Learn about Buddhism – start here:
Our friendly classes cover the basics of Buddhism, how to live it day to day, and an introduction to Buddhist meditation
- Six-week evening courses on Tuesdays: Buddhism Level 1 – around six courses a year. Next one starts 7th March, see calendar for more
- One-day Saturday courses: Introduction to Buddhism – every two or three months. Next is 11th March 2017
- Weekly taster session: Tools for Living your Life – popular and informal classes most Saturday mornings at 11am. Just turn up a few minutes before
- See the boxes below for booking details, handouts and led meditations
Upcoming Buddhism classes
About our Buddhism Classes
Our classes are friendly and accessible. You’ll get the chance to talk to practising Buddhists and discuss how Buddhism relates to modern life.
Our taster sessions take an aspect of the Buddha’s teachings and explore what it means for us. Our longer courses look at the Buddha’s life and search for meaning, and go on to explore wisdom and compassion, Buddhist ethics, and how meditation can help us change our lives.
You’ll receive practical instruction in two Buddhist meditations, helping you set up a regular practice.
Our classes are taught by ordained members of the Triratna Buddhist Order and by those preparing for ordination. They are well-trained and experienced practitioners, who communicate from their own experience.
You can find some of them in Who’s Who
How to book, what to bring
Some of our courses need to be booked in advance please
- Book online with credit or debit card (find the course in the calendar and click book now)
- Phone 0161 834 9232 to pay with card
- Call in to the Centre and pay with cash, cheque or card
- Questions? 0161 834 9232 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Do I need to bring anything?
You don’t need to bring anything special. It’s a good idea to wear comfortable clothing though, as you’ll be sitting in meditation posture quite a bit, but you can do this on a chair just as well as on a cushion.
You might also want some socks as we take our shoes off in the meditation halls.
Handouts for our courses are freely available here in printable pdf format
Buddhism Level 1
- Week 1: The Buddha’s Quest
- Week 2: Siddhartha’s Path to Awakening
- Week 3: Siddhartha becomes the Awakened One
- Week 4/5: Buddha’s teaching on human relations
- Week 6: The five ethical precepts
- Further resources
Introduction to Buddhism: One-day course
Led Meditations and Other Resources
Led Meditations from Padmadarshini
Download or click and play here
- Lying down body awareness meditation
- Sitting body awareness meditation
- Mindfulness of your breathing body 1
- Mindfulness of your breathing body 2
- Mindfulness of breathing, four stages
- Metta Bhavana – kindly awareness
I found the content on ethics incredibly useful and of immediate impactBuddhism course participant
Taking it Further
If you want to learn more after Buddhism Level 1, our Level 2 courses cover several Buddhist themes in depth, as well as further meditation practice. It’s a rolling programme of different six-week modules, so you can sign up for one course after another.
- Six-week evening courses: Buddhism Level 2 – Tuesdays throughout the year. See calendar for next course
About Second Level Classes
Level 2 goes into more depth about the Buddha’s teachings, and Triratna’s approach to practising Buddhism. You can sign up for one course after another. The courses cover:
- The Noble Eightfold Path
- The Five Spiritual Faculties
- The Wheel and the Spiral
- Sangharakshita’s Five Dimensions of Spiritual Life
- What is Triratna?
As on Level 1, our classes are taught by ordained members of the Triratna Buddhist Order and by those preparing for ordination. They are well-trained and experienced practitioners, who speak from their own experience.
You can find some of them in Who’s Who
Level 2 Course Handouts
Handouts for our Level 2 courses are freely available here in printable pdf format
Noble Eightfold Path
- Week 1 – Introduction and Perfect Vision
- Week 2 – Perfect Emotion
- Week 3 – Perfect Speech
- Week 4 – Perfect Action
- Week 5 – Perfect Livelihood
- Week 6 – Perfect Effort
The Five Spiritual Faculties
- Week 1 – Introduction
- Week 2 – Faith
- Week 3 – Wisdom
- Week 4 – Energy
- Week 5 – Concentration
- Week 6 – Mindfulness
The Wheel and the Spiral
Sangharakshita’s System of Dharma Life
- Sangharakshita’s System of Dharma Life
- Dayanandi’s Introduction to the Five Great Stages of the Spiritual Path
What is Triratna?
- A Buddhist Manifesto: The principles of the Triratna Buddhist Community by Subhuti
- Triratna’s Distinctive Emphases by Vadanya
- The Purpose of Ritual by Vadanya
Beyond Level 2
Moving on from the Courses
To deepen your understanding of Buddhism, and get more involved with the Centre, you might want to try:
- Events like Triratna Night on Mondays: Buddhism in depth, with meditation practice and Buddhist ritual. See what’s on
- Joining a study group – see below
- Helping out at the Centre – a great way of feeling part of things
- Going on retreat, listening to talks, and coming to Buddhist festivals can all help deepen your practice
- Beginning to feel you are a Buddhist, or part of our Sangha (community) is always a very personal thing and often quite gradual – there’s no pressure
After Level 2, our small weekly study groups give a thorough grounding in the Buddha’s teaching or Dharma, and Triratna’s approach, with an emphasis on putting them into practice in your life.
During the first foundation year, you will probably work out if practising Buddhism with Triratna is for you and you may want to commit to this by becoming a Mitra. A further three year course of Mitra Study is then available.
See the box below for more about Triratna’s Dharma Training Course for Mitras, plus other online study materials and support.
Joining a Study Group
Study groups usually meet on Wednesday or Thursday evenings. They are very popular and there’s sometimes a waiting list. Ask to speak to the men’s or women’s Mitra Convenor to find out more, or contact us at
Studying here is free, but we encourage you to help support the Centre financially – see Giving.
Study Course and Materials
What is Buddhism?
We can change
The basic message of Buddhism is straightforward and practical: we can’t rely on anything to be fixed or permanent, our actions have consequences, and we can change.
One way of looking at how we can change is through Buddhism’s three-fold path of Ethics, Meditation and Wisdom
We try and live our lives within the ethical guidelines that the Buddha taught –
- Not harming anything
- Being generous
- Living a simple and contented life
- Speaking truthfully
- Living mindfully
These guidelines help us to live with a clear mind and develop positive feelings. Acting more skilfully also has a positive impact on those around us.
By meditating regularly, we develop both awareness and positive feelings. We become more mindful of our actions, thoughts and bodily sensations and can see more clearly their effect on us and others. We also become more positive towards ourselves and those around us.
Ceasing to do evil, cultivating the good, purifying the heart: This is the teaching of the BuddhasThe Buddha
Through these and other practices, we begin to see life as it really is – that we and everything around us are changing all the time, with many factors at play. We also see that we are deeply connected with others.
We learn that grasping after things to be how we want them to be rather than how they are, just causes us and others pain. We can change our perspective to help us feel more liberated and compassionate.
Six Key Features of the Triratna Buddhist Community
More about Triratna
Find out more about the Triratna Buddhist Community – formerly Friends of the Western Buddhist Order:
- Triratna Buddhist Community website
- Adhisthana – Triratna’s home in Herefordshire
- Sign up to Triratna News
- UK and worldwide Triratna Buddhist Centres
- Karuna – Compassion in action
Available in our library, bookshop or online
- Vajragupta’s Triratna Story – an honest account of our movement’s growth
- A Buddhist Manifesto: The Principles of the Triratna Buddhist Community
- How Triratna works
What is Triratna Buddhism?
Triratna is an international movement of women and men following the Buddha’s teachings in the modern world. Our founding teacher, Sangharakshita, has clarified the principles that underpin Buddhism and emphasised particular aspects of teaching and practice. These are Triratna’s six distinctive emphases:
What all Buddhist Traditions have in Common
Over the centuries, Buddhism has developed in many different cultures. This now presents us with a huge variety of teachings and practices. Rather than adopting one particular form, Sangharakshita, founder of the Triratna Buddhist Community, has clarified what all Buddhist schools have in common – the historical Buddha and his experience of Enlightenment – and has based his teachings on this.
The Three Jewels of Buddhism
Sangharakshita sees that the underlying unity of Buddhism is the act of Going for Refuge to Buddhism’s Three Jewels of the Buddha, the Dharma (the Buddha’s teachings), and the Sangha (the community of the Buddha). Going for Refuge means that we put these things at the centre of our lives, and try to live from their example.
Triratna draws inspiration from the entire Buddhist tradition but Sangharakshita’s attitude is not simply eclectic. He has a coherent approach to practice, drawing on particular teachings in a way that supports our individual growth.
A Unified Community
Traditionally, monks and nuns have been seen as the real full-time Buddhists, and lay people as part-time supporters. However, all Buddhists face the same issues in life and what is important is the commitment we make.
The Triratna Buddhist Order is neither lay nor monastic, and Order Members live in a range of ways. Men and women are ordained on an equal basis, and there are no barriers of gender, race, nationality, sexual orientation or physical ability in our commitment to the Buddhist path.
Buddhism has come to the West through books, ideas, art and meditation. Sangharakshita emphasises human communication and friendship as well. Community and friendship is important as so many people live isolated from one another.
Through friendship we have the opportunity to be generous, compassionate, patient and forgiving.
The Triratna Buddhist Community offers a balanced approach to the spiritual life, balancing meditation with energy and activity. Sangharakshita recommends work with an altruistic or spiritual motivation – helping to spread the Dharma, developing spiritual friendship with others, or helping other people.
When our work helps other people, especially spiritually, it is more in line with our ideals, and we can throw ourselves into it wholeheartedly.
Appreciation and practice of the arts is an important way of engaging the emotions in the spiritual life. Some of the greatest artists, poets, and writers have had intuitions of the higher states to which Buddhist practice leads. Many working artists, musicians and writers practise within the Triratna Buddhist Community.
Sangharakshita – Founder of the Triratna Buddhist Community
A Unique Figure in the Buddhist World
For twenty years Sangharakshita lived in India, where he was ordained and studied with many Buddhist teachers. Inspired by all major aspects of Buddhism, he has since written and lectured prolifically in the West and the East. In the light of modern scholarship and his own spiritual experience, he has identified and emphasised the core teachings that underlie and unify the whole Buddhist tradition.
In founding the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, now the Triratna Buddhist Community, in 1967, he sought to clarify the essentials and to outline ways of practice that are spiritually alive and relevant to our times.
Sangharakshita is one of the founding fathers of Western Buddhism. Born Dennis Lingwood in South London in 1925, he had a Church of England upbringing but developed an early interest in Eastern cultures and philosophies. Aged 16, on reading the Diamond Sutra, he realised that he was a Buddhist. He became involved in wartime London’s small Buddhist world, exploring the Dharma through study and practice.
Conscription took him to Sri Lanka as a signals operator, and after the war he stayed on in India. For two years he lived as a wandering mendicant, and was later ordained as a Theravadin Buddhist monk and named Sangharakshita – “protected by the spiritual community”. Sangharakshita lived for fourteen years in the Himalayan town of Kalimpong, encountering venerable Tibetan Buddhist teachers and studying intensively under leading teachers from all major Buddhist traditions.
All the while he taught and wrote extensively and is now the author of over fifty books. Most are expositions of the Buddhist tradition, but he has also published a large amount of poetry and four volumes of memoirs, as well as works on aspects of western culture and the arts from a Buddhist perspective.
After twenty years in India, Sangharakshita returned to the UK to teach the Dharma. In 1967 he set up the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order – a new Buddhist movement for the modern West.The first ordinations into the Western Buddhist Order took place in 1968. The FWBO/WBO changed it’s name to Triratna in 2010.
Sangharakshita has been a translator between East and West, the traditional world and the modern, timeless principles and relevant practices. His clear thinking, depth of experience and ecumenical approach have been appreciated around the world. He has always emphasised the decisive significance of commitment in the spiritual life, the value of spiritual friendship and community, the link between religion and the arts, and the need for a new society that supports spiritual values.
Sangharakshita played a key part in the revival of Buddhism in India, particularly through his work with the Dalit followers of Dr Ambedkar. Around one third of the Triratna Buddhist Order is in India. Throughout his life Sangharakshita has been concerned with issues of social reform.
Now in his nineties, Sangharakshita lives at Adhisthana in Herefordshire, and focuses on personal contact with friends and disciples. He continues to write both poetry and prose, available on his Sangharakshita website.
The College of Public Preceptors, made up of some his most senior disciples, have taken on many of his responsibilities. Their main job is overseeing the Triratna ordination process, but they also see their role as preserving, sustaining, developing and communicating Sangharakshita’s presentation of the Dharma.
The College of Public Preceptors at Adhisthana
You yourself must strive. The Buddhas only point the wayThe Buddha