Everything is always changing. In the last six months, Triratna has moved online; our projects, your local sangha nights, retreats, and major events including Order Conventions and The International Council meetings. Yet some things remain the same; the commitment of our Movement and Order to sharing the Dharma, and to supporting our Triratna projects that pass on the Dharma in so many different ways.
In our own FutureDharma team there are also changes afoot. Kusaladevi leaves us this week to take up her post as Chair of Nottingham Buddhist Centre. And of course, Viryanaga will leave at the end of the year to focus on his work as Chair of Brixton. Don’t forget that we’re looking for a new Finance & Systems Director to join our team. If you’re an Order member and interested in working with us, please check out the details.
Ps – If you’re subscribed to both our FutureDharma and India Dhamma Trust mailing lists you’ll get this newsletter twice. We’re streamlining how we bring project news to you so we can continue to make both charities more efficient so that more of our supporters’ gifts can go directly to our projects.
Thank you and Goodbye to Kusaladevi
Kusaladevi is leaving FutureDharma to take up her new post as Chair of Nottingham Buddhist Centre. Kusaladevi joined us at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdowns to help Triratna centres fundraise during the lockdown. She’s worked with over 20 centres, helping them raise £150,000. Many more centres throughout our global sangha have benefitted from her Fundraising Toolkit and training seminars which you can find on the Sikkha Project, another of our funded projects.
The FutureDharma team rejoiced in Kusladevi in our online meeting this week, celebrating her integrity, humour, and dedication to our sangha. She’s been a much-loved member of our team, and we wish her well for her next adventure.
They usually take place at Wymondham College, but this year, the Triratna International Order Conventions moved online. Over 750 Order members from around the world took to their screens to share in puja, practice, and talks. The Order Office very generously agreed that Dana given during the Conventions could come to our FutureDharma and India Dhamma Thrive Online Appeal.
We teamed up with The Abhayaratna Trust to ensure that Dana would also flow to their work supporting Indian Order members in financial need due to COVID-19.
And the Order did us proud, giving £50,000. This will support FutureDharma projects and the Ordination Teams in India. We’ll give £6,000 of this to The Abhayaratna Trust for their India COVID-19 Appeal. They have already helped 106 Order members in India who are in financial difficulty due to illness or loss of work during the lockdowns. This extra £6,000 means they can double their efforts by supporting the same number of Order members over again.
We will also make a sizeable dana contribution to the Order Office and Adhisthana to support Adhisthana during this time.
The International Council met this month. Representatives from the College, Order, and Movement from six geographical Areas have come together each day on Zoom. They’ve been discussing four Strategic Priorities: Effective Communication, Young People, Financial Sustainability, and Situations of Spiritual Intensity. They’ve been considering these through the lens of the global COVID-19 pandemic and increased awareness of social, environmental concerns. FutureDharma has adopted the International Council’s Strategic Principles and we fund projects that fulfil them.
“I am looking forward to listening, and discussing … particularly around racism and casteism … and social issues. In India in lockdown there’s been a lot of domestic violence… and as a Movement, we want to be engaged…”
– Amrutasiddhi, India Movement Coordinator
You can catch up with highlights from each day by watching the ICin5 films. You’ll also find talks on aspects of the Bodhicitta practice, which underpinned the week of meetings – great resources in themselves.
I’m feeling really grateful for the work of members of the International Council meetings, many of whom have everyday work, but who give so much of their time to taking care of our sangha.
India COVID Funding
Our supporters have now given over £149,000 to our Thrive Online Appeal. As well as funding key projects like the Buddhist Centre Online, Sikkha Project, and the International Council, their gifts have also gone to India as emergency COVID-19 support for three Triratna centres in India.
£26,000 has been sent to the centres in Bhaja, Nanded, and Bordhoran so that they can continue to run and support their sanghas online, and maintain their buildings and support centre teams.
With the centres closed the teams there have been unable to fundraise as with no direct debit facilities in India they rely on asking for dana at face-to-face events. Lifting the strain from centre teams in India frees them up to focus on their ongoing relief work activities.