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 issue 33 – THE FRIENDSHIP ISSUE –

For details of new issue & to purchase by card – go to Urthona Shop where you can also buy back issues.

Urthona looks at friendships of the imagination, and discovers fine examples of influence, inspiration and mentorship.  HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE: * Why is it not wonderful? Maitreyabandhu on his poetic mentorship with poet Mimi Khalvati. * Being and Form: in depth interview with talented Buddhist artist, Amitajyoti. * The Grey is just the Silver untransformed…. Haunting art photograph by Brighton based Buddhist photographer Sahajatara.  * Dante and Virgil – a friendship of descent…

FOR MORE DETAILS & to purchase by card at reduced rate – subscription to print edition (current plus next year) or sample back issue,  go to Urthona Shop

E Magazine for mobile / tablet/ smartphone If you would prefer to receive either the mag edition or both the printed and the e mag, please indicate this in the comments box when you take out your subscription, or email us at urthonamag[at]gmail.com



Become an URTHONA MEMBER for only £1 / month (£2 outside UK)

with free access to current issue and all 31 back issues.

Friend membership for only £1 per month    Buy Now Button

PATRON membership at £5 per month           Buy Now Button


Secure payments via PAYPAL. Further donation options on DONATE page see top menu.


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!




Backstreets of academe

Some recent sightings in the backstreets of Cambridge, not exactly dingy but not well heeled either. Raffish encounters with odds and ends…


Golden tunnel

to nothing good



There never was a road

Nothing is barred

Walk through the wall…






Threads of Nothing

Just a bundle

of threads

blue wisps of nylon

frayed, unbound,

holding to nothing

but one corroded bar

draping to the ground

without a purpose

a lost story




Shadow Bike

No effort needed

no weight, no drive

just shadows on the wall –

what sort of person

without colour or substance

will ride this away?


Weed on the wall


of decaying bricks


on crumbled







Surely victorious?

Suddenly vanished?


to better times…

A blue plaque

that doesn’t let you down,

doesn’t remind you

of last year’s heroes…


Broken PanesBlog6


in dingy

orange gold

front door

in broken glass

somebody’s hope

somebody’s dream


Littoral Fringes of the New Forest

Littoral Fringes of the New Forest

New Forest Fringes_07

Many of us would like to have a corner of the earth with which we have a special connection. But I suspect I am not alone in finding myself pulled in two directions: there is the place where I was brought up, on the fringes of the New Forest and the edge of the large estuary of Southampton Water – a shoreline but not a seashore, with industrial relics, and intrusive modern gravel banks, a boundary zone for which the word liminal is far too airy fairy….  Continue reading

New Post – striking mythic drawings based on ancient slavic beliefs

Rarog the Divine Falcon

Rarog the divine Falcon

We feature the fascinating mythic art work of Marek Hapon based on the ancient slavic beliefs of his pagan ancestors. 

“My first contact with ancient Slavic beliefs occurred while spending summers at my grandmother’s farm in eastern Poland. It was there that I discovered the world of supernatural beings — some frightening and others wondrous. One such scary demon was the Licho…. ”

Marek Hapon Drawings

Sci Fi and Fantasy issue – call for ideas!

Please let us know if you have any thoughts about a Buddhist perspective on this kind of literature, or any author recommendations – apart from the obvious ones.
     Science Fiction and Fantasy allow unfettered licence to the imagination. This can be liberating but also it has drawbacks. Many books in these genres lack emotional depth, and get lost in the details of building an alternative world or worlds. On the other hand there is the opportunity to deal directly with universal archetypal themes – heroism, betrayal, the quest for truth and beauty, the unmasking of comfortable illusions of self and world – that are not easily dealt with directly in genres that are tethered to what we think of as ‘realism’. So we want to seek out the best writing there is in this area, particularly from contemporary authors, and ask what it has to offer spiritual seekers in the 21st century.
     It has been quite a learning curve for me looking into this area as I have not explored it since I was a teenager. So far as I can see there is a great deal of very fine recent science fiction out there. I have enjoyed reading Venor Vinge’s A Fire Upon the Deep, Dan Simmons The Hyperion Cantos (a sci-fi version of the Canterbury Tales) and Lavie Tidhar’s Central Station.
     However the fantasy genre seems to be quite moribund to me! It has been taken over by the Grim-Dark Game of Thrones type of fantasy almost completely it seems. There are a few  rather whimsical English fantasy books from the last few decades such as those by William Horwood, but that it is it apart from Phillip Pullman – we have covered him in issue 19 but may return to him in this or a future issue.
     So do let me know if you feel I have missed out on any other fantasy authors after Lewis and Tolkien who have moral and imaginative integrity, or if you have any science fiction recommendations that we might have missed.
     I’m aware of the book ‘Dharma of Demon’s and Dragons’ on a Buddhist approach to this literature, which is useful if a bit superficial in my view, and we will build on what Loy did there. 


Our plans so far include a piece on the novelist Nicola Barker, hopefully an interview with Christopher Priest, something on ‘The inklings – Tolkien, Lewis, Williams, something on Phillip K Dick, and possibly to reprint an interview with LeGuin we did about 15 years ago. Movie wise we have a piece on some classic alien encounter movies such as ‘forbidden planet’, and a review of the recent release ‘Arrival’. We would of course like to cover the seminal work of spiritual / cosmic science fiction: Olaf Stapleton’s ‘Star-maker’.

A walk in the Malverns

A walk in the Malverns

It was a sultry summer day, not very hot, but humid. There was a decadent end of summer feel even though it was only towards the end of July. I decided that August would be a herald of autumn rather than a glorious finish to the season, and so it was necessary to make the best of it, dress light and step out with determination along the languid maze of lanes that thread the countryside to the west of the great spine of the Malverns. Beyond that tawny ridge to the east I knew there are motorways, cities and the hundred million distractions of modern life. But here, west of that sheltering spine, just silence apart from what Heaney so memorably called ‘the distant gargling of tractors’. On the verges the thresh of bleached grasses is soaked in dew, there is a sense of rot about to happen, but for now the air is damp but cool and the lanes are empty and inviting. The sky is a mix of clouds and clarity. Sometimes for half an hour it appears to be going to cloud up completely and looks ominous, but the next moment the vapours dissolve and the sky goddess is back in her glory…

Continue reading

URTHONA Issue 33 Launch Event

Similar to last year’s excellent event at the West London Buddhist Centre (address below), on 1st July we have another issue launch of Urthona, the Buddhist Arts magazine. Introduced by its poetry editor, Dharmavadana. There will be readings from four poets featured in issue 33 – Caroline Maldonado, Cath Drake, Ian Marriott and Subhadassi – Satyadaka reading his brilliant new Rilke translations, editor Ratnagarbha with translations from Dante, plus music from the Bright Moments Duo: Jonathan Cohen (Piano), Francois Moreau (Double Bass) play jazz and Latin standards and originals, Music for Head, Heart and Feet. And some surprises! You’ll be able to purchase copies of the new Urthona on the night.

There will also be meditation in the main shrine room from 6 pm, introduced and guided for those who are new to it and would like a taster.

Booking is not necessary and the event is free but the West London Centre does appreciate donations.

Urthona # 33 launch  7 – 9 pm Saturday 1st July

 West London Buddhist Centre,

Royal Oak House,

45a Porchester Rd,

London W2 5DP.

020 7727 9382


More details here: