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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Karuna: 30 years of compassion in action

Karuna was formed in 1980 as Aid for India, the movement's response to the suffering of India's Dalit community. For 30 years, Karuna has worked with some of South Asia's most disadvantaged people, sending over £1 million every year to support low-caste and tribal communities, street children and refugees fulfill their potential through our social and Dharma projects.

Over the course of 2010, we will be featuring a series of articles highlighting Karuna's achievements over the last 30 years. We start with Kulamitra, founder of Aid for India, and a Karuna trustee relating his experience of how the trust came into being:
"In the late 1970's I was a young order member and had recently moved into a community near the London Buddhist Centre as I wanted to help the burgeoning movement and participate in right livelihood. The LBC had just opened and I was helping with some building work around the centre.
One day, Subhuti (Chair of the LBC) invited me to go for a walk with him. He told me he was looking for someone who was able to take on the challenge of a big fundraising project; someone who would take responsibility for raising £50,000 for Dharma and social projects for the Indian Dalit community. This was an enormous amount of money in those days!

Lokamitra, had been in India since 1978 teaching the Dharma to the Dalit community. In a short space of time he had realised that alongside the need for the Dharma, this community faced serious difficulties caused by caste discrimination, alongside, limited, if non-existent access to health care and education.

In 1979, I visited India for the first time. One particular experience stuck me. I was trying to sleep one evening in the small hut where I was staying, when I became aware of a small dog being attacked by a pack of wild dogs on a patch of wasteland opposite the hut where I was staying. I lay there listening to the whining of the savaged animal, and said to my companions, "Can't we do anything?". In that moment, I realised what life was life for Dalits living in these conditions. That like the wild dogs roaming the wasteland, they were born into a life that was unsafe and lacking in compassion.

At that time, the team in India were operating on a shoestring. For example, Dharma activities were conducted in a rudimentary garage (little more than a ramshackle tin hut), as well as corridors of flats with makeshift shrines.

When I returned from my trip, I eagerly got to work by trying to translate my experiences of the projects and conditions I had witnessed into fundraising copy that would motivate people to give to the Dharma and social projects that were coming into being.

I had no fundraising skills or experience and worked out of a small room in the community where I lived, typing with my gloves on with only a small paraffin heater for warmth!

I also consulted 'Who's Who' looking for anyone with a connection or sympathy with India. In 6 months, my only response was from a couple in Hampstead. I eagerly went to the appointment and thought it had gone well. Afterwards, I was asked by Tim Lilley, my fundraising mentor, 'Did you close?' - I had forgotten to make the all important 'ask'. I was on a fast learning curve.

Those first six months were tough but I was motivated by my experiences of the Dalit's conditions in India. I was eventually able to convince Tim to take on a role for a years salary and Karuna door-to-door appeals were born."

Out of such humble beginnings, Karuna now supports hundreds of thousands of people across South Asia supporting projects that are building dignity, challenging discrimination and supporting people's practice of Buddhism.

80% of Karuna's work is supported by thousands of individuals across the UK who, having met with a Karuna fundraiser on a door-to-door appeal, has decided to make a regular contribution to the social and Dharma work in South Asia.
You too can help South Asia's Dalit community by giving your time 2010 in one of the three ways:
  1. Help out on a telephone fundraising campaign in London
  2. Join a residential door-to-door fundraising appeal
  3. Live in pioneering men's fundraising community for a year

To find out more:

Contact: Jo Goldsmid, Pete Hannah, Khemajala or Amalavajra

Phone: 0207 697 3026



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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

True stories from the Karuna Trust: Sanjivani Pawar

The FWBO’s Karuna Trust sends over £1million/year to a wide range of Dharma and social projects across India, most (but not all) to the new Buddhists, also known as the Dalits, or ‘Oppressed’. India as a whole may be industrialising fast, but life remains very raw indeed for the vast numbers of Indian poor and ‘low-caste’ people.

Andrea McCaghy, Karuna's press officer, sends us this account of one of Karuna's beneficiaries - one of hundreds of true stories heard by Karuna staff during the course of their work. She says -

Sanjivani Pawar’s story: A widow breaks free from the prisons of caste and gender prejudice to become a role model for others.

“Others should not suffer as I did and I want to help as many people as possible. I’m not going to fear anyone ever again.”

Today, Sanjivani Pawar is a leader of Ghodkar Rajouri village in Maharastra, but 16 years ago things were very different. When her husband died she was left with two small children, Jyoti and Rakesh, and little means of raising them.

Traditionally, an Indian woman loses her power as a wife and mother if her husband dies. This is one way that Indian caste society subdues women to maintain the caste status quo. A widow must stay at home and rely on the goodwill of her husband’s family. Her home, often nothing more than a mud hut ,can become a prison.

But Sanjivani wanted to work her land to get her children educated. ‘Land is important; it is more than growing food to raise my family. It takes me forward, to own something.’

But my community, and my family, said, “You are a widow, why are you going to farm, why are you trying to educate your children?”

And there was worse. ‘As I was a young widow there was pressure from men, demanding sex. They said: “We will make your life easier if you do this. “ That was horrible. I could not go out and work my land.’

Sanjivani made a friend who would change her life. Manisha Tokale and her husband Ashok run Savitribai Phule Mahila Mandal (SPMM), sponsored by Karuna. The project trains and supports community leaders in villages around the town of Beed in central Maharastra, raising awareness of rights, setting up self help savings groups, and empowering women to take charge of their lives.

Could you tell Sanjivani’s story to a Karuna supporter?

You can help give her and the many millions of Dalits in South Asia who suffer from caste-based discrimination a voice by giving your time and helping out on a Karuna telephone fundraising campaign.

Karuna Telephone Fundraising Campaigns
Led by Jo Goldsmid, an experienced and skilled fundraising trainer.

Telephone fundraisers are needed for our Spring 2010 campaign 19th April – 28th May

Phone campaigns run for 6 weeks and are non-residential. You will be working as part of a Buddhist team based in the Karuna office in London. Financial support is offered. We will be phoning existing supporters to communicate the benefits of Karuna’s work in South Asia with a view to them increasing their regular donation.

To find out more:

Contact Jo Goldsmid
Phone 0207 697 3026

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

An invitation - and a challenge - from the Karuna Trust fundraising team

Khemajala, a fundraiser at the Karuna Trust, writes with an invitation - and a challenge - for all men reading FWBO News. He says -

"Would you like to live a truly meaningful and memorable year as part of a Karuna Men's Fundraising Community?

"On 29 September 2006, in Khairlanji village, central India, Surekha Bhotmange, her daughter Priyanka and her two sons, Roshan and Sudhir were dragged from their home by a mob, stripped naked, paraded through their village, beaten to death, and their bodied dumped in a nearby canal.

 Bhaiyyalal Bhotmange, the father of the family (photo opposite), escaped by lucky chance. The details of this caste-based crime are sickening, and the hatred behind it is difficult to comprehend but the viciousness is typical of many crimes committed against lower caste people in India every day.

"Most of these crimes are invisible, but this atrocity came to light through Dalit campaigns and became an international news story. The Manuski project, led by members of TBMSG (the Indian equivalent of the FWBO), and supported by Karuna, played an important part in making that happen.

"Could you tell Bhaiyyalal’s story? You could give Dalit people such as Bhaiyyalal a voice and help them escape the suffering caused by caste discrimination.

"How? Live a truly meaningful and memorable year as part of a Karuna Men’s Fundraising Community

"From September 2010 to August 2011, Karuna will be pioneering the first team of Karuna Appeal fundraisers who will come together for a year to live and work together as a community of fundraisers.

"We need a team of four or more men.

"What we’re offering:

• Community living based in London
• Blocks of 6 weeks fundraising followed by at least one week off
• A total of 10 weeks leaves including a trip to India and time for retreats
• Training in Fundraising as a spiritual practice
• A comprehensive support package
• Led by Jayaraja

"For more information -
Contact Khemajala
Phone 0207 697 3004

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bristol Skills Auction raises money for Dhamma work in India

A major FWBO-wide project scheduled for 2010 is fundraising for Dhamma work in India.

The newly-formed India Dhamma Trust ( is seeking to raise funds to support around 20 of the Movement’s most central Dhamma workers in India, both men and women.

Fundraising for money to support two part-time fundraisers has been going on in the Western Buddhist Order for some time now, and an appeal to the wider Sangha is scheduled to begin in the New Year.

The Bristol Buddhist Centre have been first to get on board with a very successful Skills Auction in aid of the new fund, and Silajala writes from Bristol to say -

“Hello, it's a little while now since we had our Skills Auction so this is a final update to let you know how it all went and to say thanks again to all of you who helped in one way or another.

“We raised over £700 including the gift aid. In fact the final figure is £756.32! I'm very pleased with this sum and it shows how much generosity there is within and for the Sangha. The atmosphere generated on the evening seemed to so strongly rub off on people that we ended up with extra skills being offered at the last minute, plus an extras like a one-off donation.

“To my mind the skills auction was a great way to build Sangha, in that it encouraged us all in our generosity, forged links with one another and brought us together in a lively and enjoyable way. Please come to the next one if you can!

“So a big final THANK YOU to everyone who offered skills and to those of you who came and bid for them too. I'd also like to thank Satyalila, Amaladevi, Achalavira, Adrian Bonds, Padmavyuha, Jnanarakshita, Karunavapi and MahaRatnajyoti for all their help in getting everything set up. And finally thanks to the auctioneer himself - Satyadarshin. With me as his assistant the two of us worked well together and along with everyone else we had a lot of FUN!

“Yours in the Sangha

Please look out for the India Dhamma Trust as we move into 2010 - their website is just on-line but they’re planning a series of Centre visits and other events.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Karuna Trust launches 2010 Fundraising Campaign

Andrea McCaghy writes from the FWBO's Karuna Trust, saying -

"We’re really excited here at Karuna to be able to launch the Karuna 2010 Fundraising Campaigns. Did you know there is a peaceful revolution happening in South Asia?

"There are about 250 million children, women and men in South Asia who have been born into the rigid caste system which inflicts severe restrictions on their lives creating a relentless cycle of suffering which has persisted for thousands of years.

"Karuna was formed in 1980, in response to the suffering of India’s Dalit population. For 30 years, Karuna has worked with some of South Asia’s most disadvantaged people, supporting low-caste and tribal communities, street children and refugees fulfill their potential through our social and Dharma projects.

"Karuna sends over £1 million each year to fund projects in South Asia which support hundreds of thousands of people by lifting them out of poverty, building dignity and challenging discrimination.

"You can help this peaceful revolution.


"By giving your time in 2010 in one of three ways:

1. Help out on a telephone fundraising campaign in London

2. Join a Karuna residential Door to Door Fundraising Appeal

3. Live in a pioneering Men’s fundraising community for a year

Karuna door-to-door fundraising appeals are a very effective spiritual practice. Over the years I have seen many people change significantly as a result of taking part in them. I would therefore urge all those who have our work in India at heart to support Karuna in this way.” Sangharakshita

"To find out more:

"Contact Jo Goldsmid, Pete Hannah, Khemajala or Amalavajra
Phone 0207 697 3026

Check out the Booklets and posters which are due to arrive at FWBO Buddhist centres across the UK very soon. I attach the poster for those not able to get one - or who'd like a sneak preview!

Bye for now.


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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Karuna Trust patron dies

Andrea McCaghy writes from the FWBO’s Karuna Trust to say -

“We have just learned that one of our patrons, Professor David Morley, has died aged 86. He was a doctor specialising in Tropical Child Health and saved the lives of many thousands of children in developing countries, making huge contributions to improving their health and development.

“Virabhadra, a Karuna Trustee and doctor, explains Karuna's connection with Professor Morley: “My connection with David Morley started when I did the Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene course in London in 1981. At that time Prof Morley headed the Tropical Child Health Unit at the Institute of Child Health and during the course we had the opportunity to visit his unit to learn about the community oriented approach to child health that he very actively advocated.

"At that time the UK Government's ‘teaching aids at low cost’ programme was up and running, and I remember obtaining many of those materials that I subsequently used when establishing our health activities for slum dwellers in Pune. I particularly remember his strong views against the building of what he called ‘disease palaces’ (hospitals!) in the developing world, and his advocacy of community-based child health strategies that really reached those in need. That is still a very live issue in many parts of the developing world, where curative services tend to consume the lion’s share of health budgets.

“He took a keen interest in the education programmes as well as our slum health work, and I think that reflected his insight that the key to health lay ultimately in education, and especially access to education for the poor. I recall a detailed list of very interested queries and comments that he sent us in 1994 after we produced the first formal evaluation of the hostels project and the quality of educational support being provided.”

Karuna was formed in 1980, as the FWBO’s principal response to the suffering of India’s Dalit population. For 30 years Karuna has worked with some of India’s most disadvantaged people, sending over £1million every year to support low-caste and tribal communities, street children and refugees fulfill their potential through the wide range of social and Dharma projects. Karuna now works with hundreds of thousands of people across South Asia supporting projects that are building dignity, challenging discrimination, and supporting people’s practice of Buddhism.

80% of Karuna’s work is supported by thousands of individuals across the UK who, having met with a Karuna volunteer fundraiser (usually via one of Karuna’s legendary door-knocking appeals!) have decided to contribute money to Karuna on a regular basis.

There is still much work to do, so in 2010 Karuna are launching new fundraising campaigns to support our ongoing efforts to help uplift the Dalit people of South Asia out of poverty and discrimination towards lives of hope and choice. You can contribute in one of three ways -

• Help out on a telephone fundraising campaign
• Join a door-to-door fundraising Appeal
• Live in a pioneering men’s fundraising community for a year

If you’re feeling inspired, or simply curious to find out more, click on the Karuna ad! You can contact one of us direct - the Karuna fundraising team is Jo Goldsmid, Pete Hannah, Khemajala or Amalavajra, phone 0207 697 3026 or email us on Karuna’s appeals website is

Thanks, Andrea

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Berlin Buddhist Centre celebrates finding new premises

Amogharatna, chair of the FWBO’s Berlin centre, reports -

“On 31st of October 2009 at our Sangha day celebrations, we launched the fundraising campaign for our new Buddhist Centre, “The NEW Buddhist Gate Berlin“ (German: „das neue Buddhistische Tor Berlin“).

“Cornelia and I started preparing the fundraising as early as June. Since August, a fundraising committee has been meeting on a regular basis. Our goal is to get everybody in the Sangha involved in fundraising activities, and many more besides.

“We have produced a beautiful flyer in German and English, as well as a bi-lingual fundraising website are facilities for making on-line donations and a long list of ideas about how everybody can get involved.

“Of the estimated costs for the new Centre of €890,000, we already have €400,000 from donations and assets. Our aim is to collect €490.000 during the next 18 months so that we are not burdened by debts when we move into the new centre around the beginning of 2011.

“After a four-year long search, we finally signed the contract in July 2009. Our new premises are part of a local initiative involving the redevelopment of a former hospital consisting of fourteen buildings into apartments and business premises. They are situated in Berlin-Kreuzberg, a central, lively area of the city, well served by public transport and close to the attractive Landwehr canal. The space is in many ways perfectly suited to our needs and will be a suitable home for the prospering Sangha for many years to come.

“After meditating together, singer Johanna Fassbender and her band gave us a short sample of their work. Amogharatna introduced us to his vision for the new Centre and the FWBO in Berlin, and Karunada told us about the efforts of the brave team of volunteers, responsible for turning the former hospital kitchen into a radiant brand new Buddhist Centre.

“Of course the tea break was another good opportunity to enjoy a great assortment of cakes, donated for the occasion by members of the Sangha!

“After the tea break, Cornelia and Amogharatna launched the Fundraising campaign.  In the photo you can see the rest of our team.

“The afternoon was concluded with a sevenfold Puja during which Mitras had the opportunity to re-affirm their commitment to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.

“And that's how we spent Sangha day.

“If you want to contribute or help us fundraise, or just have some ideas that would be helpful for us, please don't hesitate to get into contact:

“For online-donations, you can go to (UK)

“Or when you live in Germany go to


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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Shakyajata and Priyadaka set off to support ex-Nagaloka trainees

Priyadaka reports -

"We will be visiting several states in India over the next three months to follow up these young men and women, all graduates of TBMSG’s Nagarjuna Training Institute, helping them put their Dhamma and other skills training to full use in their communities. You can catch a fuller picture of this exciting project at:

"We intend to help them establish Dhamma teaching; to learn fundraising; to improve their English and even set up a Buddhist materials shop, all in three months! This is ambitious, but we want to aim high and build this project over several years.

"We thought a good way to mark it would be to reproduce here her final blog post, written immediately after her return last March - it captures very evocatively the joys and struggles of working in India, the idealism, the rewards and the frustrations…

She says -
“Thank you Lokabandhu, I'd be very pleased indeed to have my blog report reproduced on FWBO news. Maybe you could say too, that I am fundraising for the future skills training of these prospective young Dhamma workers - see my new webpage 'YoungIndianFutures'.

“Hope you are very well.
“much metta, Shakyajata

Blog March '09 – Shakyajata

“Hello from Shakyajata. I am writing this in the women's community in Manchester, where I have been kindly invited to stay for a while, to recover from the physical and emotional shocks which I experienced on leaving India and returning to the UK. A combination of a nasty bug, jetlag, and the pain of parting from people and projects which had become very dear to me, combined in a devastating way, and I lost about a stone in weight in the first 24 hours after arriving in Manchester.

“However, I am now recovering rapidly (more rapidly than I did when I returned from India in January 2008) and keen to re-engage at a distance with those projects and those people. I feel thankful to the gods of the IT realm, that my little laptop seems to have survived the travelling of 1000s of miles, and the terrible spikes and surges of the Nagaloka electricity supply. It seems ready to carry me into the work of following-up the deeply inspiring initiatives that I have seen developing in India, towards a better future for the young heroines and heroes to whom we have been teaching English, and through them, for hundreds or even thousands more people from poor backgrounds.

“Let me say here a big THANK YOU, to all the people who participated in the English teaching project at Nagaloka. Thank you Jess, Julie, Ken, Jenny, Sue, and Nealey, and especially Aryagita and Achala who are keeping the project going on a permanent basis. I think we can congratulate ourselves that we have made a great difference to the lives of the students of the Nagarjuna Training Institute. At the very least they have gained greatly in confidence; those with reasonable English have become much more fluent, those even with a little have made some progress, and the majority have a sound basis for improvement now and in future, in their fluency and their life-chances. Well done us, team! We gave it our best, and I personally feel I have gained greatly from the experience (or will when I have picked up the pieces!).

“THANK YOU also to all you out there who sponsored us. As well as ourselves and 3 - 4 months of teaching, we gave to the Nagaloka students (who have so little) books, stationery, a PowerPoint projector and laptop, and ongoing financial support for this year's project and the next one. (Also a lot of laughs, and sometimes oranges). You were so generous, and what you gave has gone a long, long way.

“The next big THANK YOU, is to the people who made it possible for us to do our work at NTI; to Padmavir and Vivekaratna, Nagamitra and Tejadhamma, Aryaketu, all the staff at Nagaloka and the girls' hostel, all our wonderful Guest-masters and porridge-cooks, and especially the students themselves, who threw themselves in with such enthusiasm and gratitude, who sang and danced and wrote poetry and drew pictures and mimed for us, made us laugh and cry, who bring the place alive in such a heart-opening way. A huge garland for each of you, of jasmine roses and blue lotuses. I will never forget you, you will always have friends in the West.

“Phew. What a life-changing experience it has been. If any of you out there, would like to participate in future, please let me know...”

Their plans for 2009 include an ambitious travel program visiting many Nagaloka graduates, who are scattered all over India. They’re off to Orissa, Hyderabad, Kerala, Chennai, Wardha, and Pune - India veterans will know just how much travelling this means! We hope to be reporting on some of their adventures in due course…

To contribute to their work, and to the Nagaloka Futures support fund, please visit

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

First Funding Allocation for the Abhayaratna Trust: Seeking to help Order Members in need

We're pleased to pass on important information regarding a significant new development in the Western Buddhist Order: the launch of the Abhayaratna Trust and their first big 'give-away'.

The Abhayaratna Trust aims to relieve financial hardship among members of the Western Buddhist Order, particularly in the face of sickness, old age or disability. Their vision is to contribute to a long and vibrant life of spiritual practice for members of the Western Buddhist Order, especially in the face of old age, sickness and disability and the isolation that can bring; to be a means for Order Members to support each other where help is most needed.

Over the past couple of years they've been thinking though how best to help, and they're just about ready to go. Read on for details of their first funding allocation...


---------- Seeking to help Order Members in need ----------

£3000 to be given away at allocation meetings in December

~ Extended DEADLINE  ~
Applications are invited by Saturday OCTOBER 31st

GRANTS will be given to individual Order members to meet needs due to hardship arising out of old age, sickness or disability that are unable to be met by Local Authorities, Charities or Sangha friends. For example, we are keen to help you go on retreat, get to an Order weekend or solitary.

Our VISION is to contribute to a long and vibrant life of spiritual practice for members of the Western Buddhist Order; to be a means for Order Members to support each other where help is most needed.

To APPLY please write or email to:-
The Secretary
The Abhayaratna Trust, 7 Edward Close, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 4BE, UK

Applicants can apply on behalf of a friend.

P.S. We also invite all readers to MAKE A BEQUEST in your WILL and also think of giving by regular donation. Help more Order Members to have a long life in the Order.  Details on Application.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Still Working to End Caste: an Update from the Karuna Trust

Amalavajra writes from the FWBO's Karuna Trust, with a major update on how they've weathered the economic downturn of the past year - and with an appeal to all FWBO News readers for 2010...

He says -

"We know that many of you care deeply about the plight of India’s Dalit community and contribute in many ways to Karuna as your response to it. Some of you have been concerned about how Karuna has been affected by the recession and others have expressed confusion about our funding of Dharma projects and the ITBCI School. We hope this short piece offers you clarity and reassurance, and inspires you to continue contributing in whatever way you can.

"In many ways Karuna is faring very well – our 2008 income of £1.63 million was our highest ever and the UK team (all Buddhists) has grown to 14 men and women. However, even this record income is insufficient to cover our commitments to projects overseas and to our UK fundraising and administrative operations. With very little money ‘in the bank’, we have suffered cash flow problems and had to delay some project payments. Our response to these difficulties has been to re-focus on our two core strengths:

1. Our social and Dharma work with India's Dalit community, especially via Bahujan Hitay/TBMSG.

"After 30 years of work with the Dalit community, we have an excellent network of Dalit-led project partners, mainly through Bahujan Hitay and Lokamitra’s Manuski Centre. So we will rein in our planned expansion in the Himalayas for the time being and instead refocus our efforts and resources on increasing our impact for the oppressed Dalit community.

Dharma projects
"After a long period of consideration the Karuna trustees and management decided earlier this year that they no longer felt happy to use funds raised from the British public to fund Dhamma work that primarily benefits the FWBO/TBMSG. Over the next couple of years the new India Dhamma Trust (launched by Subhuti at this year’s order convention) will gradually take over the funding of core institutions such as the men’s and women’s Indian ordination teams. Karuna will still give at least £80,000 per year for vital Dharma projects such as the Bhaja and Bordaran retreat centres and the Nagarjuna Training Institute for young Buddhists from all over India.

ITBCI School
"Karuna is continuing to fund most of the running costs of Dhardo Rinpoche’s ITBCI School, as it has done for 25 years, to the tune of £20,000 per year.

2. ‘Personal fundraising’ by teams of FWBO volunteers

"To correct the imbalance between Karuna’s income and expenditure, we will invest in expanding our fundraising programme in 2010. As well as our traditional door-to-door appeals, we will also be running campaigns to telephone our existing donors and a new 12 month men's appeal community to be led by Jayaraja. We are confident, based on pilot campaigns, that these initiatives will be successful, despite the current poor economic environment.

"However, the crucial factor will be YOU! Karuna’s fundraising, and therefore our vital social and Dharma work, is almost entirely dependent upon volunteer fundraisers from the FWBO. Of the £1.6 million that we raised in 2008, £1.2 million, or 72% came from individual donors who were recruited on the doorstep by FWBO volunteers over the past 30 years.

"So, if you feel strongly about helping India’s Dalit community to escape the hell of caste, then please do consider giving some of your time next year to fundraise for Karuna, or encourage your friends to do so. We offer financial support. Here is our 2010 fundraising programme:

Door to Door Appeals
Spring Men's 6th Feb - 20th March Nottingham
Spring Women's 20th March – 1st May Brighton
Summer Men's 29th May – 24th July Edinburgh
Autumn Women's 4th Sep – 16th Oct Birmingham

Telephone Campaigns (Mixed, London-based)
11th Jan – 19th Feb
19th April – 28th May
25th Oct – 3rd Dec

12 month appeal community with Jayaraja (For men, London)
Try out TBRL and community living for a year: Sep 2010 – Aug 2011

Please contact me at, or 0044 (0)207 7700 3434, or visit

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Calling everyone interested in contributing to the life and work of the FWBO!

There’s three new jobs being advertised on FWBO Jobs. Have a look and tell your friends...

The first is for a new part-time member of the FWBO Development Team, working for the FWBO’s European Chairs Assembly and contributing in many different ways to the life and health of the network of Buddhist centres that make up the FWBO.

The second is a great opportunity to get involved at the start of a major new fundraising project, raising money from the world-wide FWBO sangha to support the core Dhamma work of TBMSG in India - especially those working for the men’s and women’s the ordination teams there. Buddhism is enjoying a major revival in India and TBMSG is one of the key players - your fundraising work could (and would) make a real difference.

And the third, there’s an opportunity (actually, several opportunities) to join the Karuna Trust and become part of their more general fundraising work for Dhamma and social projects across India.

Details of all three, including how to apply, are at .

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Nagaloka Buddha nears completion - you're invited to be part of it

Lokamitra writes from India with news of the remarkable 'Big Buddha' statue currently being installed on the Nagaloka campus - and with an invitation to be part of it. He says -

"I’m writing from Pune in India, where late monsoon rains are beating down outside. Much of my time for the past weeks has been occupied with wonderful developments at Nagaloka, our training institute in Nagpur. We have received a great donation - a very large and beautiful walking Buddha, which is presently in the final stages of erection on the site. It will be a breath-taking centrepiece for the Nagaloka complex. Already, it is extraordinarily beautiful.

"The statue is made of brass and is 10.3 metres tall, with lotus and steps below, all placed on a 20-foot high base. Around this we are building a platform of 12 metres square, down from which there will be 9 steps, and at the bottom of these, a grassy mound, surrounded by a path, giving the whole mound including the central platform and steps a radius of 38 metres as indicated by the picture. The statue has been an enormous donation, from our old friend Ven Kuang Shin, and Wen Kwei Chan, the most well known sculptor in Taiwan.

"Now we are raising money from local Buddhists to finance the landscaping works. And we’d like to invite Western Dharma practitioners to be part of it too. We are hoping to raise £13,000 in India and would like to request the help of our friends in the West to try and raise the other £13,000 needed to complete the work.

"Specifically, we’re appealing for donations of 150 pounds (or more). Anyone making such a donation will be able to dedicate their donation to anyone they choose, perhaps a loved one who has died, and have their dedication deposited in the statue or its base in perpetuity. It’s an opportunity for you to contribute to a very special project, and - if you choose - to commemorate someone special.

To do this, please visit our webpage at

Meanwhile, the work goes on - a team of four engineers, led by Mr. Tung, came out from Taiwan on 18th August to set it up, and another team of four from Taiwan is at present painting the statue. There were many difficulties and hurdles! - some due to rain, some due to difficulties communicating the long distance between India and Taiwan, others because of the unfamiliarity of the materials and the unique challenge of the task.

The inauguration date is not yet finalised, but is expected to be in early December.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Buddhist Chants CD launched by Ghent Centre

Jan Deckers from the FWBO's Gent centre in Belgium writes with news of a new CD of Buddhist chants, available to FWBO members worldwide.  He says -

"We have made a wonderful CD and a booklet of Buddhist chants, sung by Arthamitra. We would like to offer it to members of the Sangha world-wide.

"For us, chanting on retreat has become a tradition in the FWBO of the Low Countries. We choose a sutra as the theme for a retreat.

"Arthamitra, a professional opera singer, teaches the participants how to pronounce and chant the words (either traditional or his own compositions). Throughout the retreat we chant the sutra twice or three times a day, before or after a meditation or as part of a puja. This strongly supports our meditation, reflection and study. Each time the chanting gets a bit more beautiful, we open our minds further for the message of the Dharma and get closer to one another.

"The profits will go to Metta Vihara, for the acquisition and setting up of a retreat Centre for Belgium and Holland. We have 500 CDs and all costs so far have been sponsored - once we sell all those we therefore make a net benefit of € 5000 for Metta Vihara.

You can find ordering and background information on our website. On it you can also listen to a beautiful singing of the Dhammapalam Gatha, watch a movie and download a small poster and leaflet. The address is -

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

New fundraising opportunity at Karuna

The Karuna Trust, an FWBO charity working with marginalised communities in South Asia, has been running door to door fundraising appeals for nearly 30 years. Hundreds of people from the FWBO sangha have recruited thousands of UK householders who give £1.1million to Karuna each year.

Jo Goldsmid from Karuna says:

“According to research, a lot of our current supporters would be happy to give more; we just need to ask them. So that’s what we are going to do! We will be running a telephone fundraising campaign this summer from our office in London. This means we will be phoning hundreds of our loyal supporters and asking them to give a bit more. We will run the appeal in the same spirit as our door-to-door appeals: as an opportunity to deepen awareness of ourselves and our communication with others, with a strong sense of team. So each day before beginning phoning we will meet at the Karuna office, share our experience and then eat an early dinner together. Each evening will come to a close with a rejoicing in merits.

Telephone fundraising has a lot in common with door-to-door fundraising; it develops your communication skills and you can end up having some very meaningful conversations with people. It’s possible to raise even more money than you would knocking on people’s doors, so this means we will be able to reach out to even more vulnerable children, women and men across South Asia.

So if you live in London, are available on weekday evenings between 1st June and 11th July and would like to contribute, we’d love to hear from you! Full training will be given and financial support can be negotiated.”

Contact Jo at Karuna: +44 (0)207 697 3006

The photographs show two girls, Maya and Mandodhri, going to work in the brick kiln at dawn…and later on their way to their Karuna-funded school.  Education helps people more than anything else to take control of their lives and break out of the poverty cycle.

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Friday, May 01, 2009

A Green Elephant in Sydney: fundraising for India

Last summer after feverish weeks of preparation, the Green Elephant Buddhist charity shop opened in Sydney, Australia, close to the FWBO's Sydney Buddhist Centre.

Varada reports - 

"The project is the brainchild of two women Dhammamitras, both of whom have asked for ordination. They have since been joined by a third women mitra, who also has asked for ordination. She gave up her well paid, part-time job in IT to become the shop manager, which is the only paid position in the shop.

"The profits from the shop, once they are fully established and have paid off the loans taken out for set-up expenses will be divided 60% to the projects for women and children in India, such as those run by Arya Tara Mahila Trust, and 40% to the Sydney Buddhist Centre. The public has responded warmly and strongly to the shop, and are very interested in the Indian women's projects being supported.

"Already in only a few months of operation the shop is breaking even and should soon be able to start paying off the loans taken out. We hope to make a profit distribution this financial year.

"An enormous amount of vision, planning, enthusiasm and hard work is going into this project to provide money that will benefit women and children in India.

"Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu"

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

New issue of Varada: women's social projects in India

The Arya Tara Mahila Trust (ATMT) is an all-women's project in India run by Order Members and Mitras from TBMSG. They've just released the second edition of their newsletter Varada. You'll find it on-line here.

They say -

"Welcome to the second edition of our newsletter and another chance to catch up on developments in women’s projects in India. Full details are on our website

"Despite the heat of early April, another new project successfully was launched in Pune. It is a community-based social project for girls and young women living in slums. We have started work in five slums in the Vishrantwadi area, Pune. The project is for teenage girls from 11 to 20 years of age who either go to school or have dropped out for some reason. We are including aspects of personality development, helping to develop self-confidence, negotiation skills, communication skills and also vocational courses so that the young women will be able to earn something and develop confidence about life. Another new Right Livelihood venture we have helped with is Mudita Screen Printers in Nagpur".

Karunaprabha, the team leader of this new venture explains why these projects are needed: "In the news almost every day we hear about India's rapid economic growth. While increasing prosperity is happening for some people, this development is exacerbating the divide between rich and poor. In a recent Pune University survey, 89% of girls/young women were found to be suffering from anaemia. We arrange anaemia detection camps for the girls and then provide the treatment they need".

They continue -

"ATMT is steadily building international links and a network of supporters - in Germany, Karuna Deutchland has successfully raised an impressive Euro 6000 for ATMT projects. Amoghamati's hard work and the commitment of her team will enable new initiatives to support women’s development.

"Two of ATMT’s Trustees, Karunadeepa and Jayamani were funded to visit Europe in the summer. They gave talks and took part in retreats in UK, Germany and Holland, raising awareness about ATMT’s work and collecting some extra funding too!

"Shakyajata from Manchester, UK, took up the challenge and is now fundraising to sponsor an Indian woman Dhamma teacher to travel with Dhammajyoti team support. Indian women from many backgrounds tell us they benefit from learning to meditate and studying the Buddha’s teaching. They feel more confident and happy in their families and their working lives.

"And in Croydon, south of London, Sue Bolton has started a cushion making enterprise which will fund poor women to escape the pressure of their family situations by going on retreat where they can rest, study the Dhamma, meet other kindly women, eat good food and meditate. Even the $2 per day retreat cost is too much for these women to afford despite the benefits of retreat life".

"If you're interested to support us, please see our website where's there's forms to make a regular donation. There's also our JustGiving page at

"VARADA celebrates the generosity of ATMT’s friends across the world".

Tomorrow FWBO News looks at another fundraising project raising money for Dhamma and social work in India, using a green elephant in Sydney...

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Vijayaloka's Meditation Marathon raises $6,000 AUD

Vijayaloka is the FWBO's Retreat Centre near Sydney. 

Members of the Sydney sangha have recently completed their first 'Meditation Marathon' - and raised nearly $6,000 AUD for Vijayaloka in the process.

They say - "Over the Easter weekend, we held our 'Growth and Contentment' Meditation Marathon to promote the benefits of meditation and raise much-needed funds for the urgent upgrade of the Vijayaloka Buddhist Retreat Centre near Sydney. The buildings are fairly makeshift (temporary buildings built circa 1940's) and need urgent repairs to be safe enough to meet local council requirements. The Sangha have raised a good part of the money so far, and a great deal of work has already been done, including fireproofing and refurbishing of most of the bedrooms".

Altogether 15 people took part, and one, Aaron Matheson, formerly from the LBC in London, commented -

"Being with the Sangha from Sydney has provided the conditions for me to change in dramatically positive ways. To express my gratitude, I took part in the meditations".

Work at Vijayaloka is still going on, and their fundraising site at is still open.

In addition, the Vijayaloka retreat centre's transformation received a welcome boost recently with the awarding of nearly $42,000 from the Australian Government Community Water Grant, as part of their $2 billion Australian Government Water Fund. The Vijayaloka proposal qualified for support because it is a community orientated initiative that demonstrates public benefit and puts in place practical solutions to help save and protect local water resources.

The photographs show the river at the bottom of the Vijayaloka land, and Chris Hayes MP, the local Federal member, joining the Elements retreat with Chittaprabha (retreat leader) and Viraja (Chairman).

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Sydney Buddhist Centre in Meditation Marathon

The FWBO’s Sydney Buddhist Centre in Australia is planning a meditation marathon event for the Easter long weekend this April. They are inviting others to meditate with them no matter where you are in the world. They say -

"All funds raised by this event will go to paying for badly needed refurbishment work at our retreat centre Vijayaloka. The immediate aim is to use the funds raised to help us complete the work needed to meet a local council’s May 2009 deadline".

The river at VijayalokaIf you'd like to participate, here are the details -

How it works:
No matter where you are, you can nominate the amount of time you would like to set aside for meditation over the Easter weekend. Some of us in Australia will be together on retreat at Vijayaloka and it would be lovely if you could join us, but you can participate from wherever you are.

Once you have decided on the amount of time you'll be spending in meditation simply drop us an email to let us know (, or join our online fundraising team at (more instructions below).
Ask your family, friends, and workmates to sponsor you! They can do this by making a donation via the website, or through you.

How to join online:
To join the online fundraising team:
• Go to
• Click the 'Join this team' button
• Fill in the form that comes up and click 'Continue to Next Step'
• When asked for the team password, type in 'vijayaloka' (all lowercase)
This will create a personal page for you under the meditation marathon team page, where you can display a message and set your fundraising target.

• Then, send an email to your friends, family and colleagues asking them to sponsor you, and include a link to your page. Your sponsors can then go to your page and make a donation by credit card or PayPal.

If it's all too technical, Yael will be happy to create your page for you. Contact her at and include your phone number, postal address, date of birth, fundraising target and a short message to include on your page. Donations over $2 are tax deductible in Australia.

What it's all about:
We are all growing, in one way or another., in each moment. This year we are setting in place a number of activities that encourage us all to reflect on and set conditions that help foster a deeper contentment in our lives and in the world around us. We are combining these activities with our efforts to see our retreat centre Vijayaloka grow and prosper.

In this spirit, we are encouraging sangha members to take some time out over the long-weekend to meditate. In doing this we will be joining together with sangha friends from around the world meditating together that same weekend.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

A million pages for internet fundraising website - 30 from the FWBO

Last month JustGiving, the internet fundraising site celebrated the creation of its one millionth fundraising page – they say they have helped raise an extraordinary £388,175,603 for 6,462 charities.

Since the FWBO has contributed around 30 of those pages we thought we’d mention it – and celebrate the fact that between them they’ve raised over £30,000 over the past year, each page raising money for a different Dharma project. First, so far as we know, was Simon and Tim’s Marathon page for the LBC’s ‘Breathing Space’ project.

Around a year ago FWBO Dhammaloka joined, and a wide range of pages appeared under their auspices appealing for funds for a wide range of Dhamma projects in India – starting with Chandrabodhi’s Buddha Festival at the Urgyen Sangharakshita Meditation Centre. This was a wonderful use of the internet, as it allowed Dhamma workers in remote rural India to communicate with donors in the West.

The most recent Dhammaloka appeal, for travel expenses for Indian Order Members to attend the recent Order Convention in faraway Bihar, met it’s target and more in just 36 hours – many thanks to all who contributed!

Dhammaloka was followed by pages advertising a selection of projects managed by the FWBO Development Team – projects as varied as sponsoring a large new painting of the FWBO’s Refuge Tree; Dharma work in Poland and Canada; and the Preceptor’s College.

Other FWBO charities have also registered and made their own pages, for instance Tiratanaloka and Karuna – whose pages include an auctioned haircut by one Ginger Fringe!

Besides all the dedicated project pages, there’s two ways to give to ‘general dharma funds’ -
one for India, managed by FWBO Dhammaloka; and one for the rest of the world;
managed by the FWBO’s Growth Fund Committee.

All contributions gratefully received - and will be used to spread the Dharma far and wide...!

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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dana Economies in the FWBO

Today, in the third and final article by Siddhisambhava in this weeks series on money, we publish ‘Dana Economies’, a look at how many FWBO centres run and fund themselves.

“….money and its uses, how we think about giving and receiving, how we define our role as Buddhists within a consumerist culture, and how Buddhist groups and centres fund themselves are among the most important moral and practical issues facing…Buddhism in the coming decades.”
Santikaro, in his article on

practising generosity in ‘Hooked: Buddhist Writings
on Greed, Desire and the Urge to Consume.’

Written for the European Chairs Assembly held at Taraloka in January, her article is based on research into the financial situation of fourteen centres: twelve urban centres in the UK, plus one retreat centre and Dublin. It begins with an outline of the inspiration behind centres running a ‘dana economy’ ie the Buddhist monastic tradition of an economy of gifts between the monks and the laity. It looks at the areas we need to attend to in our context today: the centre itself, its teachers and staff, including volunteers, and the other people the centre ‘serves’.

Some centres charge for most of their programme. One centre, Sheffield, runs a 100% dana economy ie everything is by donation. Most centres run what Siddhisambhava calls ‘a mixed economy’. The financial situation of centres varies enormously so it’s hard to make straightforward comparisons and there’s no one way to run a dana economy. It seems that the way that centres run their economies is often based as much on the practical needs of the situation as much as, if not more than, a clear vision – for very understandable reasons!. And Siddhisambhava certainly isn’t arguing for economic uniformity: an important principle of the FWBO is that centres are autonomous. Yet some common themes and questions emerge.

It’s an interesting snapshot of how FWBO centres are dealing with the financial challenges that face them. It raises issues and questions for every one of us who have ever benefited from going to a Buddhist centre – and who want to see the Dharma survive in the years ahead. How do you relate to the dana bowl?

Siddhisambhava's article is available on FWBO Features at

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sangharakshita's Financial Life Story

Sangharakshita as a boy, image courtesy of the ClearVision archives, FWBO News continues its series of articles about money by publishing an interview with Sangharakshita on his financial life-story.

Siddhisambhava, Fundraiser in the FWBO Development Team, conducted the interview last spring to help her with an appeal for the Order to take on the financial support of its founder. It reveals aspects of his life rarely mentioned in any of his memoirs. The interview begins with his childhood conditioning around money and covers the twists and turns of his financial fortunes from his twenty years in India – as beggar, monk, house-owner, farmer, employer and benefactor – to his return to Britain in the 1960’s, and how he ‘got by’ while he set up the FWBO.

Originally published in Shabda, the monthly Order newsletter, FWBO News is pleased to make this fascinating account more widely available. The appeal for Bhante was launched at the Order 40th anniversary celebrations last spring and was concluded successfully on Bhante’s 83rd birthday on 26 August 2008. It shifted his financial support from two of the movement’s institutions that were struggling to financially maintain this commitment, the European FWBO Centres and Windhorse Evolution, to over 400 Order members making individual standing orders.

The appeal’s success – as is the case with all fundraising – reaped more than financial benefits, by strengthening the connections between Order members and Bhante, as well as the bond between all those Order members who took on this commitment. If you’d like to see a short film about the appeal for Bhante, including some remarks by Bhante himself, visit videosangha.

“Ask of any money situation: how well is this facilitating relationship?” 
from tuesday’s article on money

Looking at out money history, or telling our financial life-story, is one of the exercises suggested in ‘Understanding money, understanding ourselves’ published on Tuesday. Perhaps you could find the money thread in your own life-story? It’s there and it has meaning. What patterns of behaviour emerge? Did you create debts or savings? What degree of stinginess or generosity is revealed? How much control did you exercise? Most important of all: were you, are you, able to fund the things that matter most to you?

Sangharkshita's financial life story is on FWBO Features here:

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

An Appeal from Karuna

FWBO News doesn’t usually carry adverts in its news pieces – but here’s an exception! Karuna is looking for a few good men this March to join them in their next fundraising appeal. Jayaraja, who’ll be leading the appeal, writes -

“I’m wondering if you’ve seen Slumdog Millionaire yet? It’s just got 8 Oscars including Danny Boyle as best director.

“Do you want to do something to help street children in India? Have you got some spare time this Spring? If so – we invite you to take part in the next Karuna Trust door-knocking appeal and expect to raise between £15 - £20,000. That’ll go to projects in urban slums throughout India, transforming the lives of thousands of kids and families”.

Karuna is the FWBO’s main fundraising charity, sending well over £1million/year to a wide range of projects in India and beyond. It’s been running Appeals for over 20 years and has enormous experience in how to make fundraising a truly effective and transformative spiritual practice.

The appeal lasts for six weeks, between March 21st until May 2nd, and will be in Cambridge UK. You won’t make millions (or get any Oscars!) but you’ll be fully trained, live in a Buddhist community, and it will DEFINITELY change your life. On top of all that, Karuna will give you £60 per week pocket money and travel and cover all your back-home living expenses.

The March appeal is just for men, however Karuna runs women’s appeals and mixed appeals through the year. For dates and more details of what an appeal entails visit If you are interested, know of someone who might be interested, or want to know more please contact either Khemajala on 020 7700 3434 (e: or Jayaraja 07588 831522 (e:

Jayaraja concludes –

PS: if you ARE interested, even just to talk about it, it’d be great to hear from you asap – Karuna needs to know how large a house to rent for the appeal community!

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Money Matters

This week FWBO News publishes three major articles about money by Siddhisambhava.

Although the Buddha certainly had things to say about money, money matters far more now than in the Buddha’s time. It has the potential to do more harm – or good – than ever before. Given the current financial crisis it’s all the more urgent that our understanding about this crucial area of our lives is relevant to what is happening, shows kindness and can help people.

First, published today, is a long and thoughtful article called ‘Understanding money, understanding ourselves, and bringing money into our practice’. Tomorrow there’s an interview with Sangharakshita on his financial life-story. An article on dana economies in the FWBO follows later in the week.

Siddhisambhava works as a fundraiser in the FWBO Development Team. She acts as a consultant to FWBO centres and projects and runs movement-wide fundraising campaigns

Today, in ‘Understanding money, understanding ourselves and bringing money into our practice’, Siddhisambhava encourages us to talk about money more and suggests reasons why we often find that so hard to do. She outlines the Buddha’s approach to money and encourages us become clearer and more confident in that. She also touches on how the economy of the FWBO is changing and how we too may need to change to ensure the survival and growth of the FWBO.

The emphasis of the article though is on our individual relationship with money. It looks at what money is and what it can symbolise for us. What do we truly value? And are we able to fund those things? While the practice for all of us is skilful mental states whatever our circumstances, she emphasises that there is no one way ‘to be’ with money and shares some tips and tools on how we can become more money mature.

We will simply feel better when we are financially wise, assertive and generous, rather than financially stupid, victimised and selfish. Siddhisambhava ends by saying “Each of us has the opportunity in our own lives to steward the flow of money; whatever level comes our way. I hope this article helps you do that. May you fully enjoy all the benefits that brings to yourself and others.”

Click here: to read her article on the Features section of FWBO News.

Siddhisambhava gave a version of this article as a talk at Manchester Buddhist Centre on 16 February which you can (soon) listen to at

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Karuna supports street children in Mumbai - as publicised by Danny Boyle in ‘Slumdog Millionaire’

Girl living at Mumbai Central Station.  Photo by DhammaratiThe film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is a high energy tale of hope and love reflected through the lives of slum dwellers and street children in Mumbai (Bombay), India. It's recently swept the BAFTA Film Awards, winning in the Best Film, Director and five other categories - and the 'Golden Globes' last month where it won four honours including best drama.  And - most recently - its won 8 Oscars including Danny Boyle as best director.

The film captures the technicolour chaos of India and regurgitates it into a cinematic experience. However, the director hasn’t shied away from highlighting the issues still facing contemporary India including sectarian violence, high levels of poverty and child exploitation. But these issues are balanced with doses of humour including an obligatory toilet scene (something for which Danny Boyle is renowned).

Karuna, the FWBO's largest and longest-established fundraising charity, has worked for many years in Mumbai. One of its project partners there is Saathi (, who provide shelter, counselling and vocational training to vulnerable children. Saathi focuses on runaway children arriving at Mumbai central railway station - who, not surprisingly, are particularly susceptible to exploitation. Indeed many scenes in the film are based in and around this station and highlight the vulnerability of street children in India. Saathi aims to prevent these children reaching the streets and establishing a life there.

Karuna raises most of its funds with the help of volunteers who take part in their Karuna Fundraising Appeals. They've contacted FWBO News to ask - would you like to help street children like those in Slumdog Millionaire escape a life of crime and poverty? If so, would you consider joining a Fundraising Appeal?

For information contact Jo, Khemajala or Santavajri on 0207 700 3434 or visit

If you would like more information about Karuna and the work they support in Asia please visit the Karuna website - or to find out how to donate to Karuna please go to

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

FWBO People: introducing Vajradarshini

This Saturday’s ‘FWBO People’ post features Vajradarshini. 

Until recently she was Chair of Tiratanaloka – the FWBO’s retreat centre dedicated to helping women prepare for ordination – and now – she’s an itinerant Dharma teacher, moving between Spain, the UK – and anywhere!

She says – “as of this year i am spending my time as a dharma teacher on the move, communicating sangharakshita's teachings in different venues around the FWBO. i'll be doing retreats, urban retreats, weekends and talks in various places around the uk and europe concentrating on some of my favorite dharma themes.  when not on the road i'll be living in a very simple life in spain where my cost of living will be low and i hope that this will enable me to have some quiet time to do my own study and reflection.


Vajradarshini has always been a bit of a techno-whizz, and she runs her own website, blog, and on-line photo archive to help people get to know her in her new incarnation. 

The website is full of gems, reflecting Vajradarshini’s many interests, especially wabi sabi, and the yogacara – plus, of course, her upcoming retreat schedule for 2009.

In a bold step into the unknown, she’s decided to rely wholly on dana, or generosity, to support herself – you can read her dana statement on her website.  To make this easier for would-be patrons, she has a page on the popular ‘JustGiving’  fundraising website – check  All contributions gratefully received!

She describes her blog as a “diary of ordinary life, of things close to home, close to the heart”.  Most recently she’s been covering her move from the busy life of a retreat centre to a new country and a far more solitary life in the mountains.  She writes –

 I do feel rather that I have disappeared, temporarily, into the mountains. I haven’t felt all that communicative and am rather more out of touch than I used to be with what is going on in the world. I am making the most of this opportunity as I will be emerging, all being well, in March and from then until the end of October I have a pretty full schedule of retreats, weekends and events all around Europe. Feels like a slightly scary thought given that these days I hardly see a soul, oh well I’ve always enjoyed extremes”.

 She continues – “Another project that I have on the go is learning CSS, which is the ‘language’ that you design websites in. I seem to have got that hang of html enough to have made my very simple website, I enjoyed it so much that I thought I would like to learn a bit more so I am in the process of learning CSS and of redesigning my website with it. It is like a rollercoaster of despair and euphoria!

 A little, perhaps, like life itself…

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