The Three Great Phases of the FWBO
Oct15

The Three Great Phases of the FWBO

The Three Great Phases of the FWBO / Triratna Buddhist Community Or, ‘Around the Wheel’ with Reginald Ray. In this article I explore how Reginald Ray’s Threefold Model applies to the FWBO / Triratna Buddhist Community.  One way of showing how it does apply is to demonstrate how the movement has gone through three great phases in its history: a phase of establishing principles; a phase of Sangha building; and a phase of lay expansion, which correspond respectively to Ray’s three categories of Buddhist practitioner: namely the ‘forest renunciant,’ the ‘settled monastic,’ and the ‘lay practitioner.’  And the fact that collectively Triratna has ‘circled’ through these three phases is I propose due to that fact that prior to stream entry individuals tend to cluster into groups, and generally speaking we are not stream entrants. First, I outline my impression of the history of the Threefold model in the Triratna Buddhist Community.  I then explore stream entry in terms of the ‘Five Paths’ in particular how it results from a person addressing their weaknesses as well as their strengths.  After that I explore the three great phases in the movement, which I have named ‘Establishing Principles,’ ‘Sangha Building’ and ‘Lay Expansion.’  I then offer some predictions and conclude. The Threefold Model According to Vajragupta in ‘The Triratna Story,’ Sangharakshita recommended Reginald Ray’s Buddhist Saints in India back in 1994. I first came across Ray’s ideas as presented by Subhuti in a talk called ‘How to become an Order Member’ as presented on the ‘What is the Order?‘ retreat in 1995.  Subhuti outlined Ray’s categories as a way of talking about the breadth of Order lifestyles and he explained the category of the forest renunciant as corresponding not just to the lone meditator in their cave but also to the dedicated artist or scholar who worked intensively in isolation, but who fed ideas, inspiration and insight back into the wider community. Being temperamentally this kind of practitioner, I was attracted to Ray’s model mainly because it gave me a meaningful place in the Sangha. According to Subhuti the settled monastic corresponded to people in Triratna who ran Buddhist Centres, lived in communities and worked in Team-based Right Livelihood businesses. And the lay practitioner worked out in the world. In the years since Subhuti’s talk I have been aware of little mention of Ray’s model in the Order, except for a faint ‘it doesn’t apply to us,’ with no explanation why.  But I have always believed that it does apply and I argued in favour of it a few years ago in the ‘Threads’ section of the Order journal Shabda.  This year Vajragupta gave a...

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Puja to Prajnaparamita
Jan01

Puja to Prajnaparamita

Image: Sanctuary and statue of Prajnaparamita made by Sagaravajra – Buddhafield Green Retreat 2006. Photo courtesy of Akuppa.   Praise for the Goddess Goddess of wisdom, Bathed in golden light, Bright, pure, Beautiful, clear. From the celestial lotus You rise, Radiant as the sun. From the cosmic lotus – heart, You unfold. Womb of the universe, Giver of life, Creative principle, I bow to you.   Goddess of the primordial waters, Goddess of earth, Mother goddess moving through all creation. Lotus goddess, Lotus born, Lotus nectar, Golden one, Bringing health, prosperity, fertility, growth. I pay homage to you.   Mother of all, You bring all fruits, And all virtues. You are the sacred song sung in everything, In the flowing waters, In the breath of wind, In the whispering trees, In the stars, In the hearts of all. You bring to life, You awaken, Enlightening wisdom. You see into, You see beyond, You are the deeper nature, That animates, That knows. Queen of Wisdom, To you I call in devotion.   Wisdom Dakini, Pure space emptiness, Brilliant, empty, vivid, Overflowing joy, boundless love, Sun nourishing the universe. You open the doors of contemplation. Your beauty a perfect flower, Where we are held by love’s spell and power. I open my heart to you, Please enter!   Mantra: OM AH DHIH HUM SVAHA   Awakening to the Goddess Ancient, timeless, manifold and whole, Great Goddess, You rise from the waters, You are the golden light, You are the wakening earth, The heart of love, A fire of love, Love dissolving all hate. Love bringing the creative urge to life. Love woven into all the elements, Your breath on the winds, Your touch in the warm sun. Your presence firm as rock, soft as a leaf. You flow in the rivers, streams and seas, You fill all space and hold nothing as your own. Time stands still gazing upon your face All other things change, But you remain. Inseparable, mysterious, unfathomable.   OM DHIH Praise to Prajnaparamita, Who is loving towards all.   Homage to Prajnaparamita With Love and Wisdom in her eyes. Radiant she sits On blue lotus and glowing white moon.   Homage to the spiritual mother, From whom all Buddhas are born. Praise to her, Refuge of the world, Sitting in vajra pose unshaken, firm.   Homage to the Wisdom Goddess, Who leads us to liberation. Smiling, she looks towards us Relaxed, at ease.   Going For Refuge I take my refuge in the Buddha, And pray that with all beings I may understand the Great Way, Whereby the Buddha-seed may forever thrive.   I take my refuge...

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Vajrapani Puja: Clearing the Obstacles
Jan01

Vajrapani Puja: Clearing the Obstacles

Image courtesy of Padmapani.   This puja was compiled and edited by Dharmachari Prakasha at the Guhyaloka Vihara during Spring 1999 for the use of members of the Western Buddhist Order (now the Triratna Buddhist Order.)     A PUJA TO VAJRAPANI: CLEARING THE OBSTACLES   THE INVOCATION TO VAJRAPANI HUM! Burst forth, O Vajrapani, Blazing like the fire at the end of the aeon; Consume the blind darkness of delusion, craving and hatred, And destroy all fear of Yamaraja the king of death. Great hero, recognisable by the tiger-skin you are wearing, Trampling upon the hosts of demons And evil spirits, slayer of foes; Vajrapani, O wrathful one, be seated. You are being summoned here to annihilate the evil spirits; Puja is being performed For the benefit of all sentient beings, Hence you must come. Appearing from the non-duality Of Emptiness and Buddha-nature, You are ever devoted to the welfare of the world, Having manifested yourself with awe-inspiring body; To you, Vajrapani, O greatly wrathful one, I make obeisance. Within, abiding in the peaceful Jnana, Yet in appearance of fearsome foe-devouring aspect, Terribly roaring like a thousand claps of thunder, And by this overcoming evil spirits and demons; To you, Vajrapani, adorned with skulls, I make obeisance. You, whose essence is the highest knowledge, Who, wielding in your hand the powerful vajra, Have rooted out the klesas and deadly poisons; To you, Vajrapani, adorned with snakes, I make obeisance. Encircled by a blazing aura of fire, You stand heroically with your legs flexed wide apart, Angrily glaring with your eyes like the sun and moon; To you, Vajrapani, subduer of spirits, I make obeisance. Greatly fierce, like the fire at the end of the aeon, Splendid white fangs gleaming Like a thousand lightning flashes, You send forth a shout like a thousand thunder claps; To you, Vajrapani, wrathful king, I make obeisance. HUM! Invoking fear through roaring HUM, You overcome all obstacles And destroy all demons without exception. Dharmapala, bestower of all siddhi whatsoever; To you, Vajrapani, foe of the demons, I make obeisance. 1. Going for Refuge Namo Vajrapani! In order to clear the obstacles For the sake of all sentient beings I invoke you, wrathful Vajrapani Embodiment of all the refuges And go for refuge to you. To the Three Jewels: The Buddha, Dharma and the Sangha, I go for refuge. To the Three Roots, The Gurus, Yidams and the Dakinis I go for refuge. To all of you, the ocean of objects of refuge, I go for refuge until the attainment of Enlightenment. 2. Generating the Bodhicitta I will perform this sadhana of Vajrapani To...

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