In 2021 BGKT Buddhist Group of Kendal (Theravada) celebrated the 30th anniversary of its founding in 1991. The Theravada School of Buddhism is the oldest school of Buddhism and is practiced in the five Theravada Buddhist countries of South and South East Asia.
BGKT holds a monthly public open meeting on the 3rd Sunday of the month (except December) at Castle Street Centre Kendal. All are welcome. Free.
Venerable Dr Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Mahanayaka Thera Aggamaha Pandita Abhidhaja Maharatthaguru DLitt DLitt (1896-1998) (one of the world’s most senior Theravada Buddhist Monks), and Venerable Henepola Gunaratana Maha Thera (an internationally respected meditation master and author) agreed to become BGKT’s Founder Spiritual Advisors. Venerable Ananda Maitreya’s 125th birth anniversary in August 2021 was celebrated by BGKT. Venerable Dr Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Mahanayaka Thera Abhidhaja Maharatthaguru Aggamaha Pandita DLitt DLitt (1896 -1998) and BGKT Secretary Jacquetta Gomes’s booklet Introducing Buddhism has been published in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, UK, and USA.
Venerable Pidiville Piyatissa Maha Thera, (Head of Ketumati Buddhist Vihara Manchester), has taught and offered Precepts and Dhamma Teaching certificates at BGKT since 1999. BGKT also attend events at Ketumati. BGKT has led Metta loving kindness meditation at meditation retreats at Ketumati.
BGKT has run joint meetings and retreats with Keswick Buddhist Group (Theravada) who have supported us since 1991. We have good relations with and are in regular contact with other small Cumbrian Buddhist Groups. Long before zoom, we developed CMDM Cumbria Moon Day Meditation in 2008 to enable us to practice together at the same time from home. Attendees of the Theravada Buddhist Groups in Cumbria meditate at home from 7-9 pm on the four monthly moon days. BGKT and Keswick Buddhist Group engaged on a daily basis during Covid-19 to ensure that none of our members were isolated. On Thursdays we started a weekly day meditation retreat we participated in from home to keep us together. One of our members who lives in the countryside photographed her garden and to keep us all in touch with the changing seasons.
Vesak, celebrated on the May full moon marks three events in the life of the Buddha: birth, enlightenment, and passing away. BGKT is fortunate to have a beautiful Vesak lantern made by one of BGKT’s members. This has gained national recognition.
BGKT’s writings have been included in The Tibetan Buddhist Encyclopaedia and The Buddhist elibrary and journals. The internationally respected New York based Buddhist magazine Tricycle (which is also celebrating its 30th anniversary) included BGKT in an article in the Spring 2016 issue.
BGKT’s library received a donation of books from the library of Ajahn Pannyavaddho Thera (the most senior western Monk in Thailand) (1925 – 2004).
BGKT participates in local interfaith activities. WIHW World Interfaith Harmony Week and Inter Faith Week are celebrated in Kendal. The Inter Faith Network of the UK acknowledged Kendal as the smallest town to hold an 8 day Inter Faith Week programme in the 8 day Inter Faith Week in 2017 and 2020.
BGKT is represented on the Organising Committee of CUF Cumbria Unity Festival and KUF Kendal Unity Festival. Venerable Pidiville Piyatissa led a session of mindfulness and meditation on behalf of BGKT for CUF Cumbria Unity Festival on 19 June 2021. BGKT ran stalls in 2018 and 2019. In 2019 BGKT also helped run the Multifaith Quiet/Prayer/Meditation Room.
BGKT is active in the local community. The BGKT Secretary is the Lead for Interfaith and Multifaith for SLEDP South Lakeland Equality and Diversity Partnership which is represented on the Kendal ICC Integrated Care Community. The BGKT Secretary represented minority faiths on the South Lakeland Hub Recovery Group after Storm Desmond. BGKT was invited to join the Cumbria BSP Bereavement Support Partnership Group during the Covid-19 pandemic. BGKT is also a Buddhist contact for Cumbria County Council Emergency Planning.