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Friday, June 13, 2008

Major exhibition of Western Buddhist art - June 27-29th

Coming up soon is the British Buddhist Landscape conference, already mentioned in FWBO News but now with more details confirmed – including a major exhibition of Western Buddhist artists.

Amitajyoti, who is organising the FWBO’s submissions, reports “We have a really good range of some excellent work to show - do let people know. The artists involved are really 'giving it something'/'doing the business' so to speak! We’ll have work by Aloka, Akasaka, Chintamani, Padmayogini and me.”

Aloka and Chintamani have both been practicing as Buddhist artists for over 30 years, Chintamani is chair of FWBO Arts and probably best-known for his rupas which take centre-stage in both the London Buddhist Centre’s shrine rooms. Aloka’s large-scale paintings of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas grace many FWBO centre shrines – Brighton, Bristol, Nottingham, Norwich, Padmaloka, as well as dozens of personal shrines...

A rich line-up of speakers includes Sangharakshita, Stephen Batchelor, Dr John Peacock, Dr Helen Waterhouse, Ajahn Laow, Rev. Prof. Sato, Peggy Morgan, Colin Ash, Ven Sumana, Tony Kemmer, Phil Henry, Keith Munnings, Sharon Smith (aka Vijayatara), Yann Lovelock, and Munisha. It’s a unique opportunity to see and interact first-hand with major figures across the extraordinary diversity of British Buddhism.

Full details of the conference are available from the conference organisers, the UK's Network of Buddhist Organisations, this gives details of booking and each days programme; it’s possible though of course not ideal to attend only some of the events.

The dates are Friday-Sunday, June 27-29th.

The event is being generously hosted by the ‘Institute of Oriental Philosophy’, a branch of SGI-UK , at their headquarters, the very beautiful stately home of Taplow Court, set in 85 acres of grounds and overlooking the River Thames, between Slough and Maidenhead.

Transport is easy via regular trains from Paddington or Reading. Book soon as places are limited!

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"The British Buddhist Landscape – Transplantation and Growth"

In June Sangharakshita will be speaking at a major UK conference entitled "The British Buddhist Landscape – Transplantation and Growth"; bookings have now opened and the organisers are advising “book early to avoid disappointment”.

Speakers so far include Sangharakshita, Stephen Batchelor, Dr John Peacock, Dr Helen Waterhouse, Ajahn Laow, Rev. Prof. Sato, Peggy Morgan, Colin Ash, Rev. Saido, Ven Sumana, Tony Kemmer, Phil Henry, Keith Munnings, Sharon Smith, Yann Lovelock, Munisha - plus others to be confirmed. It’s a chance to get a real overview of Buddhism in Britain from many different points of view.

Click for more details or a provisional program, these links include full booking details.

The conference is being organised by the Network of Buddhist Organisations (UK) & The Institute of Oriental Philosophy-UK, and will be held at Taplow Court, Taplow, Nr Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 0ER – the very splendid headquarters of Sokkai Gakkai UK. Taplow Court is a beautiful Victorian mansion in Taplow village, set in 85 acres of grounds and overlooking the River Thames, between Slough and Maidenhead

Accommodation is not provided, though there are many local Bed-and-Breakfasts– or some shared dormitories at Taplow – these are on a first-come-first-served basis so early booking is recommended.

The dates are –
Fri 27th June 2008 5.30pm - 9.30pm
Sat 28th June 9.30am-6.00/9.30pm.
Sun 29th June 10.00am-2.00pm

The costs are full conference £65.00, concessions £45.00 + Saturday eve buffet £15.00, plus the cost of your chosen accommodation.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

NVC and Sociocracy in the FWBO

Shantigarbha is an Order Member living in Cambridge, UK, where he has founded a training business ‘Seed of Peace’. He specialises in ‘Non-Violent Communication’, or NVC, and has recently returned from a six week trip running NVC trainings in India and Sri Lanka, including a live interview introducing it on Sri Lankan TV. Several Order Members have qualified in NVC and are actively involved in training worldwide – Aniruddha and Kumarajiv in India, Locana in the UK, among others.

Next in his schedule is a weekend introduction to ‘Sociocracy’, which is a system for designing (or redesigning) organisations that he feels may be particularly suitable for groups such as the FWBO.

Shantigarbha writes -

“We've arranged for Philip Seligmann, a Sociocratic consultant from the Centre in the Netherlands, to come over to lead a weekend at the Cambridge Buddhist Centre. Philip is on the Board of the Sociocratic Centre, and has brought Sociocracy into several organizations, including the Dutch Buddhist Broadcasting Corporation. The dates are: February 22-24; the Friday evening will be a free Introduction, open to all, and will form the first part of the training for those who stay on for the Saturday and Sunday (10am to 5pm both days)”.

Sociocracy was first introduced to the Order last summer on the biannual Order Convention, after which this report appeared in the Order’s journal ‘Shabda’:

“Sociocracy is a structured way for groups to make decisions & interact with other groups. As such it may be relevant to many situations in the F/WBO and we were interested to hear the NVC community are considering adopting it for much of their internal organisation. It is particularly suitable in situations where everyone needs to be taken into account and where each person needs to be valued equally. More specifically, it is suitable for groups which are interacting regularly and united in aim.

Sociocracy started with an attempt to bring Quaker principles into a Dutch engineering laboratory. Hence the language is technical and the procedures fairly precisely structured. It is something which needs some effort to learn but which, once learned, becomes more and more fluent and flexible. It was noteworthy that Sociocracy can work alongside any conventional leadership system and can be introduced to only one part of an organization or for only one issue.

Some of the basic governing principles are –

• In meetings, some people are elected to temporary roles eg a facilitator
• All organizational processes are seen in terms of circles, with discussion proceeding in 'rounds' eg rounds for clarification/nominations/objections/consent
• All decision-making is by consent (with consent defined as the absence of 'paramount objections' ie no absolute "Nos", ie, a solution which is within everyone's “range of tolerance”)
• Different levels of the organisation are 'double-linked' to ensure smooth information flows up & down & across.

There’s lots more information available on the sociocracy website Personally we were impressed with the clarity of the process and the care taken to ensure everyone has a chance to be heard. However everyone involved in a sociocratic meeting would need to make a significant investment to learn how it works, and while this is happening, meetings could seem slow or cumbersome. Since Shantigarbha wanted us to have some real experience of sociocracy in action, our session could be summarised, not unfairly, as nine Order Members taking an hour to discuss who was going to make a report into Shabda!

Anyone interested in the Cambridge weekend is asked to contact Shantigarbha as soon as possible.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Lama Lhundrup's Visit to Dharmapala College

Lama Lhundrup at Dharmapala CollegeIn March the Dharmapala College hosted Lama Lhundrup where he lead study on Gampopa's Jewel Ornament of Liberation. He has posted an account of his time in Birmingham on his blog, including some photographs. Lama Lhudrup is from the Karma Kargyu lineage. He received his monastic ordination in 1991 after several years of closed retreat. He lives in Dhagpo Kundreul Ling monastery in Auvergne, France.

Lama Lhundrup says that he found the exchanges fruitful, especially the comparisons between the his Tibetan tradition, with the Pali texts which are often more familiar to Order Members. There are a number of possible opportunities for cooperation, for instance Lama Lhundrup hopes to travel to India with Subhuti to see the TBMSG activities and Order Members may wish to undertake long retreats at his monastery where supervises the regular three year retreats.

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