Depth of friendships – Brazil, Hungary, & Estonia
Collective working, infused with the spirit of kalyana mitrata, is a distinctive and valuable way of deepening our practice. Some sanghas are geographically isolated and rely on a single Order member for all their teaching and community building. We refer to these Order members as Pioneers, and we think they do incredible work. Our supporters are committed to reaching out to these pioneers and their sanghas. Here are just three situations where more isolated sanghas are benefitting from regular contact and input from visiting Triratna teachers and retreat leaders.
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Manjupriya headed out to Sao Paulo, Brazil over 16 years ago and began creating this small and very committed sangha, which now has four Mitras. He’s the only Order Member for miles. 2,700 miles to be precise, as the sangha ‘next door’ is Merida, Venezuela. Manjupriya is a true pioneer, working full-time to support himself and running the sangha in his spare-time. His vision is of the sangha as a small tree but with deep roots. For the past few years, his friend Vajragupta has joined the sangha for a month, leading study and retreats, and being a Kalyana Mitra for Brazil. The results of Manjupriya’s work and his friendship with Vajragupta are truly life-changing for some in the Sao Paulo sangha.
Dharma and friendship can change lives
Janos said this was the first retreat where he’d felt able to be himself
The main thing for us was just to connect with each other and build friendships. The retreat was warm, open, and gentle with a lot of humour and the theme of Bodhicitta was very appropriate.
Meeting people here I can be the way I am…. in my natural way of being, and talk about things that are going on.
I think of São Paulo as the New York of South America. It’s huge – maybe 15 million people – dominated by high-rise blocks, though with green parakeets flying between them! It’s the business capital of Brazil: fast-moving, busy and bustling, culturally very diverse, and with a huge disparity between the lives of the wealthy and the poor….The sangha is like a very small and tender plant… we’re just hoping it can put down roots into the Brazilian soil and start to grow and flourish.
Roma Buddhists from Hungary were able to share a Bodhisattva Ideal retreat at Metta Vihara Retreat Centre with Order members from Holland, Belgium, and India. Maitriveer-Nagarjuna (India) and Arthakusalin (Belgium) led the retreat and were joined by Tibor, headmaster at Dr Ambedkar High School, Janos, President of the Jai Bhim Network, Laci and Beno. In common with those assigned to the Dalit caste in India, Hungarian Roma are often unable to access education or employment and are subject to harsh treatment by wider society.
Triratna have had a growing centre in Estonia for over 10 years. Until 1991 Estonia was part of the former Soviet Union. MTÜ Budakoda runs two centres, in Tallinn, and Tartu. The sangha has over 40 committed members, including 15 Mitras, 5 of whom are training for ordination. All activities are run by three Order Members – Vaddhaka, Bodhikara, and Jnanakara. Our supporters have been helping Vajragupta (UK) and Viryabodhi (Sweden) visit and between them provide 2 months of retreats and classes a year to the Estonian sangha. Over the years friendships have deepened, and Vajragupta is now the prospective Private Preceptor for one TFO Mitra, and also the President of Triratna in Estonia.