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Second Order Convention 1975

by Sangharakshita

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... about it - that at the end of a pile of paper on the printing machine a number
on air mail paper be made so that maybe 10 or 20 or how many ever air mail copies are
necessary are just done with all the other copies, so in fact you get air mail Shabdas, air mail
Newsletters. And really even, if necessary, air mail Mitratas. It wouldn't be difficult to do,
just put them at the bottom or the top of the stack of ordinary paper, just working out how
many you need and make sure you do it for each of the skins ....... paper or - I don't think that
that kind of paper is any more expensive and it would certainly cut down costs greatly and
..........
__________: You'd have to check whether .............
__________: ......... you could experiment ....
S: These are all matters of detail which I think could be left to the production team.
(Sanghamitta speaking over.)
Subhuti: You said the cost was £3 per issue. Was that the total production of one issue?
__________: But in fact it's not really relevant .......... (Voices.)
Sanghamitta: The postage has varied considerably, because the last one was £19(?) ....... and
I think posting them individually each time ........... The postage ..... 29p each ...........
S: Any further points you wanted to mention?
Sanghamitta: .......... unless anybody else has any suggestions.
S: The main thing that we ought to express ourselves on is how we feel about Shabda as a
whole - whether we do feel it is fulfilling its function; if not, why not, and so on. So has
anybody got anything to say about this?
Asvajit: My impression so far is that it's been a bit woolly and a bit wordy. Many more
words have been used to say what they mean to be saying than is really necessary. Perhaps
some improvement could be made in that direction - with more people contributing but with
less words.
Sanghamitta: This is what I made a point of, though, isn't it, in an editorial about .......... and
not such long ........
Ananda: If I may say so, though, I feel that sometimes a subject needs quite a lot of words in
order to express ..... on certain topics. I don't think we should make a policy of cutting down
to the extent that people can't feel free to express themselves [on something] they feel
strongly about.
S: I think the idea was that one shouldn't expend a lot of words expressing what can really, in
fact, if one is writing more carefully, be expressed in fewer words. Not that the very complex
subjects should be dealt with superficially. I think we ought to give quite a bit of
consideration to the subject of Shabda, because it is the principal medium of communication
within the Order, especially for those who are not in personal contact with one another. I am
just wondering whether perhaps those who don't have as much contact with the Order as, say,
many other Order members do would like to say how they experience Shabda; whether it
does tell them what is going on, whether they find it useful, or whether it's dull.
__________: It's better having it than not having it.
S: Well, that's the least one could say! You'd rather have it even in its present form than not
have it at all.
__________: ...... a bit more ............... contact with the rest of the world, like to know a bit
more about people.
Sanghamitta: Again, I ................... I hope people will respond to that, because I did say it
needed a bit more ..........
__________: I also feel that it could be more personal, - to give the whole thing a more
personal note, rather than it being .... One does sometimes get the feeling that it's the organ of
an organisation, and that the views expressed in Shabda are the views of 'the Order' in
inverted commas. And I think in that way that sometimes it can be a bit messy; because you
receive Shabda, you read something in it which seems to reflect let's say a kind of a mode of
thinking, and you can't really feel with that person.
__________: Perhaps that's due to the fact that not many people as yet have put anything
............. apparently highly personal views ............. (etc.) .......... small articles ...........
Sanghamitta: .................
__________: How are you getting on with .............?
Sanghamitta: No, there hasn't been a contribution at all. But -
S: You mean just to this latest issue?
Sanghamitta: Yes.
S: When was it posted? I only saw mine when I got back. .....
Sanghamitta: Well, they ........ ..............
__________: Probably a lot of people haven't had time to go through it - I haven't.
Sanghamitta: I think also what deters people is the ....... I did announce that there were
going to be .... for the September issue .....and the reply was 'Oh well, it doesn't matter, we'll
have time after the Convention', but we did ask for contributions ....... to go on with the .......,
but I haven't ........
S: How do you feel about Shabda, Bodhisri, when you get it?
Bodhisri: We are very happy about Shabda. Everything is very interesting - doesn't concern
us very much, we find it very different. .......
Sanghamitta: It may be a small matter, but has anybody got any feelings about putting the
name of the Order member at the bottom of an article or would you rather see it at the top?
So that ......... if it's a little longer than ....... Shabda article - ........... reading it. I know it's a
small matter but it might be important for some people.
S: As a former editor of various things, I'd rather see the name at the top if it's of any length.
Sanghamitta: Yes. .......... don't have to ..... 'Who's written all this?'
__________: ...........
S: Sometimes one can!
Lokamitra: I should like to say something. I think it's becoming a very positive organ of the
Order, and it's a joy for me to read it, even though I'm in close contact. And I think it's really
........ And I think another point is that it's very important that everyone makes a point of
reading virtually every word of it; because often people who I'm meeting say, 'I didn't know
that' and it's in Shabda!
__________: .............. people have totally ignored the instructions ..... about the Convention
two months running. (?)
Ananda: I've got a slight feeling about Shabda that some people regard it as the voice of the
London aspect of the Friends, and I think -
S: The Friends?
Ananda: Sorry, of the Order - the London branch of the Order - rather than a total voice,
including all the centres. I think if we -
S: Centres? We're not discussing -
Ananda: Order members at the centres.
S: Or even at no centres. Even freelance Order members, who are not attached to centres.
Ananda: Yes - yes, people who aren't in London. I think it would be good to have a bit of
feedback in Shabda from people that are on the periphery ..... a bit more distributed.
__________: ....... peripheral ...... ?
Ananda: No, I mean purely ....... I mean you are physically on the periphery.
S: But it has been made clear from the beginning that it is open to all Order members
everywhere.
__________: It could be just a question of ..........
__________: ............. a particular point of view ....... ............... to that particular person, but
if I sit down and say, 'I'll write to Shabda', ...... there may be ........ ............... from individual
letters ..... ........................... .
S: I must say that I'd thought of doing this myself also, before I went to New Zealand, but I
...... had time since. But since then I've also thought that, inasmuch as I probably will be
settled in Norfolk for upwards of a year now without going out and about much, I'll try to give
a regular contribution to Shabda; because I know that there are various points which are still
not clear to people, and about which people are sometimes in doubt as to what I actually think
and feel. So I shall try to write a few contributions in future; especially as I feel like writing
at the moment.
Marichi: Another point I'd like to make is that I feel that it would be really useful to Shabda
if, say, ........ you felt that continuity ....... ............ if you could overcome that ...... it would be
extremely useful. Could it be a matter of .......... ...........
__________: .....................................
__________: I've written quite a few letters, but I've never posted them.
Vajradaka: There are probably quite a few Order members who are doing a particular thing
which other Order members aren't doing, and it might be useful if Order members could put
down in writing what it feels like to be doing that particular thing - like say for example,
many of us may not experience what it's like to paint thangkas; many of us may not know
what it's like to be a wandering Order member, going from Centre to Centre. Things like this.
Experiences within the context of the spiritual ...

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