The International Order Office
Annual Report 2021
The International Order Office
Annual Report 2021
Through Order dana individual Order members, all over the world, support the work of the International Order convenors and Order office. Please watch the short video below that shows some of our activities (there are also summaries below). The headline is that we help the Order stay connected: organise conventions, support regional and Area convenors, produce the Order address list, compile and distribute Shabda, and run the Order information service. We also register new ordinations and supply robes and kesas for ordination retreats.
A big thank you to everyone who supports our work.
Lokeshvara and Aryajaya
A foreword from Amaradaya
International Order Office Co-ordinator
Every year we produce an annual report of the International Order Office. Here is 2021, and we wish you all the best for 2022, whatever inspirations and challenges lie ahead!
We produced and supplied 106 new kesas and robes for 106 new Order members this year. (If you ever need a replacement kesa, a gold kesa or an ID card, we can also provide you with these. Please visit our Payments page here.)
In collaboration with thebuddhistcentre.com we continued to release a monthly highlights email to keep you all informed of what the breadth of Triratna is offering to help deepen practice. You can sign up to the highlights email here.
We also provided the Order with two online Bodhicitta meditations every week, 104 altogether, attended by nearly 200 people every week. A very warm thank you goes out to our Bodhicitta leaders. You can join the Bodhicitta practice every Sunday by clicking here.
Early in the year we launched our Indrajala campaign, which encouraged more people to contribute Order Dana, and to inform those already giving that everyone can give according to their income using our tiered suggestions. Order Dana is our only means of income, and a little can go a long way in supporting our Order in so many ways. You can visit our giving page here.
What we really love to do is bring the Order together in large numbers. With restrictions continuing last year there was still less opportunity for in person gatherings. We did organise a virtual component to the Triratna Order Day programme in April and one large in – person event: the UK and Ireland Combined Area Order long weekend at Adhisthana in August. Entitled ‘The Four Lotuses’, the latter was a four day event full of meditation, talks and puja. We made sure that some of the events were Youtube streamed, as well as available to join via Zoom. You can re-watch all of those events on our AOWE 2021 page here.
We also used this time together as a team to put the finishing touches to our Chapter House Yurt, and performed a simple ceremony to honour Dharmacharini Dhivati, whose generous donation in her will allowed us to buy the Yurt.
We continue to support the work of the International Council and the Area and regional Order Convenors Networks. Vimalamati organise the monthly zoom meetings with the Area Order convenors. Aryajaya and Lokeshvara are part of the steering group of the IC, which organised two online meetings, one on Authority and Responsibility and one on Commonality.
2021 was also a year of change for the team. After contracting long Covid, Vandika was forced to reduce her hours, but very helpfully continues to supply ordination retreats with kesas for the ordinands.
After seven years Vimalamati finally began to wind down as assistant to Aryajaya and Lokeshvara. Utpaladhi replaces her in February 2022.
Our Finance Officer Prashrabdhi also handed over her work in December 2021 to Lokabandhu. A big thank you to Prashrabdhi for all her hard work and a very straightforward handover of the Order Office books.
Over our Christmas dinner, lovingly prepared by Adhisthana, we said goodbye to Sucimani as Chair of the Triratna Trust, our body of trustees (and formally welcomed Vajrapriya as a new trustee). She has helped support us in our work with a clear and kind hand for close to a decade. Our heartfelt thanks goes to her.
Thank you to all our donors and supporters for all your help, and to the wider Order for creating the Order we enjoy serving!
Amaradaya, January 2022
VIMALAMATI | This last year 2021, in many ways has had the same flavour of the unpredictable as 2020, emphasised by the emergency in India. From the Order office it has been great to see so many ordinations although the task of keeping in communication about the many ordinations, robes, kesas and registrations was demanding with several retreats in succession run by small teams in a range of venues. Meanwhile the flow of dharma and retreats continued online with in person events becoming more frequent including for me the delight of being able to run the UK&I combined Order weekend at Adhisthana which was very special.
AMARADAYA | 2021 was my 2nd year with the International Order Office, and I feel like a lot of settling into the job has finally happened over the last 12 months. A lot of important connecting work for our Order goes on in the Order Office, but compared to some other Triratna institutions, that work goes on somewhat in the background, which I really like; a bit like the crucial integration that may be going on behind the closed eyes of a meditator. I have enjoyed a small handful of visits to Adhisthana to be together as a team, and the Combined UK and Ireland Area Order Weekend there in August was a joy after the struggles of the previous year. After 11 years of living in a mens community in Manchester, I am now living alone (apart from my cat that is!) in a house in my hometown of Newcastle upon Tyne, and along with my role with the Order Office am also co-Chairing the Newcastle Buddhist Centre.
SHANTAVIRA | I continue to enjoy hearing from Order members from around the world, and facilitating the thoughtful and often quite moving communication between us. I’ve heard no complaints for a while, and received much appreciation, which suggests people are happy with Shabda.
The number of paper Shabdas has remained stable over the past year at about 350 copies a month. About 1300 digital copies are downloaded from the website each month, about 200 more than last year, the PDF version being the most popular, closely followed by the epub version. There are currently 2417 Order members.
With the future of the pandemic still uncertain, paper Shabdas are still being sent to subscribers’ home address at no extra charge if they wish. Once the situation has returned to normal, they will again be sent to the centres, as this works out a lot cheaper.
The number of contributors has remained constant, averaging 69 letters per issue, the same as last year. However, there has been a further decline in the number of threads and articles being submiited to Shabda, with only 4 threads and 2 articles submitted during 2021. The number of first-time reports has increased to 24 this year, due to the increased number of ordinations, but we still wait to hear from many of those newly ordained.
SUBHADASSI | It’s been a little over a year that I’ve been in this new role. On the whole I am really enjoying my work. My enjoyment is both to do with the people I work with, and also because I have a sense of the work supporting the Order and movement, and I want to do what I can to support these. Not surprisingly, I have found it very challenging when I have had cause to engage with people, and situations, where there have been serious ethical breaches. These have been few, but for obvious reasons, they have needed a great deal of time, care and consideration. One of my strong experiences over the months has been a sense of shraddha (confidence/trust) in the degree of integrity, extent of care, and depth of spiritual practice of the Order members that I have worked with. And, simultaneously, I am also aware that in my opinion there are many ‘rooms for improvement’ regarding how in Triratna, we as Order members respond to ethical issues.
SADAYASIHI | 2021 has been another busy year for online communications – Order communications being no exception. In addition to the usual Order Information Service emails, at the end of 2020 a monthly Order highlights email recommenced, sharing stories, resources and news of interest to Order members and this has continued throughout this year. If you aren’t subscribed to this you can do so here or by getting in touch with the Order Office team.
This year will be my last year working as part of the Order Office as I’m leaving my job at Dharmachakra at the end of January. I’ve enjoyed my time – just over three years! – working to help the Order stay connected and am grateful to all the Order Office team members I’ve worked with over those three years.
Financial Report for 2020
In 2020 there were no significant changes to the finances. Online facilities were upgraded in order to meet the needs of communicating during the pandemic. Some other costs were reduced due to the pandemic, such as Order convening travel.
Dana Report 2021
Order Dana are the gifts that Order members give to help us run the Order Office and the Order convening network. The Order supports the Order. Your generosity is our sole source of funding. And we feel as though we make this dana go a long way. (see the financial report on how it is used.) Thank you to everyone who contributes.
In March 2021 we launched our Indrajala campaign, which offered a tiered system of giving, to encourage those that could afford it to give more, and to encourage those that currently don’t give, to give what they can according to their income. An average donation of £120 per year is the amount that allows us to maintain our current support of the Order convenors work and Order office activities.
Convention Pattern 2022 – 2028
The convention pattern is agreed by the Area and International Order convenors. We are hopeful that 2022 will be a successful year for Area conventions, and that changes or restrictions due to the pandemic can be negotiated for as many Order members as possible to come together.