The Triratna Women project
Danasamudra introduces the vision of The Triratna Women project:
This project has been a number of years in the planning so it is very exciting that it is finally out there for everyone to be part of.
The start of the project
This project came about as a direct response to the deaths of Vajragita in 2014 and Anjali in 2015. I had been aware for some time of the need to record the experience of women in Triratna, especially those who were there in the early days. I had often thought that it was important to interview Anjali and Vajragita but unfortunately it never happened. It became essential that we didn’t lose any more important stories.
When I mentioned my idea at an AOWE in 2015 there was a great deal of interest and as a result we formed a steering group made up of Dharmaprabha and later Suryagupta to take the project forward.
What we will do and how we will do it
Our intention is to record interviews and peer conversations with as large a cross- section of the women’s wing as possible, starting with the women who have been ordained longest and especially those who are older or more physically or mentally frail.
We will train people to do interviews and invite them to interview people with whom they have an existing connection. The interviews will be organised under key themes and interviewees will initially be selected for their capacity to provide information and insight into a particular theme or set of themes. Thus we will start by interviewing women who were involved at the beginning, those who helped to build retreat centres and other institutions but also explore themes like ‘being a mother and an Order member’
There is already other archival material in the form of film, written records, photos, some other interviews and ultimately we want to bring it all together – as much of it as possible in digital form.
Why this project is important
We can learn from the early development of the movement and order, hear about the experiences of being a mother, of committing one’s life to fully serving the Order, of living in our current society as a full-time dharma practitioner. These voices can inspire future generations of women to connect with Sangharakshita’s radical vision.
We are funded by a generous donation from an anonymous donor via The Future Dharma Fund.
From Danasamudra and Dharmaprabha: Coordinators for the Project
I’m Danasamudra – one of the coordinators of this project. I have been involved in exploring and writing about women’s history since the 1980’s, when discovering hidden stories of women was part of my feminist activism. I was ordained in 2011 and am the librarian of the Sangharakshita Library at Adhisthana.
Until my ordination retreat, when Padmasuri and Karunamaya told us stories of their early involvement with the FWBO as it was then, I knew very little about the history of women in Triratna but even then I was beginning to have the idea that these stories needed to be captured for the future. It is very satisfying to be able to bring skills that I have developed in my pre-Order life to such an exciting project within Triratna.
Hello from Dharmaprabha - I’m one of the coordinators for the Women’s Project with Danasamudra. In my first AOWE at Adhisthana, this project was introduced and I couldn’t resist getting involved. I feel very fortunate to be able to bring my research background to the project and engage with interviewing women of their Dharma life and practice. I find women’s stories inspiring and Triratna has so much to offer! Close to my heart are the Theris or Elders, those who opened the path to the Buddha’s Sangha. Some of their stories will appear alongside with our current ones in this space.