Full credit to be given to BuddhSoc, Aamir Kaderbhai and all other student volunteers that helped put it together.
Disclaimer: This guide has been complied by current Oxford Students and to the best of their knowledge, is accurate. However there may have been changes since publication. If you would like current advice about the information here or any welfare issue, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Finding the right space
Buddhism means different things to different people. For some being a Buddhist is about being connected to a culture, tradition and heritage.
- If this is the case for you then getting in touch with some of the international/cultural/country societies at Oxford (Sri Lanka soc, Thai soc, etc.) might be a good idea.
- It is a great way to meet people from a similar cultural background, and build a support network from there.
For those who feel drawn to the Buddha’s teaching, whether they were born buddhist or not, or even have no interest in becoming a ‘buddhist’, there are plenty of ways of exploring this at Oxford, first and foremost BuddhSoc!
Buddhsoc is a group of students who practice a form of Buddhist meditation together, taught by an experienced meditation teacher.
- No one practicing has to be a Buddhist, but the practice itself goes back to the Buddha himself, and we are taught his teachings as ways of improving our everyday lives.
- Classes normally involve a 25 minute meditation, followed by a bit of teaching then tea, biscuits and chat.
- It's an amazing space to meet like minded people and to learn meditation.
To stay up-to-date with BuddhSoc:
Join their mailing list, by contacting a BuddhSoc committee member, and you can hear lots of big updates through here.
You can also join their Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/oxfordbudsoc/
Here are a few ways you can keep up meditating while away from home.
Samatha Meditation https://www.samatha.org/ Weekly breathing mindfulness meditation classes, free and open to all. The Oxford Buddhist Society has traditionally held Samatha mindfulness classes every Monday of term at 8pm in the Reynolds Room of Corpus Christi. In the light of Covid however, it is yet to be confirmed whether classes will go on as normal.
Oxford Insight Meditation https://www.oxfordinsightmeditation.org/Offering (currently online):
- Weekly Monday evening sitting group (Insight meditation in the Theravada Thai Forest tradition)
- Monthly day-retreats
- Sunday Sangha monthly social meetups in Oxford
Plum Village Group Oxford (Thich Nhat Hanh tradition): https://www.plumvillage.uk/group/oxford-sangha/
Brett Paris is a classical Indian religions PhD student at Oxford who teaches yoga and informative classes at Prana too https://www.pranayogaoxford.com/teachers -”He is currently studying for a DPhil in yogic philosophy and ethics.”
World Philosophies@Oxford facebook group where folk can share info
Tibetan Graduate Studies Seminar podcast
Thrangu House, is a centre for Tibetan Buddhism in east Oxford, with a resident Tibetan monk. They have traditionally run Weekly meditation sessions.https://www.thranguhouse.org.uk/
The Oxford Zen Centre, is a centre for Zen meditation, run by a couple of very experienced Zen teachers.https://oxfordzencentre.org.uk/
The Oxford Buddhist Centre, is a Triratna (an ecumenical Western Buddhist organization) group that meets in Oxford https://thebuddhistcentre.com/oxford
Oxford Buddhist Vihara, is a Theravada temple, with resident monks, that holds regular services.http://www.oxfordbuddhavihara.org.uk/
Meditation Based in Devon:
Gaia House: https://gaiahouse.co.uk/Buddhist Meditation Retreat Centre
Online meditation groups:
Secular meditation (Mindfulness tradition): www.keepcalmer.co.uk/Free online meditations, weekdays 6-6.30pm
Final Pieces of Advice
If you find yourself arriving in Oxford and are interested in meditation, know that there is a whole community of students who share your interest.
In between the work hard play hard cycle that can seem to dominate Oxford life, there is space for a bit of balance and calm, and people who will help you to find it.