What is a Mitra?

Mitra is a Sanskrit word meaning 'friend'. People ask to become a Mitra when they themselves: 1. consider that they are Buddhists; 2. want to live in accordance with the five ethical precepts; 3. believe that the Triratna Buddhist Community is the appropriate spiritual community for them.

Becoming a Mitra publicly marks a deepening of interest and commitment. There are additional activities at the SFBC available to Mitras, including specific retreats and a study group that is part of a three year course covering the key aspects of the Buddha's teaching and Sangharakshita's approach to it. Mitras are recognized by all Triratna Buddhist Communities in the world.

Becoming a Mitra is intended to be a way to mark a shift from being someone who is interested in Buddhism or who likes meditating, to being someone who feels a definite affinity with the Buddhist path. Although this is an internal process it is helpful to mark the process externally, so we celebrate the occasion with a Mitra Ceremony — a simple ritual where the new Mitra offers a flower (symbolizing beauty and impermanence), a candle (clarity, and the light of the dharma) and incense (the fragrance of beneficial actions and the ever-changing nature of the spiritual life) to the shrine.

If you are interested in becoming a Mitra, or have questions about it, please take a look at this document on thebuddhistcentre.org and/or talk to one of the Mitra Convenors or any of the Order Members at the SFBC.