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The International Council’s first full day started with meditation, ritual, lively breakfast conversation and introductions from around the world.
The Council’s membership spans six Areas: Spain & Latin America, India, North America, Mainland Europe, the UK & Ireland and Australia & New Zealand. These in turn are subdivided into Regions, to enable consultation across the Order.
There are about 40 of us here this week, including some guests. The 33 delegates present, roughly 50:50 women and men, introduced themselves in groups from these Areas and then made offerings - including puja books in several languages, which will form the start of the Adhisthana shrine room’s international puja book collection.
As convenor of the Council, Dhammarati talked about its still short history, beginning in 2009 with Sangharakshita’s call for greater co-ordination and communication between those carrying out various strands of the Order’s work. This led to the IC’s first meeting in 2011, and the gradual building of a worldwide network of Area representatives from the ‘Three strands’:
There was time for each of these ‘strands’ to meet separately. After an excellent curry dinner, the evening was devoted to hearing about Triratna in India, where some retreats attract 5000 people and there are 8000 mitras, of whom 2000 are training for ordination - including more than 850 women!