Starting a new Buddhist group is never easy, and the Triratna Development Team have been looking at ways to make it easier for Triratna’s pioneers.
One initiative taken last summer was to re-establish the ‘Triratna Growth Fund’ and to invite applications from Triratna groups and teachers around the world. A total of £6,500 was made available by the Chairs Assembly - but over 40 applications were received totalling over £40,000: dramatic proof of the need for such a fund!
The last few months have seen the team sorting through them and working out how best to distribute the limited funds available. An early decision taken was to support as many groups as possible and to spread the grants evenly around the world. As the applications came in it was realised that cushions and mats were a significant expense for new groups and the team therefore set out to find a bulk supplier. With the help of Dhiramati a relationship was created with a tailor in Nepal and over 300 meditation cushion covers were ordered and sent direct to new Triratna groups around the world: in the UKCanterbury, Oxford, Tunbridge Wells, King’s College University, Yarmouth, and Bridport; in Europe Arnhem and Barcelona; in Australia Adelaide and Kempsey.
Other grants included ones to Vancouver for their pioneering project running retreats for the Addiction and Recovery Community; to the new Queretaro Buddhist Centre in Mexico, to the Triratna Buddhist group in São Paulo, Brazil, and in Australia, to the Triratna group in Toowoomba and Windhorse Books, to help them cover the Dalai Lama’s speaking tour. Grants were not made to India, despite the excellent Dhamma work being done there, as it was learnt that Triratna’s Karuna Trust had established their own India ‘Dhamma Seed Fund’: this is just being finalised and we hope to report on it soon.
Next year the Team hope to repeat the exercise and, in the meantime, to find ways to increase the Fund.