Sangha Soiree is back on Tuesday evening 19th December by popular demand

So if you would like to give some kind of performance or presentation, then just let Keith know at least a week beforehand (i.e. by 12th Dec or earlier). In the past we have had poetry, singing, musical performances, and also belly dancing!

If you want to present a youtube video or something on a laptop, that will also be possible. eg in the past people have presented a snippet from an opera, a John Lennon song, a Disney song, a slideshow of their photography and artistic creations and have said a few words about it beforehand.

Our tech support guy (Dave) will bring a laptop, projector, mic, amp and speaker. So we will need the file or URL at least a week beforehand.

Also if you want to bring party food, eg cakes, crisps, non alcoholic drinks etc then please feel free 🙂

This is also a great evening if you have not been for a while and just want to enjoy a pleasant social night with us. There is no need to do any performance if you don’t want to. You can just relax and enjoy 🙂

Also coming up is:

21/11 Samudraghosha
28/11 Mangala
5/12 Khemananda

There is no class for following week (26th Dec), but we will be back on 2nd Jan, and a 6 week course will be starting on 9th Jan.

2 new order members, and coming up we have Sangha Day

Hi everybody

Hopefully you are well.

We have recently acquired two brand new order members in our Hertford Sangha:

Srigarbha (ex Helen), a Sanskrit name meaning “She who is gloriously radiant from her very core”.
and Bodhivandana ( ex Mita), a Pali name meaning “She who worships Awakening”.

We had a lovely welcome back evening for them recently (after their ordination retreat).

Coming up, there is Sangha Day at Cambridge Buddhist Centre on Sunday 26th Nov 2023 – 10.00am to 5.30pm

Their website says: “In the Tiratana Vandana, the Arya Sangha is described as ‘an incomparable source of goodness for the world’. This year’s festival day will be exploring and celebrating the jewel that is the Sangha or spiritual community.

Why is Sangha so valued by Buddhists throughout the world? What does it mean to come into relationship with the spiritual community? And how is this a pathway into our own liberation? In the practice of Sangha what are we trying to create together?

As well as talk by Keturaja (chair of the CBC), there will be a range of activities including the collective creation of a shared symbol of Sangha. The day will also include a special puja with Mitra Ceremonies in the afternoon to welcome a number of friends at the Centre into the Mitra Sangha. For those who are already Mitras (friends of the Triratna Order), there will also be the possibility of Mitra ‘reaffirmations’. Activities for children and their parents will be organised during the morning.”

There will be 5 new mitras, but alas no-one from Hertford this time. If you are a mitra, it is always good to take part in this annual mitra reaffirmation.

Coming up in Hertford we have:

7th Nov Bodhivandana
14th Nov Nigel
21st Nov Khemananda (to be confirmed)
28th Nov Mangala

Hope to see you at some of these – and Sangha Day of course!

All the best


6 week meditation course starting Tuesday, retreat and two ordinations

Hi everybody,

We have a 6 week course (for 6 Tuesday evenings) which is focussed purely on meditation. So it is a fantastic way to either learn how to meditate, or take your meditation practice a lot deeper, with lots of practice, talks and discussions.

Just turn up on Tuesday evening 5th Sep between 7pm and 7.15pm. No need to bring anything. There is no charge, and no commitment needed. There will be an opportunity to make a small donation if you would like to support us.

You can download a 32 page pdf connected with the course with a summary of the notes, and a small task to do every day between the classes at the top of .

05 Sep 2023 Course week 1 Keith
12 Sep 2023 Course week 2 Mita
19 Sep 2023 Course week 3 Not confirmed
26 Sep 2023 Course week 4 Not confirmed
03 Oct 2023 Course week 5 Nigel
10 Oct 2023 Course week 6 Not confirmed
17 Oct 2023 Katey
24 Oct 2023 Welcome Back! Padmajata
31 Oct 2023 Helen

Also I wanted to mention that Cambridge Buddhist Centre are holding a weekend retreat on 8th to 10th December in Suffolk.

It is open to newcomers as well as regulars. It is really a fantastic way to experience deeper meditative states. They are a lot of fun as well, and a lot of time to sit around in armchairs, chatting and making new friends. It is hard to really think of a more enjoyable way to spend a weekend.

I went on the similar one last year, I have booked for this one, and I am going on two more retreats before then. If you have never been on a retreat before, you should definitely try it out, and this would be a really good one to go on as your first retreat.

But you will need to book fast, as there are only 10 places left at the moment, and these will probably get booked up in the next few days.

Also Padmajata gave me this special message to include:

The sangha are invited to two special events coming up in Hertford. On Thursday 28th September at the Millbridge rooms we will have a special evening to say goodbye to Helen and Mita, wishing them well for their two week ordination retreat starting 2nd October at Tiratanaloka women’s retreat centre in Wales. And on Tuesday 24th October the class will highlight welcoming back our two new Dharmacharinis, where we will hear from them something about their retreat and the meaning of their new names.

On both evenings there will be a short ritual and an opportunity to share cards and presents with Helen and Mita, as well as a lovely teabreak, feel free to bring extra yummy cakes!

That is all for now. Will hopefully see you soon.


Meditation Course Starting 5th September

Hi everyone,

My mother died peacefully a few weeks ago, and I have been busy sorting out the funeral and a lot of other practical things. It was a powerful blast of emotion and energy tinged with some sadness.

It was in many ways a really good way to die. She was surrounded by family, and lovingly cared for by the nurses at the hospital and then the hospice. Also it gave us a few weeks to process a lot of our emotions, let go, and express our love and gratitude to her.

It helped me reflect how fragile and temporary our lives are, and how important it is to live our lives in the deepest, most authentic way we can, and also to fully appreciate those around us. I find that meditation and the Buddhist precepts are an excellent framework to support us doing this.

Coming up at the Hertford Buddhist Group we have:

15 Aug: Keith
22 Aug: Rob
29 Aug: Samudraghosha
05 Sep: Start of a 6 week meditation course

At you can download a pdf with 32 pages of notes to go with our course, that includes a meditation diary for the entire 6 weeks.

We have done this course many times, and it can repeated over and over as we deepen our practice.

Kuladipa asked me to mention that there is an open day at the Cambridge Buddhist Centre on the 16th September. So that might be a good time to visit if you have never been there before, or if you want to bring friends and family along.

Hopefully see you soon.

warm wishes


Dharma Day and some thought provoking quotes

Hi everyone,

I hope that all is well with you and those close to you.

My family is facing a challenge at the moment, as my 99 year old mother seems to be facing the end of her life. She is in hospital with her family by her side on a rota system. She does have some episodes of confusion and panic, but is very reassured by our presence. She is also cracking lots of jokes and telling us all how lovely and perfect we are. In turn, we try and surround her with love. I tried telling her all the things she has done for me over the years – but there were just too many. She tried then to list the things I had done for her.

I am working with two sayings at the moment “Grief is unexpressed love” and “Today is a good day to die as everything in my life is complete” which I found in the excellent book “Who Dies” by Steven Levine. The latter is from the Native American tradition. I am changing the latter to “Today is a good day for my mother to die as everything in her life is complete”.

From a Buddhist point of view being around death and dying can remind us of the pain and suffering caused by attachment, and also the reality of impermanence. It is all to easy to stick our heads in the sand in our private deluded fantasy world.

Here are some other interesting quotes that I found:

“You only lose what you cling to.” – Buddha

“The root of suffering is attachment.” – Buddha

“Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again.” – Buddha

“The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.” – Buddha

Milarepa: “All worldly pursuits have but one unavoidable and inevitable end, which is sorrow; acquisitions end in dispersion; buildings in destruction; meetings in separation; births in death.”

Milarepa: “When you are strong and healthy, you never think of sickness coming, but it descends with sudden force like a stroke of lightning. When involved in worldly things, you never think of death’s approach; quick it comes like thunder crashing round your head.”

Milarepa: “The affairs of the world will go on forever. Do not delay the practice of meditation.”

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche: “Do not encumber your mind with useless thoughts. What good is it to brood over the past and fret about the future? Dwell in the simplicity of the present moment.”

Anyway why not come and join us at the Hertford Buddhist Group one Tuesday evening.

Coming up we have:

11 Jul 2023 Keith
18 Jul 2023 Samudraghosha
25 Jul 2023 Padmajata
01 Aug 2023 Mangala
08 Aug 2023 Katey

Also coming up on Sunday 9th July in Cambridge is Dharma Day. This is one of the three main Buddhist festivals of the year ( ). Several of us are going up from Hertford. These festivals are always a great day out, and an opportunity to see old friends, and meet new ones 🙂

Warm wishes


Retreat and Dharma Day coming up

Hi everyone,

I hope that all is well with you.

Our “Not About Being Good” Course has just finished. It was well attended, and it was really interesting to grapple with questions about what sort of life it is best to live. Is it really true that if we act kindly, we tend to experience more joy than if we indulge in mean, bitter mental states? Our brief introspective experiment in week one indicated that this was indeed the case. So the other weeks just took a deeper dive into our daily lives from a variety of different angles corresponding to the five precepts or “five doorways to joy” as I have heard them described.

So for the next few months we will have an assortment of topics, and pretty much every class will continue to be devoted to meditation for the first half of the evening.

Coming up we have:

06 Jun 2023 Amber and team: Buddhist Action Month
13 Jun 2023 Keith
20 Jun 2023 Kuladipa
27 Jun 2023 Padmajata
04 Jul 2023 Helen

Also I wanted to mention that the manager of the North London Centre has sent me an email inviting anyone connected with the Hertford Sangha to join them on retreat at Vajrasana on 9th to 11th June . The cost is £200 (or £160 concessionary rate). Vajradaka and other teachers from their Tuesday night class will be leading it.

Also Dharma Day is coming up at Cambridge on 9th July . I am hoping to be there, and usually quite a few people from Hertford go up for these festivals.

Warm wishes


p.s. Excerpt from one of my favourite books: “Buddhism: Tools for Living Your Life” by Vajragupta © Windhorse Publications

exercise – my work as right livelihood?
You might like to go back over the elements of right livelihood we have discussed,

  1. Supporting ourselves financially
  2. Benefitting others
  3. Supporting our meditation and spiritual practice
  4. Simplicity and consider the strengths and weaknesses of your work or life-activity under each of the four headings.

Allow your observations and thoughts to emerge gradually. It is also good to make a few notes as you go.
Are there areas of your work you are especially happy with? Are there areas you would like to develop? What resources would you need, or what changes would you need to make, in order to do this?

Everyone will have a different way of combining these four elements of right livelihood. These are not hard and fast rules; what is best for one person isn’t necessarily best for another. One person may decline promotion because they know it will entail staying late to deal with the increased responsibilities, and they want that time to meditate; another will seek promotion because they feel they need the challenge and the chance to make a bigger contribution in their organization. One person might be able to live very simply on little money; another might want to earn more because they’ve been used to a higher standard of living all their life. One person might work as little as possible because they are pursuing other interests: a book they are writing, voluntary work, or a study group. Another might be working long hours, but be totally and healthily engaged in their work: it is their medium for developing themselves and making a contribution to the world.

It is our choice. We have to make our own path, and find a way that works for us. We can, however, get the help, advice, or inspiration from others on the path. At the Buddhist centre where I work, there have been, at various times, groups of people who’ve met up to talk about their way of practising. There has been a parents group, and a group for social workers, for example. Having people practising in different ways is healthy. Everyone has their own contribution to make. Overall, it creates a rich mix and allows us to see spiritual ideals expressed in a variety of ways. This can help prevent us confusing the expression of an ideal with the ideal itself.

One friend of mine, after he had been meditating for a few years, trained to become a teacher. He has been a happy and successful primary school teacher for some years now, and you can see the positive effect it has had on him. He also says that his work has changed him as much as meditation, but that he couldn’t have made the change to his work without meditation. His is an example of a life of activity and a life of calm working together.

Happy May Day :-)

Hi everyone,

Happy May Day 🙂

I hope you are enjoying Springtime with the beautiful cherry blossom and growing anticipation of Summery days to come.

We started our course recently. I counted 43 people last Tuesday, which is the highest in person attendance since the start of the pandemic. It is good to see that our community is growing in size at the same time as our friendships are deepening.

Here is a photo that we took a couple of weeks ago.

The course is designed so that you can join at any time, so it does not matter if you have missed previous weeks, or if you have never been before. We always teach meditation from first principles. If you want to buy the book that goes along with the course, it is called “Not about being good” by Subhadramati. It is recommended, but it is not essential.

Have you ever been on retreat? Whether or not you have, I can definitely recommend the Cambridge Buddhist Centre Summer retreat from Sunday 11/6 to Friday 16/6.

Some of Cambridge’s retreats are just for people attending the Cambridge Buddhist Centre, but they have just decided to open this up to people attending the Hertford group (as well as other groups).

All you need to be ready for this retreat is interested in meditation, curious about myth and ritual and open to Buddhist teachings – you don’t have to be a fully signed-up Buddhist. It would be a perfect retreat if you have never been on one before.

And please do drop into our Tuesday Night Class

This is what is coming up:

02 May 2023 Course week 3 – Rob and Helen
09 May 2023 Course week 4 – Keith and Amber
16 May 2023 Course week 5 – Amber and Nigel
23 May 2023 Course week 6 – Nigel and Simon
30 May 2023 Kuladipa
06 Jun 2023 Samudraghosha
13 Jun 2023 Keith
20 Jun 2023 BAM – Buddhist Action Month and the Hertford Earth Sangha
27 Jun 2023 Padmajata
04 Jul 2023 Helen

I will hopefully see you at some of these.

All the best


p.s. Excerpt from one of my favourite books: “Buddhism: Tools for Living Your Life” by Vajragupta © Windhorse Publications


So we do not have to ignore or avoid the complex and sophisticated society in which we live. We can benefit from the possibilities it allows. But we make use of those possibilities, rather than letting them use us. I run a lot of weekend retreats as part of my work at the Buddhist centre. I’ve noticed something about them over the last few years. In the old days, people would arrive on Friday night, stay for the weekend, and return home on Sunday. These days, people arrive, phone home on their mobile to say they’ve arrived, check their phone for messages half an hour later, phone the next day to see if the cat has had its dinner, check for messages, and phone again on Sunday to tell their family they are coming home soon. The mobile phone revolution has made possible much that is useful: phoning ahead if you’re going to be late for a meeting, or texting a relative the other side of the world. But it also gives rise to all sorts of calls and worries that wouldn’t have even occurred to us before.

Sometimes, rather than using technology, technology starts to use us. Or rather, the technology becomes a way in which we distract ourselves from experiencing our own hearts and minds.

So perhaps simplicity involves asking ourselves what is really necessary for pursuing our true purpose, and for that dwelling in possibility. We ask ourselves what activities or possessions help us to do this, and which detract from it. We ask the same question at work. Perhaps, as we pursue spiritual practice, our work becomes, in certain ways, less central in our lives. Our sense of worth, or self-image, becomes less dependent on our job and status. Perhaps we do not see promotion, high earnings, and career success as all-important as it once might have been. We know there are other aspects to our lives that are we value more highly, and deeper and more vital currents that run through us.

Coming up in April

Hi everyone,

Happy April.

We are starting a six week course on the 18th April based around the amazing book “Not about being good”. You can check it out at any good bookseller 🙂 As usual, the first half of each evening will be devoted to meditation (with full instruction). Then after the tea break we will have the course. Beginners are very welcome. No need to book. Just turn up.

Normally we have random unrelated people leading each week. But this time we are doing something different. The course will be led by a team of people from our GFR sangha. i.e. people in the ordination process (Amber, Bev, Helen, Katey, Keith, Nigel, Rob, and Simon). We have never attempted anything like this before. But it does make a lot of sense to work as a team like this.

It will be a fantastic course. I am really looking forward to it. The book is written by Subhadramati who used to be the female mitra convenor at the London Buddhist Centre. She does have a very special warm energy, and wisdom which is transmitted through the book. When I first started teaching meditation, I used to sneak into her beginners’ meditation sessions at the LBC on Wednesday evenings so I could learn from her:-)

As it says in the book’s blurb: “other people are essentially no different from ourselves. We can, if we choose, actively develop this awareness, through cultivating more and more love, clarity and contentment. Helping us to come into a greater harmony with all that lives, including ourselves, this is ultimately a guidebook to a more satisfactory life.”

04 Apr 2023 Our birthday bash – Celebration of the founding of the Hertford Buddhist Group 14 years ago
11 Apr 2023 Padmajata
18 Apr 2023 Course week 1 – GFR Sangha
25 Apr 2023 Course week 2 – GFR Sangha
02 May 2023 Course week 3 – GFR Sangha
09 May 2023 Course week 4 – GFR Sangha
16 May 2023 Course week 5 – GFR Sangha
23 May 2023 Course week 6 – GFR Sangha

I hope to see you at many of these


p.s. Excerpt from one of my favourite books: “Buddhism: Tools for Living Your Life” by Vajragupta © Windhorse Publications

Buddhists talk a lot about contentment and simplicity, but what do these ideals actually amount to when we are in the midst of a busy job? What does simplicity mean in a society that is complex, quick to change, technologically sophisticated, and far from simple?

Maybe simplicity is about doing what is really important in our lives and not getting caught up in that which is of lesser importance. There is a well-known exercise in which participants are asked to write down all their plans for the coming year. (If you want to do this exercise yourself, then don’t read any further before you’ve done that bit!)

Then they are given a second sheet of paper and asked to write their plans for the year once again, but this time knowing that it is the last year of their life. The contents of the two sheets are often very different – the hopes and aims of the first suddenly appear in a new perspective. This exercise might show us what is really important and worth focusing on.

6 week course starting 18th April – Meditation and Not About Being Good

You are warmly invited to come to a six-week (ie 6 Tuesday evenings) course for anyone wanting to learn how to meditate or find out about Buddhism or who wants to deepen their knowledge or practice.

This course is based on the excellent book “Not About Being Good” by Subhadramati, and this is the first time we have covered this material at Hertford.

Other people are essentially no different from ourselves. We can, if we choose, actively develop this awareness, through cultivating more and more love, clarity and contentment. Helping us to come into a greater harmony with all that lives, including ourselves, this is ultimately a guidebook to a more satisfactory life.

You are encouraged to buy this book in advance (on Amazon, it is £9.05 for the paperback or £6.99 for the Kindle version), so you can read the relevant section during the week to go deeper into the material.

All are welcome including total beginners, and people who know nothing about meditation or Buddhism. You certainly do not have to “be a Buddhist” or anything like that.

We don’t charge a fee, because Buddhists, we try and practice generosity. But we do invite people to make a donation towards our costs. Your donation could be any amount, but the suggested amount is £5.

Many people have found these courses extremely useful and have made massive shifts in their life from them (if they carry on practising and attending after the course).

People report these shifts especially in areas such as more happiness, less anxiety and less negative emotions. The general goal is to be more content, more aware, have more loving kindness, joy, and ultimately more freedom from our reactive mind.

Repetition is important in Buddhism because there are different levels of depth, experience and understanding. If you have been before you will build on what you have learned and be able to go a bit deeper this time, so it is also suitable for seasoned meditators.

If you want more information about the styles of meditation we teach you can go to where there are also links to downloadable mp3s that can guide you while you meditate, as well as youtube videos etc.

It’s fine if you can’t manage to come to every week, each one can be enjoyed independently so just come along and drop into any that you can make. Although like anything, the more you put into it, and the more you attend, the more you will get out of it.

The classes will be very friendly, welcoming and a lot of fun. There will be a tea and biscuit break half way through, so there will be a lot of opportunity to make new friends.

The course is held at our usual venue of the Millbridge Rooms (opposite Hertford Theatre). See the link below for a screenshot of our front door, and recommended car parks:

It is best to get there between 7.00 pm and 7.15pm, as we start shortly after that. Each class will finish at 9.30 pm.

There is no need to bring anything apart from an open mind and willingness to explore your experience. We have lots of chairs and some cushions and mats. However if you want to bring any cushions, stools etc from home you are very welcome. You don’t need to bring a yoga mat.

If you cannot come to this course, you can also come any Tuesday throughout the year as we always warmly welcome any newcomers and beginners, and give full instruction.

All Tuesdays are drop in, and open to newcomers.

Hope to see you soon at one of our evenings 🙂


Retreats and coming up in March and April

Hi everyone,

Six of us have just returned from a fantastic weekend in the countryside on retreat. I would definitely recommend it. Not only did we get a lot deeper into the meditations, it was just so nice to spend time with such great people – making new friends, and deepening older connections. There is so much magic that happens on a retreat, that it is hard to put into words.

If you would like to go on one, then you can checkout . There is a retreat of some kind almost every weekend of the year. Also why not try a longer one?

Also post in our Facebook Group that you have booked, as that will encourage others to book on the same one.

Coming up in Hertford we have:

14 Mar 2023 Kuladipa
21 Mar 2023 Rob
28 Mar 2023 Samudraghosha
04 Apr 2023 Keith
11 Apr 2023 Padmajata
18 Apr 2023 Keith – Week 1 of Course
25 Apr 2023 Helen – Week 2 of Course

Here are some dates for your diary for Festival days at Cambridge Buddhist Centre:

Buddha Day – Sunday 30th April

Dharma Day – Sunday 9th July

Padmasambhava Day – Sunday 24th September

Sangha Day – Sunday 26th November

Also, you may be interested in a couple of practice days that Padmajata will be leading at the CBC over the Easter holiday (8th & 9th April)

Please note that with the Cambridge Buddhist Centre retreats, some of them we are very welcome to go on. We had one last weekend, and another in Dec like that. They love us joining them for these retreats.

Also there are other retreats that they like to restrict to people who regularly go to the Cambridge Centre, so you should not book for those. It is normally clear from the description of the retreat on their website. In particular, these retreats: “Sangha weekend retreat at Vajrasana in May” and “Five day retreat at Vajrasana in June” are only for the Cambridge Sangha.

So that is why if you feel like going on retreat this Spring or Summer, it is best to book one from the London Buddhist Centre website or another centre where the retreat is open to all. Note that the North London Centre have a retreat at Vajrasana open to all 28th April to 30th April, and at least one person from Hertford is already booked for that.

That is all for now.

Hopefully see you at one of our Tuesday classes. Just drop in whenever you feel like it 🙂

Warm wishes


p.s. Excerpt from one of my favourite books: “Buddhism: Tools for Living Your Life” by Vajragupta © Windhorse Publications

Here, we’ll look at basic elements of right livelihood. These are suggested areas with which to consider to what extent our working life constitutes right livelihood. Does our work give us what we need under each of these headings?

supportive of our practice
Thirdly, for a job to constitute right livelihood, it needs to be part of, and support, our spiritual practice. As my Buddhist teacher once said, ‘Unless your work is your meditation, your meditation is not meditation.’ Whatever your job, it will contain opportunities to cultivate more mindfulness, chances to develop loving-kindness, ways of interacting with others more ethically. This is what is meant by making your work your meditation. Issues will arise that pose spiritual challenges for us: how can we respond to that awkward colleague with loving-kindness? What do we do if our boss has asked us to conceal something from a customer? These may not be easy issues, but they are the stuff of the real spiritual life.

It might be easy to find ways of making our work part of our practice. Or it may be that we decide that circumstances at work are too stressful, or the people we work with unsupportive, and we consider a change to work that will be more conducive to our practice.

Some Buddhists have approached this issue by establishing businesses or ventures in which they can work together as a team. The hope is that they can then really explore what it means for work to be a spiritual practice, together with others who are committed to the same ideals. This can bring about a strong sense of shared purpose, communication, and co-operation.

Work (along with meditation and friendship) can be used as one of the most powerful tools for changing ourselves. Because it demands our energy and skill, it can draw us out and transform us. We learn about our limitations, are spurred to develop new abilities, and can then grow in confidence. This is my experience of work. I’m lucky to work at a Buddhist centre; my work is very much intertwined with my ideals and practice. But my job there has been a crucial part of that practice. Most of what I’ve learned and changed about myself has been through work. For example, I’ve had to learn to think much more for myself, to respond with equanimity to criticism or blame, to deal with difficulties in communication, and to develop more confidence in my own vision.