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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Windhorse: Evolution’s month-long Working Retreat - part II

Sugarbha writes from Windhorse: Evolution with news of their month-long Working Retreat. They’re making a video diary of the event - they plan to tell FWBO News readers and the wider Buddhist Sangha more about themselves and they see their work - and the business itself - as a really effective means of practicing Right Livelihood.

He says -

“Windhorse: Evolution is a successful business, trading ethically in giftware. It’s the largest team based right livelihood business in the Triratna Buddhist Community/FWBO.

“We employ approximately 250 people in total - about 100 people in Cambridge and a further 150 who work in the 18 Evolution shops around the UK and Ireland.

“Right now we’re running a month-long working retreat in the warehouse. Here in part two of our video diary of the event, Satyaketu (our Warehouse Manager) outlines the scale of the operation and explains why we are now in a position to focus more on exploring work as a spiritual practice.

“The link is to view the video is



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Friday, January 29, 2010

Windhorse:Evolution begin month-long working retreat

Windhorse: Evolution is the FWBO’s largest and most successful business, trading ethically in giftware, supplying shops all over the UK and beyond. It is the largest Buddhist team-based right livelihood business in the UK and probably Europe, employing approximately 250 people in total. About 100 people work in Cambridge and a further 150 in the 18 Evolution shops that form part of the Windhorse family.

There are three teams in the Windhorse warehouse, totalling about 25 Buddhist men, and they are currently entering into a more intense period of a month-long ‘working retreat’. Specifically they are exploring how work can be a potent spiritual practice.

They write to say - “We are going to make a video diary of our retreat in the workplace which will be posted on FWBO News. Please click on the link to watch our introductory video - or click on the screenshot opposite. And look out for follow-ups!”

Windhorse occasionally have vacancies for both men and women. These are often advertised on FWBO Jobs, or you can contact Windhorse direct on 01223 868600..

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Windhorse:Evolution follows through on successful "survival strategy"

Windhorse:Evolution is the largest and most successful of the FWBO’s many Right Livelihood businesses, with a chain of some 20 Evolution shops and a massive warehouse on the outskirts of Cambridge, UK.

Over the years they’ve been a major source of dana to a great many FWBO and TBMSG projects around the world, often giving away £250,000 or even more in a single year. However, like most retail businesses, they’ve been hard-hit by the recent downturn. The following is an article from their internal magazine, reprinted by permission. It gives an authentic insight into the real-life difficulties of running an idealistically-based business - and their success in meeting what are probably their greatest-ever challenges.

Vajraketu, Windhorse’s Managing Director, reports -

"The year to March 31st 2009 was in business terms the most difficult Windhorse:Evolution has faced for over twenty years. The credit crunch arrived at a time when we already faced challenges that would have been a handful even in a benign economic environment, and the result was a substantial loss for the year - the first time the business has lost money since 1984.

"Once the extent of the economic downturn became clear, in the early autumn of 2008, we launched a "survival strategy", which involved extensive cost cutting, including shutting two shops, the shelving of our plan to open more shops, and some redundancies at the Cambridge head office - the first time we have had to make anyone redundant, and not a happy landmark. Those, and other measures too numerous to mention, have enabled us to cut about 5%, or £300,000, from our projected expenses for this financial year.
At the same time, both the wholesale and retail sides of the business have had to focus on how best to adapt and compete in a depressed market.

"So far both have performed better than the sales forecasts we made for them in January, and if this continues until Christmas then the business could break-even this year (we were previously expecting a substantial loss). Breaking-even may not sound like much, but in the circumstances we are dealing with it would be a considerable achievement. However I must stress that with so much of our annual sales concentrated in the September-December period, and with the economic environment so uncertain, we cannot assume that the better-than-expected sales performance of recent months will necessarily continue.

"There is no guarantee that we will survive the current recession. I have been impressed with the amount of change and adaptation we have effected in the past year or so, and with the efforts and plans of both the wholesale and retail teams to maximise sales, but we must acknowledge that there are some things that are not in our control and we could probably not survive a deep and prolonged recession.

"While much of our energy is currently concentrated on survival, we have not lost sight of the longer-term vision of an ethical business run along broadly Buddhist lines, and the need to develop that in the light of changing circumstances. There are a great many things we could do in developing and promoting our approach to ethical trade, and to the environment, that are not getting as much attention from us as they would if times were easier. There is also the need to grow sales so that we can again generate profits sufficient to enable us to give away money to Buddhist projects and to social and educational projects in the communities where our products are made, and to support those who work in the business to an adequate standard now and in the future".

Latest news just in from Windhorse indicates that they seem to have survived the worst of the recession and are turning their minds from survival to considering more broadly what type of business they wish to be in the future. Sadhu Windhorse!

More details, including their Ethical Trading policy, are on their website To learn more about the ‘Windhorse story’, we recommend ‘Transforming Work: An Experiment in Right Livelihood’, by Padmasuri.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Windhorse:Evolution faces the credit crunch; challenges ahead but morale high

Windhorse's warehouse in Cambridge, UKWindhorse:Evolution is the FWBO’s largest Right Livelihood, indeed the largest in the Western Buddhist world, with annual sales of UK £9million, an impressively ethical approach to business, and a wonderful record of giving dana to many many FWBO and TBMSG centres around the world.

However they, like the rest of the Western economy, have been hard-hit by the recent economic downturn. This report aims to bring readers of FWBO News up-to-date with what’s happened and what they’re doing. It is based on material from Ratnaghosa and Vajraketu.

Final figures are still coming in, but sales for the 2008 Christmas period look to be down some 20% on last year, both in their shops and wholesale division. As a result their best-case projection for 2008 is a loss of £150,000 – their worst-case projection is £450,000. Nonetheless, they are confident they have the resources to ‘weather the storm’ for a year – though, like most of the retail industry, it is presently a case of fighting for survival. The collapse of the pound has also hit them hard, with the cost of many of their goods rising by 25%.

The main measures they are taking are cost-cutting – specifically looking for savings in their wage and rent bills. These are in the spotlight because they are the ‘levers’ actually available to them. Out of annual sales of £9m, they have a wage bill of £3m and a rent bill of £2m. They have instituted a ‘hiring freeze’ and, with great reluctance, made their first-ever redundancies in the business. This has been especially painful for a business that prides itself on looking after its employees. Sadly, they cannot guarantee there won’t be more over the coming months.

A major consideration in the minds of the Windhorse directors has been the livelihoods of their suppliers. Due to Windhorse’s ethical trading policy, they often know exactly who they are buying from, and have had long-term relationships with them for many years. They know, for instance, that if they disappear the livelihoods of 200 people in Bali would vanish – and many in Kenya, Guatemala, and China as well. This is a strong incentive to them to survive, and even if the very worst happens and they go under, they are determined not to close owing their suppliers money.

The great stupa in the centre of Uddiyana, the Windhorse warehouseThis seems pretty unlikely though - morale in the business is actually very good: Ratnaghosa says its as though the crisis has brought out the best in everyone. A couple of unprofitable shops have been closed (in Shrewsbury and Norwich) – but they are still looking to open 3 new shops during 2009! This is down from their original ambitious plans to open 5, and the openings have been deferred to be nearer Christmas so they will move into profitability quicker – but its still a mark of their confidence.

Notwithstanding the difficult climate, and the very real challenges they face, Windhorse are looking to the future and are determined to come out of the recession both stronger and in an expansionist mood. Exactly how this will manifest is not easy to predict – forecasting the future, says Ratnaghosa, has effectively become almost impossible.

The photographs show Uddiyana, the Windhorse warehouse in Cambridge, and the great stupa in its centre.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

New talk - Spiritual practice, efficiency, and productivity in the work-place

A view of the windhorse warehouse, and the giant stupa at its heartFWBO News is pleased to reproduce a talk recently given by Ratnaghosa to the warehouse workers at Windhorse:Evolution, the FWBO’s largest and most successful business.

Entitled "Spiritual practice, efficiency, and productivity in the work place", it’s reproduced here to give readers of FWBO News some insight into Windhorse’s ongoing exploration of the principles of Right Livelihood and the ways they seek to combine business success with spiritual development.

To take a quote almost at random from the middle of the talk –

“Efficiency, on the other hand, is conducive to good mental states and positive mental states are conducive to efficiency. This is a virtuous circle. Higher mental states are more creative and are likely to lead to elegant solutions and this is what we really want to achieve at Windhorse. We want to encourage the development of higher states of consciousness and see those higher states of consciousness manifesting in creativity, co-operation and satisfying relationships and results. And if we can achieve elegant creativity in our systems and teams that will encourage higher states of consciousness. It is like a Zen garden. The garden is created out of a tranquil state of consciousness and the garden in turn produces tranquillity in those who use it…”

You can read the talk via FWBO Features or by clicking here.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Windhorse:Evolution part IV: Dana in 2008 - and beyond...

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.

In 2007-8 Windhorse’s dana totalled a remarkable £265,229, all given away out of the profits of the business to a multiplicity of projects across the FWBO, TBMSG, and beyond.  Part IV of this series looks at how Windhorse makes its decisions, and exactly what they chose to fund last year.  There's the Dana Fund, the Growth Fund, the Legacy Fund, and the Social Fund. 

Just one, the Growth Fund, was able to give money to a new FWBO group in Freiburg, Southern Germany, for continuing the development of close-to-nature camping retreats in Holland and Belgium, for publicity and basic expenses for new centre in Düsseldorf, Germany,  for cushions, mats, etc for the new Buddhist Centre in Krakow, Poland and equipment and publicity for new FWBO centre in Leicester, UK.

In India it gave publicity and equipment for new city centre premises in Bhusawal, Maharastra, and a major new Indian Buddhist Youth project building on previous two years of the ‘National Buddhist Youth’ gatherings, funding for a second year to continue working with Tribal people in remote areas, also to sponsor gatherings of leaders from different caste communities in India, , for a major extension of TBMSG activities in North India - and last but by no means least, for underwriting the cost of two Order Membes visiting a woman mitra running FWBO-style activities near Ulan Bator, Mongolia.

Click here to read the full report - which also looks at Windhorse's plans for the future - which include a clear “Donations Warning!” for 2009 and beyond.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Windhorse:Evolution - the people...

This is part three 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 have looked at the ethos of the business and recent changes and challenges it has faced. Part III explores the experiences of some individuals working in it, while part IV (to be published on July 16th) will reveal the many projects funded by their current dana or generosity.

1.Gaining Confidence

Santosh Kamble (who has just been ordained, and is now known as Sanghanatha, 'Protector of the Sangha') works in the Windhorse:Evolution warehouse in Cambridge, known as 'Uddiyana'. He's from a small village in Maharastra, India, and this is his story...

"I came into contact with the Western Buddhist Order (known in India as TBMSG) in my childhood through the Asvaghosa project. They go from village to village, teaching drama, singing songs and telling stories to the most underprivileged children, to build their confidence. I went to those classes in my village when I was a child, and I loved the singing, drama and playing games, and I was inspired by their activities. They pick up some incidents from the Buddha’s life and tell a story or do a performance. Most of the songs are about the spiritual life. I made a connection with the teachers and Asvaghosa leaders, who are practising Buddhists involved in TBMSG".

Ten years later, and he's in Windhorse...  Click here to read more

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Windhorse:Evolution - a Buddhist business...

FWBO News is pleased to present part II of a series of four articles on Windhorse:Evolution, the FWBO’s largest and most successful Right Livelihood business, based in Cambridge, UK. The first article looked at recent changes and challenges it has faced, this explores the ethos of the business,.  Parts III and IV will examine 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.

Keturaja, Windhorse's Director of HR
Keturaja, Windhorse:Evolution's HR Director, talks to Tejasvini about some of the Buddhist flavours to be found at windhorse:evolution.  He says "Many of us have come to work at windhorse: evolution because we value working with other people who are inspired to practise the Buddhist path. Our ethos, and the five principles of the business are inspired by Buddhist practice..."

He goes on to talk of the renaissance in community living they are currently experiencing, and of the variety to be found between the dozen or more communities that are associated with Windhorse in Cambridge.  Also of their flexibility in paying people - and of the simple virtues - and challenges of living on their 'support package' as opposed to drawing a wage.  This is, perhaps, one of the most distinctive features of Windhorse and indeed the FWBO's 'team-based Right Livelihood' businesses generally.  As Keturaja says -

"...there’s a collective element in the practice of being on support. Most of support consists of allowances, which are just taken, but there are some elements that involve discussing one’s own needs, and I think that’s a useful reflection and clarification on needs and wants. We all have a relationship with money and how we use it, and quite a lot of our conditioning is tied up with our feelings about money. Somehow the support system draws out and reflects back one’s own conditioning in regard to it. Sometimes that can be quite challenging, but personally I have found that it helps make me aware of my own conditioning and deciding whether I’m happy with that conditioning or want to change it. For example some people find it difficult to ask about their own needs, and so the people involved in administering the support system practise being open and encouraging, helping people clarify what their needs really are".

Click here to read the full article

Part III will be published on July 14th. 

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Windhorse:Evolution's ''Year of the Rat'

FWBO News is pleased to present 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.

To give pespective, there are approximately 112 people working for Windhorse in Cambridge, and a futher 107 in over a dozen Evolution shops.  Of the ones in Cambridge, 98 are Buddhist and 14 not Budhdist; a total of 72 people in Cambridge live in Buddhist communities. 

And since 1990 Windhorse has raised and given away almost UK £7 million!

We start with some reflections by Vajraketu, Windhorse:Evolution's Managing Director and chief buyer, on the state of the business in this, the 'Year of the Rat'.

“A rat year is a time of hard work, activity and renewal. This is a good year to begin a new job, launch a new product or make a fresh start. Ventures begun now may not yield fast returns, but opportunities will come for people who are well prepared and resourceful. The best way for you to succeed is to be patient, let things develop slowly and make the most of every opening you can find.”

This is the Year of the Rat in the Chinese system, the first in the twelve-year cycle. It happens to be an appropriate image for us, because we are entering a new phase. The characteristic of this new phase, I hope, is that we’re going to grow again. After growing between 1986 and 2002, we’ve had five or six years of plateau or consolidation.

During that period of consolidation we made a lot of very necessary changes, particularly during the last couple of years. Firstly in 2002 we had to move into these new premises, which was an enormous undertaking. Then within a period of about twelve months three of the six people who comprised the previous management team moved on and we had to get used to running the business without them. Ratnaghosha devised a new management structure, and Keturaja systematized things and helped bring us to the position we’re in now, with every department in the business in good shape and as well or better managed than it’s ever been.

There is a certain irony here. We’re probably in the best shape ever and yet last year was our least profitable year for at least a decade. Our current estimate is that we’re going to have made about £200-250,000, compared to the previous year, which was something, over £400,000. The reason for that is that sales have plateaued, but our costs have gone up inexorably. Our personnel bill has more than doubled over the last five or six years. That’s the only cloud in the blue sky of the Year of the Rat...

Click here to

Part II will look at the special features of Windhorse as a Buddhist business.

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The FWBO 'Legacy Fund' - new projects for 2008

Vajragupta has sent FWBO News a report on how the Sangharakshita Legacy Fund allocated its money in 2008. The Legacy Fund is perhaps one of the less-well-known funds within the FWBO mandala, but one that’s doing important work.

Vajragupta, it's secretary, writes -

“The fund exists to help projects that are doing the following:

1) Preserving Sangharakshita's legacy: physically preserving and protecting archive materials, such as correspondence, personal effects, photos, videos, and seminars.
2) Dissemination: making accessible Sangharakshita's books, lectures, seminars, poetry, etc. to an ever-broadening audience
3) Translation: funding translations of Sangharakshita's Dharma teaching into many languages. See FWBO Translations for the current list.

In 2008 we had £32K worth of applications and £15K available to allocate, all given to us by Windhorse:Evolution. Our funds were less than last year because Windhorse:Evolution are undertaking a period of substantial re-investment in their business, in the hope of increasing profit (and therefore dana) in years to come. So, although we would have liked to fund all the applications we received to the full, it obviously wasn't possible.

We were able to give grants as follows:

* AOBO Paris: £500 towards the cost of publishing software for producing translations of Sangharakshita’s books.

* Clear Vision: £2000 towards filming Sangharakshita, making the archive of Sangharakshita photos available on the web, and preserving DVD footage of Sangharakshita and the FWBO on hard-drives.

* FreeBuddhistAudio: £3000 towards running costs and specific projects in connection with Sangharakshita material on the website.

* Lokamitra: £400 towards a translation of the TBMSG puja book.

* Manidhamma: £1100 towards the translation and publication of three Sangharakshita books (The Three Jewels, Religion of Art, and Selected Poetry) into Marathi.

* Shantavira: £1000 towards office and other costs to make pdf files of Sangharakshita’s books available on the web. See the Bookshelf on Sangharakshita’s website for titles already available.

* Vidyadevi: £2000 towards supporting her to do editorial and Spoken Word work for Sangharakshita.

* Windhorse Publications: £5000 towards converting Sangharakshita’s books into pdf’s and also reprinting some titles.

"Many thanks to Windhorse:Evolution for their generosity in funding these projects and making them possible. Like the FWBO Growth Fund, to date the Legacy Fund has been funded entirely by dana from Windhorse:Evolution - SADHU! once again to Windhorse!"

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Windhorse:Evolution launch 'Friends' network

Windhorse:Evolution are by far the largest of the FWBO’s various Right Livelihood businesses. With a turnover in excess of UK £10 million/year, they are able to contribute generously to many Dharma and social projects around the world of the FWBO and TBMSG. Headquartered in Cambridge, their warehouse, ‘Uddiyana’, employs over 100 people from XX countries, many either ordained or training for ordination. They must be the only warehouse in the UK with a 7m high stupa at its centre!

They’ve already been the subject of a book by Padmasuri, ‘Transforming Work: An Experiment in Right Livelihood’, which details some of the many twists and turns they’ve encountered along the way as they experimented with practicing ‘Team-Based Right Livelihood’ in the modern Western world.

At the same time it’s been hard for people outside the business to really share in that sense of ongoing discovery: what DOES it mean to practice Right Livelihood, especially team-based right livelihood, in the modern Western world?

With this in mind – and to make it easier for potential new workers to contact them – they’ve launched the new ‘windhorse:evolution friends network’. Anyone who’d like to stay in touch is invited to write to Dharmasiddhi; you’ll then be kept informed of developments in the business. It’s a two-way thing – they’d ask you it help be an ambassador for Windhorse, even to look out for people who might be interested in joining them.

After a period of consolidation and restructuring, Windhorse has ambitious plans for the future: it’s a good time to get on board. Increasingly, their ‘dana’, or generosity, extends beyond the Buddhist world to include working with their suppliers on local projects – see FWBO News’ recent feature on their social dana projects. And you can see some more photos of the warehouse on FWBO Photos here.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Snow White meets Seven Buddhist Dwarves - whatever next…!

Last summer Locana, the hard-working director of Life At Work, a Buddhist Right Livelihood business based in Cambridge, UK, was feeling stressed – and found herself scribbling the opening lines of a “very silly little play”.

Over the following months that seed took root, sprouted, grew, and bore fruit recently as the Cambridge Sangha Pantomime, ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’ – but with a difference… Without wishing to give away too much of the plot, FWBO News can report that Snow White, the beautiful heroine, finds herself knocking on the door of one of the FWBO’s men’s Buddhist communities – only to be turned away! Of course, that is but the beginning – once the residents of the community see how beautiful she is, she is welcomed in and made most welcome. And the plot unfolds…

The production brought together people from all sections of the extensive Cambridge Buddhist Centre’s sangha, and benefitted among many others from the talents of Yashodaka the jazz musician, Subhadra, consultant on the inner workings of men’s communities, and Visada, assistant director. Locana described it as “fabulous experience of sangha-building” and, reflecting on it afterwards, amazed herself to realised that throughout the many rehearsals she had not heard a cross word among the cast – who were worked hard! For Locana, it was, in her words, an opportunity “to poke fun at all things Buddhist”.

The FWBO’s Cambridge Buddhist Centre is blessed by having not only extensive centre premises close to the centre of town but, out back, an entire theatre! This, of course, was the venue for the two nights of performance, when the theatre was filled to capacity. The centre and theatre was purchased by Windhorse:Evolution, the FWBO’s largest and most successful Right Livelihood business, ten years ago, and it has been gradually renovated since. The theatre itself dates from 1814 and is one of only a handful of pre-Victorian theatres outside London, in its time playing host to W.B.Yeats and Charles Dickens among many others (and as it happens, home to the first ever panto performed). Most strikingly, it has a large curved screen or ‘cyclorama’ facing the steeply-banked galleries for the audience. Click here for something of its history.

So have Snow White and the Seven Dwarves disappeared so soon, after just two days of fame? Not quite – they live on on YouTube, where you can watch a trailer created by Rosie Spiegelhalter (aka Snow White!) for Cambridge’s upcoming film night, the movie of the pantomime. And, technology permitting, a version may appear on the Arts section of VideoSangha - watch this space!

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Windhorse:Evolution supports new social projects

Windhorse's warehouse in Cambridge, UKWindhorse:Evolution is the largest and most profitable of the FWBO’s many Right Livelihood businesses, with a turnover of some £10 million and employing over 200 people – 100 at their main warehouse, ‘Uddiyana’ in Cambridge UK, and another 100 in a chain of ‘Evolution’ shops around the UK and elsewhere.

Besides practicing Right Livelihood, as chronicled by Padmasuri in her book ‘Transforming Work’, they have always aimed to make a profit and to give that profit away as dana. At first they simply asked Sangharakshita for direction in this; in recent years they have donated it to the ‘Windhorse Trust’ which has in turn created five independent funds and distributes the available dana among them.

Initially all available dana was given to FWBO projects; but in a new departure, one of the new funds created was the Windhorse Social Fund. This aims to invest in social projects close to Windhorse’s main suppliers, and they now contribute around £20,000/year to this as part of their ‘Trade for Aid’ initiative.

In a new feature on FWBO News, Samata writes about two new social projects supported by Windhorse - The Wheatfield Plan in China and The Kupu-Kupu Foundation in Bali. Click here to read it.

Alongside this they have been taking active steps to ensure their goods come from ethical sources, so far as this is practicable. You can read more about this on their Evolution shops website here, which includes the reply given by the Tibetan Government-in-Exile when asked if Windhorse should be trading with China at all, given its poor human-rights record.

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Change and opportunity at Windhorse Publications

Windhorse Publications, the FWBO’s successful publishing company, is going in new directions. Jnanasiddhi, the present Director, says "As well as maintaining our current publishing of the FWBO tradition and bringing our movement’s evolving ideas into the world, we now have a new focus on flexibility and new sales."

This has led to TWO JOB OPPORTUNITIES - a Director/Commissioning Editor and a Sales and Marketing Manager. The salaries are negotiable and the jobs will be based in Cambridge.

Jnanasiddhi says "If you have an interest in books and publishing, good communications skills, ideas and commitment, IT and organisational skills and experience of business please contact, for further information, Sagaraghosa. The closing date is 30th September."

Help Spread the Precious Dharma through books!

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Lotus Realm Traders joins the ‘Vans’

Akasadaka, from Lotus Realm, sends FWBO News this report –

“After a lot of hard work, Lotus Realm Traders, the Sudarshanaloka Mandala’s largest Right Livelihood venture in New Zealand, has given birth to… a van!”

They thereby join the proud lineage of Windhorse van drivers, who over the years have between them raised many many thousands of pounds in the UK for Dharma work. He says “Well it’s a bus actually. Her name is Rosa and she’s a Mitsubishi. She’s a good 6.0m long and weighs in at 3.2 tonne fully loaded with product. Her previous life was a Tokyo Library Bus and she still has a rather snazzy Seiko Wall clock above the dash.

We have just completed our first trip (van run) around the Coromandel Peninsula and the Bay of Plenty, surviving cyclonic weather which caused havoc across the top half of the North Island. To her crew’s delight Rosa received plenty of compliments along the way and sales were way beyond expectations. It is hoped that this will continue as Sudarshanaloka requires a lot more funds to complete its Retreat Centre project.

Lotus Realm Traders currently consists of six people, and we’re attempting to become a Team Based Right Livelihood, in the process of making squillions of moolah (lots of cash). How exactly this will be manifested seems to be an ongoing process, but we do have as our core principles ethical trading, building spiritual community, generating dana and having some insane fun.

“How can you help? If you have any expertise or skills to offer for free, we would happily accept. The Sudarshanaloka Mandala needs more people in all ways, from helping to run classes and looking after he Retreat Centre to packing orders from our warehouse and keeping shop. Please feel free to contact me (akasadaka [at] if you have some interest in getting involved in what we are doing.

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