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Second Order Convention 1975

by Sangharakshita


Ten Days in August 1975Those Present:
in order of 'appearance' in the completed transcript :
The Venerable Sangharakshita, Sanghamitta, Ananda, Siddhiratna,
Ratnapani, Lokamitra, Dharmapala, Vajradaka, Manjuvajra, Subhuti,
Asvajit, Bodhisri, Marichi, Devamitra, Abhaya, Mangala, Nagabodhi,
Chintamani, Uttara, Aryamitra, Padmaraja, Sulocana, Buddhadasa,
Padmapani, Vessantara, Vimalamitra, Sona, (Jinamata and Gotami are
also referred to but could not be identified by either the transcriber or
Not all of the above were present at every session
Please note that many of the speakers except for Bhante were either
not close enough to the microphone, not speaking clearly or loudly
enough, or outside noise was interfering, making transcription of their
contributions difficult, or even impossible!
Sangharakshita: As everybody knows this is our second annual convention and perhaps I
ought to start by welcoming everyone who has turned up. I'm certainly glad to see so many
familiar faces sitting round in this circle, and no doubt in the course of the next few days, and
certainly over the weekend quite a few more Order members will be joining us.
I think I'd like to say a few words first of all about the actual conduct of the proceedings.
Especially over the weekend, there are going to be quite a lot of people, and I therefore
suggest that we keep discussion to a minimum. And I suggest that when the various topics
come up everybody has his say or her say, expresses his or her point of view fully, but that we
don't enter into too much discussion among ourselves over the points of view expressed;
otherwise I think perhaps not everybody will have time to express their particular point of
So, if you don't altogether agree with what somebody has said, you can always talk to them
about it afterwards. But let them have their say fully, you have your say fully, but keep the
discussion between different people present to a minimum, so that we can get through the
whole of the business. We've got quite a lot of things to discuss, and no doubt there will be
quite a few points of view expressed. And every day there's going to be a different reporter,
and we hope that each reporter will be able to put down quite a full record of the day's
proceedings - in any case we are being tape-recorded for reference also - so that everybody's
point of view will be duly recorded and duly taken into consideration in the course of the
coming year.
So the main thing is that people should say what they think on the different topics that we
raise; give their own opinions, impressions, experience, but without trying to discuss
anything, with everybody participating as it were in the discussion of every point raised. That
would take us several months rather than several days.
So, as you see, or as you will have seen from the programme in the latest issue of Shabda,
this session is devoted to the functioning of the Order, and we are going to talk about Shabda,
about finances as regards the Order, the legal situation, and we're going to receive reports
from the various Order officers. It has also been suggested that, before we go into all that, I
should say a few words on the relationship between the FWBO and the WBO, because
sometimes one finds that isn't altogether clear in the minds even of all Order members. So
perhaps it should be made clear yet again that the Order, the Western Buddhist Order, is a
purely spiritual body. The Order is, of course, made up of the upasakas, upasikas, maha-
upasakas, maha-upasikas and so on; no doubt there will be other ordinations in the future.
And this Western Buddhist Order is a purely spiritual body, having no legal existence.
The FWBO, or rather the FWBOs, because we should really speak about them in the plural,
are the different legal bodies - I'm speaking now of the full autonomous FWBO Centres - but
these are the bodies through which those Order members who are engaged in teaching work
function and operate. But these two are quite distinct, even though the same people in some
cases may be involved in both. The Order, the spiritual body; and the various FWBOs, the
legal entities, the structures, the set-ups, the organisations, through which different groups of
Order members function both to make the Buddha's teaching and their own distinctive
approach by meditation, by study, retreats and so on, available to as many people as possible,
both in this country and other countries as well.
Is there any question anyone would like to ask about this, or is there anything not quite clear
about the relationship between the Order on the one hand and the FWBO on the other?
Tomorrow, incidentally, we'll be discussing the relationship between the individual Order
member and his particular FWBO, if any; but today's discussion, if any, should be on the
general relationship between the two. Is this clear or has this been clear, or not to everybody,
about the Order and the FWBO? (Silence.)
All right, let's go on then, to Shabda. I believe a report has come in from Suvratta about
Shabda, he having been the editor for quite a few months until Sanghamitta took over.
__________: He didn't really have anything to .......... editor, but he said he thought thought
should be given to the editor, .............
Sanghamitta: ............ the information officer .......... ............................ (mainly inaudible
due to aircraft noise) ........... Any improvement .......... purely ........... and the time factor.
And communication .......... I mentioned the time factor. The last time ............, taking over,
but ............. it only just fitted in because it meant hours and hours of retyping; so if anyone
concerned with paper and that .......... try and keep it looking a little bit smarter ...... This is
......... the possibility of one or two people putting photographs in ........ In fact, it seems
highly improbable that we shall get our ........
S: With regard to this question of photographs, when I showed the slides of the New Zealand
Order members, quite a number of people did mention that it made them feel that they were
much more in contact with the New Zealand Order members, and some New Zealand Order
members have expressed a wish to know what the Order members in England and elsewhere
looked like. But if it could be done, if it is technically possible or feasible, it would be a good
thing, I think, from time to time at least.
Ananda: There's actually no basic reason why we couldn't give quite a good quality. ...........
Sanghamitta: Oh well, ...........
Siddhiratna: But is it really necessary? We've got the Newsletter performing the same
function ....... Newsletter one after that was in Shabda ......... duplicated. I could see that
happening, especially with Mitrata as well.
S: What I'm thinking is that if it's a question of photographs of individual Order members,
possibly with a little biographical note, this might be more appropriate for Shabda than for
the Newsletter. In the Newsletter it's OK to have a photograph of an activity, a retreat, but I
think photographs of individual Order members should be confined to Shabda. It is of
interest within the Order, but perhaps not of all that much interest outside the Order.
Sanghamitta: It would be a good idea, but ........... or could we, say, have a group at
S: I would leave it entirely to the editor's discretion. I don't think we can discuss that here.
We are quite happy to leave it to you.
Sanghamitta: And then if everybody agrees about putting Shabdas into one envelope
whenever possible or delivering them whenever possible to save the postage ................
again, but still not actually certain of how to send them abroad ........ ................... air mail, so
S: I think it would be a good idea if one copy could go by air mail to each group of Order
members -
Sanghamitta: Yes, I did that at the time.
S: One to Auckland, one to Christchurch, one to Helsinki.
Sanghamitta: Yes. I don't think the post........... but I did, when I was ............., send a copy
to the two Centres in New Zealand.
Ananda: Sanghamitta, they automatically, I think, go airmail to Europe anyway.
Sanghamitta: Oh, do they? ........... such bulk ...... We have found that we can put them in
wrappers at printed paper rate, but I'll have to wait and see whether or not............
Ratnapani: ........ to New Zealand it would take so long to go by surface mail I think it's
quite important that all the Shabdas .... go by ...
Sanghamitta: Well, they are going out there anyway, ......... I'm afraid this time - no fault of
anybody in particular - they did go ............. and ............
Lokamitra: But I think that should be our policy. They should go by the quickest possible
Vajradaka: The suggestion came up quite a long time ago - and I don't know if anything has
ever been done ...

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