This is part four of a series of four articles on Windhorse:Evolution, the FWBO’s largest and most successful Right Livelihood business, based in Cambridge, UK. The articles will look at the ethos of the business, recent changes and challenges it has faced, the experiences of some individuals working in it, and some of the many projects funded by their current dana.
Most of the articles are taken from the W:E magazine, and are reprinted by permission.
One of Windhorse:Evolution’s primary aims is to make a profit. Unlike conventional businesses, this is not to make the Directors or shareholders wealthy; it is so that the people working in the business are able to give dana to projects around the world, both Buddhist and non-Buddhist.
Several years ago Windhorse established five principle funds through which it disbursed its available profits from the previous year. These are the Dana Fund, the Growth Fund, the Legacy Fund, and the Social Fund, each fund having a small committee charged with making the necessary decisions. In addition, shops run by Buddhist teams give a substantial proportion of their profits to their local centres; there is also the ‘Uddiyana Fund’ (Uddiyana being the name for the Windhorse warehouse in Cambridge) which funds many small projects according to votes cast by all those working for the business in Cambridge.
Last November FWBO News published a full description of the Social Fund, especially their two main projects ‘The Wheatfield Plan’ and the ‘Kupu-Kupu Foundation’, both of which you can read here. Since then they have also decided to support the Bridge Foundation, which provides education for underprivileged and gifted children in Kolkata (Calcutta), to improve their self esteem, help them have a better life and take their place in society. One of Windhorse’s bag suppliers helped set it up, and they are supporting them. You can find out more on the Bridge Foundation website: http://www.thebridgefoundation.org.
A full and comprehensive report on how all £265,229 of Windhorse’s dana in 2007-8 was distributed is available here: it makes inspiring reading.
Some examples are, from the Growth Fund -
Publicity and basic expenses for new group in Freiburg, Southern Germany, £500
Continuing the development of close-to-nature camping retreats in Holland and Belgium , £300
Publicity and basic expenses for new centre in Düsseldorf, Germany, £600
Cushions, mats, etc for the new Buddhist Centre in Krakow, Poland, £1,090
Publicity and equipment for new city centre premises in Bhusawal, Maharastra, £1,400
Major new Indian Buddhist Youth project building on previous two years of the ‘National Buddhist Youth’ gatherings. Funding for leadership training, regional gatherings, membership manuals, and annual conference , £4,412
Funding for second year to continue working with Tribal people in remote areas, £487
Funding gatherings of leaders from different caste communities in India, to strengthen fellowship and plan future strategy, £500
Major extension of activities in North India: leadership training at new centre/ community in Delhi; regional visits and retreats, £1950
Equipment and publicity for new FWBO centre in Leicester, UK, £1,000
Underwriting cost of visiting a woman mitra running FWBO-style activities near Ulan Bator, Mongolia, £500
From the Legacy Fund -
AOBO Paris, producing translations of Sangharakshita’s books into French £500
Clear Vision, Covering the costs of filming Sangharakshita on five occasions this year, making the archive of Sangharakshita photos available on the web, and preserving DVD footage of Sangharakshita and the FWBO on hard-drives., £2000
FreeBuddhistAudio, General running costs, putting some unreleased audio material on the web, and archiving of Bhante material., £3000
Translation and publication of three Sangharakshita books into Marathi: The Three Jewels, Religion of Art, and Selected Poetry., £1100
Windhorse Publications, Converting all Sangharakshita’s books into PDFs, also reprinting some titles that are not commercially viable., £5000
From the Uddiyana Fund – voted on by the Windhorse workers in Cambridge:
Manjunatha £850 to fund his trip to the UK which enables him to stay in touch with the Order. Manjunatha runs a Buddhist Centre in Venezuela and relies on donations for his support.
Danapriya £200 Danapriya has developed a thriving FWBO group in Deal in Kent and hires the local hotel to give talks. This money will help with his publicity and other expenses.
Rupas of the Five Female Buddhas £300 To go towards commissioning the production of these rupas in Nepal. The project is under the guidance of Vessantara– author of Meeting the Buddhas and the main conduit for their emergence and availability - and Maitrivajri.
Sri Lanka £400 Saddhavira built a Retreat Centre able to accommodate 20 people in the south of Sri Lanka. After damage by the 2005 tsunami, he has managed to get his Guest House (and vegetarian restaurant) up and running again, but needed money to complete the rebuilding and refurbishment of the Retreat Centre.
Pune Camp City £1350 To buy land for an established Sangha to build a Buddhist Centre
Guhyaloka Vihara £600 The Vihara Support Fund subsidizes men to stay at Guhyaloka Vihara for six months or longer.
Anjali's buggy £200 This goes a little way to helping Dharmacharini Anjali to replace her battery-powered buggy, which she relies on for her mobility.
Lightning conductors at Akashavana in Spain £1500 During a retreat in October 2007 lightning struck a cable and destroyed electrical circuits and the power supply to the whole retreat centre. This will help pay for one of the three lightning conductors they need.
Lights in the Sky £200 Suryaprabha makes videos of the history of the FWBO. This one is looking for a spiritually meaningful way of life in seven states in India.
Manjupriya £600 to help him run activities at the Buddhist Centre in Sorocaba and classes in Sao Paulo continue activities (weekly Dharma classes, meditation courses, retreats etc.)
Urthona £300 to help expand the base of readers into new areas, and get more advertising revenue.
Shrine gear for Buddhafield £1100: soft cushions, fleece blankets, meditation mats; rugs/carpets, boxes with proper lids to protect shrine gear and bags for mats and cushions, a Tara Thanka
Modinagar Buddhist Centre £250 To pay for painting doors and windows at the T.B.M.S.G Buddhist Centre, Modinagar, near Delhi.
Painting for Cambridge Buddhist Centre £50 To help bring into the Cambridge Mandala a further Buddhist painting, a large-scale depiction of Manjusri
Green Elephant, Australia £350 To set up an environmentally focused charity shop run by two mitras from the Sydney Buddhist Centre, which will raise funds for teaching the Dharma in Asia Pacific and supporting their Dharma sisters in India.
UK Tour for ‘Broken Voices’ £500 To support the promotion of a book, written by Vimalasara, about Indian women’s experience from the so-called ‘ex-untouchable’ community.
Aryamati support for India £150 To buy Clear Vision DVDs and Skype equipment to help teach English and Dharma at the College of Nagpur, and to Hungarian Gypsy Buddhists.
Adityabodhi £650 To help support the men’s ordination team in India and the Indian movement.
All these, plus others, total a remarkable £265,229 which Windhorse has committed itself to giving away in 2007-8. Sadhu Windhorse!
At the end, however, Windhorse’s dana report carries a “Donations Warning!”. They say “Because the business may need to retain all its profits this year, to fund the shop expansion programme and to accumulate some cash for the computer system replacement which will have to happen in about 3 years, all recipients of donations are being given notice that much less will be available to give away next year”.