Believe in Change: Introducing Meditation and Buddhism

Believe in Change: Our Monday 6-week course in meditation and Buddhism.
Six sessions, 18.00-19.15

The next block begins July 12th 2021. The classes will be held online or in person when possible..

Please note that the classes are BY PRE-BOOKING ONLY! Very sorry, we will not be able to admit anyone who hasn’t booked. Booking details will be posted when the date is announced.
The course is by voluntary donation which you can make when you arrive.
The sessions will give you:
– two very effective kinds of daily meditation for calm and positivity
– an introduction to real, radical mindfulness, as originally taught by the Buddha
– ethical tools for transforming yourself and the world
– liberating reflections taught by the Buddha on life and reality
– a taste of the sense of belonging as part of a spiritual community.

COVID-19: The Centre will be taking all necessary measures to reduce risks of Covid-19 transmission, including social distancing and ventilation. You will be asked to bring a face mask. Please do not book if you are over 70 or at high risk. 

Booking is for all six sessions. Capacity is limited, so please book if, as far as you know, you are able and willing to coming to all six sessions.

What is Buddhism?

♦ a path towards fearlessness, clarity of mind and positive emotion
♦ a radical way of changing the world, starting with ourselves
♦ a journey towards greater happiness and sense of meaning in life
♦ founded on our own experience and exploration, not blind belief.

What is Meditation?

♥ a way of becoming more aware of ourselves – our body, mind and emotional responses
♥ a way of developing greater kindness and patience
♥ a way of deepening our understanding of life and insight into reality
♥ a way of finding peace and relaxation
♥ something that begins to give benefits quickly and can have life-changing effects.

Notes and Resources

  • Week One

Week One Key Points: Three transformative ideas to work with. (1) We can change. (2) Happiness comes from inside, not from outer things. (3) We are deeply interconnected with others and the world around us.

Week One Actions: (1) Make one small change to your routine this week. (2) Try some meditation on your own. (3) Take some time to think about the three transformative ideas and whether you have experience of them in your own life.

A helpful down to earth video on meditation posture from Surata.

A 10-minute video leading through the Mindfulness of Breathing meditation from Bodhipaksa.

A ten-minute podcast on happiness from Maitreyabandhu.

  • Week Two

Actions for the week: Try and make a simple change in your daily life this week that involves a positive choice of care for others or yourself.

Here are some links you might wish to follow up.

Part One: The Wheel of Life

Part Two: Karma and Liberation

20-minute led Mindfulness of Breathing video.

  • Week Three

Actions for the week: Choose one of the five precepts, and one day where you focus on putting it into practice. Here is a reminder of the precepts, expressed in the form of what we move away from, and then in the form of what we’re positively moving towards:I undertake to abstain from taking life.

I undertake to abstain from taking the not-given. I undertake to abstain from sexual misconduct.
I undertake to abstain from false speech.
I undertake to abstain from taking intoxicants.

With deeds of loving kindness, I purify my body.
With open-handed generosity, I purify my body.
With stillness, simplicity, and contentment, I purify my body. With truthful communication, I purify my speech.
With mindfulness clear and radiant, I purify my mind.

Here is an introduction to the Metta Bhavana

And here is a link to a short lead-through of the metta bhavana meditation by Kamalashila

  • Week Four

This week’s activity is to establish a regular meditation practice – ten to twenty minutes, three times a week or daily.

A reminder of some of the tools for meditation:

  • If you experience anxiety or restlessness, cultivate calm
  • If you experience ill will, cultivate appreciation and enjoyment.
  • If you experience sense desire, engage the senses with the meditation object (breath).
  • If you experience doubt and indecision, cultivate commitment.
  • If you experience sloth and torpor, cultivate energy.
  • Visualise the breath as light.
  • Attend to the breath in different parts of the body. Focusing lower in the body is grounding; focusing higher in the body is energising.
  • Practise balanced effort – finding just the right amount of effort of attention to sustain a deeper experience of the breath.

A twenty minute led session of the Mindfulness of Breathing by Kamalashila.

  • Week Five

This week’s activity is to notice any moments of ritual that you already undertake in your daily life, and what effect they have. If you wish, you could also introduce a simple element of ritual around meditation, such as lighting candle or incense, as a way of connecting more deeply to the practice.

Here are some notes about Mantra.

Some images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas by Buddhist artist Aloka