An Eccentric Buddhist from the 17th Century 

Sangharakshita considered 17th century monk Ekaku Hakuin – one of the most influential figures in Japanese Zen Buddhism – to be one of his most important teachers. Mandy takes a closer look at this interesting, eccentric and artistic figure to see how he influences our practices today. Two main schools of Zen exist in Japan: Rinzai and Soto. The main difference between Rinzai and Soto is that Rinzai practitioners regard enlightenment as something that comes suddenly. Soto (which coined our practice of ‘just sitting’) sees enlightenment as a gradual dawning. Hakuin revived the Rinzai school, which had gradually declined since its beginnings in the 9th century. Hakuin became a Buddhist monk when he was very young. He’d attended a terrifying lecture by a Nichiren monk about the Eight Hot Hells and decided that becoming a monk was the only way to escape them. When he was nineteen, however, he read the story of a Chinese Ch’an master’s brutal murder by bandits and was very upset to realise that even a great monk couldn’t be saved from a bloody death in this life. So he gave up the monastic life. Not wanting to return home in shame, he travelled around Japan studying literature and poetry. But while studying with the poet-monk Bao, he had an experience that put him back on course. Struck by piles of books put out in the temple courtyard, books from many differing schools of Buddhism, he prayed to the gods of the Dharma to help him choose a path. Then he picked a book at random. It was a collection of Zen stories, and he dedicated himself... Read more

Sangha Summer Weekend at Adhisthana

Join the Leeds Sangha members who are going to the BIG Triratna International Retreat – Friday 23rd May to Tuesday 27th May (Bank Holiday) The International Retreat happens every two years. It’s a wonderful long weekend when sangha members from all over the world come together to practice. It’s open to everyone (including kids) and is full of great fun, deep practice, and lovely food. We’re hoping that loads of people from Leeds will join us there and enjoy being part of the wider movement that is Triratna. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a whole crowd of us joining in with the hundreds of people from our wider community – meditating, puja-ing, workshopping, listening to talks and storytelling, eating great meals (cooked by the Buddhafield Team) – and generally having great fun! We’re hoping that someone will be organising transport or car sharing soon, but in the meantime, if you think you might go, please drop us a line: You will find details of the retreat and booking info here:... Read more