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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

International Buddhist Youth Exchange program in Malaysia

Today’s story on FWBO News comes from India’s National Network of Buddhist Youth (NNBY) - just back from participating in the 2010 International Buddhist Youth Exchange program, held in Malaysia.

Chetan Meshram from Nagpur, central India, attended along with Vasitkumar from Pune. They say-

“Last week we have been in the Asean Youth Exchange at Malaysia. The WORLD FELLOWSHIP OF BUDDHIST YOUTH  (WFBY) organized the ASEAN INTERNATIONAL BUDDHIST YOUTH EXCHANGE (IBYE) 2010 which was hosted by the YOUNG BUDDHIST ASSOCIATION OF MALAYSIA (YBAM).

"We were representing the National Network of Buddhist Youth (NNBY) from India. Other countries which participated included Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, and South Korea.

"The main object of the programme was to promote development of leadership qualities among Buddhist Youth and also to strengthen Buddhist Networking across South East Asia.  The program was held in the Fo Guang Shan monastery. The theme of the event was “Joy, Fellowship and friendship.

"The 10 day programme was divided into four parts:

1) Home Stay Program
"International delegates were staying with Buddhist foster families for the first three days of the programme. Coinciding with the New Year and weekends, they had the opportunity to start 2010 in Malaysia, and also to feel and experience Malaysian lifestyle of living culture, food, sights and sound.

2) ASEAN IBYE leadership and Training Workshops:
"A series of sessions catering for the learning, contributing and tackling of current situations faced among youths in the Buddhist society, both local and international.

3) Malacca and Kuala Lumpur tour
4) ASEAN IBYE JFL Concert 2010

"We were able to make the other delegates aware about the concerns of Buddhist youth in India. Their social, economic and educational situations were discussed. Most importantly we communicated the revival of Buddhism and dynamics of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s movement. We both explained the aims, objectives, and mission of NNBY -

"The event created strong connections between those who attended. We hope these connections will contribute to the betterment of the youths in ASEAN and especially more widely in India.

"For more information and picture follow ASEAN IBYE 2010 in facebook.

"Thanking you".

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Monday, February 08, 2010

Two stories from Malaysia

Today and tomorrow we've two stories from Malaysia - independent visits by FWBO members from the UK and India, to different Buddhist groups.

Dhammaloka, a regular visitor to China, Singapore, and Malaysia, writes to say -

"I've just finished a series of talks followed by a practice weekend on karma for the Than Hsiang Foundation in Penang, Northern Malaysia.

“As things turned out, I was the first person to teach at their newly established centre for English speaking Sangha members. Located in a very spacious ex-residential house in central Penang, the new place is at daytime used as a Buddhist kindergarten.

“As in my experience has often been the case with an ethnically Chinese audience, in the first meeting it was difficult for me to assess what the group made of the input. Yet, with numbers of participants rising from day to day and there being increasingly lively discussions, I guess they found it interesting and fruitful. Furthermore, at the end of the practice weekend, even those who in the beginning had been rather solitary and perhaps somewhat distant, were happily engaged in our various group explorations and discussions.

“It was a pleasure to see a sense of Sangha grow between all of us. Our explorations covered a vast ground - from the religiously Brahminical and Shramaneric background at the Buddha's time right down to the turning of karma into a commodity owing to the historical emphasis on karmic results, merit-making and to the notion of collective karma which are so prominent in Asian societies. Again and again, we came back to the Buddha's revolutionary insight into intention (cetana) as the essence of karma, and accordingly we explored both skilful and unskilful mental states and the path to move beyond karma in quite some detail.

“Meanwhile, I've moved on to Melaka in the South of Malaysia where Samamati will be joining me shortly. Another series of 5 talks with a weekend preceding them lies ahead of us. Already, more than thirty people have booked ... which seems a pretty sure sign that more are likely to participate. Great to be here --- and away from the European winter!"

“Take care and good wishes,


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Dhammaloka in Malaysia II

Last week we reported that Dhammaloka is currently travelling in Malaysia and China. He sends us this report from Penang, Malaysia:

“For the past three days I’ve been a guest at the Than Hsiang Temple, in Penang in Northern Malaysia. It's my fourth or fifth visit here, and I have never regretted visiting so often. For me, the Temple is one of the most inspiring places of 'engaged' Buddhism I've ever been to. It comes very close to what I imagine to be FWBO to be at its best ... and in certain ways more.

“To call Than Hsiang a 'temple' may be slightly misleading since, besides some of the meditation halls images that one would expect to find in a temple from the Chinese Mahayana tradition, it includes a number of welfare and right livelihood projects as well, all integrated into one large building. Among other things there’s a kindergarten, an old folks home, a centre for counselling, and a vegetarian canteen. The Than Hsiang foundation is headed by the Venerable Wei Wu who, as a student in New Zealand, had some contact with the FWBO – and later, when Urgyen Sangharakshita visited Malaysia, translated for him.

“Over the last few years, the foundation has expanded rapidly. It now includes a number of Buddhist student hostels (which they call Kalyana Mitra homes), urban and retreat centres in various parts of Malaysia, and even a Buddhist College across the border in Thailand – across the border because Malaysia is a constitutionally Muslim country, and so no permission would be given to establish a Buddhist college in Malaysia itself. The approach to studies at the college is clearly ecumenical, with one major objective being to train monks and lay people from mainland China and other countries to work as Dharmadutas, or messengers of the Dharma.

“People here are very interested in the FWBO approach - they feel they can learn from us, in particular from our experience in building Sangha and our approach to Team Based Right Livelihood. Not surprisingly, I was invited to meet various groups of volunteers for some input followed by lively discussions. For our part, there is a lot we can learn from Than Hsiang and the people working there — not the least in the area of communication with the wider society and hence finding support for our work.

“I'm here for another three days, including a weekend seminar on psychological type and Dharma practice, and then I'll be off to Beijing. It’s been very hot, with tremendous rain – but now there’s a lovely breeze with drizzle drifting in the air and mist hanging at the mountain slopes”.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

An Urban Retreat in Malaysia

Dhammaloka, a German Order Member, has for many years been visiting both China and Malaysia, in both places slowly creating groups interested in the FWBO. He has recently left on anther tour, and sends us this report from Malaysia –

“Two days ago some 15 or 18 friends from Malacca, ranging in age from the late 20s to the 60s, embarked on an "Urban Retreat", probably the first ever to be held in Malaysia. Most of these friends have been practising in various contexts, and often for a good number of years. There are some experienced meditators amongst them, while others have done little sitting practice. We did a weekend retreat to introduce the practice, and then began the urban retreat proper. I'll be curious to see how they respond...

Since most of them do their reports to one another in Chinese, its a little difficult for me to see how well they are getting on. They certainly seem to enjoy it so far...!

My impressions so far are that most of them found the idea of daily check-ins with a "Dharma buddy" a little threatening, all the more so when I suggested they did it with another member of the group rather than their spouses! Over the next few days, in the evenings, we will be meeting up for Dharma discussion and study, exploring aspects of the 'unity of Buddhism'.!"

Click here for background information about Urban Retreats, as compiled by the Sheffield Buddhist Centre.

Dhammaloka will soon be visiting China, and we hope to bring you news from there as well.

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