I met David and the Venerable Bhatsakorn Piyobhaso at the Starbucks in the Borders Bookshop in Bristol. It was the 28th February and I had just driven across the city very slowly through the morning traffic. I was very pleased that David had managed to bring Bhante with him. Not only was I looking forward to meeting him, but a bhikkhu in robes is a lot more obvious than a carnation in a lapel, and I knew that identifying David would not be a problem.
Venerable Piybhaso is a Thai Theravada bhikkhu studying at the university and living at the Theosophical Society. He has been leading meditation meetings at the Society now for several months and gradually building up a community of interest. There are now meetings on Wednesday evenings and on Sunday morning for the Thai community. There is apparently little else in the way of Theravada Buddhism in the immediate area although other traditions are well established.
The Theosophical Society is supportive of Buddhism and of the meetings and provides spacious premises. Eventually, perhaps, a dedicated Theravada centre might be needed. David was interested in building relationships with other Bristol groups and we talked of the Bristol Buddhist Forum. Organising joint Wesak events with local Buddhists is a good way of establishing friendships and I mentioned the hope that the NBO would start to partner with regional Buddhists assemblies.
Meeting details can be found at : http://www.theravadabuddhisminbristol.org/whats-on.htm