studying the subtleties of Buddhist ethics and how the practice of confession can open us to a world of sensitivity and beauty. Come and find out why Bhante says 'how profound is the significance, and how far-reaching the implications - both theoretical and practical - of each apparently simple precept.'

15th – 29th January 2011 (H111). Cost: waged £475 / low-waged £415 / unwaged £350

To book please send a non-refundable deposit of £50, payable to FWBO Sarana to Retreat Bookings, Tiratanaloka, Talybont-on-Usk, Brecon, Powys LD3 7YS.


Deepening our mediation practice is also a very important part of our practice. Bhante has given his support to the one month long total immersion retreat as there isn't another meditation retreat of this length for people in the ordination training process. Please remember to book through Buddhafield for this retreat, not through Tiratanaloka.

Total Immersion; Following the Buddha

a month long meditation retreat,

hosted by Buddhafield.

with Dhiramati and Paramananda

(and a woman teacher to be confirmed)

This is a rare opportunity to participate in a month long retreat in the ideal conditions for meditation. The retreat, supported by an experienced and committed Buddhafield team, offers the chance to practice in a manner close to that of the Buddha’s historical followers, with simplicity and close to nature.

The retreat will focus on the core meditations of the Triratna community along with space to pursue any personal practices.

In addition there will be yoga and ritual practices to support our meditation.

The retreat is suitable for those who wish to participate in a silent meditation retreat with a good deal of sitting. Our vision is to bring together 40 serious meditators who want to create a sense of community which will support us all to experience the transformative benefits of ethical and meditative practice.

book by contacting Buddhafield web page ( the retreat is on a dana basis.

Monday, October 18, 2010

We've just finished a weeks working retreat when one of the bedrooms and the community kitchen were redecorated and a new bed was built in the vegetable patch. It's all looking great and much appreciated by the team. There were 12 women on the retreat and they all put a lot into the work, so a big thank you from everyone here. The new bed is going to be planted with onions and garlic over the winter months.

We've also a new garden tool shed, given by Amritamati's dad, so the vegetable patch is slowly both growing and becoming more spacious. We've noticed a resident hedgehog too, so are contemplating getting a hedgehog home to encourage it to stay. We've also recently been sent a gift of two packets of wild flower seeds so we can create a wild flower meadow at the bottom of the garden by the kuti (thank you Sandra).

The weekend retreat on spiritual friendship and the dakini finished yesterday and was enjoyed by everyone (we think!), with talks and discussions on what it means to be open and honest in our friendships, the appropriateness of when to be so and how to be with the experience of our upsurging energies and transform them skilfully. There were a couple of rituals, one relatively quiet puja, and ending with a ritual including drums, cymbals, rattles etc. We wanted to bring in both the strong wild energy that many people associate with the dakini, but also her steady compassionate softness too. She definitely felt evoked on the weekend.

The team are, as usual, somewhat dispersed at the moment. Maitreyi is with her mum, Ratnadharini is in London for a couple of days (and gradually buying things she'll need for when she leaves), Vajrasakhi is walking in the Lake District, Kalyanasri and Sridevi are just back from a Preceptors retreat at Taraloka and today Sridevi has flown to Finland. Amritamati, Candraprabha and Vidyalila are off visiting friends and family later this week, and the Order study retreat starts on Friday (so Maitreyi, Vajrasakhi and Ratnadharini will be back for that). It can be hard to keep tabs on where the community are sometimes!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Message from Clear Vision

Clear Vision is Triratna's audio-visual project, based in Manchester, UK. We look after Triratna's image and video archives and make them available at and This month we have two pieces of news.

1 New Dharma materials for children and young people - free

In addition to our work for Triratna, since 1994 we've made highly regarded Buddhist materials for schools. Building on our experience, we're now launching our first online interactive Buddhist materials for children and teenagers to use at home or Centre, entirely free.

For 8-12 years:

The Life of the Buddha interactive
Seven videos with information sheets, questions, games and a parent/teacher handbook

For 12-16 years:

Us and Them: Buddhism and Community
Ten videos examine aspects of identity and community, using the Four Sangrahavastus. Information, questions, activities and parent/teacher handbook

See the materials here:

2 Talks from the European Order Weekend online

You can watch online all the talks from the European Order Weekend held in eastern England in August. These include talks to mark Sangharakshita's 85th birthday and a talk by Sangharakshita himself.

For regular updates, join our email list:

Please consider supporting Clear Vision's work with a regular or one-off donation:

Happy viewing! Munisha, Director, Clear Vision

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


As already mentioned in July Vidyalila is leaving and has now decided to leave at the end of December. She's still undecided where she is moving to, but has a number of options to consider.

Another team member who has decided to leave is Ratnadharini. She has been here for about 14 years and feels it's time to move onto something different after such a long time, which will probably first mean a sabbatical from any major projects, living quietly in Wales and following threads in her practice. She has been an important part of Tiratanaloka and will be missed by a lot of women. She is also going to leave at the start of January, so if you'd like the opportunity to be on retreat with her before she goes then book on the What is the Order retreat over Christmas and the New Year. There are still a few places available.

Vajratara will be coming to join the team later next year (no date yet). I'm sure many of you will know her from Sheffield and from her supporting retreats here over the last few years. We're pleased she'll be joining us.

We're having a few days together as a community at the moment, although people are heading off too. Maitreyi and Kalyanasri are off to the ordination retreat at Akashavana in the next couple of days and Candraprabha is returning to Ireland again to help care for her mum. We have a Refuge Tree retreat starting on Friday, with only 12 of us on it, so it'll be a spacious and intimate fortnight, exploring the Refuge Tree and doing the Going for Refuge and Prostration practice together. The three of us running it are very much looking forward to looking at the more mythic aspects of our practice.

We posted our 2011 programme this morning, so you should all receive it in the next few days. We hope you like what we're offering and will come to spend time with us next year.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

August update

We've all just been on the mixed European Order weekend in Norfolk. There were over 400 Order Members, and the highlight was a short talk from Bhante who was there partly so we could all celebrate his 85th birthday together .
He had a large cake and card and we all sang a rousing happy birthday to him (the picture is of him cutting his cake with Dhammadinna). Three people rejoiced in his merits and spoke about what an effect he's had on their lives, which was both moving and at times very funny. One story was of a Dharmacharini many years ago asking him if he were alone on a desert island with a rabbit would he eat it, and he replied 'yes', so she asked if she was the only one on the island with him would he eat her and again he replied 'yes'. She then declared she was consequently going to get a book on self defence, which Bhante countered with the fact he was going to get one on cookery!! It was good to see him looking so well and enjoying himself.

We're starting to make some changes to Tiratanaloka, such as new energy efficient lights in the library, double glazing to help with insulation and heating costs, and a garden tool shed to create more space in the greenhouse. We've our annual work retreat in October, which has booked out, which is when the major painting work tends to be tackled, as well as changes to the garden. It's great to see the place being up-graded and kept in good condition for future generations of women, both those coming here for their ordination training and those women who end up living and working here. Unfortunately we've had to let go of the idea of a ground source heating pump as it turns out it won't work efficiently enough in this building, so Vajrasakhi is going to look at the possibility of solar panels to at least lessen our dependence on gas and oil heating.

We're planning on getting our programme for 2011 out next month, but just to let you know we do have an Ethics to Insight retreat on 15 - 29 January and a Transcendental Principle (level 2) retreat, for women who have already done it, on 18 - 27 February. We're taking bookings for these already. We'll take bookings for all other retreats once the programme is out. If you want to come on either of the two mentioned then book with the office.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Friendship and the esoteric sangha refuge

15th – 17th October 2010

What does it really mean to be fearless in communication? How can we learn to be authentic and transparent in our friendships? How can the dakini help us in connecting with others? What does it mean to be a good friend? This weekend we’ll be calling on the dakinis to support and guide us in exploring and practising friendship, through meditation, ritual, discussion and simply being together as a community. Come with a friend or come alone and make new friends.

cost: £110 (waged), £80 (low-waged), £65 (unwaged)

Book by sending a £50 non-refundable deposit (payable to FWBO Sarana) to Retreat Bookings, Tiratanaloka, Talybont-on-Usk, Brecon, Powys, LD3 7YS or e-mail for further information.

Friday, July 09, 2010

July update

We've just finished a week of community time, when we were also visited by Dhammadinna, who sat in on our meetings and met up with each one of us individually...she is always such a pleasure to have around and we're delighted she's going to come up again later in the year.

The main thing that came out of our meetings was that Vidyalila has decided to leave after 10 years here and so we are looking at who may join the team. Of course we're sorry to see her go (no actual date yet), but we're sure it'll be a good move for her. We've had no changes in the team for two years now, which has been great, but as we are all told repeatedly as Buddhists 'all things are impermanent'! It was suggested that Vidyalila is irreplaceable, but not indispensible, as all good team members should be. It will be some months before she leaves and when we know a definite date we'll let you know.

We were also planning next years programme, which is quite a feat trying to fit all the different retreats people do around each other, such as Akashavana (for the preceptors here), College meetings and Chairs events. Hopefully the programme will be out in September.

We're still looking into a ground source heat pump, but unfortunately the change in government has meant the possible 50% grant we'd hoped to get has gone and so it's looking a little less feasible financially. We're updating the insulation throughout the building and having double glazing fitted where there is none, and so this will all help to bring our fuel bills down too. Vajrasakhi produced some great graphs in this morning's meeting to illustrate the use and cost of oil and gas here over the past few years and it was sad to see that costs have risen to a high not seen for a few years. Hence we always remind you to shut windows if your radiator is on when you're here!

A new garden tool shed is arriving in a couple of weeks and that should prevent the crush in the greenhouse on work mornings...and allow me (Amritamati) more opportunity to grow more next year, which I am very excited about (aubergines seem to be high on the list to try). If you ever think you can't change believe me a few years ago I never thought I'd be living at Tiratanaloka obsessing about mange tout and rabbits in the herb bed! Anything is possible! The garden is looking lovely, although the lawn is suffering slightly from the little rain we've had. So unusual for Wales. The recent What is the Order retreat had brilliant sunshine most every day. It was glorious.

Do tell your friends about the blog and comment if you wish. I'm aware a lot of women don't know about it. The more women who read it the bigger the prompt for me to remember to update it!!

Enjoy the summer.

Monday, June 14, 2010

June update

Sadhu and welcome to all the shiny new dharmacarinis ordained at Akashavana last week. It's lovely working here at Tiratanaloka, as it means we get to know so many women and consequently most of the women who go to Akashavana. It's always exciting when the new names come out and we get to practice pronouncing those less obvious. Hopefully most of them will come on the big mixed Order weekend at Wymondham in August to be introduced to the Order publicly.

We've had a few women express an interest in the Refuge Tree retreat listed in the previous blog, but if you do fancy a smaller and hence more intimate retreat here, then do please consider coming. September is usually a lovely time of year in the Brecon Beacons too, so could be another incentive to come. Dharmacarinis also welcome of course!

We have a What is the Order retreat starting on Friday, with Kulanandi and Vidyagita coming to lead a German group too. After that we have a week of community time when we plan our programme for next year, and have Dhammadinna to stay as our president (and friend). We're planning on having a new roof put on the whole conservatory early in the year and so will probably have a retreat in February and then close until the Easter holidays in April. It's going to be a zinc roof with a couple of skylights as it won't let in so much light, but the aim is to also stop it being like a sauna in the summer or deafening us all when the rain comes down the rest of the time! It's a big undertaking and we're grateful to Gil, our architect, who designed the community end a few years ago. We're also looking into having a ground source heating pump at the moment, as we'd like to be more environmentally friendly, but we have to look at the practicalities too. We'll keep you informed.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Come to our mythic realm!

Once upon a time there was a retreat run at Tiratanaloka called “The Mythic Context”. On this retreat, magical things happened. There was space to explore what it meant to practice at the foot of the refuge tree, engaging strongly with visualization practice and entering a world where the mythic reminded us of our own deepest wishes.
The Tiratanaloka community invites you to once again enter this mythic realm on our retreat “The Refuge Tree” from 17 Sept – 1 Oct 2010.

Why do we think this retreat is important for women who have asked for ordination? The answer, perhaps surprisingly, is to do with confidence.

Effective going for refuge could be said to be when our understanding, our emotions and our will are all moving us towards the Three Jewels most of the time. And, for that to happen, we need confidence in the transcendental and in ourselves as Dharma practitioners. And this is an actual experience, not just a nice idea!

Subhuti, talking about the going for refuge and prostration practice, says “One of the strongest effect the Prostration Practice had on me was in giving me a sense of confidence, because in that practice you are representing your place in the scheme of things. You are seeing yourself in relation to what is most valuable in the Universe”. And this was my own experience of doing this practice on this retreat – a strong sense of the sort of sraddha that overcomes confusion and conflict. We may have all sorts of other roles in life – professional and personal – but on this retreat we simply engage with our own experience of being Dharma practitioners together in the biggest possible context.

We’ve suggested that the retreat’s suitable for those who have been to Tiratanaloka at least twice before – so you feel comfortable in the place, have a sense of what joining the Order is about and have an amount of Dharma study behind you. Then simply take it all into the mythic realm and see what happens!

This is likely to be a small retreat. To book a place, please send a £50 deposit to Retreat Bookings, Tiratanaloka, Aber, Talybont-on-Usk, Brecon, Powys LD3 7YS. For more information, email or ring 01874 676482.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Spring arrives

The daffodils are starting to die down and the bluebells are arriving. It's great to see spring coming into bloom after such a long and cold winter. Our cherry tree is looking glorious in the back garden, and slowly, slowly the vegetables are growing.

We have had a busy time here recently, with a Transcendental Principle retreat, which is great material to study, but requires time and effort to make the most of it all. The women on retreat really threw themselves into the study, and there was a good atmosphere in the shrine room as we did the Going for Refuge and Prostration practice within a sevenfold puja. Straight afterwards we had a week of community time when we studied together, had a number of meetings (including planning putting a new zinc roof on the conservatory next year) and four of us went to see Seth Lakeman in concert...none of us knew him, but YouTube allowed a preview and we all really enjoyed the evening.

Most everyone has been away recently, with Ratnadharini still on sabbatical, Candraprabha in Ireland with her mum who is unwell, and the rest of us dotted around the country. Vajrasakhi and Amritamati led a day at the LBC on Letting Go Into Beauty, which was attended by 44 women. They really enjoyed being at their old centre and linking up with women there. It's nice to come to the centres sometimes and see you all in a different context. Maitreyi went on an ordination retreat at Rivendell where she privately ordained one woman and publicly ordained another at the Brighton Buddhist Centre. She, Ratnadharini and Sridevi will be off to Akashavana later this month to ordain women there.

There haven't been any more sheep rescues as Harry, our much appreciated handyman, put chicken wire along the fences, so none of them could get their heads stuck again. Better for them, but it was quite nice to get up close and personal with them, rather than them running off or turning their backs and urinating in our direction! The lambs are growing and so will probably vanish soon. This is the time when the idyllic nature of living in the country is sorely tested. The sheep make so much noise when their lambs go. It's quite distressing.

The retreats are booking up well for the rest of the year. However, there are quite a few places still available for the Refuge Tree retreat from 17th September to 1st October. It used to be called the Lineage of Loyalty retreat if you're wondering which retreat it is. Book through the office if you'd like to come. More information is on the website.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

March update

Things are very quiet at the moment with only two of us here today. Ratnadharini headed off this morning on her 3 month sabbatical, most of which she plans to spend in Scotland, whilst others are scattered about the country. Most of us will be joining forces again on the National Order weekend at Padmaloka. It's great using their lovely shrine room, and the added flourish of flowers in the urinals is always appreciated!

The lambs are gradually arriving in the surrounding fields, and we've been having to do a fair bit of sheep rescues recently, mainly as they get their heads stuck in the wire fence (Sridevi even endured a 'war wound' as her sheep rather excitedly sprung free, throwing her into a hedge and giving her a black eye), but also getting entangled in barbed wire and a tree root...that one ended up with quite a haircut in order to free her. On the last morning of the Going for Refuge retreat most of us meditated whilst half the team valiantly rounded up about 30 sheep who'd appeared in the garden! You learn lots of new skills here! One retreatant asked if you need to learn to gather sheep in order to be ordained...the answer is yes! OK, so it's not really, but it helps!

We've just had a woodburning stove fitted in the community lounge, which was bought with retreat dana collected over time. It should prevent so much heat vanishing up the chimney and keep us snug in the winter (well, often the summer in Wales too!). We had a slight hiccup earlier today as it set off the fire alarm, but as I write this all seems well. We really do appreciate the dana that you so often generously give us when you come on retreat. It helps keep this place in good condition for those of us living here, and whoever comes next...which will one day be some of you.

Friday, January 08, 2010

It snowed!!

OK, so I spoke too soon and as you can see the snow, all 6 inches of it, did hit us! Stunningly beautiful as it glistens in the bright sunlight, but somewhat treacherous underfoot. Our food delivery van couldn't make it over the canal bridge and so left our supplies at the local shop in Talybont, thanks to the kindness of Laura, the owner. She later rang us, concerned that our veggie bangers were in danger of defrosting with no room in her freezer, so Vidyalila and myself donned our wellie boots and rucksacks and set out over the fields to rescue them.
Today the post-ordination retreat is due to start and it feels a little like a military operation in the office with a white board marking everyone's plan of arrival, with mobile numbers at the ready. Three women have sadly had to cancel at the last minute due to the difficulties travelling, but we're hoping the remaining women will make it. The postman is getting through and is our information system for the local roads...very icy he tells us this morning, despite being gritted yesterday.
We're really appreciating living somewhere so beautiful, even if we're unable to get out and about much!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Wales in winter

It is so beautiful here at the moment, with dazzling white hill tops and the reservoir partially iced over. We've been spared the snow that much of the country has been seeing recently, and the plans to dig out the toboggans had to be shelved for now, but what we do have is lending itself to some stunning views.
We've just finished a Bodhisattva Ideal retreat, and now Vajrasakhi is on her way to the Chairmen's event at Dhanakosa (if she makes it all the way there!), Candraprabha is driving carefully to Colchester and the rest of us are busy catching up on things here. Sridevi has just returned from Finland where it really had snow!
Next week we begin a two week period of community time when we'll all be here. Hopefully Dhammadinna will join us for some of that time and we'll do some study with her, but we'll have to wait and see if she makes it. The snow is proving a good lesson in letting go of expectations!