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Presenting Triratna to the European Buddhist Union meeting in Berlin in September, I mentioned Triratna’s recent success in attracting more young people. With most sanghas ageing, people wanted to know our secret.
One answer is that we appointed a Young Buddhist co-ordinator to encourage young Buddhist activities and help other young Buddhists develop the confidence to lead.
Prajnaketu is the new, full-time Young Buddhist Co-ordinator appointed to the Development Team who work for Triratna’s European Chairs’ Assembly. He writes:
“I’ve recently taken over from Singhamati as Young Buddhist Co-ordinator for Europe. I’m really excited to be more involved in this project, which has inspired me since my first contact with it in 2011 at the ‘Big One’ retreat.
On that occasion, as a Mitra, I was positively challenged by seeing young Order members giving talks and leading activities, as well as hearing about a network of young Mitras running events in local centres. It dawned on me that it was possible for a young person like me to lead a wholehearted Dharma life and take initiative within the Movement. It was also a delight to practise with other young people, something I’d hardly experienced prior to that.
Along with another young Mitra, I started a group in Oxford - for people of all ages - which continues. Similar stories can be found all over Europe as young Buddhists have initiated Dharma activities creating vibrant communities which flow into the wider Triratna sangha.
A lot has emerged from the Young Buddhist project since 2008, including annual retreats, local young Buddhist groups, intensive Dharma training courses and young Order events. It’s a testament to the dedication, creativity and energy of Singhamati, my part-time predecessor, that there is now ECA funding for a full-time Co-ordinator post.
I act as a contact for the Young Buddhist project, oversee key events, support established young Buddhist groups, and encourage new initiatives such as outreach groups, micro-businesses, “sub25” activities, and communities for young people.
Many young people are looking for a different way of living, which is sustainable, ethical and offers meaning beyond what can be found in wider society. They also want to contribute to something bigger and share what they value with others. This is exactly what the Triratna Buddhist Community is all about! I look forward to enabling even more young people to connect with this amazing venture.