Triratna Buddhists in the English city of York have put forth plans for a new, larger Dharma center to replace one that was opened just two years ago. The new center will be located on the street of Walmgate, just east of the historic York Castle grounds. Much larger than their previous center, the new location will offer more space for the practitioners with room for further growth.
The new center is due to open to the public later this summer. According to the plans for the center, a former coffee shop will be converted from commercial use to local community and learning purposes under Triratna.
The planning documents state: “The use of the space will be used for Buddhist worship, meditation, and study of meditation. These include guided meditation sessions for all levels of experience for both new members and regulars; an Introduction to Buddhism and Meditation; study groups for community members; and a series of day retreats.” (YorkMix)
The ground floor of the building will be used for worship, meditation, and study. Members of the Triratna Buddhist Order also plan to host day retreats with as many as 35 people onsite. No permanent staff are planned and all those serving at the center will be volunteers.
The chairperson for York Buddhist Centre, Shakyapada, said that the move to larger premises would allow for more people and a greater number of events and classes.
“The center on Gillygate was a temporary base and will revert to a shop when we leave,” she said. (The York Press)
Shakyapada added: “Once we have settled in, [we] will offer a much expanded program of classes: meditation for newcomers and regulars, introduction to Buddhism courses, day retreats, open days, and study sessions.” (The York Press)
In 2020, the group moved from the Quaker Meeting House in Friargate to its current venue at 38 Gillygate. The order had applied to move into Piccadilly, adjacent to Walmgate, but that building lease did not allow the kinds of activities that they planned to undertake.
York Buddhist Centre is part of the Triratna Buddhist Community (TBC), formerly Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (FWBO), founded in 1967 by Englishman Urgyen Sangharakshita, born Dennis Lingwood. Lingwood (1925–2018) spent time in Sri Lanka and India during the Second World War. He later traveled throughout India, studying under a number of Buddhist teachers before eventually taking the ordination name Sangharakshita as a Theravada monk. In 1967, after returning to England, Sangharakshita founded Friends of the Western Buddhist Order. Today the order has more than 100 affiliated groups in North America, Australasia, and Europe. The country with the largest number of adherents is India, where it is known as Triratna Bauddha Mahāsaṅgha (TBM).
According to Shakyapada: “York Buddhist Centre is part of the Triratna community, with centrers all over the world. We practice Buddhism in a way that is more accessible to us in the West, that is non-monastic, practical, and friendly.” She continued: “Everyone over 18 is welcome to join any class and need not be a Buddhist or wish to become a Buddhist. We simply seek to help others find greater happiness and contentment in their lives. We don’t charge for our classes but ask those who are able to give a donation.” (The York Press)
York Buddhist Centre
York city centre café set to become Buddhist Centre (YorkMix)
York Buddhists plan bigger centre (The York Press)