The Meditation Group

Although we are a non-religious group our mindful meditation tradition is a Buddhist one in the sense that we acknowledge Shakyamuni Buddha as the supreme teacher of mindfulness and  meditation.

As a secular group we have chosen, mainly, to follow the meditation practices taught by Thich Nhat Hanh who formed the Community of Interbeing and established monasteries and communities all over the world. Known as ‘Thay’ by his followers he was nominated for the  Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King  and is renowned for his teaching on mindfulness.

He is the author of ’The Miracle of Mindfulness’ as well as numerous other books on the subject. The structure of our meditation sessions follow that adopted by many other lay groups and emanating from the Community of Interbeing.

We also associate ourselves with the teachings of the Dalai Llama, Paul Gilbert,  Llama Surya Das, Eckhart Tolle and Jon Kabat-Zinn

For all other intents and purposes we     remain a secular,  non-religious group.

Structure of our Sessions

Each session takes the form of a Puja, the framework of a Plum Village meditation session, which include some basic ritual agreed by members. At its simplest it is a Meditation and a Reading. This is the form we use for three out of four sessions each month. Once a month we include other elements to recognise our Buddhist roots and antecedents.

We always include:

  • Readings

We include a reading at each meditation that will help us to deepen our spiritual lives and help us to develop mindful living. Sometimes it might be a poem, sometimes an ancient sutra, sometimes an extract from a book written by notable writers on meditation and spiritual practices.

  • Meditation

Once a month, we might include 

  • Mantras

We chant mantras sometimes. A mantra is a  sacred utterance, a numinous sound which have spiritual powers that help us to focus our minds and deepen our awareness. Science teaches us that regardless of what the practitioner repeats, the word or phrase has nearly the same effects: relaxation and the ability to better cope with life’s unexpected stressors.

  • Songs (Sometimes)

Songs are fun to sing. What other justification do we need to include them! The capacity of music to capture people’s attention, touch them deeply, and tug at their heartstrings makes it one of the most beautiful forms of human expression. Ancient and modern Buddhist and Christian music takes us deep into the realm of consciousness and enables transcendental realisation of the divine.


The Precepts of Blue Lotus Members

  1. We follow the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha as expounded by Llama Sura Das, the Dalai Llama and peace activist and renowned teacher of Mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh.. We will not be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. Buddhist systems of thought are guiding means; they are not absolute truth.
  2. We do not think the knowledge we presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. We aim to avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. We learn and practice nonattachment from views in order to be open to receive others’ viewpoints. Truth is found in life and not merely in conceptual knowledge. We are ready to learn throughout our entire life and to observe reality in ourself and in the world at all times.
  3. We will not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt our views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education. However, through compassionate dialogue, help others renounce fanaticism and narrowness.
  4. We will not avoid contact with suffering or close our eyes before suffering. Neither will we lose awareness of the existence of suffering in the life of the world. We will find ways to be with those who are suffering, including personal contact, visits, images, and sounds. By such means, awaken ourselves and others to the reality of suffering in the world.
  5. We will not accumulate wealth while millions are hungry, nor take as the aim of our lives Fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure. We will live simply and share time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need.
  6. We will not maintain anger or hatred, learning to penetrate and transform them when they are still seeds in our consciousness. As soon as they arise, we will turn our attention to our breath in order to see and understand the nature of our hatred.
  7. We will practice mindful breathing to come back to what is happening in the present moment and be in touch with what is wondrous, refreshing, and healing both inside and around us. We will endeavour to plant seeds of joy, peace, and understanding in ourselves in order to facilitate the work of transformation in the depths of our consciousness.
  8. We will not utter words that can create discord and cause our small community to break. We make every effort to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.
  9. We will not say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress people, nor utter words that cause division and hatred. We will not spread news that we do not know to be certain. We will not criticize or condemn things of which we are not sure. We will speak truthfully and constructively. We will have the courage to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may threaten our own safety.
  10. We will not use our group for personal gain or profit, or transform our community into a political party. As a spiritual community, however, we should take a clear stand against oppression and injustice and should strive to change the situation without engaging in partisan conflicts.
  11. We will not live with a vocation that is harmful to humans and nature nor invest in companies that deprive others of their chance to live but a vocation that helps realize our ideal of compassion.
  12. We will not kill nor let others kill but find whatever means possible to protect life and prevent war.
  13. We will possess nothing that should belong to others. We will respect the property of others, but prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other species on Earth.



About Blue Lotus Members

Blue Lotus is made up of people of all ages and all kinds of experience at all levels of practice but basically we are all beginners!!

We started our fellowship as the Stourport Meditation group about four years ago in late 2018 and were based at Ravens in York Street. The coronavirus ended our gatherings abruptly and after a year (where an online weekly meditation was provided) we re-established as Blue Lotus at the Mindfulness Centre in Elms Green.

Following one of our courses (‘Introduction to Buddhism’) our committee agreed to base all our practice on the teaching of Buddha as taught by the world leaders in mindfulness: Thich Nhat Hanh, the Dalai Llama, Llama Surya Das and Eckhart Tolle. This was we wanted a sound practice that could lead to spiritual awareness and ‘enlightenment’.

You don’t need to be a Buddhist to practice. You don’t need to be anything – we all share a common humanity and desire to find inner peace.

If you are new or this is the first time you’ve done something like this, we welcome you and we will all benefit from your presence. Please rest easy!  There are no list of rules to break: during a meditation session – just go with the flow.

During our hour together, we give ourselves the gift of this time and take care of ourselves. This time is our chance to stop running, to stop doing, to clear our minds and dwell in the present moment.

For one hour, there is nothing to do, nowhere to go. It is a time to drop our worries, our fears, our deadlines and just ‘be’.