|So-Wide Space Oct 2010|
|Visit of Arjia RInpoche|
|Union Catalogue of Buddhist Texts|
|A new phase for So-Wide|
Welcome to the October issue of So-Wide Space. In this issue we have a report on the recent visit of Arjia Rinpoche to the OCBS. Also, more news on the ongoing restructuring of OCBS and details of the new website which is now up and running!
There is also news on the Union Catalogue Project and the upcoming visit of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche to Oxford. This is quite a short newsletter this time as we undergo bringing in our new staff. Look out for a more comprehensive one toward the beginning of December.
Visit of Arjia Rinpoche to OCBS
On 11th October Arjia Rinpoche visited the OCBS for a talk, and question and answer session, to introduce his new book – Surviving the Dragon. In this book he tells his life story which includes being recognized by the Panchen Lama as the 20th Arjia Danpei Gyaltsen, the reincarnation of Lama Tsong Khapa's father, Lumbum Ghe, and the throne holder and abbot of Kumbum Monastery. Also, in 1998, due to the strained political climate in Tibet, Arjia Rinpoche went into exile because he would not compromise his spiritual beliefs and practices.
Rinpoche started his talk by thanking the beautiful weather and surroundings then proceeded on to give an overview of his place within Tibetan Buddhism. After this he shared some instruction on meditation which was both practical and illuminating. He then shared stories from various events in his life and went on to describe some of his current activities.
He spoke with disarming candour about various subjects including dreams and reincarnation. His sharing on the traditions of Tibetan Buddhism were very illuminating. He very clearly demonstrated the beneficial effects of a lifelong practice.
There then followed some questions around the circumstances of his going into exile which he answered with great honesty.
It was very rewarding to spend time in the presence of Arjia Rinpoche and the afternoon provided some fascinating insights into various aspects of Tibetan Buddhism.
Restructuring and new Website
Things have been all change at the OCBS. Hazel Benyon has now left our employ and we thank her greatly for the work she has put into developing OCBS. Two new members of staff are now working at the OCBS. Susan Gianni is taking over working with the Finances and Administration and Steven Egan is the new Webmaster as well as fulfilling other administrative duties.
The new term is getting under way. Our new Student Associates are being welcomed in and we are looking forward to them using the facilities of the OCBS offices as well as assisting us in developing future events.
The library is currently being catalogued and is now being opened to Students and Fellows with some positive comments already on being able to access hard to find books.
Our new upgraded website is up and running. You can visit it at www.ocbs.org . We already have various articles up and are in the process of uploading all of Richard’s available articles throughout the years! Our Fellows area on the site is soon to be produced with our Fellows having individual pages to upload their own work. Keep checking back as the website will be growing over the next few months.
The main work right now is gearing up for the visit of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche to the University in November for three weeks. We have a varied programme taking shape with a chance for Rinpoche to interact with various people and institutions throughout the University and So-Wide. Visit the Events page on the website for more details.
All in all, there is a lot going on at the OCBS right now. Thank you to all the people who are working hard to make OCBS a dynamic place.
Union Catalogue of Buddhist Texts
The literature of early Buddhism is considerable - the Pali canon, for instance, covers a fair-sized well. Then the Mahayan generated many texts, some extensive (the Avatamsaka Sutra covers 1600 pages in English). And then came the Vajrayana.
When the tradition reached new territories like China and Tibet, large volumes of Indian material were first translated, then new canons of authoritative Buddhist literature were composed in national languages. The total production is immense.
It is also under-studied. Teasing out the connections between phases and aspects of the teaching will reveal the underlying unity of the tradition — the spirit that shines through its many forms and illumines our situation today. The OCBS exists to contribute to this work.
Digitisation is important here. Once digitised, a text can be searched and analysed in ways not possible before.
Most of the key material has been digitised. But it is stored in many separate locations and forms.
We need to bring these diverse resources together. A student of the tradition should at a single stroke be able to search for uses of key terms across the entire body of Buddhist literature, from the earliest to the latest, in every language. The Union Catalogue of Buddhist Texts (UCBT) will open up that prospect.
The UCBT is a project of the International Association of Buddhist Universities (IABU). The OCBS is committed to the IABU project. The Venerable Dr Khammai Dhammasami continues to play a key role; Geoff Bamford is also closely involved.
Pravin Bhalesain represents the OCBS on the UCBT team. He is convener of the Pali group. Venerable Dhammasami is co-convenor of the UCBT Organizing Committee.
The UCBT team has completed its planning and is now moving to implement the project. A $200,000 budget is in place for Phase One.
A New Phase for So-Wide
So-Wide has entered a new phase:
¨ The OMC:
ö has secured a platform for future growth, in that:
· the POWIC building is now (at last!) in good order and the team has settled in;
· the programme of work for the NHS is running smoothly;
· various projects are launched and have built up momentum, e.g.:
§ Mindfulness in schools
§ Mindfulness in the workplace
§ Mindfulness in the treatment of Health Anxiety; so we
ö must now connect with range of partners and constituencies, of whom:
· some will naturally respond to the OMC within the So-Wide context
· others we can in the first place address more effectively in terms of straightforward mental health and wellbeing; so So-Wide
ö brought in some professional fundraisers and a plan was prepared to present the OMC’s work more widely, both in its own (contemporary psychological) terms and also in its relationship to the Buddhist tradition; and the OMC at the same time
ö formed a Development Committee of its own.
¨ So-Wide’s parallel Development Plan incorporates the OMC plan and at the same time has a strong focus on the needs of the OCBS, which:
ö is strengthening its administrative base (as you may perhaps see from the website);
ö is working with some ‘friends upon the way’, good people with a commitment to the practice of wisdom and compassion and a capacity to get things done; and
ö has entered into discussions with the Buddhist Society, with a view to exploring common interests and potential synergies.
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