In glorious weather, 35 Chairs of Triratna’s urban centres, retreat centres and businesses in the UK, Ireland and mainland Europe met at Adhisthana in Herefordshire, UK, 21st - 31st July. Accompanying this article is a small selection of photos from the meeting. (Apologies for the lateness of this news. Triratna News’ editor has been very preoccupied with family responsibilities.)
Known collectively as the European Chairs’ Assembly (ECA), they were joined by guest Chairs from Australia and New Zealand, as well as the Development Team: five women and men they employ to carry out central administrative functions for Triratna in Europe, such as fundraising, work with young people, communications and liaison with other Buddhist groups. According to Nandavajra, a member of the Development Team, “It was a very harmonious and stimulating meeting, exploring a wide range of topics – an example of the Triratna Order functioning at it best.”
The ECA meets for a week or two every six months to promote harmony and effective communication, and to share good practice, as well as ensuring coherence of approach to teaching the Dharma.
Following a meditation day and personal time in small groups, the Chairs spent three days with Order convenors Parami and Lokeshvara and members of the Preceptors’ College, who are responsible for overseeing Triratna ordinations worldwide. Together they considered a vision and strategy for Triratna for the next five years, raising questions of leadership and co-operation between Chairs, the Order and the Public Preceptors. As Nandavajra put it, this involved “some very rich discussion, enabling deeper appreciation of our interconnected nature and fostering a stronger spirit of collaboration”.
The meeting discussed its fundraising plans, agreed its budget for 2015 and considered proposals whereby Triratna Centres could become certificated as environmentally sustainable. It heard of inspiring developments with young Buddhist projects, as well as the work of the Abhayaratna Trust, raising and disbursing money to Order members in hardship or need related to illness, disability or old age.
May’s International Retreat and June’s Buddhist Action Month (BAM) were both reviewed and considered successful, leading to agreement to run BAM in 2015 and another International Retreat in 2016.