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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"What is the Western Buddhist Order?": a 'Message' from Sangharakshita

Last week Sangharakshita, founder of the FWBO and the Western Buddhist Order, issued an important 'Message' to all members of the Order, entitled "What is the Western Buddhist Order?"

He introduces it thus -

"On 17th, 18th, and 19th March 2009, a small group of senior Order members put to me a series of questions about the nature of the Order, and related topics, and I replied to those questions. Our exchanges were recorded and I have gone through the transcript of the recording, giving clearer expression to some of the points I wished to make and cutting a few digressions which, though interesting in themselves, had no direct relation to the questions I was being asked.

"Now that I am in my 84th year, I am glad to have had the opportunity of placing on record my views concerning the nature of the Order, and related topics. My replies to the questions put to me may, indeed, be seen as my Last Will and Testament for the Order, and I therefore request all Order members not only to 'read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest' its contents but also to give it appropriate expression in their lives as Order members".

(Sd.) Urgyen Sangharakshita.
8th April 2009

Sangharakshita would like the Message to be available to everyone connected with the FWBO, and it has therefore been posted on his website under 'News'. The direct link is

More or less by coincidence, the theme for this summer's Order Convention has just been announced as being "What is the Order?". It will explore the theme using a variety of approaches - an informal 'conversation café' to open up the topic; a talk locating the Order/FWBO within the context of the Buddhist tradition; a series of 'Colloquia' on the three themes of Discipleship, Coherence and Experimentation, and The Collective Life of the Order - each presenting a number of perspectives on the topic followed by questions and answers; meditation and Puja, including the 'Mula Yogas'; and finally an 'Open Forum' specifically to air responses to Sangharakshita’s Message.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well if I hadn't already resigned from the Order I'd certainly have to now!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Readers may be interested in the source and context of Bhante's quotation of the phrase 'read, mark, learn and inwardly digest'. It's from the Book of Common Prayer: the Collect for the Second Sunday in Advent:

Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them, that by patience, and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life.


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