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Contents of Unity and Diversity - Third Order Convention 1976

by Sangharakshita

The Third Order Convention, 1976:

“Unity and Diversity in the Spiritual Life”


1 Opening Remarks and remembering those not present

1-2 The number of active Order members from 1971-1976

2 Outlining the programme for the Convention and its plenary sessions.
The symbolism of sitting in a circle

3 Report from Khema, Convenor of the Order.
Having a person working full-time totally for the Order

4 Keeping the Order registrar informed of changes of address
The possible duties of an Order Convenor

5 The Order Registrar - Keeping in touch with outlying Order members
Continuing Kalyana Mitra relationships after ordination

7 Report from the editor of ‘Shabda’

8-17 ‘Shabda’ and its purpose

8 The history of ‘Shabda’

9 Shabda’s lack of censorship

12 Using ‘Shabda’ to inform Order members of retreats etc

17 Report from the Order Master of Ceremonies

19 Working out festival dates according to the full moon
Standardised shrines for retreats?
Types of shrines appropriate to particular retreats

22 The new (‘Basic’) Threefold Puja
The suggestion of having an English translation of the Five Precepts

23 Where to place the Padmasambhava mantra in the puja?
Puja before meditation or meditation before Puja?

26 Sitting on after Puja
Puja in the morning or in the evening?

27 When to use the new Threefold Puja

28 Correct pronunciation in chanting

30 The marriage ceremony

32 The Librarian’s Report

34 Storage of Thangkas

36 Where to house the library

39 Report from the Seminar Recorder

40 An outline of the transcription process

45 Report from the Yoga Convenor

46 Why is Iyengar Yoga practised in the FWBO?

48 Report from the Treasurer

49 The FWBO supports the Order
Order ‘fees’ and ‘Mitrata’ subscriptions for 1976

57 The appointment of office bearers:
Order Convenor

58 Registrar

59 Editor of ‘Shabda’

60 Master of Ceremonies

61 Archivist and Librarian
Seminar Recorder

62 Yoga Convenor

63 The Order as the guardian of the FWBO
The FWBO in Cornwall

65 Being free to practise the Dharma
Tying more knots after coming into contact with the Dharma

69 The FWBO in Cornwall

70 Surrey, Helsinki, New Zealand, Holland,
Having representatives where there are no Order members in Europe

78 Scotland - Glasgow, Dundee, Edinburgh, Aberdeen

79 Class and Nationality
Class conditioning

80 Idealising the Working Class or Middle Class

84 Does the FWBO put off, or not attract, people from other (non White
‘European’) races?

85 The English way of doing things is not the only way!
One mustn’t underestimate the basic intelligence of people

91 The ‘bogey’ of professionalism

93 Nationality

94 Bhante’s impressions of the UK after his return from the USA in 1970
Differences between the UK and the rest of the continent of Europe

96 Political change and personal/spiritual change

97 English compromise

100 Recommendation to spend some time outside ones home country
working on Dharma activities
What is English-ness?

102 Language as an aspect of national conditioning

104 ‘Segregation’ of the sexes within the Order?

106 Having separate retreats for men and women Order members?

107 Bhante’s original assumption that the Order would be a mixed (men and women) Order and that all activities would be mixed
Are ‘the women’ missing something if they’re not where ‘the men’ are?

111 “The women are going to feel that they’re being put to one side for some time”

112 Avoiding sexual games
Practical difficulties of this Convention - not enough space for all to meet/eat/meditate together, separate accommodation, the women feeling ‘dumped’

118 Visualisation and mantra recitation practice in the Order

121 How important is it to practise one’s visualisation and mantra recitation daily?

122 When on retreat should Order members necessarily do the same meditation practice as others are doing?
The Order Metta Bhavana
Being together in the Order in spirit when physically separated

124 What is the karmic level?

126 Ensuring certain Order members are very well versed in each visualisation practice so that it can be passed on when Bhante is gone
Developing our own iconography

127 Trying to introduce the eleven headed, thousand armed Avalokiteshvara more into the Movement. As a symbol of the Order itself
The four main functions (or four great Tantric rites) of Buddhahood: To pacify; to fascinate; to mature; to destroy

129 The dedication of Sukhavati
Placing mantras and sacred texts and verses inside the Buddha image

132 Qualifications for Upasaka/Upasika ordination and Mitraship
What makes somebody ready for ordination?
137 The difference between devotion and commitment
Is it harder for women to commit themselves than men?

138 Bhaktas - devotees
Sishas - pupils or disciples

139 Can ‘young’ people be really committed? The seven year old Arahants
The difficulties of commitment when ‘older’
Meeting on a common basis of commitment, rather than of age etc., etc.

143 The phrase of Bhante’s, “If someone’s nearly ready for ordination then they’re ready”!

145 It is not an ideal to have the majority of Order members involved with organisational work of Centres
Qualifications for Mitraship

148 Are Mitras a ‘servant class’?! A wonderful opportunity to serve

149 The teacher looking after the pupil if the pupil is sick

150 Do all Mitras wish to become Order Members? Should they?
Many people are now contacting the Dharma without any knowledge of the possibility of the attainment of Enlightenment.

153 Not dampening enthusiasm
What is a Buddhist Centre?
Qualifications for being a Kalyana Mitra
Does the Kalyana Mitra relationship finish with ordination?
How long after ordination, ideally, can an Order member become a Kalyana Mitra

159 Report from the Convenor of Men Mitras
Seventy Seven Mitras worldwide in 1976

163 Avoiding the phrase ‘it has been decided’. Say who decided instead Report from the acting Convenor of Women Mitras

165 Trying to have Kalyana Mitras of the same sex
General Mitras

166 Can people who are not Mitras be ordained?
Honorary Mitras

172 The importance of having two Kalyana Mitras
Bhante’s comments on points raised in ‘Shabda’

173 The importance of remembering what it is like to be a beginner:
“Beginner’s Mind”

174 Leading communication classes

178 Taking responsibility for what one thinks and not hiding behind a group.
Using Bhante’s name to make something more acceptable

180 Keeping to the point and not discussing/disputing someone’s motive
Clear reporting of Order events in Shabda

182 Authority and authoritarianism

183 All Order members are equal in an Order meeting, irrespective of their position in any body outside the meeting, i.e. Chairman etc.; their degree of articulateness

185 Speaking one’s mind is not necessarily being authoritarian.

186 It’s impossible for one Order member to bully another
Power and authority

187 Overuse of the word ‘role’

188 “Your power should be the function of your being”

191 Bhante is the person to inform anybody that they are to be ordained

192 Vows for Order members

193 No vow is taken forever

194 Bodhisattva vows as very specific forms of the Bodhicitta
Having others witness the taking of a vow

197 ‘Degrees of ordination’ are degrees of vow - the Maha Upasaka/Upasika
The uniqueness of the original Going for Refuge

198 Mitras taking vows
Give things up ‘in innocence’, not out of guilt

199 Marriage within the context of the Order as a particular kind of vow
The Bengali ceremony to give up one’s child at the age of sixteen
Having a divorce ceremony

200 ...

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