Who We Are
About Evolution Arts (EA)
EA is an organisation located in Brighton UK, founded on Buddhist principles and rooted in that heritage (see EA & Buddhism below). We’ve been going since 1992, acting as a mediator between providers and recipients of activities designed to promote wellbeing, enjoyment, embodiment and sound ethical principles.
On the one side of this mediation are the people in whom we place trust, share values and attempt to nurture and celebrate. These are our tutors and therapists - amazing, generous, skilled and creative men and women who have chosen to lend a hand in this noble work. On the other is as broad a slice of our community as we can reach.
Although there is a strong ‘arts’ theme to most of what we do, our offer can be diverse and experimental. The drive for this apparent eclecticism is a thirst to achieve meaningful expression of the teachings of the Buddha.
EA & Buddhism
EA is part of a Buddhist heritage, as envisioned by the Triratna Buddhist Community. This is a worldwide movement practicing the Buddha's teaching under the guidance of Dh. Urgyen Sangharakshita. At its core is the Triratna Order (formerly known as the Western Buddhist Order), a non-monastic organization founded in 1968.
The practices and teachings of the Triratna Buddhist Community are adapted to be relevant for modern life, yet based on traditional teachings from the Buddha.
Implications for our work
EA’s trustee body is made up from Triratna Order members and EA is managed by practicing Buddhists. EA’s managing staff aspire to follow the basic universal tenets of Buddhist practice, known as the precepts. Translated, they are:
I undertake to abstain from taking life.
I undertake to abstain from taking the not-given.
I undertake to abstain from sexual misconduct.
I undertake to abstain from false speech.
I undertake to abstain from taking intoxicants.
Which can also be expressed as The Positive Precepts
With deeds of loving kindness, I purify my body.
With openhanded generosity, I purify my mind.
With stillness, simplicity and contentment, I purify my body.
With truthful communication, I purify my speech.
My mindfulness, clear and radiant, I purify my mind.
We have charitable status as a religious organization and our brief includes the following principles:
We do not see ourselves as separate to the community in which we live and to as great a degree as possible, we try to reflect this in the way we conduct our affairs.
Our door is always open to offers and proposals for classes or services which match our aims. We act as mediators, bringing our skills, experience and the inspiration we gain as Buddhists to the curation and celebration of activities which we believe promote wellbeing around us.
We use our publicity platform to celebrate the work of artists and practitioners, both local and further afield and it is an aspiration for us to have a greater ability to materially support artists and practitioners in our building and city through providing opportunities for exhibition space, rooms, resources, events and support of projects and partnering, going forward.
We are a not-for-profit operation and channel surplus funds back into the business to improve our offer and broaden our reach. Our fees are kept deliberately low and we maintain a concessions policy for almost all our activities. Flexibility and trust are by-words for our customer service approach, alongside friendliness and clarity.
The potential for the arts as a wonderful expression of higher values has long been understood by Buddhist practitioners. The first images of the Buddha started to appear in Northern India and China around 1st Century CE and has been follow by waves of tradition including Zen, Japanese, Tibetan, Korean, Thai, and Sri Lankan art of astonishing refinement, beauty and mystery. However, even earlier than all these, ephemeral expressions such as spontaneous singing (dohas) and poetry sprang from the mouths and hearts of happy practitioners.
It should be noted, however, that this expression has never been art for art’s sake. The material object is as good as the dust it came from and will return to. The song, a whisper on the wind. The word, a sign pointing towards the woods. Even the Buddha statue is regarded as a dispensable tool – albeit a very fine one: the ultimate responsibility for gaining realization rests on the shoulders of each individual. Break it down and use it for firewood if you need to – so goes a Zen Buddhist tale.
EA’s expression of these teachings is our combined emphasis on ethics, process and fun. This could also be very well encapsulated by one, sometimes overused, word - ‘mindfulness’.
The first of the Buddha’s core insights during his Enlightenment was that no-one is immune to suffering. Turning this around, we can say wellbeing is obviously good for all – and creativity, perhaps a little less obviously.
When unobstructed, creativity can be a joyful experience that we have all felt, although sometimes far too long ago (many, sadly, not since childhood). As Buddhists, the essence of creativity is the choice to follow the Buddha’s teaching in every moment. Every time we make this conscious choice, we change for the better. To access this natural, healing state is a birthright for us all – irrespective of our background, age and so called ability. EA’s commitment to inclusion is nascent but dearly held, and therefore we welcome ideas and feedback designed to help us achieve this.
EA & Right Livelihood
You won’t be surprised that the concept of right livelihood is essentially that of applying Buddhist principles to the world of work. It’s is a wonderful way to practice – we spend a lot of time doing it, if we’re lucky, and if we’re luckier still, we love it. Amongst the EA team, we know how friendliness, kindness, trust and patience go a long way and really bring the ideals of the organization to the fore.
The Triratna Buddhist Community has a lot of experience in this field, especially in the world of contemporary business, and we are beginning to draw down some of that wisdom to inform everything from our vision to our organizational structure, to the way we do business and to formulation of our dreams for the future. Watch this space for formal developments and initiatives in Right Livelihood at EA.
Evolution Arts is a registered charity No. 1133828.
Evolution Arts & Natural Health is a Company Limited by Guarantee registered in England and Wales. No. 07029960