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Saturday, March 28, 2009

The East West Sanctuary goes East

Sinhagupta, an Order Member based in Cambridge UK has for some years also been engaged in setting up the East-West Sanctuary in Hungary, a “Center of contemplative inquiry and healing”. She’s recently returned from a four-week visit to Thailand and sends this report to FWBO News -

“I am writing this towards the end of a 4-week period in Thailand. I was fortunate enough to make it here on the last plane, diverted to a military airport. Many, many hours later, after a 9-hour trek through Thailand, I arrived at Ubon Ratachani University, where I have been invited to teach on an undergraduate course on Buddhist Business Administration.

“This has been quite an experience, including running a 2-day retreat for 45 students , on the campus. Mostly, my brief has been to teach basic Buddhism to Thai students, and to find a way of helping the students understand the importance of this to business . Which is a strange request in a country where 30% of the economy runs under ‘sufficiency economy’ principles, as developed by the Thai king, following the work of Schumacher.

“Whilst this is 90% Buddhist country, there is still a distinct lay/monastic divide, so the understanding of Buddhism here is different . The practices and principles of the FWBO have been extremely useful, as has my own work at the East West Sanctuary, where I have been introducing basic concepts and psychotherapeutic skills into the community.

“A further interesting element here is the Asoke community, of which there is one on campus. This works on Buddhist sufficiency economy principles, and throughout Thailand there are several, each with about 5-6000 people. Generally, this is a ‘movement’ which is considered ‘heretic’ from the point of view of traditional Thai Buddhism, but it is supported by many Thai people, both in spirit and financially. I received such a warm welcome, and am sure that I will be coming back. It is a privilege to see such wonderful work being carried out, and to make Buddhist connections in these different ways.

“Part of the work I am developing at the EWS is that of creating sustainable community, as in these times especially it feels very important that spiritual traditions are built back into our places of work. I am engaged, here and at my university, in developing and promoting Buddhist economics, and communicating its importance in the current crisis. Unfortunately, the conference I was also attending was postponed until April because of the unrest in Bangkok, and the international visitors could not make it here.

“At the end of this week, I shall be running a further workshop in a monastery near Bangkok, but this will be on psychotherapeutic methods. I understand there are already 50 people attending – from the monastic community, from those wishing to introduce Buddhist methods into their daily lives, and from a group of people studying Buddhist psychology”.

Dharmacharini Sinhagupta in Thailand.

You can find more about the work of the East-West Centre on its website

Tomorrow we publish an account of another FWBO pioneer: Ujukarin's adventures in Sri Lanka.

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

FWBO People I: Dayamati - a 'Clearness Process' in Albuquerque

Anyone familiar with the book will know him as “a sceptical Buddhist” (quoting here Windhorse’s description of him on their website, where he is known by his secular name of Richard Hayes) – but one who nonetheless proposes the radical path of the Buddha to those seeking genuine wisdom, “not just slogans to stick on the bumpers of their cars”.

His explorations have now led him to what is perhaps an unexpected place. He writes –

“Dear friends,

“Earlier this month I formally became a member of the Albuquerque Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). The request for membership came after attending the meeting regularly for three years, and after about five years of experience attending Quaker meetings in Canada from 1968 through 1975.

“The step of being what is called a convinced Quaker involves a number of steps, including meeting with a committee of Quaker elders and discussing one's intentions. In my case I also consulted with my kalyanamitras in the FWBO and sought their opinion on whether being a Quaker was in their eyes in any way incompatible with being a dharmachari in the WBO. No objections were voiced by my kalyanamitras. On the Quaker side there was no objection to my being a Buddhist going for refuge in the WBO context and being a Quaker.

“Now that the step has been taken, I am feeling that making an announcement to the wider FWBO community is in order. I have written something about my motivations and experiences on my blog site, the address of which is under my signature below. I am curious what the range of opinion within the FWBO is on membership in more than one religious organization, especially when one of them does not have Buddhist roots.

“Something to bear in mind in my case is that I live about 1000 miles from the nearest FWBO chapter. Attending dharmachari chapter meetings regularly is out of the question. The closest thing I have found to a WBO chapter meeting is a Quaker meeting. The ways that Quakers make corporate decisions, and the way they meet for spiritual practice, is very similar to the way things are done in the (F)WBO. That said, I am sure I would attend Quaker meetings regularly even if there were a nearby chapter of the WBO...”


Comments welcome!

His article is also available on the Order page of FWBO Discussion - a website full of thoughtful perspectives on the FWBO and its appreoach to the Dharma.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Invitation to participate in on-line research study for meditators

FWBO News is pleased to pass on this request for volunteers to take part in an on-line project looking at some of the effects of meditation. "Hi there,I'm Rebecca, a Mitra with the Letchworth FWBO group. "I'm currently doing some research for my MSc project that involves looking at some of the effects of meditation. "I'm looking for volunteers who meditate regularly and who would like to take part in the study. It will be available online in the next few weeks, and will consist of some questionnaires (about 20 mins) and two very short experiments (less than 5 minutes each). "In total, participation should take around 40-45 minutes, and can be done wherever you have an internet connection and a Flash plug-in (most computers have this already). "We are going to submit this research to an academic journal so that it can be published, and the results will be available to anyone who is interested. If are interested in taking part, please click the links below. Do pass it on to anyone you know who might be interested, or please feel free to contact me if you would like more information, with no obligation to take part at any stage.Thanks for your time! "With Metta, "Rebecca MSc Student (Research Methods in Cognitive Neuropsychology) BPS Transpersonal Psychology PsyPAG representative Division of Teacher and Researchers in Psychology PsyPAG representative Below are the 'instructions' and link for the study. There are four sections, which should take around 30-40 minutes to complete. Please click here to take part!

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