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Ujumani from the Paris Buddhist Centre writes: “After 11 years, Vassika has handed on the chairmanship of the Paris Buddhist Centre to Aryanita. Many people gathered on Sunday 27th January at the Buddhist Centre to celebrate this change - people from Brussels, England, the Alps, Clermont-Ferrand, the Mediterranean coast and, of course, from Paris and its region - including friends of the Centre from long ago, some of whom had not been to the Centre for a long time. All the members of the Council were present, as well as Vajrapushpa, the Centre’s President.
We began with a fulsome celebration of Vassika’s Many Great Merits; without her clarity, sensitivity, vision, generosity, faith and commitment the Centre would not be the place of welcome and growth that it is today for the Paris Sangha. Then Vassika spoke about what chairing the Centre had been like for her, and of the significance of the Buddhist Centre as a portal between the world and the spiritual community, adding warm thanks for those who had supported her over the years.
Vajrapushpa spoke about what it means to be Chair of a Centre; the qualities of clarity, courage and compassion needed, and the fact that being Chair is much more than a role: it is a practice. After that, Ujumani introduced Aryanita, and the qualities she will bring to her chairmanship: her clarity, her sensitivity, her sense of the “next step” - her own, in her personal practice and that of others, a step she knows how to see and inspire - and her receptivity, especially to the presence of her yidam, Ratnasambhava.
Then came the moment of the ritual handing on. In the context of a seven-fold puja, led by Manibhadri, Vassika placed on the shrine the bowl which she had received from Varadakini, who founded the Centre 21 years ago, and which we use for our meditations and rituals. Aryanita took it from the shrine and the universe undoubtedly echoed with the three SADHUs that then resounded in the room. Aryanita then read us a beautiful set of vows expressing her commitment as the new Chair of the Paris Centre, and in time-honoured French fashion we rounded off the celebration with a gourmet shared lunch.
One thing has not changed: the Centre remains in excellent hands.”