The Buddhist Centre Online has become home to the new public web space for Triratna’s International Council. Vidyatara, Secretary to the Council, writes saying - “The web space is one way in which the Council is engaging more actively with the Order and the Movement about the work it is undertaking on behalf of the Triratna Buddhist Community”. And Dhammarati, Chair of the Triratna International Council, said that the space was designed not only to inform but also give a sense of its membership and spirit, through interviews, videos, talks and photographs.
“The space holds information about the aims, guiding principles and working practices of the Council, together with Minutes and outlines of the two International Council meetings,” he said. “Through some of the mixed media it also features the Council membership which I think makes the work of the Council more personal and relevant.”
To stay engaged and connected with what’s happening on the Council, you’re invited to visit the space and them simply clicking the ”+ follow” tab on the home page (If you aren’t a site member yet, you’ll be invited to join first). Then you’ll get email summaries every time a new post is added and in your ‘My Sangha’ space.
A quick look at the Second Meeting of the Triratna International Council
The most recent postings on the site relate to the second International Council meeting, which was held in India earlier this year, prior to the International Order Convention. Vidyatara offers a short summary of what happened, saying -
“The second meeting of the Triratna International Council took place in February this year in Nagpur, India, under the compassionate gaze of Nagaloka’s 36ft gold walking Buddha. From 16-22 February, this truly international gathering brought together 29 Order members from nine countries representing the three Strands of the Triratna Buddhist Community - the Preceptors’ College, the Order and the Movement), and the six Areas in which Triratna has a presence. For more background on all these, see the article ‘How Triratna Works’ available elsewhere on this site.
Dhammarati compared this second meeting (the first was held at Padmaloka in 2011) to a rock band releasing its second album. The second effort is a test of whether the group will be of lasting importance or amount to little more than an interesting one-off. If the evaluation responses from the meeting’s participants are anything to go by, then the Triratna International Council looks set to continue contributing to the Triratna Community well into the future: some 86% of participants rated their overall satisfaction with the meeting as “very satisfied” and 14% as somewhat satisfied. Three quarters or more “strongly agreed” and “agreed” that the meeting had 1) achieved the International Council’s aims, 2) were clearer about the role of the International Council going forward and 3) individuals were clearer about their roles as communicators and connectors between their Area/Strand and the wider Triratna community.
The focus of the gathering was to learn about, discuss, reflect on and try to get clarity around a range of issues of importance to the Triratna Community, as identified by International Council members through consultation with the Order and the Movement in their Area. This work has provided a basis for International Council members to take those conversations and discussions back to the Order and the Movement around the world to engage with and build on.
To provide the balance between work and practice at the meeting, each day included periods of collective meditation and devotional practice as well as whole-group discussion sessions and smaller group discussions. There were also opportunities for people to meet in Area and Strand groups.
Time was set aside to allow the western participants to get more of a sense of the context in which our Indian brothers and sisters practice, with visits to a girls’ hostel and to Diksha Bhumi – the site at which Dr Ambedkar and over 380,000 of his followers converted to Buddhism in 1956.
The issues that were brought forward to the Council for discussion were grouped into seven themes, of which three were considered by all Council participants and the remaining four, together with two topics raised by the Indian Area were considered by small groups during ‘Open Space’ sessions.
The three themes considered by the whole Council were:
· Intensity of practice – collective and personal;
· Ethical standards; and
· Leadership in Transition.
The four ‘Open Space’ themes were:
· Growth and development;
· Ordination training;
· Finance/Care of older Order members; and
· Communicating Triratna.
The Indian Area topics focused on how westerners teach the Dharma in India and how the west can make informed decisions about raising funds for projects in India.
By the last day of the meeting the discussions had resulted in 38 separate actions related to these themes. These were priortised by the whole meeting and the three Strands then each developed Priority Action Plans to address specific issues.
These Priority Action Plans, together with detailed information about the meeting itself and day-to-day activities, an executive summary of the meeting, talks, interviews and photographs are all available on the Triratna International Council web space:
The Triratna International Council Steering group, which meets 3-4 times a year, will monitor the work on the Priority Action Plans and progress will be reported on the Triratna International Council web space.
July sees the UK’s second annual Buddhist Action Month, with the environmentaltheme Earthkind.
Earthkind is a great opportunity for Buddhists of all traditions to get together and volunteer for the good of their local communities.
Centred on the festival of Dharma Day, BAM:Earthkind promotes local actions on environmental themes: organise a talk, a neighbourhood litter-pick, a tree planting, a nature walk or whatever else you can think of!
How about an Earthkind medmob? Using social media, a horde of people agree to descend on a local public space at a given time, clear it up and then stage a public meditation.
Earthkind highlights issues around climate change, reduction of energy consumption, improving local environments and reduction of Buddhists’ carbon footprints.
Organised by the Network of Buddhist Organisations UK, it’s part of a year-long series of projects organised by all major faith groups in the UK. Last year’s Buddhist Action Day followed the same theme and was such a success (largely because of Triratna involvement) the NBO thought they’d make it a month this year, on the same theme.
Dharma Day marks the Buddha’s first discourse after his Enlightenment. Like Earthkind, it emphasises Right Action, to encourage the development and expression of wisdom and compassion for our world and the welfare of all living beings.
Set up your own local event
Facebook See the Earthkind Facebook page for support, resources and inspiration and find out what’s happening in your area. Share ideas with other groups and advertise your events!
Earthkind Event Starter Pack A simple guide on how to set up your event, including an Event Planning Tool, event ideas, and a poster to assist with promotion.
Free online video See Clear Vision’s Us and Them materials using the Four Sangrahavastus to look at social issues including the environment, from a Buddhist perspective.
Support & advice For advice on getting started, project ideas, a copy of the Earthkind Event Starter Pack, or to discuss your ideas please message us via the Facebook page.
Good luck with your project!
Together we can make BAM:Earthkind 2013 an even bigger success than 2012!
Karuna is a dynamic Buddhist charity formed in 1980 as the Triratna Buddhist Community’s response to the suffering of India’s Dalit community. We work with some of India’s most disadvantaged and discriminated people, sending more than £1 million every year to India. Our partners enable Dalit and tribal communities to fulfill their potential through social and Dharma projects. Karuna is a vibrant and dynamic organisation and that offers an amazing opportunity to transform both self and the world!
We currently have a full time vacancy for a Programmes Manager
The successful candidate will be responsible for managing a portfolio of grassroots projects in India. Previous management experience is preferred. The role is based in the Programmes Team whose vision is to support and empower the Dalit community to meet their needs, access their rights, and participate fully in society.
This role is a great opportunity to deepen your Dharma practice the within the context of a Triratna Team Based Right Livelihood. We offer a generous and flexible support package including pension contributions. For the full Job Description and Person Specification please contact Chandrasurya in full confidence on 020 7697 3009 or email email@example.com. Closing date for applications is Monday 3 June.
Dayabhadra writes to say: “The Triratna Choir goes on tour in May! The first concert is on Saturday 18th May at the London Buddhist Arts Centre, with a performance of ‘Touching the Earth’ . Performed by the Triratna Choir and Bodhivajra on piano, this is an exciting new piece, written by Bodhivajra, which dramatically re-tells the story of the Buddha’s Enlightenment.
The choir will also be performing the winning compositions from the last two Triratna composer’s competitions, by Graham Patterson and Vipulakirti. Additionally, the concert will feature performances from Stephen Svanholm, baritone, accompanied by Akashadeva on piano and Bodhilila on viola, accompanied by Vishvantara on piano.
Other tour dates include:
Anteros Arts Foundation, Norwich Sunday 19th May 3.30pm
Birmingham Buddhist Centre, Saturday 25th May 3pm
Sheffield Buddhist Centre, Sunday 26th May 2pm (to celebrate Buddha Day, full moon May 2013)
Lama’s Pyjamas is the London Buddhist Centre’s ‘Right Livelihood’ charity shop in the East End of London. They’ve just celebrated a record year, and Claudine, one of its founders, writes with the good news. She says - “Headline: This year Lama’s Pyjamas made £117,166 gross profit and a net profit of £44,500. This along with gift aid in the region of £12,000 means that our dana to the LBC this year is £56,000. She continues -
“This year has seen Santavajri leave our team to go to join the wonderful women at Tiratanaloka. This was particularly bittersweet for me as she is my private preceptor and as well as working together, we lived together in the same Buddhist community. Sad for me that she left Lama’s and London but good because our loss is very much Tiratanaloka’s gain and she has so much to offer women in the ordination process. While Santavajri worked for us she set up our gift aid system which this year alone has meant an extra £12,000 in dana. The bright silver lining to the cloud of Santavajri’s leaving is that left an opening for Sraddhagita to join us. Sraddhagita has strong Team Based Right Livelihood experience having spent many years working in the Wild Cherry Café and is a competent and delightful addition to our team.
“We are all on support (as opposed to wages) and are advocates of the support system. Our experience is that it fosters a spirit of generosity and for us that feels abundant and rich. We use our work as an opportunity to practice embodying our spiritual ideals. We have a weekly study session with Subhadramati, at the moment we are looking at Subhuti’s paper on the Suprapersonal Force. In addition to our weekly study, this year as a team we decided to put our focus on Maitreyabandhu’s ‘Life with Full Attention’ book, spending a month on each section of the book and reporting in to each other each week as to how we are getting along.
“We have experienced enormous generosity from the local community in terms of donations, from the women’s sangha in terms of volunteers and from people like Taravandana and Vajraghanta who have given us their time and expertise by providing training for us on our Team Days.
“As a team we would very much like to encourage any centres thinking of opening a charity shop to do so. The work is simple and suited to practicing mindfulness, patience, kindness etc, it is an opportunity for the general public to experience Buddhism in action and last but not least it could be a way of raising dana for your centre.
“Yours in the Dharma, the Lama’s Pyjamas Team (Padmalila, Sraddhagita, Claudine)
For more information how Lama’s pyjamas do it, listen to this talk by Claudine to the Triratna New Ventures group in Autumn 2013.
Ratnachuda writes from Triratna’s small but buzzing centre in Brixton Buddhist Centre, South London, where they’ve been celebrating their first Mitra Ceremonies into the wider Triratna Buddhist Community. He says - “Last month saw us here in Brixton celebrating four new mitras, Elena Blanco, Gitta Baum, Jill Thompson and Mirel Stambuk, all publicly making their commitment to the Triratna Sangha - plus a traditional ‘reaffirmation ceremony’ by Steve Hughes.
The evening was beautifully led by Amarapuspa, women’s mitra convenor for Triratna’s Brixton and Croydon centres. Three of the mitras had backgrounds in other countries - Croatia, Germany and Spain - which brought up resonances of how the Buddha Dharma transcends nationality. An added dimension to the ceremonies was the presence of Order Members, mitras and others who had been part of Utpala, the old ‘FWBO South London’ Buddhist Centre, from which our current sangha in Brixton has arisen. Amarapuspa commented there were five people present who had been present at her mitra ceremony in the mid 90’s and that Sthiracita had been one of her first teachers.
Sthiracitta’s introduction of Steve celebrated the close friendship they’d had for over twenty years, built by living together in two communities and working in Hockney’s restaurant; his words evoked a real sense of the beauty of spiritual friendship as taught by Sangharakshita. And Amarapuspa rejoiced how doing Triratna’s ‘Foundation Year study’ with the four new mitras had brought them into much deeper relationship and friendship together.
Windhorse:evolution is a UK-based giftware business aiming to work and trade ethically and make money for Buddhist and social projects around the world.
This is a dynamic manager level role assisting the Retail Director, Aryajaya, and the Retail Hub by providing top level administrative, organisational and commincations support for the smooth running of the Evolution chain. It is as much a communications role as it is organisational support. A driving license is essential. The job is based in the Uddiyana warehouse in Cambridge.
We welcome applications from people who have the following skills:
- Ability to communicate with a wide variety of people with differing needs
- Good planning and organising skills, able to co-ordinate events
- Excellent attention to detail
- Ability to work to deadlines and have good time-management skills
- Flexibility – able to take on a wide range of tasks
- Ability to work as part of a team
- Willingness to travel to shops occasionally to help out
Please note the position has a Genuine Occupational Requirement to be filled by a Buddhist.
Available as Support package or wages. To start in June 2013.
Interested? Please contact Dharmasiddhi at firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0)1223 868583.
Ritayush writes from Nagpur, heartland of the Buddhist revival in India, where Triratna’s Nagpur Buddhist Centre recently celebrated their very successful 2013 Buddha Festival. Due to the success of their past Festivals in 2011 and 2012 they were able to hold the Festival at the historic Deeksha Bhoomi, site of Ambedkar’s historic mass conversion to Buddhism in 1956. He writes -
“It is very important that these three Buddha Festivals were organized at the Deeksha Bhoomi, where the historic mass conversion to Buddhism was done by Bodhisattva Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar on 14th October 1956. This event changed the course of the lives of millions of his followers all over India - and changed the political, social, religious &cultural scene of India. Buddhists here were very happy by the organization of the Festival. We experienced the high positive emotions & expressions by the thousands of people who witnessed the festivals. The Buddha Festival has given them opportunity to experience the rich art, culture & heritage of Buddhism & also to take the Dhamma seriously. We feel the festival has bridged the gap between different sections of the society.
Guests, artists & people from many states of India & other nations came to witness, perform & add beauty to the festival. Due to the direct telecast of all events on local ‘Lord Buddha TV’ television, millions of people watched it at their homes. Most of them wish to make their physical presence in next Buddha Festival. Our team is very satisfied by the success of three consecutive Buddha festivals. However we now feel the responsibility to continue & make it even better. On behalf of Nagpur Buddhist Centre I wish to express my gratitude towards all for their generous help, support & encouragement.
Namo Buddhay! Jai Bheem!”