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On Friday 30th November 2018, the Chairs of three of the four main Triratna Buddhist Centres in the South Pacific met in Sydney. European Chairs have long been very well networked via the European Chairs’ Assembly, but such gatherings are still under development in other parts of the world. In Australia/New Zealand, there has never been a Movement Strand (Order members running Triratna Centres) gathering and it is believed that this was the first ever meeting of Chairs across the whole of Oceania.
Dantacitta from Melbourne, Saradarshini from Wellington and Samacitta from Sydney spent a very full day together, taking the opportunity to share ideas and experience, and to give one another peer support. Topics covered included news from their three Centres and other places in the region, sub-35 activities, safeguarding, roles and responsibilities at Centres, Presidents, the relationship of Chairs to the Area and International Council, visiting teachers in 2019/2020, and future Movement Strand meetings.
Australia and New Zealand make up an Area which is collectively known as Oceania and each country is a region unto itself. Oceania has only these two regions, but they both cover enormous distances. The influence of the Triratna Buddhist Community is sprinkled across this vast Area in a collection of groups ranging in size from a single Order Member or Mitra running a weekly class in a hired location to larger groups and city-based Centres offering the full range of Triratna activities.
Australia has Centres in Sydney and Melbourne as well as in Toowomba, Brisbane, Kempsey, Adelaide, Port Fairy and Warnambool district. There are approximately 30 Order Members in both of the two main Centres, Sydney and Melbourne. There is also a retreat Centre, Vijayaloka, approximately an hour away from Sydney by car.
Auckland, Wellington, Melbourne and Sydney all have lively sub-35 groups, and there is a Triratna Young Buddhist Coordinator for the entire Area, supported 2 days per week by Future Dharma Fund.
Dantacitta, Saradarshini and Samacitta found this gathering had been enormously supportive, giving them a wider perspective on their work as Chairs, lots of inspiration and useful information. But perhaps the important aspect of this historic meeting was the growing friendship and cooperation between them. They hope to be able to keep up the momentum and continue to meet in the flesh at least once per year.
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