European Chairs Assembly – Not at all Dry!

In January, Silabodhi, our Centre’s Chair, attended the European Chairs Assembly at Adhisthana. Twice a year, over seven to nine days, Chairs of Triratna Buddhist Centres across the UK and Europe share experiences and think about our movement’s future priorities.

Silabodhi says . . .

The gatherings might sound a little dry, but believe me they are quite the reverse. A brighter bunch of committed, open-minded people I’ve never met! What’s more, this is what they all say too. Recently retiring Chairs such as Jayaraja feel quite sad that they will no longer be attending the best events of the year!

January’s session was dedicated to agreeing the next five years’ priorities. Together we created a vision and a mandala, where what is most vital to us is placed at the centre, with other important aspirations arranged around it, working towards a list of actionable, measurable intentions for the years to come. We started with eighteen topics, hearing pitches and voting to come to a final agenda.

Five new priorities were added to the two already under way:

  • Young people – already running
  • Safeguarding – already running
  • Diversity
  • Growth and contexts for intensity in the movement
  • Dharmic engagement with social and ecological issues
  • Review of ECA, Development Team, Triratna International Council structures – relationship of ECA and other bodies
  • Training, support, and resources for Chairs

These will now lead to working groups, research projects if necessary, whole-ECA discussions, and finally ideas for implementation over the next few years. This was only my second ECA meeting, so I will wait to see how this process unfolds!

Finally, the wider mandala of topics the ECA wants to keep in mind and work on as time and resources permit:

  • Money
  • Communications
  • Training in the path of responsibility
  • How to conduct difficult conversations
  • Deepening pathways for those not pursuing ordination
  • Process of evaluation
  • Translating Triratna publications into other languages
  • Meditation and Dharma teaching and how changes might be needed
  • Ethical behaviour below the level covered by safeguarding

I’ll report back again after the July meeting if people are interested – let me know!

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