Vajra Bell

The Vajra Bell is a quarterly newsletter covering events and news at Aryaloka Buddhist Center. In each issue you'll find insightful articles on Buddhist topics, updates from many of our Triratna Buddhist Centers in North America, reviews of Buddhist books and other media, poetry and artwork created by sangha members, and a full list of upcoming events.

So, what does Vajra Bell mean? Vajra means thunderbolt or diamond, that which cuts through all obstacles to Enlightenment. The vajra is the symbol of a union of opposites, the ultimate expression of wisdom and compassion. A vajra bell rings out far and wide the melody of transcendental reality. As a newsletter, the Vajra Bell is a rich and rewarding read that brings our sangha together in common spiritual practice.

Each issue is available for download in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format or can be viewed online at The Buddhist Centre Online. If you are a member of the Triratna Buddhist Community who would like to create print copies for your local sangha, or if you would like to contribute or comment on the Vajra Bell, please contact a member of the Vajra Bell kula at vajrabell@aryaloka.org.

Vajra Bell Archive:

Vajra Bell -Autumn 2014

Vajra_Bell_Autumn2014_coverIn this issue:

  • Cultivating Right Livelihood: Vajra Bell asks sangha members to weigh in on how they practice skillful work
  • Updates from the new Board of Directors and Spiritual Vitality Council
  • Introducing Vajra Bell’s new Co-Editors
  • Welcoming the Northeast’s Newest Order Member
  • Sangha Notes from Aryaloka, Portsmouth & Nagaloka
  • Working for Indian Buddhism – by Viradhamma
  • How Music Can Inform Buddhist Spirituality – by Sravaniya
  • Poetry from Jo Ann Beltre
  • Review of Dharma Seed Online
  • Upcoming Events at Aryaloka Buddhist Center

Vajra Bell – Winter 2014

Vajra Bell Winter 2014In this issue:

  • “Karma: Round and Round We Go, Where it Stops, the Buddha Knows” by Amala
  • “Impermanence with Appreciation” by Narottama
  • “The Stupa: A Most Auspicious Project”
  • Update from the Generosity Kula
  • A Look Back at the Pledge Drive
  • Upcoming Events
  • “Reflections on Greed, Hatred, and Delusion” by Scott Hurley
  • Arts at Aryaloka
  • Dharma Via Video, Highlighting ClearVision
  • New in the Bookstore
  • Film Review of “Crazy Wisdom: The Life & Times of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche”

Vajra Bell – Autumn 2013

Vajra Bell - Autumn 2013In this issue:

  • “What Does Going for Refuge Mean to You?” – Vajra Bell asks sangha members to discuss their relationship with the Three Jewels
  • “Sadhana Practice in the Triratna Order” – by Kavyadrishti
  • Updates from North American Triratna Buddhist Centers
  • Upcoming Retreats and Classes at Aryaloka and beyond
  • “The Light of the Buddha Behind Bars” – Report from the Concord Prison Sangha by Khemavassika
  • Pledge Drive to Begin in Autumn
  • A New Generosity Kula Forms to Perform Outreach
  • “Unknow Yourself and Surrender to Diversity” by Vimalasara
  • Arts at Aryaloka: Exhibit by Neil Harvey, New Drawing Group, Arts Evening
  • Movie Review: “Groundhog Day and Samsara” by Jaime Grady

Vajra Bell – Summer 2013

Vajra Bell - Summer 2013In this issue:

  • “Buddhist Roots in the Wild West: The History of Triratna in America” by Dh. Viriyalila
  • “Sustaining Faith on the Spiral Path” by Barry Timmerman
  • Dhardo Tulku Rinpoche Visits Aryaloka – recap and background from Dh. Viriyagita
  • Upcoming retreats at Aryaloka
  • “A Pilgrimage to Japan: An Artist’s Tour for Buddhists, a Buddhist Tour for Artists” by Lois Sans
  • Reflections on a recent men’s community retreat
  • Aryaloka arts: exhibits by textile artist Dh. Ashokashri and reknowned local painter Neil Harvey
  • Two Poems from Dh. Kavyadrishti
  • Online Insight: Online Reading Apps as Skillful Means
  • Movie Review: “A Thousand Words”
  • Meditation Marathon results

Vajra Bell – Spring 2013

Vajra Bell - Spring 2013In this issue:

  • What Does “Engaged Buddhism” Mean to You?
  • Sangha updates from the U.S. and Canada
  • Meditation Marathon fundraising event kicks off in June
  • Upcoming retreats at Aryaloka
  • Reflections on Nonviolent Communication
  • Men’s Retreat Planned
  • “Being Prepared for Teaching” by Narottama
  • Starting Out as a Vegetarian
  • Arts events & sangha poetry
  • Movie Review: “The U.S. vs. John Lennon
  • Going on Retreat
  • Online Insight: The Buddhist Centre Online
  • “Teaching the Teacher” by Barry Timmerman

Vajra Bell – Winter 2013

Vajra Bell - Winter 2013In this issue:

  • Embracing Myth & Imagination: A recovering Catholic learns to trust intuition, imagination, and Buddhas in all colors
  • Aryaloka Council December meeting and Year in Review
  • Sangha updates from Aryaloka, Nagaloka, Portsmouth, and Vancouver
  • Movie Review: Children of the Pyre
  • Buddhism and the Environmental Movement: How two efforts – inner and outer – to benefit all beings could benefit each other
  • Three perspectives on the first Pan-American Womens’ GFR Retreat
  • 20 Good Reasons to Attend the “Exploring the Joy of Mindfulness” retreat
  • Arts Evening and other upcoming contemplative arts events
  • Heather Maloney Concert at Aryaloka rescheduled
  • Poetry from Vihanasari

Vajra Bell – Autumn 2012

Vajra Bell - Autumn 2012In this issue:

  • Reinventing the Wheel – Bodhipaksa offers an alternate reading of the 12 nidanas
  • Four new Order members return from Akashavanda in Spain
  • Meditation Marathon a Stunning Success
  • Yoga at Aryaloka – Upcoming retreats and regular classes
  • Boston sangha moves to a new building, starts classes
  • Living with Commitment: Cultivating Sustainability at EcoDharma Retreat Center
  • Being Present with What’s On Our Plates – Megrette Fletcher on mindful eating
  • Arts Evening and new exhibit – “Earth, Fire, Water”
  • Heather Maloney Concert at Aryaloka
  • Viradhamma Reports from the Buddhist Geeks Conference
  • Two Perspectives on a Pre-ordination retreat

Vajra Bell – Summer 2012

Vajra Bell - Summer 2012In this issue:

  • A System of Practice: In-Depth Interview with Dhammarati on the Five Great Stages of the Spiritual Path
  • Inaugural 2012 Aryaloka Meditation Marathon Kicks Off in August and is Looking for Meditators
  • Bodhilocana’s Dream: An Update on the Dhardo Rinpoche Stupa Project
  • Sangha Notes from home as well as Missoula and Vancouver
  • Upcoming Men’s Practice Days, Retreats, and Workshops
  • Order Members Review their Favorite Books by Sangharakshita
  • Arts Events Past and Future, and a Tour of Japan Planned
  • A Reflection on Friendship from Concord Prison Sangha Member

Vajra Bell – Spring 2012

Vajra Bell - Spring 2012In this issue:

  • “On Pilgrimage in India: Travel Reflections on Finding Buddhism in a Faraway Land” by Mary Schaefer and Eric Wentworth
  • Anapanasati Retreat Planned with Dhammarati
  • Welcoming Kavyadrishti to the Triratna Buddhist Order
  • Council follows up on October survey results
  • Movie Review: “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring” by Daniel Bush
  • Contributing to the Vajra Bell
  • Online Insight: Triratna Community Launches Social Network
  • Featured books from Buddhaworks, the Aryaloka bookstore
  • An Interview with Amala
  • Contemplative Arts: shodo and kado workshops at Aryaloka
  • Concord sangha member shares explorations of “self”

Vajra Bell – Winter 2012

Vajra Bell - Winter 2012In this issue:

  • “Getting Unblocked: Working with the Five Hindrances in Meditation” by Saddhamala
  • Reflections on 2011 from the Aryaloka Buddhist Center Council
  • “Releasing the Butterfly: Living with Impermanence” by Ashley Davis Bush
  • Movie Review: “Travelers and Musicians,” by Daniel Bush
  • Tom Gaillard shows that the year’s finances end on a positive note
  • Online Insight: The Best Buddhist Blogs
  • New additions at Buddhaworks, the Aryaloka bookstore
  • Men’s sangha spends a day with Asian culture at the Museum of Fine Arts
  • Upcoming arts events at Aryaloka
  • Sheila Groonell writes about the fun of contemplative movement
  • Poetry from our sangha members

Vajra Bell – Autumn 2011

Vajra Bell - October 2011In this issue:

  • Karunasara explains the Formless Dhyanas
  • The Triratna Community celebrates the opening of the Portsmouth Buddhist Center
  • Tom Gaillard talks about the upcoming Aryaloka Annual Pledge Drive, and how you can help support our center
  • Movie Review: “Kundun,” by Daniel Bush
  • A look back at the Tibetan monks’ visit with Elizabeth Hellard
  • Preliminary results from the recent Aryaloka survey, and how it may inspire changes in communication
  • Vajra Bell connects well with last issue, and surprises in its worldwide reach
  • Spotlight: An Interview with Order member Viriyagita
  • “Death May Be Hazardous to Your Self-View” – a touching piece by Prasannavajri
  • “Bodhilocana’s Dream” – Dhardo Rinpoche stupa goes from vision to reality
  • “Photography as Spiritual Practice” exhibit to open at Aryaloka

Vajra Bell – Summer 2011

Vajra Bell - Summer 2011In this issue:

  • Continuing on the Noble Eightfold Path with “Right Concentration: Learning to Cultivate the Four Jhanas”
  • Sangha Notes Including News from the New York Sangha and Concord Sangha
  • “Sports and the Spiritual Life” – Stephen Sloan reflects on discussion with Sangharakshita to reconcile two passions
  • Movie Review: “Great Souls: Mother Teresa”
  • Aryaloka Center to host Tibetan Monks’ Tour this coming August
  • Report from the Aryaloka Council on many changes, and how you can help be a part of the center’s future
  • Contemplative Arts at Aryaloka – Flowing ink, poetry, music, and movement are all parts of an active arts program
  • “Dhammapada: A Little Book with Big Lessons” by Mary Schaefer
  • “Erasing the Lines” – Richard Cormier examines the lines we do not cross

Vajra Bell – April 2011

In this issue:Vajra Bell - April 2011

  • Continuing on the Noble Eightfold Path with “Clarity, Care, Continuity, and Categorization: The Multi-Faceted Practice of Right Mindfulness”
  • Sangha Notes Including News from the New York Sangha by Steve Bell
  • “The Five Levels of Dana Practice” – Exploring the Nature of Giving with Marcus Netherton
  • Movie Review: “Departures”
  • Aryaloka Center and Sangha Featured on N.H. Chronicle
  • “A Simple Cure for What Ails Me” – Reflections on Dukkha from Mary Schaefer
  • Contemplative Arts at Aryaloka and Upcoming Cultural Events
  • Two Articles on “Fixing” Samsara by Prasannavajri and Viriyagita
  • Sangha Poetry Written on the Mindfulness and Poem-Making Retreat

Vajra Bell – January 2011

In this issue:Vajra Bell - January 2011

  • Right Effort: Every Day Evolution – by Amala
  • Boston Triratna Sangha moves to new space and a look at the decision-making process by Sunada
  • “Is That Stillness I Hear?” Reflections on Noble Silence from Mary Schaefer
  • Movie Review: “Wheel of Time” – by Dan Bush
  • Mindfulness and Poem-Making, and more Arts at Aryaloka news
  • Recap of the Diamond Sutra Men’s Mitra/Order Retreat by Stephen Sloan
  • “An Elevator Ride with Bodhipaksa” Musings from the author of “Living as a River”

Vajra Bell – October 2010

In this issue:Vajra Bell - October 2010

  • Four perspectives on Right Livelihood from sangha members
  • Recap of events, talks and photos from Aryaloka’s 25th Anniversary celebration
  • Ordination of Bodhilocana
  • “From Couch to Cushion” by Nancy Strout Porter
  • Arts at Aryaloka presents showing of “Images of Buddhist Asia” – the photography of Don Gurewitz
  • Review of the men’s and women’s Going for Refuge retreats from experienced and new attendees
  • Sangha hike at Mt. Monadnock – Exploring mindfulness on the mountain
  • Movie Review: “Unmistaken Child” by Dan Bush

Vajra Bell – July 2010

In this issue:

  • Looking at Ways We Can Make Ethical Decisions – Perfection of Action by Dh. Karunasara
  • Musings on Travel from Free Buddhist Audio by Dh. Viriyalila
  • Movie Review “The Buddha” by Dan Bush
  • DO and DON’T: Right Action and the Noble Eightfold Path by Dh. Amala
  • Setting the Stage for Aryaloka’s 25th Anniversary by Shir Haberman
  • Sangha Celebrates Name Change at Wesak by Dan Bush
  • Young Sangha Introduces Kids to the Dharma by Denise Connors

Vajra Bell – April 2010

In this issue:Vajra Bell - April 2010

  • Right Speech: Finding Wisdom by Watching Our Words by Stephen Sloan
  • A Spontaneous Kind of Magic by Dh. Sunada
  • Compassionate Communication by Shantigarbha
  • Movie Review: “Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion” by Eric Wentworth
  • Indian Order Member Kumarjeev Visits Aryaloka by Narottama
  • Vertical Awareness: Overcoming Doubt in Climbing Meditation by Peter Ingraham
  • Inner Discovery at Noble Silence Retreat by Narottama

Vajra Bell – January 2010

In this issue:Vajra Bell - January 2010

  • Perfecting Emotion by Surakshita
  • Perfect Vision Through the Brahma Viharas by Samayadevi
  • “Faces of Buddha,”Arts Evening, Showcase Creativity by Kiranada
  • Reflections on the Women’s GFR Retreat by Jean Corson
  • Becoming Ordained – One Year Later by Prasannavajri
  • Discovering the Ritual in Spiritual by Viriyalila
  • Two Stories of Solitary Retreat by Amala
  • Solitary Living by Narottama

Vajra Bell – October 2009

In this issue:Vajra Bell - October 2009

  • Amitabha and Reality by Saddhamala
  • Sharing Life Stories with My Mitra Sisters by Ashley Bush
  • What Happened A Year Ago? I Was Be-Side Myself… by Prasannavajri
  • Arts at Aryaloka Presents “Faces of Buddha” by Kiranada
  • Reflections on the Men’s GFR Retreat by Eric Wentworth
  • The Cetokhila Sutta and the Wildernesses of the Heart by Vidhuma
  • 12-Step Recovery and Buddhism by Barry S. Timmerman

Vajra Bell – July 2009

In this issue:Vajra Bell - July 2009

  • The Transcendent Buddha by Stephen Sloan
  • Goffstown Women’s Prison Begins Building Sangha by Samayadevi
  • Travelling India: Pilgrimage and Connection in the Buddhist Homeland by Dharmasuri
  • Movie Review: Life of Buddha by Eric Wentworth
  • A Day with the Dalai Lama by Eric Wentworth
  • Creating a Culture of Enquiry by Dhammaloka
  • Daily Life with Full Attention: Int’l Urban Retreat Engages Local Sanghas by Sunada, Dharmasuri, and Amala

Vajra Bell – April 2009

In this issue:Vajra Bell - April 2009

  • Center of the Buddha Mandala by Samayadevi
  • Movie Review: Tibetan Book of the Dead by Stephen Sloan
  • Practice Around the Globe: International Urban Retreat by Amala
  • The Unknown Story of the Burning Monk by Devamitra
  • Talking Quang Duc and Community with Devamitra, interview by Eric Wentworth
  • Mandala Pledge Drive is Happening Now! by Prasannavajri

Vajra Bell – January 2009

In this issue:Vajra Bell - January 2009

  • Introducting Amogasiddhi by Vidhuma
  • Green Tara: She Who Saves by Karunadevi
  • Remembering Punya, A Deeply Loved Friend by Buddhapalita
  • What Does Buddhism Say About Death and Rebirth? by Karunasara
  • Going Forth: Four Stories of Ordination
  • Annual October Auction at Aryakola by Elizabeth Hellard

Vajra Bell – October 2008

In this issue:Vajra Bell - October 2008

  • A Vision of Amitabha by Saddhamala
  • Pandaravasini, wise consort of Amitabha by Viriyagita
  • Movie Review: “Heavy Metal in Baghdad” by Eric Wentworth
  • San Francisco Hosts North American Order Convention by Suvarnaprabha
  • Self-View and the Tibetan Monks by Stephen Sloan
  • Festival of Celebration and Gratitude by Sheila Groonell

Vajra Bell – July 2008

In this issue:Vajra Bell - July 2008

  • Ratnasambhava Teaches Dana by Danamaya
  • Mamaki, Embodiment of Equanimity by Samasuri
  • Hungary for Change by Paramashanti
  • Movie Review of “Wall-E” by Eric Wentworth
  • Book Review of “Hello at Last” by Samayadevi

Vajra Bell – April 2008

In this issue:Vajra Bell - April 2008

  • Akshobya the “unshakeable” by Dharmasuri
  • Locana, the wise consort of Akshobya by Dayalocana
  • India: Nirvana in samsara, samsara in nirvana by Sheila Groonell
  • Family overnight a hit at Aryaloka
  • Living the Dharma by Dr. David Johnson

Vajra Bell – January 2008

In this issue:Vajra Bell - January 2008

  • Four Glimmerings on Wisdom by Candradasa
  • Prajna Awareness Comes through Experience by Vidhuma
  • Thoughts from Akashavana by Samayadevi
  • Supporting Dhamma Work Abroad by Surakshita
  • Vajra Bell Interview with Bodhana

Vajra Bell – September 2007

In this issue:Vajra Bell - September 2007

  • Samadhi, the Fifth Precept by Amala
  • Reflections on the Meaning of Samatha by Vidhuma
  • A Taste of Guhyaloka by Narottama
  • Ordination at Aryaloka
  • Permaculture by Jahnay Pickett [Download Special Insert - Permaculture: What You Can Do]
  • A Letter of Thanks from Bobby

Vajra Bell – June 2007

In this issue:Vajra Bell - June 2007

  • Virya by Marilyn Dyer
  • Virya Lila-Style by Viriyalila
  • Sangha Notes by Sandy Bonin
  • Eco-Buddhism by Denise Connors
  • Mindfulness Retreat with Concord Sangha
  • Pictures from Work Day April 2007
  • Review of Vajra Sky Over Tibet by Betsy Sterling Benjamin

Vajra Bell – March 2007

In this issue:Vajra Bell - March 2007

  • Kshanti by Paramashanti
  • Sangha Notes by Sandy Bonin
  • A Visit from India by Anidaruddha
  • From the Concord Sangha
  • Upcoming Ordinations
  • Stepping up to Change the World by Viriyalila
  • History of the SF Buddhist Center by Karunadevi

Vajra Bell – December 2006

In this issue:Vajra Bell - December 2006

  • Ethics in Action by Karunasara
  • A Sense of Place – Betsy Sterling Benjamin’s Artwork
  • Sila by Sandy Bonin
  • Report from the Council
  • Changes at Wildmind
  • Retreat at NH State Prison
  • Interview with Nagabodhi