Buddhism & Meditation

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.

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. 

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.

More About Meditation

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.

Metta Bhanvana

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.

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 section.

Vision and Transformation: The Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path eBook

Find more Buddhist books written by Sangharakshita here.

 

Introductory course handouts

If you’ve been coming along to one of our introductory courses you might like to use these handouts, which go alongside each of the classes. There is one handout for each of the six weeks of the course.

You can view, download and print the handouts here.

You might also like to try using guided meditation tracks recorded by Vajratara to help get you started meditating at home. You can listen to and download the audio files here.

Jordana

I first became interested in Buddhism as a teenager from a chance encounter with a book found in my school library. I was immediately struck by how Buddhism taught that I could change how I experience the world and that I could grow as a person. However, it wasn’t until many years later at the Sheffield Buddhist centre, that I began to commit myself fully to Buddhist practice as I saw that practicing Buddhist teachings was having a very positive impact on my life and on the lives of others.

I was delighted to join the Still Learning Team in November 2018. My previous work has been as a teacher and as an artist and I feel privileged to be able to bring those skills together with my passion for Buddhism in order to teach children and young people about Buddhism.

Aryadasa

I first came into contact with Buddhism in my final year of university when I attended an introductory course at the Sheffield Buddhist Centre. I was instantly captivated by the revolutionary yet practical nature of the Dharma (teachings of the Buddha).

I began to meditate and apply Buddhism into my daily life and found that it actually worked! I had started to view the world differently and in a way that made me happier. I gained great confidence by this and became a committed Buddhist practitioner soon afterwards.

I enjoy sharing with others what I have learnt and how Buddhism has transformed me so I was delighted to join the Still Learning team in October 2013.

Buddhist Artefacts

Suitable for all Key Stages A fun activity for all ages. Explore a range of traditional Buddhist artefacts. Can you guess what they might be used for? Pupils and teachers love the hands-on approach of this game.

Ethics and Kamra

We have a range of exercises and activities, depending on ages and ability levels, exploring Buddhist ethics and their implications for how we might live as Buddhists.  

The Life of the Buddha

How did the Buddha become the Buddha? Who was he before? What is enlightenment?

An understanding of the Buddha’s life story is an indispensable introduction to the religion. We draw out the key aspects using a beautiful painting that depicts the different events from the story.

The Three Jewels

We often theme our tours and visits around the Three Jewels of Buddhism, the Buddha, the Dhamra and the Sangha. Find out why the Three Jewels are common and central to all schools of Buddhism.

Stilling Activity

Very popular with both students and teachers, this exercise will give you a taste of what it’s like to meditate.