The Inspiring World of Myth and Imagination
First there was the historical Buddha whose very presence shone with the qualities of Enlightenment. It is said that people became transformed just by sitting in his presence, even just by bringing him to mind. Once he had passed the world must have seemed empty and Awakening more difficult to attain. So, as the centuries passed other, mythical, Buddhas evolved in the imaginations of those who followed his teaching. Each of these imaginative Buddhas is rich in imagery, each conveying particular qualities of the historical Buddha, and each of them acting as guide for those who wish to cultivate those qualities in themselves. One particular set of these mythical Buddhas arose in the centuries after the Buddha's passing. These are the Five Jinas or Conquerors (so called because the have conquered Greed, Hatred and Delusion).
These are mythical mythical Buddhas, but what does that mean?. Myth is not strictly true but nor is it completely untrue. We have hundreds of myths in the Western world - Santa Claus, Robin Hood, Harry Potter, Spider-Man, Captain Marvel; each of them demonstrating qualities like happiness, generosity, fearlessness and agility; qualities that we might wish to cultivate in ourselves. We might even admire them for the qualities that transcend our own worldly state, qualities that we admire and might wish to cultivate if we could.
Similarly, each of our mythical Buddhas speaks to us through the same language of symbolism, helping us to side-step the rational, literal mind and leading us into the realm of imagination where Awakening may be more easily realised, where our spiritual path may be more easily followed.
These are the Five Buddhas:
Akshobya, The Imperturbable, the deep blue Buddha of the East who represents Clarity or Wisdom.
Ratnasambhava, The Jewel-Born, the yellow Buddha of the South with his wish-fulfilling jewel that represents Abundance and Generosity.
Amitabha, Infinite Light, the deep red Buddha of the West who radiates Loving-Kindness and Compassion for all beings.
Amoghasiddhi, The All Accomplishing, the deep green Buddha who represents complete Fearlessness.
Vairocana, The Illuminator, the white Buddha who combines all the qualities of the others and represents Enlightenment itself.
Each week we will explore one of these Buddhas to see how they relate to our own lives and how, through working with one or more of them, we will be able to help ourselves to transform. We'll do this through stories, talks, discussion, and through a different imaginative meditation each week.
This course is open to all those who have completed one of our introductory courses - either Sailing the Worldy Winds or Finding Peace in a Turbulent World.
There is no charge. However we rely on the generosity of those who attend our classes for our continued existence and our ability to offer all classes freely so that everyone can take part regardless of means. Please make a donation if you can - we would suggest £5 per week or £25 for the course, though please give more or less depending on your means.
There is no charge for this course but we would appreciate a donation of whatever seems reasonable to you.
How To Join
A Zoom link will be sent to you a few days before the first session. It is the same link for all five weeks
Use a PC or Mac
For most modern web browsers, you do not need to download anything. For a better experience you can, before the start time, download the Zoom Desktop Client for Windows, Mac, or Linux. You do not need to create an account or sign in.
A few minutes before we're due to start, open the app if you have downloaded it, or go to join.zoom.us, and enter the meeting ID you've been given to join.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to book?
What should I wear?
You don't need any special clothing or equipment.
Do I need to be a Buddhist or wish to become one?
Absolutely not! Everyone is welcome and there is no pressure for you to practise in a set way or make any commitment at all, other than attending the course every week. Many of our regulars do not consider themselves to be Buddhists - they just find the teachings useful.
How much does the course cost?
It is free but we ask you to make a small donation of £5 per week if you can, as we have no income other than that which comes from those who use the Centre. However donations are entirely optional.
Is it okay to join on Week Two, or miss a class?
We would rather that you didn't as it does put you behind others. However, if you unavoidably miss a class, we will do all we can to help you catch up.
Are there any weird rituals?
No, this is a very practical course exploring how we can live our lives in a more peaceful and contented way.