European Chairs' Assembly

Day 2 at the ECA

On Fri, 14 August, 2015 - 22:34
Munisha's picture
Munisha

As always, the ECA day began with double meditation followed by porridge!

We are around 40 women and men (the number of women has been going steadily up for several years) with a couple of guests from Australia, and the Development Team employed by the ECA to provide year-round services to all Centres, such as fundraising and communications. We also have with us visitors from other Triratna groupings such as the Public Preceptors, to ensure good communication and networking.

Having spent yesterday reconnecting in reporting-in groups, today we turned our attention to our current theme: the culture of Triratna Buddhist Centres. 

The morning was spent in the company of Mahamati, a public preceptor and also currently Sangharakshita’s assistant secretary. In his talk, and subsequent small study groups, we looked again at the Six Distinctive Emphases of the Triratna Buddhist Order and Community, which Bhante has recently encouraged us to revisit.

To refresh your memory, the six emphases are:

  1. Centrality of Going for Refuge (as the defining characteristic of a Buddhist)
  2. We are a unified Order. (We ordain women and men equally and regardless of ethnicity, class, caste, sexual orientation, gender etc.)
  3. Triratna is ecumenical. (We draw on the whole Buddhist tradition)
  4. Spiritual friendship
  5. Team-based Right Livelihood
  6. The importance of the arts in spiritual life
     

In the afternoon we heard a report on the great success of Triratna’s involvement in Buddhist Action Month 2015, and Sustainable Buddhist Centre certificates were awarded to Metta Vihara retreat centre (Holland) and Norwich Buddhist Centre (UK).

Candradasa reported back on the development of this website, The Buddhist Centre Online, which is Triratna’s main presence on the web. (July was the first month in which the site received more than 60,000 visitors!)

One of the highlights of ECA meetings is always the “Centre presentations”: a chance to hear about a particular Centre and its life and activities. Tonight was the turn of Cardiff Buddhist Centre, south Wales, after which the day closed with a short shrine room ritual and meditation.

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