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Sunday, September 23, 2007

An account of the recent Public Preceptors’ College meeting

The Western Buddhist Order’s College of Public Preceptors met for 10 days at the end of August, this time at Padmaloka. They are the group of senior Order Members, men and women, with collective responsibility for ordinations into the Order. 22 of the 31 Public Preceptors who make up the College were present for some or all of the meeting. A full account of the meeting can be found on their blog. This hosts accounts of their meetings and a selection of articles, essays, and reflections by members of the College.

The latest meeting was particularly fruitful in terms of clarifying the College’s immediate priorities, with three areas in particular identified where they want to move things forward. These were:

1. Ordination training
2. Training private preceptors
3. The relationship between the College and the Order and Movement.

The meeting also saw a number of discussions around training people for ordination and the role of private and public preceptors. They began by looking at some basic assumptions in these areas - our order is built upon Bhante’s understanding of the Dharma and so they especially looked at the importance of private and public preceptors having confidence in Bhante's understanding and in his teaching. This is, of course, an important area for all order members, but because of their responsibility for ordinations it is particularly so for those who act as preceptors.

They also gave some time to exploring gender issues, with people sharing their individual experience of them in the order and movement. Strong appreciation of the practice of single-sex activities was expressed. At the same time it seemed clear that, particularly in the early days of single-sex activities, some people had found them at times painful and confusing, as well as supportive. They particularly wanted to talk about gender so as to clarify to what extent issues of gender influenced the dynamic in our mixed college meetings.

More details of all the above can be found on the College’s blog – plus Dhammarati’s reflections on the recent 4-month Guhyaloka ordination course, Moksananda on activities in Mexico, 'Revolution and Authority', being Buddhadasa’s recollections of Bhante’s ‘style’ of leadership in the early days of the Order, the College's 'Constitution' and working arrangements, and more.

Thanks to Moksananda for sending us the material for this article.



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