What’s it all about?
Buddhism is a non-theistic spiritual path that helps us cultivate more positive mental states, contact our sanity and emotional warmth, and live more meaningful and fulfilling lives. Its ultimate goal is “Enlightenment” — direct insight into the nature of reality. It gives us a tried and tested set of practices and teachings that help us move towards Enlightenment by a process of spiritual growth.
The role of community
Buddhism emphasises the need for a community of kindred spirits to help us along this path — without the support and inspiration of like-minded people, it is almost impossible to make much progress. So at Sheffield Buddhist Centre one of our aims is to create a spiritual community that helps us all fulfil our spiritual potential. In a world of increasing cynicism and individualism, many people feel a deep need for such an environment.
Our style of Buddhism
The spiritual tradition we call Buddhism was started by The Buddha — “The One Who Has Woken Up” — about 2500 years ago in Northern India. In the millennia since his death Buddhism has adapted to many different societies, finding ways to express the Buddha’s vision in different cultures and historical eras. So what we now call Buddhism consists of many different schools that developed to suit a particular time and place — we have Tibetan Buddhism, Southeast Asian Buddhism, the Zen and Pure Land traditions of Japan, and many others.
Now that Buddhism has arrived in the West it needs to find a form that suits this time and place. So members of the Triratna Buddhist Order aim to present a form of Buddhism that is grounded in the core teachings and practices that underlie all the different ethnic schools of Buddhism. We are not Tibetan Buddhists, Zen Buddhists, Theravada Buddhists, Nichiren Buddhists, or Pure Land Buddhists — we are simply Buddhists, basing ourselves on the core teachings, but open to the richness of the whole tradition.
Try it out!
For thousands of years people have found that the practices of Buddhism really do work, leading to better mental states, clearer vision, and more meaningful lives. But don’t take our word for it — try it for yourself. To find out about our introductory classes see the Newcomers page.
At the Sheffield Buddhist Centre we teach two meditation practices to newcomers.
Mindfulness of Breathing
This helps us to develop a serene, alert, focussed state of mind, in which we can get beyond the usual chatter in our heads and start to listen to our deeper inspiration and wisdom.
The Metta Bhavana
The Metta Bhavana (sometimes called development of loving kindness), this helps us to develop positivity and warmth, to leave behind harmful emotions, and to connect with other people at a deeper level.
We combine these formal practices with the ‘non-practice’ of ‘Just Sitting’, which gives an open space in which we can absorb the effects of meditation.
The Role of Meditation
In Buddhism, meditation is seen as part of an overall path and approach to life. Meditation develops positive states of mind, but there is not much point in doing this for just a short period each day if we are cultivating negative states the rest of the time. For this reason we prefer to teach meditation along with a range of other practices that help us make positive changes to our mental states. For this reason most of our introductory classes are called an Introduction to Meditation and Buddhism, rather than being just about meditation alone.