Climate, Conditionality and Karma

Triratna Earth Sangha Urban Retreat 2023

Using the medicine of the Four Reminders, we open to a new Reality

1-5 June 2023

Led by members of the Triratna Earth Sangha, including Shantigarbha, Amaragita, Sarvajit, and Buddhasevaka.

We were exploring how the Dharma can support us in relation to the Climate and Ecological Crises. As Buddhists we have something unique to offer the world in this area.

This retreat was important for everyone in the Triratna Community who wants to practise the Dharma in the face of these issues.

This retreat was part of Buddhist Action Month 2023, and in fulfilment of the European Chairs Assembly’s strategic priority of ‘Dharmic engagement with social and ecological issues’, which is now also a Triratna International Council priority.

The retreat began a 30-day habit challenge, which extends throughout June. See below. 

TES BAM 30 Day Challenge.docx

Videos from the Retreat

Day 1, Session 1 - Amaragita, Sarvajit and Shantigarbha

The urban retreat starts with Shantigarbha inquiring how the Dharma can provide support in relation to the Climate and Ecological Crises. He points out that as Buddhists, we possess something exceptional to offer the world in this area. Additionally, he introduces the theme of the retreat, which revolves around the four reminders:

 - This human birth is precious, an opportunity to awaken

 - The body is impermanent, death is certain

 - The cause and effect of karma shapes the course of my life

 - Life has inevitable difficulties, no one can control it all

The retreat also provides a space for participants to share their intentions. Sarvajit then discusses the 30-day challenge, and Amaragita leads a sit and a dedication ceremony with mantra chanting.

1 June 2023

Day 2, Session 1 - Amaragita

The urban retreat starts today with a morning puja, followed by a period of Mindfulness of Breathing led by Amaragita.

2 June 2023

Day 2, Session 2 - Shantigarbha

During this seminar, Shantigarbha delves into the importance of empathy and imagination in addressing environmental issues. Acting ethically requires two things: connecting with the beings in our surroundings and envisioning the possible consequences of our actions. According to Sangharakshita, "The natural world is alive, full of life that resonates with our own lives, and is valuable as life."  The session concludes with a guided reflection.

2 June 2023

Day 2, Session 3 - Amaragita

The session starts with Amaragita leading a brief sit, and listening to the song "The Lost Words Blessing". She then introduces the first reminder "This human birth is precious, an opportunity to awaken." She mentions about some thoughts of hopelessness and helplessness that can arise in us around the climate crisis and how we can deal with them when talking to other people about this topic and how to unpack them so that they are our friends, being able to have conversations that matter with people that matter.

She then leads a chanting session with Amitābha mantra.

2 June 2023

Day 3, Session 1 - Buddhasevaka

The day starts with Buddhasevaka with a ritual, a four reminders puja in call and response, followed by a sit.

3 June 2023

Day 3, Session 2 - Buddhasevaka

Buddhasevaka starts this session talking about the second reminder: The body is impermanent, death is certain" and how we can approach this neither from eternalism nor nihilism. He reflects on this reminder on his personal experience on illness and his ordination process. Buddhasevaka then guides a reflection and then some retreatants share their reflections

3 June 2023

Day 3, Session 3 - Shantigarbha

In an interactive session led by Shantigarbha, the group explores the metaphor of Indra's Net as a way of understanding Conditionality from a Buddhist perspective. They reflect on the concept and its implications for their practice, followed by a short period of meditation and visualisation.

3 June 2023

Day 3, Session 4 - Sarvajit

Sarvajit starts the session with a quick grounding practice. Sarvajit starts by introducing the law of Karma and how it changes the course of our lives. He starts reading a passage from the Dhammapada and then shares some reflections about the law of Karma from two perspectives: the law of Karma and how our mental states impact our lives and secondly, how the law of Karma shows we can make a difference in the world and how we can take responsibility for our actions. Also, some fellow retreatants share their own reflections.

3 June 2023

Day 4, Session 1 - Shantigarbha

The day starts with Shantigarbha leading a morning puja, written and compiled by Viveka, about the four reminders. Followed by refuges and precepts and meditation.

4 June 2023

Day 4, Session 2 - Shantigarbha

On this session we reflect on the fourth reminder: Life has inevitable difficulties, no one can control it all. Or in the traditional term, the defects of samsara. He shares some reflections and guides on a group reflection with space for fellow retreatants to share their own reflections and discuss together about them.

4 June 2023

Day 4, Session 3 - Buddhasevaka, Sarvajit and Shantigarbha

The session starts with Sarvajit and Buddhasevaka sharing their journey about engaging in the climate emergency within their Buddhist practice, challenges, inspiration, and how Triratna Earth Sangha came to be. There is an open discussion and conversation with everyone about how each one approaches this climate emergency, balancing between taking disruptive actions yet being kind, how to be creative and engaging, and other challenges and ideas. The session ends with a meditation of mindfulness of breathing.

4 June 2023

Day 4, Session 4 - Shantigarbha

The session starts with Shantigarbha leading a meditation, a guided visualisation with the theme dwelling in the heart.

Then, he guides a Shambhala Warrior Mind-Training verses puja, followed by Tārā mantra chanting.

4 June 2023

Day 5, Session 1 -Sarvajit

The day starts with Sarvajit leading a morning puja, followed by a mettā bhavana meditation.

5 June 2023

Day 5, Session 2 - Sarvajit

Sarvajit examines how Buddhist ethics can help address the energy and resource crisis. By following the five precepts, he suggests ways we can minimize our carbon footprint.

5 June 2023

Day 5, Session 3 -Amaragita and Shantigarbha

This closing session starts by reviewing all the journey we have done together, and then retreatants take a round to share what they have learnt and what have touched and inspired them. Also, people take time to express concrete actions that they would like to take. Then we have a closing ritual with Amitābha mantra chanting.

5 June 2023

The Teachers

Shantigarbha, Bristol, UK

Shantigarbha is a Buddhist activist, mediator, and lover of life. He's author of The Burning House: A Buddhist Response to the Climate and Ecological Emergency. He is a co-founder of the Triratna Earth Sangha.

Amaragita, Buddhafield, UK

Amaragita's passions are meditation and creating spaces for deep inquiry and celebration of the human condition. She has engaged in actions with Extinction Rebellion and is keen to strengthen and deepen her Eco-sattva spirit. She is currently chair of Buddhafield and has been a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order for 23 years. 

Sarvajit, Cambridge, UK

Sarvajit is an Order Member from Cambridge Buddhist Centre. He has run the Triratna Earth Sangha Group at the Cambridge Buddhist Centre for several years and was co-founder of Silent Rebellion ( He has led a 6-week course on how Buddhist principles can help us face the many challenges of our modern world.

Buddhasevaka, Manchester, UK

Buddhasevaka is one of the newest members of the Triratna Buddhist Order! He has been living with Multiple Sclerosis since 2010 and managing his tension and pain with Iyengar yoga.

Full programme