Page 1

International Network of Engaged Buddhists 2011 Annual Report January – December 2011

International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) Secretariat’s Office: 666 Charoen Nakhorn Road, Banglampoo Lang, Klongsan, Bangkok 10600 Siam (Thailand) Tel: (66-2) 438-9331~2, Fax: (66-2) 860-1277 Email: secretariat@inebnetwork.org Website: www.inebnetwork.org


Table of Contents

Executive Summary

2

Introduction

3

A.

Socially Engaged Buddhism

3

1. Young Bodhisattva Programme 2. Dhammayietra – Peace Walk 3. Think Sangha’s 5th Meeting and Study Tour in India 4. International Collaboration on Three Continents 5. Buddhist Economics 6. Right Livelihood Fund (RLF) 7. Buddhist Art 8. Women in Buddhism 9. Reviving Buddhism in India 10. Joint Meeting of INEB’s Executive Committee and the Advisory Council 11. Commemorating Sulak Sivaraksa’s 80th Birthday

3 5 6 7 7 9 10 12 12 13 13

B.

INEB Biannual Conference

13

C.

Media/Public Relations and Publications

15

D.

Finances

15

E.

INEB’s Future Activities 2012

17

2011 INEB Report

1


Executive Summary 2011 INEB Report The International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB), Secretariat office based in Bangkok, Thailand, presents its report for the annual year 2011. The INEB network continues to be instrumental at activating Buddhists and other like minded persons and organizations around the world as it seeks harmonious relations through raising awareness and accountability for our actions whether as individuals or organisations. INEB’s achievements in 2011 occurred at three levels: action, networking and operations as highlighted below: Action: The success and positive impact of INEB’s work depends on how issues are framed in combination with the particular method used to take action. During 2011 the Young Bodhisattva programme included three components for building future leaders and activists which were the international internship programme, a Socially Engaged Buddhist (SEB) training course and an international youth volunteer workshop. The first cross border peace walk - Dhammyietra - between Thailand and Cambodia took place. Other areas INEB focused on were Buddhist economics; convening an international Buddhist art gathering; creating a Right Livelihood Fund for socially conscious investors and sustainable development through social enterprises; discussing how to assess the needs of women in Buddhism; meeting to examine the need to revive Buddhism in India; and preparing for the climate change conference in 2012. Networking: During 2011 the network activities certainly had a positive impact strengthening the network’s ability to work effectively, as well as renewing existing relationships and forming new ones. The large network group process was guided with the meeting of INEB’s Executive Committee and Advisory Council following the biannual conference in Bodygaya, India. INEB’s regional Asian hubs are reaching out effectively within their geographical areas. One good example is that Think Sangha met for the fifth time and also conducted a study tour in India as it experienced the varied ways Buddhism is practiced there. Relationships with Western Buddhists were also strengthened during a meeting of International Collaboration on Three Continents that took place in The Netherlands. The most dynamic and far reaching networking activity was the biannual conference that took place in Bodhgaya, India, which attracted Buddhists from all traditions and other like-minded persons from thirty one countries. Operations: INEB’s leadership team provided more stability and consistent vision during 2011 that positively impacted approaches to implementing programmes. As a network organization INEB’s organizational structure is composed of Patrons, Honorary Advisors, an Advisory Committee and an Executive Committee. The Advisory and Executive Committees convene joint annual meetings. The organisational structure was revised to be more inclusive and representative of INEB’s network during the joint meeting of the Executive committee and Advisory Council in October. Specific information regarding the organisational structure is available on INEB’s website – www.inebnetwork.org. The Secretariat’s office is based in Bangkok, Thailand, where it coordinates network activities with a very small staff under the leadership of the Secretariat. Programme activities and new initiatives are guided by working groups composed of network members and partners. Their outreach and communication efforts through media/public relations and publications have also expanded its scope and effectiveness. Report Content – The report describes activities in the areas of Socially Engaged Buddhism, INEB Biannual Conference and Media/Public Relations and Publications – Seeds of Peace that were undertaken by INEB and its partners. It also includes information about finances and future activities in 2012. 2011 INEB Report

2


2011 INEB Report This is the final report for the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) for the year 2011 beginning in January and ending in December. The report summarises INEB’s activities in the following areas: A. B. C. D. E.

Socially Engaged Buddhism INEB Biannual Conference Media/Public Relations and Publications – Seeds of Peace Finances INEB’s Future Activities 2012

These areas form INEB’s organizational operating structure. The heart of socially engaged Buddhism is founded in integrating Buddhism and social activism; INEB uses the media, public relations and its publications to increase its visibility and access to an ever-expanding audience which also continually expands the network. These means are also used to disseminate information rapidly. INEB’s biannual international conference is the primary means of supporting its circle of kalanaymitra through strengthening long standing friendships and forming new ones. INEB’s financial support makes the programme activities possible. INEB’s future vision is reflected in the far reaching scope of its programme activities. Some of its future activities are shown in Section E. Each activity area includes specific information by project or programme and some outcomes that took place in 2011, as well as future plans where indicated. A. Socially Engaged Buddhism The activities under Socially Engaged Buddhism focus on integrating Buddhism and social activism using various approaches described below: 1. Young Bodhisattva Programme – The Young Bodhisattva Programme is essential for nurturing the future generation of potential leaders who are community workers or otherwise involved in social activism. The persons who participate in these activities are responding to the prevailing situation in their countries such as poverty, political oppression, ethnic discrimination and violent conflict. The goals of the programme are to: Increase understanding and knowledge of structural suffering in Asia Support the role young people at the community level in alternative development Find inspiration and resources from Asian culture to support the work in home communities Foster cooperation and opportunities for kalayanamitra among young Asian activists Each of the three activities conducted in 2011 used a unique approach to accomplish the goals. INEB’s Internship Programme: Youth Exchange for Peace and Social Innovation This is the fourth year that INEB and its partners from four different countries have exchanged their members/volunteers as part of an organic learning process for bringing about individual and social change. In 2011, the fifth batch consisted of 7 persons (4 males and 3 females) from 5 counties: Burma - 2; Indonesia - 2; Thailand - 1; Bhutan - 1; and Cambodia - 1. The programme has been extended for 2011 INEB Report

3


three more years and has new partners including the Sewalanka Foundation, Sri Lanka; Young Buddhist Society (YBS), India; Buddhist Youth Empowerment (BYE), Myanmar/Burma; and Buddhism for Development Project (BDP), Laos. Socially Engaged Buddhist (SEB) Training Course was offered in July to nineteen (19) participants through its youth internship programme. They represented Deer Park Institute (India), Khmer Youth Association – KYA (Cambodia), Dharmajala (Indonesia), Spirit in Education Movement – SEM (Thailand), Buddhist Youth Empowerment Program – BYE (Myanmar) and Buddhist Missionary Society (Malaysia). Participants of Socially Engaged Buddhist Course with Ajarn Sulak.

The five day training course took place from 24 – 31 July 2011, in Thailand, included field trips to visit engaged Buddhist leaders, alternative communities and social enterprises. The course curriculum included: an introduction to the concept and practice of socially engaged Buddhism; meditation practice and social analysis; deep ecology; and sustainable Buddhist economics. The course outcomes included developing new skills and designing future plans both as individuals and for the organisations they represented. International Youth Volunteer Gathering INEB’s International Youth Volunteer Workshop was conducted October 20 – 24, 2011, in Bodhgaya, India. The five day intensive was a pre-conference workshop held before INEB’s biannual conference. The workshop that was framed around the key topic of Buddhist Social Analysis that was facilitated by two women from Thailand. Facilitation focused on building trust among the group while at the same time encouraging personal reflection and practice in order to stimulate a personal growth experience. The workshop goals were to: build upon INEB’s commitment to Buddhist youth empowerment reach youth within the partner network beyond existing programmes provide opportunities for those from smaller or less well networked organizations. Youth from INEB’s network of partner organizations throughout the Asian region were invited to join the workshop with the aim of building the spirit of kalyanamitra (good friends) across the region that will plant seeds for its next generation. The total number of participants was 32 persons from 10 countries, with just under half being (13) females. Five ordained monks and nuns attended, that represented the Theravada, Mahayana and Varjrayana schools of Buddhism. Indian participants made up the largest country group. This was the first regional and international workshop experience for many of the participants, especially the Indian participants. The workshop design included the following three elements: process, task/content and relationship which are described below: 2011 INEB Report

4


Process: The learning process took place through participatory group work. Task/content: The workshop’s learning experience used Buddhism as an educational tool for understanding society. The Four Noble Truths and Johan Galtung’s theory on the three categories of violence (direct, structural and cultural) supported their analysis. Relationship: Building kalyanamitra (good friends) among the participants Key Learning Outcomes included: Buddhism as a tool, a framework to deeply understand the issues we face and the world around us. Respecting each others’ diverse experiences and appreciating commonalities Kalyanamitra: Creating a circle of good friends, spiritual friendships Participatory learning as a key tool for transformation Beyond the Workshop The youth made major contributions to INEB’s conference by supporting the organisers with conference logistics and general operations. Many speakers openly recognised their contributions, as well as the positive energy and enthusiasm that they would bring to future projects. 2. Dhammayietra – Peace Walk The Dhammayietra between approximately 500 persons from Cambodia and Thailand successfully took place in the bordering provinces of Sakaeo, Thailand, and Banteay Meanchey, Cambodia, from 15 to 18 May. On the auspicious day of Visakha Bucha (commemorating the birth, enlightenment, and passing away of the Buddha), of the 200 persons from Cambodia, twenty two (22) crossed the border and joined the group of Thai’s, foreigners, and ordained monks and nuns at the Thai border town of Aranyaprathet. The implementing organizations representing peace and development organizations from Thailand and Cambodia were: the Spirit in Education Movement (SEM), on behalf of Thai Civil Society for Peace and Reconciliation Coalition, and the Joint Committee for Khmer-Thai People Relationship Building. The Thai Health Fund and CCFD supported the Dhammayietra. This Dhammayietra continued the tradition of walking for peace that was initiated by the Venerable Maha Ghosananda in the early 1990’s following Cambodia’s devastating civil war. This Dhammayietra aims to be a catalyst for bringing Thai and Khmer people together and building relationships of solidarity. On a wider scale, the walk demonstrated the people’s desire for a peaceful solution to the border issue that was informed by shared dhammic teachings, rather than through political channels, which have thus far escalated violence and nationalistic rhetoric. The participants and persons who witnessed the Dhammayietra strongly affirmed that a people-led process is the best way forward in order to ensure that humanitarian values, shared culture and long-standing relationships among the people are prioritised as means to reduce violence rhetoric find a common solution to the border issue. The ceremony that took place on the middle of the bridge spanning the two countries symbolized the commitment to ongoing peace efforts between them. Media coverage in Thailand’s major daily newspapers and television stations also ensured that the message of peace reached a wider public, offering an important counter-perspective to the polemic political debates which have dominated all discussion on the border. 2011 INEB Report

5


The participating organizations agreed that the Dhammayietra was a starting point to diffuse the border situation. It was considered to be very successful as an initial activity for connecting peace organizations on both sides of the border, and building a commitment among them to ensure that the positive energy and synergistic relationships formed by the Dhammayietra are maintained and strengthened by further actions. INEB’s partners on both sides of the border are coordinating the planning for the 2012 Dhammayietra at a new location along the Thai/Cambodia border.

Crossing borders - walking for peace.

3. Think Sangha’s 5th Meeting and Study Tour in India In March, members of Think Sangha went on a two week study tour to explore Buddhism at various locations in India. The group of fourteen persons (14) represented India, Thailand, Australia, Japan, Burma, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and the U.S. The itinerary included visiting slum settlements in Mumbai, Nagpur (Nagaloka), Bir (Deer Park Institute), Tibetan monasteries, Dharmasala and Dongyu Gatsal Ling which is an inspiring nunnery run by Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo. Alan Senauke reflections describe the group’s shared experiences: “In the course of investigating Indian Buddhism we found there are really many Buddhisms in this country. By far the largest numbers are Dalit/Ambedkarite Buddhists, including our TBMSG (Trailokya Bauddha Mahasangha Sahayaka Gana) friends in Maharastra. There are exiled Tibetans in the north and south, other Himalayan groups practicing in the Tibetan tradition, Goenka-based vipassana practitioners, the Young Buddhist Society in Uttar Pradesh, the Mahabodhi Society, middle class Buddhists in Mumbai, Delhi, and Chennai, and on and on. Such diversity, which is the nature of Indian society, is invigorating. Difference here is not so much in dharma practice itself, but in beliefs and social factors: caste, gender, culture, poverty and wealth (hence access to resources), lay/monastic, etc. In each place, one or more of these factors is foremost.” He felt that the Think Sangha group “did not come to conclusions. We do, however, wish to be allies to our Indian friends. To listen to them, advocate for them, find practice resources they can make use of, and skillfully offer what we understand from our own lives and practice.” “But there was more to this journey than just talk. Most days we had time to take walks, drink milk tea, hang out, laugh, and simply be friends — letting new friendships take roots and old ones ripen. This is the basis of Think Sangha — kalyanamitra. Real friendship grounded in shared dharma, unhindered by nationality, Buddhist tradition, or chronological age.”

2011 INEB Report

6


4. International Collaboration on Three Continents Hosted by the Naropa Institute, Cadzand, the Netherlands On 18-19 June 2011, the European Buddhist Union’s committee on ‘Buddhism and Society’ organised an informal networking weekend hosted by the Naropa Institute in Cadzand, the Netherlands. Socially engaged Buddhist networks from the United States, Asia and Europe were also represented. Approximately fifteen (15) persons participated in the weekend meetings. The purpose of the brainstorming weekend was:  to share ideas on how Buddhism can contribute to a better world  to evaluate the links between Buddhist practice and social engagement  to encourage communication and support among existing Buddhist initiatives worldwide The participants came to the following conclusions and actions to be taken: 

To set up a directory and network, a type of World Forum for Socially Engaged Buddhism, to facilitate global communication and cooperation. The participants identified a strong need to share ideas and methods through informal networks via mailing groups and constructing websites where existing initiatives, ideas and literature are easily accessible. A first step was identified to organize a European symposium on Socially Engaged Buddhism in the near future (Summer 2013). This will be the third in a series of major conferences on the topic, following a symposium on engaged Buddhism in the United States (August 2010 in Montague, Massachusetts, USA) and INEB’s conference on ‘The Future of Buddhism: from Personal Awakening to Global Transformation’ that was held in Bodhgaya, India, October 2011. The proposed European symposium will highlight ongoing activities of engaged Buddhist initiatives. The participants will invite all Buddhist organizations to reflect on existing or potential initiatives within their own communities. National Buddhist Unions in Europe might also consider appointing a national coordinator to gather information on local projects within their countries, and share it with the international network. It is important that individual Buddhists and Buddhist organizations take a much more active role in responding to the ecological and social challenges that threaten our planet and its inhabitants. We also welcome the various kinds of support for: sharing ideas, being informed about socially engaged projects, promoting such projects, administrative support, help constructing and maintaining a website, links to existing websites and social networking communities, etc.

5. Buddhist Economics Rethinking Property Workshop - INEB collaborated with the School for Well Being to convene a workshop on Rethinking Property: A pathway towards a well-being society scenario? on 25 – 27 August at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. Approximately 110 participants attended representing 10 countries. Rethinking Property small group discussions. 2011 INEB Report

7


The strategic approach of a consensus-building process was used that recognized protecting the environment and human security (e.g., food security, civilization security) as common ground between the three basic stakeholders. The basic stakeholders as equal partners were: 1. Governments and inter-governmental bodies 2. The business sector 3. Civil society: NGO’s, peoples’ organizations, independent thinkers, educators and activists, religious organizations and ethics-based movements, (extended) families, communities, etc. The workshop’s aim was to stimulate the transition of public policies geared by un-specified ‘economic growth’ towards a well-being-driven, sustainable, just and participatory development. This included a focus on food security (and food quality) as the basic determinant of well-being, quality of life and social security in its multiple dimensions. INEB Conference workshops on October 27 and 29 – At the historic INEB conference in Bodhgaya, India, which is the place where the Buddha attained enlightenment, concrete progress was presented by launching the Right Livelihood Fund, a realization of the Buddhist approach to ‘social investment’ discussed in Chiang Mai Thailand in 2009. In addition to this important practical step forwards a Buddhist Economics workshop was held during two afternoon sessions on October 27 and 29. The first session was entitled Exploring the Buddhist Economics Landscape and the second session was entitled Analysis and the Way Forward. Four individual presentations were given that included the topics of: Overview of New Academic Insights and Emerging Networks by Professor Apichai Puntasen; Buddhist Economics and Gross National Happiness by Soi Sian Pek Dorji; A ‘Turning Point’ in Japan by Professor Jun Nishikawa; and Buddhist Economics: A New Perspective on ‘Development’ Professor Hisashi Nakamura. A total of approximately forty persons attended the two sessions. The Niwano Peace Foundation supported the workshop as an opportunity for active learning and exchange by key people. Purpose of the workshop was to: Conceptualize and initiate a long term cooperative INEB network facilitating ‘Buddhist Economics’ initiatives and exchanges of insights, experiences and analysis. Develop an action-research framework with Buddhist characteristics to clarify, strengthen and promote ‘Buddhist Economics’ as a creative “player” within o multi-cultural o intra-disciplinary o inter-religious and o multi-sector dynamics (business sector, governments and civil society) Explore how new insights can be gathered and made available as training programmes, coaching services, action-research assistance. To shape exchanges with groups dedicated to Buddhist economics-on-the ground: as discussed in the INEB conference workshops on organic agriculture and green marketing, right livelihood social enterprises, empowerment of marginalized groups, and waste management, etc., as well as conceptual exchanges with the Buddhism and Climate Change initiative regarding the upcoming Rio 20+ discussion on the “Green Economy”. To co-create a common support network.

2011 INEB Report

8


Post Conference Progress Following the conference gradual progress is being made on developing an INEB strategic plan on Buddhist Economics. A plan may be presented at the INEB Executive Committee meeting hosted in Japan, 6 – 10 November 2012. The strategic plan may be comprised of three elements: Generating innovative knowledge and wisdom – enlivening the academic network Operationalising the Right Livelihood Fund and nurturing it as an action-research platform: exchange of experiences Campaigning and expressing critical analysis; advocacy for transformation The network will be proposed to the joint meeting of INEB’s Executive Committee and Advisory Council in Japan in November 2012 which will take incorporate input from activities during the coming year (e.g., David Loy; Bhutan UN meetings; Rio+20 etc.). On 3 January 2012, Dharmachari Vajraketu (Triratna Buddhist Community, UK), founder and managing director of Windhorse: Evolution – a successful Buddhist enterprise, was in Bangkok and shared his rich experiences with the pioneers of the Right Livelihood Fund initiative regarding conducting business with mindfulness. Public Lectures in March 2012 – The well known author, Buddhist scholar and philosopher, David Loy, will give public lectures and workshops in Bangkok on topics that include Buddhist economics, as well as launch the Thai language version of his book Money, Sex, War, Karma. The Right Livelihood Fund is presented separately in item 6 below. 6. Right Livelihood Fund (RLF) The Right Livelihood Fund where social enterprises can be created based on right livelihood principles emerged from a working group that convened in July at INEB’s Bangkok office. Members of the working group were from India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Europe and the United States. The RLF principles are founded on the four noble truths in Buddhism and form the ethnical basis for the social enterprises. These social enterprises will provide an alternative for making mindful choices about how to use any financial surplus. Ideally, it will connect individuals and organizations that follow the fund’s principles by providing ethical entrepreneurs with the resources and services needed to address specific social and environment issues through self-financing business models and will give investors the opportunity to use their resources to generate ever-expanding social and environmental returns. Since the fund is an international initiative it will draw on a network of global partners that will help identify ethnical investors and ethical entrepreneurs in the country where they are based. The global partners will conduct site visits and due diligence processes to ensure that the entrepreneurs’ business plans adhere to the RLF principles. The global partner will also work with the entrepreneur to define terms, conditions and an exit strategy for the proposed investment. The investment committee will decide which proposals are accepted or rejected. Ultimately, the RLF will offer a unique hybrid financial investment model that incorporates the sustainability benefits of investing in self-financing ethical enterprises and the flexibility benefits of not promising financial dividends to ethnical investors. There would be no restrictions on who is allowed to invest. 2011 INEB Report

9


The RLF was launched on October 29, 2011, at INEB’s annual conference in Bodhgaya, India, before an audience of more 250 persons. Before the end of 2011 a strategic plan was developed for 2012, and a part-time interim coordinator was appointed who will help launch the RLF in the United States in 2012. The strategic plan will be shared at the January 2012 RLF meeting in Bangkok. Approximately 10 project proposals have been received to date. 7. Buddhist Art INEB’s focus on raising awareness of Buddhist art, technique and cultural traditions through bringing Asian artists together in activities where they can learn and create new work together is described in this section. Pilgrimage to the Roots of Our Heritage 2011 International Buddhist Art Gathering INEB invited a diverse array of Asian artists to Wat Thai Buddhagaya for the 2011 International Buddhist Art Gathering that was held 19-25 October 2011 in Bodhgaya, India. Entitled “Pilgrimage to the Roots of Our Heritage”, the event drew thirty-two artists from Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, China, India, Burma, Sri Lanka and the US to work together and share their ideas in the place where the Buddha attained enlightenment.

The Arts Gathering was inspired by two previous exchanges between Thai and Sri Lankan artists in 2007 and 2009. These workshops were so successful, that the timing and location of INEB’s bi-annual conference provided the best opportunity to hold an international Buddhist arts gathering.

At the 2009 INEB conference in Thailand, it was decided to expand the Sri Lanka-Thailand art collaboration to include other Buddhist countries and the idea of the ‘Buddhist Art Gathering 2011’ at Bodhgaya, India, was born. An organizing committee consisting of representatives from six Buddhist organisations and art institutions around the world was formed to conceptualise and coordinate the Gathering. The primary purpose of the Gathering was to rediscover historic roots and relationships and to promote exchange between Buddhist artists from different countries. The gathering facilitated artists to: Explore and discuss the history of their shared visual culture Visit ancient heritage sites Share their own work, ideas and experiences with other artists Exchange notes on contemporary artistic challenges Transfer and learn techniques and skills through collaboration and dialogue Enhance their own work as individuals Create collaborative artworks Exhibit their works internationally

2011 INEB Report

10


The artists brought a rich and diverse expertise in various mediums. Many of the artists brought finished works they donated to INEB, while others created works in response to the Buddhist theme and their experiences in Bodhgaya. Forty two (42) works of art represented the newly created work, as well as those that were donated. The various mediums of the works included acrylic and gold and silver leaf, mixed media, photographic prints, charcoal crayon, lacquer, water colors, and ink. The work’s subjects varied and some were collaborations of as many as four artists.

Charcoal drawing inspired by music played on traditional instruments.

Each evening, three to five artists shared information about themselves and presented their work in the temple’s dining hall. These presentations were attended by INEB, conference organizers and sponsors, participants from the International Youth Volunteer Workshop, and friends in the community. Presentations ranged from live drawing accompanied by musical instruments, to projected video and slide-shows, to work showing created at the gathering.

The works were exhibited in the Main Hall of Wat Pa Buddhagaya during the first two days of INEB’s biannual conference. They then traveled to New York City for a benefit auction and gala at Tibet House on November 19, 2011. Proceeds from this event will benefit INEB programs and future arts gatherings. INEB Buddhist Art Gala, Exhibition and Silent Auction November 19, 2011 INEB’s Buddhist Art Gala, Exhibition and Silent Auction was the result of the international exhibition planned for the Buddhist art that was created during the International Buddhist Art Gathering that took place from 19-25 October in Bodhgaya, India. The event was held at Tibet House in New York City on November 19, where the international art exhibit could have broader exposure to an American audience and increase awareness and appreciation of Buddhist art. The Gala and Silent Auction were made possible because of many persons involvement. Pre-Gala Preparation The primary intent of INEB’s Art Exhibition at Tibet House was to auction the artworks created during the INEB artists’ gathering in Bodhgaya, as well as to provide a venue where socially engage Buddhism could be presented. Initial collaboration among the INEB members began in late April 2011, and continued into the days leading up to the November 19th event. Exposure for the Gala was made possible through print media with press releases, posters and brochures; and through the internet: Tibet House’s webpage; INEB’s NYC Gala website - http://www.inebnycgala.org; INEB’s Facebook Gala - www.facebook.com/inebnycgala. Gala Activities Ultimately the event hosted 120 people, including American supporters of Buddhist thought, fourteen (14) Venerables from the Sri Lankan New Jersey Vihara, academics from major NYC metropolitan universities, and the renowned Burmese Saffron Robe monks from Brooklyn. A few American artists who had not participated in the Bodhgaya gathering were invited to display their

2011 INEB Report

11


work alongside the Asian artists. Altogether approximately 34 artists displayed their works on the walls of the Tibet House Gallery for all to enjoy. The Gala featured Thai dancers who performed a traditional twenty minute temple piece to start the Gala and traditional Asian instruments played throughout the evening. Appetizers from the Thai restaurant Papaya Thai in Norwalk, Connecticut, and Sri Lankan food samples from Banana Leaf restaurant in Staten Island were circulated throughout the evening. Donations from the Richard Gere Foundation, and 106 pieces of handcrafted jewelry from Fashion Muse in Bangkok were on display for purchase. Thai handcrafted soap carvings, purchased from a family in Bangkok who had suffered major income loss due to the summer floods in Thailand, were given out as favors to attendees.

Traditional Thai dancers performing at the Gala.

Sulak Sivaraksa gave an inspiring speech to the crowd that captured the zeitgeist of modern day economic and social ailments. Ajarn Sulak encouraged the youth to mobilize and attempt to change those institutional paradigms that have contributed to the comprehensive malaise that is spreading globally. All available copies of his book, The Wisdom of Sustainability were signed and sold. Following Ajarn’s inspiring speech was a synopsis of the Bodhgaya Art Gathering given by Harsha Navaratne. INEB’s future plans regarding Buddhist art include: producing a Buddhist Art Catalogue in 2012; and plans to hold another Buddhist Art Gathering in 2013, as well as smaller arts gatherings in India, Sri Lanka, Laos and Thailand in the interim period. 8. Women in Buddhism The French development NGO Comite Catholique Contre la Faim et Pour Developpment (CCFD) is interested in supporting a joint project with INEB regarding women across faith traditions. The project intends to connect INEB and CCFD’s strategic partners who are committed to promoting women through participatory and empowering processes that build social and spiritual values of diverse, faith-inspired women across the Asian region. It would be the first encounter for these women to share experiences, lessons learned, and through a process of reflection, and create a needs assessment. This interfaith collaboration that is expected to begin in 2012 will focus on empowering women across faith traditions using a more inclusive and broad-based approach to religion and ‘spirituality’. 9. Reviving Buddhism in India During 2011 the INEB Secretariat met with several INEB partners and other Buddhist organizations that are either based in India or working there to examine the nature of Buddhism in India. As a result of these meetings INEB will convene a meeting in January 2012 to begin brainstorming the possibility of reviving Buddhism in India.

2011 INEB Report

12


10. Joint Meeting of INEB’s Executive Committee and the Advisory Council A joint meeting of INEB’s Executive Committee and Advisory Council was held on October 30, 2011, in Bodhdaya, India, which was the day immediately following INEB’s bi-annual conference. The meeting was well attended and included some observers and invited guests. The main items on the agenda which were addressed included: Impressions of the conference Nominating persons to INEB’s organization structure – Patrons, the Advisory Board, the Executive Committee, as well as establishing a new group entitled the Honorary Advisors Reporting on INEB’s policies and programme activities and finances during 2011 Future planning by project area Regional updates from partners After returning to Bangkok, the Secretariat began taking the necessary steps following the meeting such as sending invitations to persons nominated, proposal writing, preparing the conference report, etc. The organization structure fill be officially updated in 2012 after the nominees are confirmed. 11. Commemorating Sulak Sivaraksa’s 80th Birthday Late in 2011 a project was initiated to support Ajahn Sulak’s new autobiography entitled My Journey as an Engaged Buddhist. This project is timed to celebrate his 80th birthday in 2013 by the publication of the new book. Matteo Pistono will be collaborating on the book by conducting interviews and research on A. Sulak’s behalf. Pistono will help to draw out the detail of his sixty years of activism, his personal spiritual practice and contemplations in addition to his successes and disappointments. A particular focus will be Sulak’s personal connections and work with global Buddhists leaders, scholars and academics. It will be a journey into the roots of his personal suffering, as well as societal suffering and the practical solutions to uproot its causes. B. INEB Conference In 2011, INEB’s biannual conference held in Bodhgaya, India, from October 26 – 29, 2011, was attended by 250 persons from 31 countries. This included a large representation from India, the home of a growing Buddhist movement that has sprung from the humanist work of B. R Ambedkar, one of the founders of independent India. The conference theme was the Future of Buddhism: From Personal Awakening to Global Transformation. Two international pre-conference workshops were also held in conjunction with the conference: International Buddhist Art Gathering with 32 participating artists and the International Volunteer Youth Workshop with 32 participants.

2011 INEB Report

Speakers in the 29 October morning plenary session: Sangha for the Future

13


The conference organisers were – INEB, Jambuvipa Trust, Young Buddhist Society (YBS) and the Deer Park Institute with help from Amanda Kiessel at Sewalanka. Sponsors for the conference and pre-conference Buddhist art and youth gatherings and the workshops on Buddhist Economics included Wat Pa- Buddhagaya, Wat Thai Bodhgaya, the Cambodia temple, Bodhgaya, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Sewalanka Foundation, Niwano Peace Foundation, Buddhist Solidarity for Reform (BSR), Khyentse Foundation, Jungto Foundation, Incredible!ndia - Ministry of Tourism, India, Venerable Chao-hwei Shih - Hong Shih Buddhist College and the SathirakosesNagapradeepa Foundation (SNF). The conference events covered a spectrum of experiences that were spiritual, intellectual, relational, practical, informational and celebrational in nature. The conference theme on the Future of Buddhism was based on a shared understanding of engaged Buddhism's perspective of critical engagement through awareness of structural and cultural violence and its causes, as well as deepening personal engagement with Buddhism through practicing the precepts and understanding of the four noble truths. The diverse participants who attended the conference (from 31 countries) illustrated the strong spirit of non-sectarian Buddhism that INEB embodies. Buddhist traditions practiced across Asia and beyond were represented, and the conference setting was conducive for nurturing the network of relationships grounded in Buddhist teachings, while respecting differing traditions. Many participants were long-time INEB members and from INEB partner organisations, as well as a very strong representation of youth. Their participation was encouraged by the pre-conference Youth Volunteer Workshop which brought 32 youth from the Asian region. They brought enthusiasm and the commitment to carry INEB’s work into the future. They were also encouraged by the values of sharing and building kalyanamitra that are embedded within INEB, and which opened many opportunities to dialogue, listen and develop lasting relationships with experienced activists across the network. The conference setting along with the atmosphere created through kalyanamitra supported people to get to know one another through deep dialogue, and a strong sense of community emerged among the participants. Meal times were always convivial as people were able to develop real connections that were not mediated by technology. Morning sessions were well attended, and during the smaller breakaway workshops strong group cohesion developed through the less formal and more personal sharing that could take place. The overall setting of Bodhgaya also stimulated people to join together in exploring, contemplating and sharing at the site of the Buddha's enlightenment. The conference provided participants with the space for dialogue and developing connections, along with strengthening, revitalizing and inspiring them at a time of great social challenges. More importantly, it provided the opportunity for gathering resources and the knowledge to move forward as individuals and as organizations with a clearer understanding of engaged Buddhist approaches needed to meet these challenges. The space for dialogue and sharing also supported groups from marginalized areas who were able to utilize the conference as a platform for open dialogue. This was especially relevant for the participants from countries such as Myanmar, who were able to meet and share among themselves in a way that is not possible in their country. The conference also provided opportunities for them to explore and expand connections of solidarity, learning and exchange.

2011 INEB Report

14


The conference was extremely successful as it resulted in strengthening INEB through the connections and relationships developed among the network and beyond. For INEB’s organizational arm, its working groups and partners also were inspired to address many issues more deeply that were explored over the course of the conference. They will hold the responsibility for follow up and to move forward on the key themes that were discussed and their outcomes. Candlelight dedication at the Maha Bodhi Temple.

C. Media/Public Relations and Publications INEB maximizes its capacity to communicate effectively to the network through its website where all of its current activities are announced, as well as those of its members and partner organizations. It also has a Facebook site. In addition to the internet, INEB publishes the Seeds of Peace regularly. Media - During 2011 INEB’s exposure has increased through its Facebook site (http://www.facebook.com/INEB.BuddhistNetwork) and expanded internet website (http://wwwinebnetwork.org). INEB now has 3,235 friends on Facebook. During 2011 the website was heavily used by persons who were interested in attending the biannual conference. The website has been visited a total of 13,625 times between January 1 and December 31 with an average of 37.3 visits per day and individuals spend an average of 3.41 minutes in the website. The majority of visits - 57.32% - were made by new visitors to the site. Publications - The Seeds of Peace (SOP) is published three times annually, 1,500 copies are printed of which 543 copies of each edition are mailed. The mailing includes organizations and persons in Asia, Europe, Oceania, Japan, the USA, Africa and the Middle East. SOP is also available online since July where interested persons can access all editions from the first edition in April 1985. Since subscribers slowly increased in 2011 the number printed will increase to 2,000 in 2012 which reflects how the network is expanding, as well as interest in the issues which are included in the SOP. The editions published in 2011 were:  Vol. 27, No. 1 January – April, Truth on Trial: Speaking Truth to Power  Vol. 27, No. 2 May – August, Good Hearts: Beginning of Decent Human Beings  Vol. 27, No. 3, September – December, The Future of Buddhism: From Personal Awakening to Global Transformation D. Finances The total income from grants, subscriptions for Seeds of Peace, bank interest and donations during 2011 was 8,035,561 Thai Baht or 252,215 USD. This is according to the Bangkok Bank rate of exchange posted for 30 December 2011, when the rate was 31.86 Thai Baht to one US dollar.

2011 INEB Report

15


INEB gratefully acknowledges the generous support the donors which made it possible to accomplish all the activities during the past year. The donors for INEB’s operations, networking and activities included:  Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), Norway  FK – fredskorpset Norway  Sulak Sivaraksa  Individual donors Donors for the biannual conference, pre-conference Buddhist art and youth gatherings and workshops on Buddhist economics included:  Wat Pa-Buddhagaya  Wat Thai Bodhgaya  Cambodia Temple, Bodhgaya  Niwano Peace Foundation, Japan  Indian Council for Cultural Relations, India  Incredible!ndia – Ministry of Tourism, India  Jungto Foundation, South Korea  Khyentse Foundation, Bhutan  Buddhist Solidarity for Reform, South Korea  Sewalanka Foundation, Sri Lanka  Venerable Chao-hwei Shih - Hong Shih Buddhist College, Taiwan  Sathirakoses-Nagapradeepa Foundation (SNF), Siam/Thailand Expenditures fell into three categories: Activities 87.8% (6,989,599 TB/219,385 USD); Networking and Media 4.7% (372,631 TB/11,696 USD); and Administration 7.6% (602,488 TB/18,910 USD) as shown in the chart below. INEB's 2011 Expenditures

Activities 87.8%

2011 INEB Report

Network & Media 4.7%

Administration 7.6%

16


E. INEB’s Future Activities 2012 2012 Calendar

2 January 3 January

7 January

26-27 January

9-12 February

15-19 February

24-26 February 28 February – 1 March

2 & 4 March

4-9 March 20-25 March 29-30 March

2011 INEB Report

Reviving Buddhism in India Preliminary Partners Meeting BUDDHIST ECONOMICS by Dharmachari Vajraketu Managing Director of Windhorse Evolution Triratna Buddhist Community, Cambridge, UK th SEM’s Public Lecture 18 : The Transformation of Self and World in Sangharakshita’s Approach to Engaged Buddhism by Dhammachari Lokamitra Organized by: Spirit in Education Movement (SEM), INEB, SNF & BIA Workshop “Faith-based Advocacy and the Arms Trade: Asia-Pacific Perspectives” Organized by The Gothenburg Process and the Christian Conference of Asia (INEB was invited to participate: Ven. Manjusri from Sewalanka and Somboon Chungprampree from INEB Secretariat attended) The 5th Annual GREEN FAIR & SYMPOSIUM Saturday 10 February 13.30 - Launching Towards Organic Asia (TOA) programme Panel with Dr. Sisalio Svengsuksa (ASDSP; Member of Parliament, Laos); Mrs. Tran Thi Lanh (SPERI, Vietnam); Daycha Siripatra (Khoa Kwan Foundation, Thailand) and others. Organized by: Green Market Network (Thailand), School for Wellbeing CLIMATE JUSTICE AND SUSTAINABLE FUTURES An annual event of the Meeting Rivers programme of Pipal Tree, Bangalore (India) and Dialogues en Humanité, Lyon (France) (INEB has been invited to participate: Ven. Kalupahana from Sewalanka, Prashant Varma from Deer Park Institute & INEB Secretariat) Right Livelihood Fund Workshop Right Livelihood: Green Market Organized by LOHAS BUDDHIST ECONOMICS: Presentations and dialogue with David R. Loy The Future of Buddhism: leadership, networks and Buddhist Economics Launching the Thai translation of his book Money, Sex, War, Karma. Notes for a Buddhist Revolution Organizers: INEB, School for Wellbeing and Suan Nguen Mee Ma publishers Network Development: meeting with partners (INEB Secretariat) World Day of Prayer and Action for Children (DPAC): Council meeting (INEB is on the council.) Sustainable Community Development Exchange: Partners meeting and planning.

INEB Secretariat Office Bangkok INEB Secretariat Office

Buddhadasa Indapanno Archives, Bangkok

Bangkok Christian Guest House

Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

Bangalore, India

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Singapore

nd

2 March at INEB Office, Bangkok th 4 March at Suan Mokkh, Bangkok,

Vietnam Curitiba - Paraná – Brazil INEB Office, Bangkok

17


April

28-30 May

6-10 June 20-22 June 16-27 July 28 -31 July Sept. To be announced 23-27 September 22-23 October

6-10 November

November

2011 INEB Report

Organised by INEB, supported by FK-Norway Network Development: meeting with partners (INEB Secretariat) Environment/Climate Change Ancient Traditions: Modern Solutions UWICE/WWF Religion and Environmental Workshop INEB Partners Reviving Buddhism in India: Teaching and dialogue with H.H. Dalai Lama Organised by Deer Park Institute & INEB Rio+20 Conference: EARTH SUMMIT 2012 (INEB partnership with some environmental NGOs) Socially Engaged Buddhism Course: Spirituality in Asia FK Exchange: debriefing and preparation course INEB Secretariat Buddhist Art Gathering & Workshop Environment: Inter-religious Dialogue on CLIMATE CHANGE 23-24 Excursion and Study Visit 25-27 Conference & Press Release Organized by: INEB, Sewalanka Foundation and IUCN Reviving Buddhism in India Meeting Organized by INEB & Nagaloka INEB Annual Executive Meeting and International Engaged Buddhists Forum 6-7 November: INEB Annual Executive Meeting 8-9 November: Study Tours according to the following themes: 1) nuclear power and rural development 2) suffering and illness in post-industrial society 3) Japanese Buddhism today: problems and potentials. 10 November: Public Symposium Organized by: Japan Network of Engaged Buddhists Symposium on Socially Responsible Investing: Right Livelihood Fund & Buddhist Art Gala

Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and Japan Bumthang, Bhutan

Dharamsala, India Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Bangkok Bangkok Deer Park Institute Bir, India Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Nagpur, India

Tokyo, Japan

New York City

18

Annual Report, INEB 2011  

International Network of Engaged Buddhists Annual Report 2011 January – December 2011

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you