This update may seem to be following hard on the last one but I want to keep you updated with what it happening with the MBC. Things move on.
I am waiting for details from various presenters for the Programme. It will be posted on the Website by the end of September – but expect last minute changes. This happens.
Mo, one of the new planning group members reminded us that it is not 2016 that it the 10th anniversary but 2015. 2016 is the start of a new decade of MBC work. I don’t know how many of you have been attending from the beginning but it would be interesting if those who have, could reflect on how the MBC has changed/developed over the years – what have been the good things; what has been not so good? What should be the way forward? This will be the theme of one of the afternoon discussion sessions.
In this article, I will update you on the structure of the Convention which has been slightly changed.
The next update will give a few more details on the programme.
As usual the Programme is full. Some strands have strengthened and there are new initiatives which we can hopefully develop/support over the years.
In response to people’s suggestions, we have decided to suspend the ‘Keynote’ inputs. Instead we will have three slots in the morning session that will focus on this year’s theme. These will be a mixture of presentations and facilitated discussion which will, hopefully, take us into the rest of the day. We will assemble in the Auditorium and then move into other rooms. (Of course, all this may change another year …)
The Gender strand has been strengthened in response to requests from people attending the Convention as well as to the gender challenge that the Dhamma/Dharma is facing generally. I wrote about some of these in the last update but they can never be repeated too often till there is a response to some of the issues and an intention to change. (Please do respond/challenge whatever you disagree with in anything that we write on the website.) This will be one of the opening discussions this year. Later in the day, Oxana will lead a ‘womens’ space’ with drums (quiet ones!) and shakers.
A new initiative is a group aiming to work with the Emergency and caring services. ‘Faith and Fire’ (Cumbria), who work with the Fire services is supporting this work in Manchester. The Manchester group aims to work with a wider network of services but the Fire Services will be the starting point. People from outside this Service are already involved in the group who are taking this forward. The details of this will be up to those who are interested in informing the process or supporting the group with contacts, ideas or anything that is useful. This will be presented at the ‘Faith and Fire’ slot.
We have begun to think that we should/could have smaller events under the MBC banner but held at different centres. This will keep the MBC visible and provide a space for those Buddhists who think we have things to learn from each other and would like to participate in a ‘pan-Buddhist’ forum (that also includes all people who are exploring an ethical framework within which to live). We may have two such events next year. We have already had an offer from one Centre and a provisional offer from another.
Another slot that could be mentioned is one that will look at a poignant and brave initiative taken by monks in Japan after the Fukushima nuclear power disaster. This will be facilitated by Kelvin Krikona a knowledgeable and good friend of Buddhists of all denominations.
Details of other slots will come in the next Update and will, in any case be posted on the website.
Finally a few practical points (that I will remind you of again!):
PLEASE REGISTER – especially if you plan to be at the Convention for lunch. We need this in order not to be wasteful. Also, please de-register is you subsequently decide not to come.
The Convention is organised over several months and is run entirely on voluntary time and donation but we have overheads that need to be covered. These include food, contribution for the venue, publicity, some ongoing funds to run meetings. We don’t ask for food contributions as we cannot manage the logistics of organising this for 200+ people in a confined space. We ask for Dana (donations of money) to provide this and also as a contribution to the aims of what the MBC is trying to do – ie – to develop a creative and inquiring space for Buddhists of different sasanas (schools) as well as people of different faiths or none to come together to learn and support each other. Please donate even if you are volunteering time on the day with your Centre or with organisation. This is an opportunity to practice generosity one of our basic paramitas. We would like to continue to run this event on a Dana basis. Many thanks for this.
The Katina Festival falls on the 12th of October this year so we will be missing many good friends and monks who will be busy preparing for this ceremony at their specific centres. However, we hope some will be able to attend for, at least part of the day and that other MBC events will offer opportunities for us to meet before the next Convention. Next year’s Convention will be on the 10th of October (second Saturday, as usual). I hope this doesn’t clash with the Katina festival or with events at other Centres.
Looking forward to seeing many new faces as well as meeting old friends.
Jaya – MBC co-ordinator.