European Buddhist Union + Buddhist Teachers in Europe 2022On Thu, 10 November, 2022 - 12:49
The last weekend of September saw the annual 3-day meeting of the European Buddhist Union (EBU), followed by the meeting of Buddhist Teachers in Europe. I attended as Triratna’s Liaison officer it was a pleasure to have my old friend Vassika there for both meetings, from Triratna Paris.
These meetings took place at the Fo Guang Shan temple just outside Paris, where we were hosted with great generosity by the community of nuns from Taiwan.
Around 30 people attended the EBU meeting, from a range of countries and traditions, mostly Mahayana.
As Liaison officer I am employed by Triratna’s European Chairs Assembly to look after our relations and co-operation with other Buddhist traditions, mainly through the European Buddhist Union and the Network of Buddhist Organisations UK – alongside my work as the ECA Safeguarding officer.
The EBU has in the last few years been transformed by money from the Italian Buddhist Union, enabling it to employ staff and make progress with a number of projects. It has become an activity-led organization, all members being required to declare which activities they will contribute to. I’m happy to say that we are in the process of making available to their educational project, free of charge, a lot of the video materials for schools made by Triratna’s Clear Vision Trust (which closed down in 2020).
Originally set up as a French organization the EBU is now registered in Belgium and located in Brussels, which will make it easier to receive European grants and will give it far greater contact with European institutions, putting Buddhism on the map in Europe.
Various EBU working groups are working on a number of projects which you can read about in the Annual Activity Report, but SEE-FAB may be of particular interest to Triratna centres:
SEE-FAB (Sustainable Environment on Earth for All Beings) is an environmental management programme for Buddhist centres in Europe and the UK. The project is in the pilot phase where centres are supported in moving towards using sustainable energy, waste and water management, reducing the environmental impact of travel, environmental education and environmental activism. Their email address is SEE-FAB [at] sefficiency.org.
Buddhist Teachers in Europe is an informal self-organising group of peers who meet once a year in person straight after the EBU meeting - and also, since the pandemic, throughout the year on Zoom.
It may be hard for those of us in the Triratna Buddhist Order to imagine this but many Buddhist teachers are independent and have little in the way of peer sangha, which means opportunities to meet and talk in confidence with other teachers are precious. The meeting had the flavour of a Triratna Order chapter, where about 10 of us reported in about our lives and work and heard presentations around the topic of worldly social engagement and its relationship to our meditation practice and our duty to alleviate suffering, as well as a number of topics which emerged from our conversations.