Hello my name is Mahamani and I first came across the Dharma (teachings of the Buddha) and Triratna Buddhist Community some 14 years ago on a winter retreat with the London Buddhist Centre (LBC). I booked on the retreat following a relationship breakup and because I didn’t want to spend Christmas on my own. I didn’t know anything about Buddhism at the time, but I thought it might be fun to learn to meditate. And of course it meant I wouldn’t be on my own over Christmas!
Despite my perhaps less-than-spiritual intentions, I came back from that retreat knowing my life had changed completely although not really understanding what that meant. However, I knew that I owed it to myself to explore further, to pick up the thread of the Dharma offered to me on that retreat and see where it led me. Within a short space of time I had moved from my nice cosy existence in Surrey to live in a women’s community in East London and got fully involved with the LBC Sangha, became a mitra and subsequently asked for ordination.
I was ordained in 2014 at Akashavana and returned to the LBC Sangha. Four years ago I became one of the Mitra Convenors at the centre, a role that I feel honoured to have held. It was deeply inspiring to meet women new to the Dharma and to subsequently support and witness their deepening connection with Buddhism. Just thinking about it brings a warmth to my heart, a smile to my face and a deep sense of gratitude. I have made so many new friends and have learnt so much.
Then, in 2021, I felt a deep need for a different pace of life but still very much wanting to be involved with supporting and befriending women and sharing the Dharma with them, and so I asked Taraloka if I could join their community. Although for various reasons I have not been a frequent visitor to Taraloka in the past I always knew that it was a place I could live at. Indeed it was following a retreat at Taraloka a number of years ago that I asked for ordination! So I joined the community as part of the retreat team. Although it still feels like early days, at the moment I am loving it, and that includes both hearing the cows mooing in the field when meditating in the morning in our community shrine room and the opportunity for collective practice with the wonderful women here in the community!
So I look forward to welcoming you to Taraloka and hope you have an opportunity to visit us soon: whether you've been here before or it's your first time, whether I know you or not, it will be great to see you.