Hello! I first got involved with the Triratna Buddhist Community when I was living in Sheffield, working as a physiotherapist and doing a lot of rock climbing and mountaineering. It was when I was on a trip to the Andes when I was 25, that quite by chance I picked up my first book on Buddhism, and thought: ‘This makes so much sense!’ I’ve been practising meditation and the Dharma (the teachings of the Buddha) since 2006. In 2014 I was ordained, and given the name ‘Maitrisiddhi’. The name means ‘success or attainments based in love or friendliness’. I love my name. It’s an aspiration and path to follow for the rest of my life, and links me to my yidam, Maitreya, the ‘friendly or loving one’.
I moved to Taraloka in 2009, drawn by a desire to integrate meditation experience more fully into my daily life and to live in a vibrant community of other serious Dharma practitioners. It was a great move! My role for the first six years was maintenance and landscape. I loved the practical nature of the work and found it very compatible with meditation. And I’ve changed a huge amount through living in community. Since 2015, I've been part of the Taraloka Retreat Team and I find it very satisfying to share my delight in study, meditation and how to live a full Dharma life. And I still look after the landscape.
Meditation is an area I deeply love – all types, but especially sadhana (visualisation practices) and metta (loving kindness). I also feel a strong connection to ritual and devotion. In terms of what inspires me, I particularly love the Pali Canon, the Bodhicaryavatara, Pure Land teachings, especially Shinran, and the exquisite clarity of my teacher Bhante Urgyen Sangharakshita. I find all these entirely compatible – the Dharma life like a jewel, described from many angles.