Colchester Buddism group proving popular

By Frances Leate, Gazette News, 24 May 2011

Colchester, UK -- In a time of economic hardship, many people work long hours to maintain a lifestyle they get little pleasure from.

But more and more people are saying “there has to be more to life than this” and visiting the Colchester Buddhist Centre, where numbers have doubled in recent years.

As a result the group, which has been based in Manor Road for 12 years, is looking for bigger premises.

Maggie Johnson, centre manager, said: “We have noticed an astonishing increase in numbers here.

“We have about 25 people at our meditation drop-in sessions, when we used to get around six to seven people.

“People are really wanting to learn meditation and find some new way of living in the world.

“It could be down to the economic situation, the pressures we are facing and the long hours we are having to work.”

Amalaketu, chairman of the centre, who uses his ordained Buddhist name, said: “My thinking is people are disappointed with what is on offer in the world at the moment.

“Financially, many people are struggling and perhaps, for others, making money is not enough any more. People are looking for a lifestyle change and inner peace.”

Based on ancient Indian scriptures, the simple philosophy of Buddhism takes in the basic principle of being good to others in order to be good to yourself.

Practising Buddhists at the centre claim the discipline has the potential to transform your life by encouraging positive mental states.

Maggie said: “It is about living ethically and it can be the cheapest therapy you will ever have.

“It is all about the idea of loving kindness for other people, which in turn, makes your life better and other people’s lives better.

“We look at how actions have consequences and the more good actions we do, the better things will be.

“If you can steel your mind from all the chaos and anxieties, you can get to a place that is completely relaxed and peaceful and your mind can focus on what is important.”

Drop-in sessions, when members of the public can learn more about Buddhism and take part in a group meditation session, take place on Wednesdays at 7.30pm and Fridays at 12.30pm.