A new message from Bhante to the Order, Madhyamaloka 1st January 2010
On 22 November 2009 I received an important letter from Dhammachari Amrutdeep, the Convener of the Indian Order Convention Team. In it he requests me, on behalf of the Indian Order members, to change the name of the Trailokya Bauddha Mahasangha as well as to give anew name to the whole Order. He points out that the term Trailokya is not understood in India outside Maharashtra, and that in order to promote the experience of unity there should be one name for the whole Order. Dhammachari Amrutdeep goes on to say that he and his fellowIndian Order members are ready to accept whatever new name I give the Order.
This letter moved me deeply, as I had been aware for some time that Indian Order members were dissatisfied with the term Trailokya and would like to change it. I was also aware that if theOrder worldwide had one name it would promote a greater sense of unity. I am therefore very much in favour of acceding to the request of the Indian Order members and changing Trailokyato something else. Outside India, of course, the Order is known as the Western Buddhist Order, but for obvious reasons I cannot meet the Indian Order member’s request for a new name for the whole Order simply by changing Trailokya to Western. Getting rid of Trailokya involvesgetting rid of Western, the use of which is in any case inappropriate not only in India but also inRussia and China and elsewhere, as some Western Order members have pointed out.
I would therefore like to change the name of the Trailokya Bauddha Mahasangha and, at the same time to change the name of the Western Buddhist Order, so that in future there will be one name for the Order in India and in the rest of the world. I would have preferred to announce the new name at the next international Order Convention to be held in India, but I do not want to keep the Indian Order members waiting for so long. What is more I cannot guarantee that I will still be around at the time of that Convention or, even if I am still around, that I will be well enough to attend it.
I hope that Western Order members will be as moved as I was by the request I received, and that they will join with me in wanting to meet the wish of the Indian Order members for a change of their own name and for a name for the whole Order. Having one name for the wholeOrder will make it clear to the world not only that we all go for Refuge to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, but that whether in the East or the West, the North or the South, we are one united Order, with a single vision and a single heart and mind.
After much deliberation, the new name for the Order that has come to me is the Triratna Buddhist Order (in Hindi, Triratna Bauddha Mahasangha), and I suggest that all Order members adopt it straight away. Since any change in the name of the Order involves a corresponding change in the names of its supporting bodies, I suggest that the chairmen and chairwomen of the various autonomous FWBO centres bring the matter to the attention of their respective councils with a view to changing their name from, for example, Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, Tooting to Friends of the Triratna Buddhist Order, Tooting.
For your information I include a copy of Dhammachari Amrutdeep’s email of 22 November 2009.
Hon. Urgen Sangharakshita.
Salutation to you and I hope you are in good health! I am writing this letter on behalf of someOM's from Pune. Recently there was a Order Gathering and a workshop for more than 45 OM's in Pune, which was lead by Subhuti.
In one of Question--Answer session This question was asked to Subhuti that we had large discussion on the issue of Changing the Name of the Order amongst all Chapter's in India and report of which was sent to U.K for further decision. But over the period of more than five years, we in India did not heard or get any feedback or information about it. So we wanted to know that is there any progress in so far in this regard? Or is it that this issue altogether has completely stopped? Subhuti replied that unfortunately it is stopped, and was difficult to come to final decision.
Then some more discussion took place in front of Subhuti and most of OM's were felt strongly that The Name of the Order must Change, for the following reasons;
1) To experience Unity of the Order there should be one Name which can represent Whole Order.
2) There is always confusion about Western and Indian Order, when we use two differentName's.
3) Though Trailokya is generally accepted in Maharashtra, yet people from other states of India find it difficult to relate as Buddhist Name.
4) Apart from India and Western Country, other parts, especially Asian countries, would find it difficult to relate as a Buddhist.
Therefore we all would like Bhante to consider our request to finalise the Name for the Order as it is most difficult to get consensus widely from all OM's from the Order.Whatever Name Bhante would suggest, we all feel happy about that. So we again would like to request that please consider this sooner and positively.
With Lots of Metta,
Coordinator of Indian Order convening Team.
Supplement To Bhante’s New Message To The Order, Madhyamaloka, 15th January 2010
My new message to the Order was sent out on 6th January 2010. It so happened that the European Chairs Assembly was then in session at Dhanakosa, so that its thirty six members were able to discuss my suggestion that the name of the Western Buddhist Order should be changed to the Triratna Buddhist Order, and the name of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order to Friends of the Triratna Buddhist Order.
The result was that on 10th January 2010 I received a letter from them. They all happily accepted the new name I had given the Order, they said. However, they felt that there were various difficulties associated with the name of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order. Having spelt out these difficulties, they went on to suggest that the name of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order should be changed not to the Friends of the Triratna Buddhist Order, but to the Triratna Buddhist Community. They had considered the matter in some depth, they assured me, bringing to bear their collective experience and care for the Movement internationally, and they would be grateful if I would seriously consider their proposal.
Since receiving the European Chair’s letter I have, as requested, given serious consideration to their proposal and have come to the conclusion that it is a very reasonable one. I am therefore withdrawing my suggestion that the name of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order be changed to Friends of the Triratna Buddhist Order and suggest instead that it should be changed to the Triratna Buddhist Community. I trust this will be acceptable to all Order members. Indian Order members should, I suggest, change ‘Sahayak Gana’ into the Hindi/Marathi equivalent of ‘community’. This will further align them with Western Order members, thus emphasising the fact that there is one Order and one Movement to which all equally belong.
An Order member has suggested that an event as significant as the Order’s change of name should be marked sometime this year with a ritual. Such a ritual, she believes, would create a greater sense of unity within the Movement. Another Order member has suggested that all website addresses and centre addresses should be changed on the same day. These are good suggestions, but I shall have to leave it to Order members to implement them as they think fit. For your information, I include a copy of the European Chairs Assembly’s letter of 10th January 2010.
We are writing to you from the European Chairs Assembly regarding the Order name change.
Like you, we are moved by the request from Indian Order members and we would very much like to have a unified name for the Order. We all happily accept the name you have given. Indeed, we also regard it as an opportunity to promote greater cohesion and unity through the name of the movement.
Much as we have loved it, we are aware of certain difficulties with the old name, Friends of theWestern Buddhist Order, difficulties that we fear might apply to the new name were it to be‘Friends of the Triratna Buddhist Order’.
Firstly, the name, comprising six words, is long and encourages the use of an abbreviation.
Secondly, we are aware that the previous acronym, FWBO, differs from language to language.
Thirdly, we are concerned that an acronym doesn’t communicate the values of our movement.
Furthermore, the convention ‘friends of’ works well in an English linguistic and cultural context, but does not have a meaningful equivalent in certain continental European languages such asGerman and Dutch.
Could we use this opportunity to choose a name less likely to be abbreviated and more likely to promote a sense of unity? The new name for the movement that we would like to propose is the“Triratna Buddhist Community”.
We like ‘Triratna’. Not only does it encapsulate our central values, it also provides a positive identifying marker for the Order and the movement. We have chosen ‘Buddhist Community’ to replace ‘friends of’ as an expression of the relationship between the movement and the Order and our emphasis on spiritual community and friendship.
We have considered this in some depth, bringing to bear our collective experience and care for our movement internationally, and we would be grateful if you would seriously consider our proposal. At the same time we want you to know that we will be happy with whatever decision you make.
Whatever the outcome, the chairmen’s assembly is committed to implementing the name change smoothly and positively at our centres.
We look forward to hearing your response.
With love and respect,
The European Chairs Assembly