Colchester Buddhist Centre is at the heart of a thriving, friendly community of practicing Buddhists. We run weekly meditation and Buddhism classes and study groups for all levels of experience, host day events for Buddhist festival days and other special events, and run several weekend retreats per year. We also hire out some of our spaces for health and wellbeing activities including yoga, pilates, acupuncture and counselling.
We are part of the Triratna Buddhist Community, a worldwide Buddhist movement in over 20 countries teaching and practicing Buddhism suitable for people, at all levels of commitment, living in the modern world.Visit The Triratna Buddhist Community's Website
All of our classes are run on a volunteer basis by ordained members of the Triratna Buddhist Order, five of whom form the Council of Trustees providing the legal and spiritual leadership of the centre.
Amalaketu (meaning “pure comet”) first started coming to the centre in 1997. He was ordained in 2006, receiving his private ordination at Vajrasana Retreat Centre in Suffolk by Arthapriya (his private preceptor), and public ordination at our old building on Manor Road by Mahamati (his public preceptor) and received the Vajrasattva Sādhanā practice.
He currently serves as Chair of the centre's Council, and is involved in all aspects of running the centre. He is also on the team for our Dharma Morning class, runs a men's mitra study group, and leads many of our special events.
In the wider movement, he is also a Trustee and the Treasurer of Dharmachakra, the organisation responsible for Triratna's sound and text archives which run's freebuddhistaudio.com and Triratna's main website, thebuddhistcentre.com. He is also involved in interfaith activities and is the Buddhist Faith Representative to the University of Essex.
Anavajjā (meaning “irreproachable”) first came to the centre in 2003 when she was working with Atulyamati. She was ordained at Akashavana, Triratna's women's Ordination centre in the Spanish mountains, by Atulyamati (her private preceptor) and Punyamala (her public preceptor), on a 3 month Ordination course in 2017 and received the Amitābha Sādhanā practice.
She is on the team for our Lunchtime Drop-In class and also regularly supports the Newcomers Night class.
Outside of the centre, she is a British Wheel of Yoga trained yoga teacher, with a particular interest in teaching Yoga to people living with cancer.
Women's Mitra Convenor
Atulyamati (meaning “incomparable, unequalled, immeasurable mind, determination, and devotion”) grew up in Finland but has lived in the UK for most of her life. She first started coming to classes in 1991, before we had our own centre. She was ordained at Il Convento in Tuscany, Italy on the first ever long Ordination course for women by Anjali (her private preceptor) and Saṅghadevi (her public preceptor) and received the Amoghasiddhi Sādhanā practice. In 2012 she became a private preceptor herself, and performed her first Ordinations in 2014.
She was on the centre's Council for 15 years, including serving as Chair from 2003 to 2010. She is now the Women's Mitra Convenor, responsible the training and spiritual welfare of the women mitras in the saṅgha. She is also on the team for our Newcomers Night and Lunchtime Drop-in Classes.
Dhammakumāra (meaning “prince of the Dhamma”) first came to the centre in 2005 when he was just 13 years old. He was ordained in 2017 at Padmaloka Retreat Centre in Norfolk by Srikirti (his private preceptor) and Maitreyabandhu (his public preceptor) and received the Vajrasattva Sādhanā practice.
At 25 years old he is currently the youngest Order member in the world.
He currently serves on the centre's Council and is the management team co-ordinator, liaising between the council, class teams and volunteers, and organising the class rotas and events programme, as well as managing our website, Facebook page and emails to the centre. He also is on our Newcomers Night Class team, and leads a men's study group.
Guṇasāra (meaning “the essence of spiritual quality”) first came to the centre in 1993. He was ordained at Guhyaloka, Triratna's men's Ordination centre in the Spanish mountains, by Ashvajit (his private preceptor) and Surata (his public preceptor) in 2001 and received the Green Tara Sādhanā practice.
He currently serves on the centre's Council as Secretary and is also the centre's Health & Safety and Safeguarding Officer. He also regularly runs series on Saṅgha Night.
In the wider movement, he is involved in organising and leading the Buddhafield East camping retreats in Suffolk.
Outside of the centre, Guṇasāra previously spent 18 years working for Windhorse:Evolution Right Livelihood business in both the Ipswich and Colchester branches of Evolution. Since Evolution's closure he works both as a counsellor and in a local law firm.
Men's Mitra Convenor
Kṣāntivajra (meaning “he who is a diamond of patience, tolerance and spiritual receptivity”) first came to the centre in 2000. He was ordained in 2008 at our old building on Manor Road by Satyaraja (his private preceptor) and Mahamati (his public preceptor) and received the Padmasambhava Sādhanā practice.
He is currently the Men's Mitra Convenor, responsible the training and spiritual welfare of the men mitras in the saṅgha. He regularly runs series on Saṅgha Night, as well as leading some special events (especially our annual Padmasambhava Day) and retreats. He is also responsible for fire safety at the centre.
In the wider movement, he is a Trustee of the The Mid-Essex Buddhist Centre where he also serves as Men's Mitra Convenor.
Sīlanātha (meaning “protector of ethics”) first started coming to the centre in 2004. He was ordained at Guhyaloka, Triratna's men's Ordination centre in the Spanish mountains, by Dharmadipa (his private preceptor) and Satyaraja (his public preceptor) on a 4 month Ordination course in 2011 and received the Shakyamuni Sādhanā practice.
He currently serves on the centre's Council as Treasurer, responsible for bookkeeping, invoicing, payments, and HMRC and Charity Commission compliance and returns. He also created and is on the team for our class in Clacton-on-Sea, as well as the team for our Lunchtime Drop-In class. He also regularly supports the Newcomers Night class and runs series on Saṅgha Night.
Sīlanātha is now retired from full time work and spends most of his time working at the centre in various capacities. He was instrumental in the move from our old building, managing the project and doing much of the work himself.
Śrīkīrtī (meaning “good reputation”) first started coming to classes in 1994, before we had our own centre. He was ordained at Padmaloka Retreat Centre in Norfolk in 2003 by Ashvajit (his private preceptor) and Surata (his public preceptor) and received the Akṣobhya Sādhanā practice, although he tends to do the Shakyamuni and Vajrasattva practices nowadays. In 2015 he became a private preceptor himself.
He was previously the men's mitra convenor and a Trustee but has recently handed over these responsibilities. Nowadays, he is on the team for our Newcomers Night class and supports other classes, as well as supporting the men training for ordination.
Sthiranāga (meaning “the most faithful and true”) attended his first Buddhist Retreat in 1984 when he went to the Padmaloka Retreat Centre in Norfolk. Although this started a regular meditation practice he did not join the Order until 2016 when he was ordained at Guyhaloka, Triratna's men's Ordination centre in the Spanish mountains, by Bodhivamsa (his private preceptor) and Arthapriya (his public preceptor) on a 4 month Ordination course and received the Akṣobhya Sādhanā practice.
He is on the team for our Dharma Morning class, and for our class in Clacton-on-Sea.
Sujayinī (meaning “excellent victorious woman”) first started coming to the centre in 1999. She was ordained at Akashavana, Triratna's women's Ordination centre in the Spanish mountains, by Kalyanasri (her private preceptor) and Maitreyi (her public preceptor), in 2010 and received the Akṣobhya Sādhanā practice.
She is on the centre's Council, runs a women's mitra study group, and also supports the Young People's Group at the Centre.
In the wider movement, Sujayinī is involved in organising and leading the Buddhafield East camping retreats in Suffolk.
We are supported by a further team of volunteers helping at classes, buying supplies, maintaining the building, keeping the shrines, and all of the other work required to run the centre.
We are pleased to be part of Triratna's Sustainable Buddhist Centre programme and our centre has been designed with impact to the environment in mind. We are equipped with a 4kW solar power system, purchased with funds we received from M&S Energy Fund, to generate all our electricity over a year from sunshine. Our lighting is low energy, fully dimmable, LED. Our heating system is provided by an A rated eco-boiler, and we have underfloor heating in our main shrine room and have incorporated high amounts of insulation to reduce heat loads.
We are also a certified Fairtrade Place of Worship: all the tea, biscuits and other applicable kitchen supplies purchased by the centre are Fairtrade. Not only does this mean fair prices and better labor standards for the farmers the products coming from, Fairtrade also helps farmers become better stewards of the land.
All food in the centre is vegetarian, and we only allow vegetarian food to be brought to events. Vegetarianism is not only an expression our commitment to non violence, sustainability too, avoiding the environmental affects of animal products such as pollution, deforestation, and the use of non-renewable resources.
We also recycle all of our recyclable waste, organise car-sharing for off-site events like retreats, and participate in the annual Buddhist Action Month, an annual event organised by the Network of Buddhist Organisations to promote actions that express our care and concern for our planet and our environment.