Who are we?
We are simply a small and slightly ramshackle group of students whose lives have been positively affected by Buddhism and its practices (in particular meditation), and we would love to be able share some of those benefits with other students like you.
What we do
Currently our main activity is to run a weekly discussion, open to Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike, in which we discuss some of the basic tenets of Buddhism. These circles, as we call them, begin with one of us giving a short introduction on a chosen topic, after which we open up the floor for everyone to ask questions, share insights, state their confusion, etc. Some of our circles are led by Venerable Kovido this term, and have a slightly different format to those we had last year, but we will end the circles with a 'tea and chat' session for people to ask questions and discuss.
We aim to organise two talks per term. In the past we have had illustrious speakers such as Ajahn Brahm and Khenpo Sodargye. Our next speaker will be Lama Samten, who will be speaking on the 16th of November (Monday), 7 pm at Latimer Room, Clare College. The talk is co-organised with the Cambridge Buddhist Society.
We organise monthly Dhamma Evenings which involve a variety of activities such as chanting, meditation, a short dhamma talk, followed by discussion. The Dhamma evenings are usually held during the weekeneds and are a great opportunity for everyone to experience all aspects of the the Buddhist practice.
We organised a Vesak Day Celebration in June, 2015. We also celebrate the Katina festival by
organising visits to temples nearby.
The next visit will be to Cherry Hinton on the 15th of November for the Civara Dana ceremony. Please see our events page for more information.
In addition to the events described above, we also organise various one off events throughout the term. Go to the events page to see what's coming up.
What is Buddhism?
Buddhism is one of the largest world religions, with around 500 million adherents worldwide. Buddhism originated in India, 2500 BCE, when Prince Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha, or Enlightened One) gained enlightenment and began to teach. In the following centuries Buddhism became widespread throughout Asia, with distinct traditions according to local culture. During the 20th century Buddhism spread to Europe and America and continues to gain popularity in the West.
Buddhism is a very diverse religion, with differing modes of practice and ways of interpreting the Buddha's teachings. However, common to all Buddhist schools in the concept of dependent origination - that is, that all phenomena are interconnected, and present conditions are the fruit of past actions. Buddhism also holds that the state of the mind fundamentally affects one's understanding of the world. Therefore meditation must be practiced so that the practitioner can see the world as it is - without attraction, repulsion or judgement, but in a spirit of acceptance and compassion for all living things. Another tenet of Buddhism is the doctrine of the Four Noble Truths. These hold that the universe is in constant flux and change and that attachment to material things causes suffering. The cure for desire-driven suffering, and the constant cycle of birth and death, is the Eightfold Path. This path is a set of precepts for a mindful and ethical lifestyle.
About the society
Cambridge University Buddhist Society, the second oldest Buddhist society in Britain and the first run by students, has provided Cambridge's diverse community with an opportunity to meet Buddhist thought and philosophy since its founding in 1955. The society has evolved according to the changing interests of its members and anyone interested in Buddhism is encouraged to join and influence the society's activities. At present, the CUBS main activities are the weekly discussion circles, and various talks by members of the Buddhist community: scholars, meditation teachers, writers, and Buddhist monks and nuns. The society also provides information on local activities such as meditation classes and groups, talks and retreats.
The current committee is listed here.