Urthona masthead

URTHONA Buddhist arts magazine covers all aspects of contemporary and traditional arts from a Western Buddhist perspective. It is published annually in a high quality, 68 page,  glossy magazine format, and is beautifully designed. This site contains selected essays – see page listings to right, and editor’s blog – scroll down past info.

URTHONA MASTERCurrent issue: Goddesses east and west. Anne Baring on the goddess image. Stunning photographs of Tibet by Mariisa Roth. Ted Hughes and the goddess by Dhivan Thomas Jones. Further details in URTHONA SHOP


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This site contains selected essays and the editor’s blog. See page listings to right.

Urthona – the landscape: Our guardian spirits are the romantic and revolutionary writers of early 19th century London – Blake, Hazlitt and Coleridge – and the Zen poets of Japan who were similarly drawn to the open, outer reaches of mind and culture.  Our founding inspiration came from the Western Buddhist teacher Sangharakshita. More about our vision in ABOUT URTHONA above.

Scroll down this page for URTHONA editor’s blog: in depth and  insightful commentary on art, life and culture.

For shorter, more personal posts on art, life and everything see editor’s Facebook Page – like or become friends!



Cambridge on a winter afternoon

A walk in Cambridge on a razor bright February afternoon. The market square below is in shadow with warm slumberous lights beginning to glow from the various stalls. Long furtive shadows from bicycles and pedestrians on the streets.  Even manhole covers seem scalded with an otherworldly radiance. Up above old bricks are etched with light as if they were made of some strange kind of opaque crystal. The sun melts mediaeval pinnacles into molten gold – everything is changed….

Small Cambridge Market squareSmall Cambridge SteetSmall Cambridge Steet2


Next issue: the beauty of friendship

The next issue of Urthona magazine is now well into its production schedule. In our spring 2017 issue we will be taking a long and loving look at friendship and the Arts.

cover-smallOn the cover we feature a painting of Tobias and the Angel, the story from the biblical apocrypha in which the angel Raphael befriends a mortal boy, which was much loved in medieval Europe as an image of friendship with the divine.

Highlights will include:

Haunting art photograph by new rising star, Brighton based Buddhist photographer Sahajatara.:

9“At first, I went to amazing places to take pictures; wild coastlines, old cemeteries… and  what I quickly noticed was that, for me, the celestial light revealed herself most clearly through the ‘ordinary’, through ‘every common sight’. So I would go to an abandoned church, take 40 average photographs, and as I was leaving, see a red serviette in the gutter looking exactly like a rose.bI went to the Jurassic coast for a week, and on the morning of my return, found a fallen fox glove flower in my garden, studded with dew.And so it went on: an ivy leaf, caught in a cobweb in my kitchen window, a pea pod in the veg box, my daughter fallen asleep in the afternoon …”

mimikhalvati-smalllAn in-depth article on his poetic membership with Mimi Khalvati by Maitreyabandhu. Mimi is widely regarded as one of the best poetry mentors in the country, and is also a fine poet herself. Maitreyabandhu reveals a process of excavation in which her mentorship was invaluable in finding what he really wanted to say: ‘dig into it, knock into it with your spade…’

hand-in-hand-8Our movie editor Ed Piercy discovers that friendships between children have been a particularly fruitful area for some of the most talented directors.

tara-smallAn interview with talented Buddhist artist, Amitajyoti . She is half way through a major commission of a diptych for the Birmingham Buddhist Centre, showing the Buddha with two different disciples, a monk and a nun. She also talks about her dynamic abstract works including a series which explores union with the Beloved.


guistav-dore-heavenAn in-depth essay about the friendship between Dante and the poet Virgil – with some help from the Buddha’s teachings on Spiritual Friendship, by Ratnagarbha. Dante in real life was deeply inspired by the writings of Virgil and felt that he had learned his ‘fine tuned style’ from this great man. What makes Dante special is that he drew on this connection to create an imaginary friendship of surpassing depth and interest

Mist and relics on Southampton Water

Woke to find a blank impassive wall of fog, plaster board grey, utterly featureless, where there would normally be a view of the estuary from my father’s back garden. Every few minutes the fog horn would let out its erie drone, to be absorbed immediately by the blanketing silence.

Two hours later and the first faint shapes of the oil refinery terminal at the seaward end of the estuary were beginning to appear. The grain of pragmatic reality condensing out of the ether…


Continue reading

In Search of Nine Wells

In Search of Nine Wells


A day of sharp westerlies and burnished hedgerows…

There is a local beauty spot just next to Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambs, called Nine Wells. Here in a small wood several springs rise from a chalk aquifer and wind their way through hidden water-courses amongst beech trees and scrub. A magical place, but these days very close indeed to ‘civilisation’ – an entire city of gleaming bio-tech complexes is being built on its doorstep.

However, there are two other woods called Nine Wells in South Cambridgeshire. One assumes it must be a very ancient name for a wood with several springs, perhaps sacred to a local goddess. So on a cold bright Friday morning in November I set off by bike for the Nine Wells wood near Whittlesford. Continue reading

Ascent! A walk to the highest point in Cambridgeshire

Ascent! A walk to the highest point in Cambridgeshire

A morning walk on the borders of Cambridgeshire and Essex, shimmering fine rain, heavy cloud and bursts of sun. A sultry, thickened end of summer day. The village of Great Chishill is marked on the OS map as being 479 feet above sea level, giving its fortunate residents expansive views over a land of sprawling cornfields and caucuses of dark woods clumped on the hill tops. To the north the land drops sharply away to the plains of central Cambridgeshire, to the south the more  wooded, gently bounding lands of north Essex.

Next to the church the road drops away down to the plains, with cottages on each side, a little bit like Gold Hill, Shaftesbury:

Chishill 8

Continue reading

Two Psychogeography Podcasts

Werner Herzog Talks about nature, art, and filmmaking. This has got to be podcast of the year. His advice to budding filmmakers read, read, read great literature. The book he wants to highlight: JA Baker’s great classic of English nature writing The Peregrine. Herzog finds here writing of a calibre that has not appeared since the short stories of Conrad – truthfulness, passion and ecstasy as the author seeks to become one with the bird he is tracking over the woods and fields of Essex.

Herzog on The Peregrine

Robert Harrison of KCSU Stamford, has an occasional and highly erudite podcast covering all aspects of the humanities, in this episode he talks with Professor Jean Marie Apostolides about Guy Debord, situationism, and psychogeography. In an earlier episode he goes into more detail about The Peregrine with Andrea Nightingale.

Harrison on Psychogeography