The Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies

A Recognised Independent Centre of the University of Oxford

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Newsletter 1 is Out


First newsletter was sent to subscribed members. It contains information about coming events, courses and lectures.

OCBS/So-wide Newsletter.


We at the OCBS apologise to our friends for having been so uncommunicative. We hope that this will now be remedied.

Until October 2008, Geoff and Richard were running the OCBS, and indeed So-wide, virtually alone. We had many good intentions, but there was simply far more to do than we could cope with. But things are improving dramatically.

On 1 October Vesna Wallace arrived in Oxford to take up the Numata Chair of Buddhist Studies and a Professorial Fellowship at Balliol College. Richard soon stepped down as Academic Director of the OCBS, because we always envisaged that that post should be held by the Numata Professor.

At about the same time, Mark Leonard offered his services on a voluntary basis (far below the minimum wage), initially for a year. His main function, but not his only one, has been to help Geoff with the running of the new Oxford Mindfulness Centre.  There are many complicated issues concerning the building, on the grounds of the Warneford Hospital, which the Mindfulness Centre has provisionally taken over from the charity Sane.

In December we were joined by Hazel Benyon. Hazel has recently returned from 5 years of voluntary work in Mongolia, where she got to know Vesna. She has joined the So-wide staff as a full-time office worker; like Mark she is working for a pittance. We very much hope she will be able to stay.

Asaf Federman, also working for next to nothing, provided us last year with a set of three linked websites for OCBS, So-wide and the Mindfulness Centre .

Newsletter and Friends

We had many plans for using our websites, but could never find the time. First and foremost, we wanted to use them to post news of our current activities and to send a regular Newsletter to our friends. This is at last going to happen.

We propose to send out a Newsletter every two months. It will not be long, but we shall always be happy to answer questions and provide more detail.

In future we shall post the Newsletter on the So-wide site, where anyone can read it. At the same time, however, we would urge you to register via that site if you have a serious interest in our work, so that we know how to get in touch with you.

We also invite you to take a further step by enrolling as a Friend of the OCBS. If you are able to send us £100, that will make you a Friend for life. Alternatively, you can become a Friend for a year by donating £25. The advantage for you will be that we shall send you personal notice of forthcoming events and give you priority booking if appropriate. The advantage for us is all too obvious:  we desperately need the money. For the moment, the best way to pay us is by sending us a cheque (made out to the OCBS and posted to Wolfson College, Oxford OX2 6UD) if you have a sterling account; you may also send donate online with Paypal.

Forthcoming events.

On Monday 18 May at 5 pm in the Examination Schools (on Oxford High St.) Vesna Wallace will be giving her inaugural lecture as Numata Professor of Buddhist Studies. Title: “When a Buddha becomes a Mongol.” All are welcome.

There will also be events concerning Mongolia earlier in May. On Monday 4 May the head of the Mongolian Sangha, His Eminence Khambo Lama Choijamts Demberel, will give a speech as part of a day celebrating Mongolian culture; art and music will also be on display for enjoyment. Then on 6 May there will be a one-day conference on Mongolia. These events will all be held at Wolfson College.

I shall be giving my intensive introduction to Pali this summer for the fifth time. The tentative dates, soon I hope to be confirmed, are 15 – 27 August, and the venue will again be Oxford Brookes University main campus in Headington. Please inform me if you think you may be interested, and I shall supply full details. Those who enrol must promise to attend the entire course.

Other plans.

We also intend, as soon as possible, to put up a notice board on the OCBS web site with full information about all lectures, classes and other meetings concerning Buddhist studies taking place in Oxford. We hope that one feature, during the Oxford full terms, will be a regular seminar at which graduates will present and discuss their research. Since we at the office lack omniscience, the success of this venture will depend partly on co-operation from all those interested.

Remember, your comments and queries are always welcome.

Richard Gombrich


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