Triratna's International Council launches web space with reports of second meeting
On Thu, 23 May, 2013 - 09:17
The Buddhist Centre Online has become home to the new public web space for Triratna’s International Council. Vidyatara, Secretary to the Council, writes saying - “The web space is one way in which the Council is engaging more actively with the Order and the Movement about the work it is undertaking on behalf of the Triratna Buddhist Community”. And Dhammarati, Chair of the Triratna International Council, said that the space was designed not only to inform but also give a sense of its membership and spirit, through interviews, videos, talks and photographs.
“The space holds information about the aims, guiding principles and working practices of the Council, together with Minutes and outlines of the two International Council meetings,” he said. “Through some of the mixed media it also features the Council membership which I think makes the work of the Council more personal and relevant.”
To stay engaged and connected with what’s happening on the Council, you’re invited to visit the space and them simply clicking the ”+ follow” tab on the home page (If you aren’t a site member yet, you’ll be invited to join first). Then you’ll get email summaries every time a new post is added and in your ‘My Sangha’ space.
A quick look at the Second Meeting of the Triratna International Council The most recent postings on the site relate to the second International Council meeting, which was held in India earlier this year, prior to the International Order Convention. Vidyatara offers a short summary of what happened, saying -
“The second meeting of the Triratna International Council took place in February this year in Nagpur, India, under the compassionate gaze of Nagaloka’s 36ft gold walking Buddha. From 16-22 February, this truly international gathering brought together 29 Order members from nine countries representing the three Strands of the Triratna Buddhist Community - the Preceptors’ College, the Order and the Movement), and the six Areas in which Triratna has a presence. For more background on all these, see the article ‘How Triratna Works’ available elsewhere on this site.
Dhammarati compared this second meeting (the first was held at Padmaloka in 2011) to a rock band releasing its second album. The second effort is a test of whether the group will be of lasting importance or amount to little more than an interesting one-off. If the evaluation responses from the meeting’s participants are anything to go by, then the Triratna International Council looks set to continue contributing to the Triratna Community well into the future: some 86% of participants rated their overall satisfaction with the meeting as “very satisfied” and 14% as somewhat satisfied. Three quarters or more “strongly agreed” and “agreed” that the meeting had 1) achieved the International Council’s aims, 2) were clearer about the role of the International Council going forward and 3) individuals were clearer about their roles as communicators and connectors between their Area/Strand and the wider Triratna community.
Focus The focus of the gathering was to learn about, discuss, reflect on and try to get clarity around a range of issues of importance to the Triratna Community, as identified by International Council members through consultation with the Order and the Movement in their Area. This work has provided a basis for International Council members to take those conversations and discussions back to the Order and the Movement around the world to engage with and build on.
To provide the balance between work and practice at the meeting, each day included periods of collective meditation and devotional practice as well as whole-group discussion sessions and smaller group discussions. There were also opportunities for people to meet in Area and Strand groups.
Time was set aside to allow the western participants to get more of a sense of the context in which our Indian brothers and sisters practice, with visits to a girls’ hostel and to Diksha Bhumi – the site at which Dr Ambedkar and over 380,000 of his followers converted to Buddhism in 1956.
Themes The issues that were brought forward to the Council for discussion were grouped into seven themes, of which three were considered by all Council participants and the remaining four, together with two topics raised by the Indian Area were considered by small groups during ‘Open Space’ sessions.
The three themes considered by the whole Council were: · Intensity of practice – collective and personal; · Ethical standards; and · Leadership in Transition.
The four ‘Open Space’ themes were: · Growth and development; · Ordination training; · Finance/Care of older Order members; and · Communicating Triratna.
The Indian Area topics focused on how westerners teach the Dharma in India and how the west can make informed decisions about raising funds for projects in India.
Actions By the last day of the meeting the discussions had resulted in 38 separate actions related to these themes. These were priortised by the whole meeting and the three Strands then each developed Priority Action Plans to address specific issues.
These Priority Action Plans, together with detailed information about the meeting itself and day-to-day activities, an executive summary of the meeting, talks, interviews and photographs are all available on the Triratna International Council web space www.thebuddhistcentre.com/internationalcouncil.
Next steps The Triratna International Council Steering group, which meets 3-4 times a year, will monitor the work on the Priority Action Plans and progress will be reported on the Triratna International Council web space.