Reviewing How The Preceptors' College WorksOn Mon, 4 December, 2017 - 14:09
The College of Public Preceptors has been growing and its make-up is changing. By next year we could have 45 active members, and it will inevitably continue to grow as the movement expands and more public preceptors are needed. Many of the founding generation still in the College have been coming together in all sorts of meetings and gatherings for 40 years. Quite a number of them are now approaching 70, or are already into their 70s. We have set a mandatory retirement age at 75, but it would be good to bring it down to 70, and in time to 65. As new generations come into the college and the elders move on, it is going to be important that there is an overlap of generations, so that experience and understanding accumulated over the years can be fully passed on.
The College remains a crucial unifying body for Triratna. I have drawn up a map of the main Triratna institutions showing how they interconnect (see the accompanying files to this post along). This is not definitive, but it does bring out some telling points. The College combines a continuity of membership and depth of experience in the Order and movement that none of our other institutions does. Meeting together regularly, face to face, over the years has allowed a strong sense of mutual appreciation and shared vision and understanding to emerge amongst College members. There are many temperaments and personalities in the College, and it is now difficult for us to speak with one voice, but when it comes to the Order and Movement we are still pretty much of one mind. It is going to be very important that we continue to meet together regularly. Up to now we have met twice a year for ten days. As from 2018, we plan to have just one, fully international, College meeting every year in November.
Kulas and a meeting of Kula Representatives
The idea of having just one full College meeting a year is to allow more time and energy for the Kulas and allow them time to creatively explore how they develop their work. The main working ground for organising ordination training, agreeing on who will be ordained, appointing and training Private Preceptors, running ordination courses and much more, is in these small Kulas of at least 5 Public Preceptors that between them cover all those parts of the world where Triratna is active.
There will also be a meeting of representatives of the Kulas from all around the world after the full College meeting every November to help share experience and maintain common standards.
A Chair of the College’s Council
The College is clearly too big for us any longer to have detailed discussions around business and too big for it to be an effective decision making body. It rather becomes a place for continuing to clarify principles and uphold a shared vision and understanding.
The Adhisthana Kula was formed in response to a pressing need in the face of a wave of controversy and turbulence in Triratna. Its effectiveness made clear the importance of a body that can meet regularly, face to face, and respond promptly to changing circumstances. However it was formed on a temporary, ad hoc basis and will need before too long to transmute into a more enduring body.
This will be a Chair of the College’s Council. Initially members will carry over from the Adhisthana Kula, with some leaving and others invited to join over time, including non-College members, and Order members from different generations. As well as different members of the Council being involved in various meetings e.g. International Council Steering Group, Ethics Kula, Kula Representatives Meeting, Presidents Meeting, European Chairs’ Assembly etc. we also envisage a variety of groupings of Order members with various interests or concerns engaging with the Council.
Meeting face to face will limit the international dimension, but we hope to see people from various parts of the world staying at Adhisthana for periods of 6 months to a year and joining the Council for that time. Council members can also ‘buddy’ with folks from other areas around the world, and speak to them before and after meetings.
In exploring the plan for the Chair of the College’s Council we wanted to come up with something that was really practical, workable and flexible, that allowed a small core of College members to engage with a wide range of Order members and interests, and to think creatively with them about the about the future of Triratna far beyond just dealing with current difficulties. It is going to take a little while to really get going with this Chair’s Council, and we ask for your patience and support. As they say, the proof of the pudding is going to be in the eating.