Thursday, May 24, 2007
Retreat Centre Appeal
Caroline Sherwood, a friend of the Buddhist Hospice Trust for many years (and co-founder with Ray Wills of the Inner Work School), has written in with a recommendation of the proposed Drala Jong Retreat Centre's appeal for donations, with a view to establishing a UK Retreat Centre. The following rationale is taken from the appeal's website: "The Aro Buddhist tradition wishes to establish a permanent centre in Britain to make this rare strand of (Tibetan)Buddhism (in the Vajrayana Dzogchen tradition) more accessible to people in the (UK) home country of our lineage holders Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen." The bits in brackets are my own insertions.
I'm very happy to publish this appeal, and you can read more about the proposal at their website http://www.aroter.org/eng/organisations/drala_jong_appeal.htm. On the other hand, I told Caroline, I can't resist cocking an impertinent British snook at the idea of rewarding donors with "freebies" and "honorific titles", according to the size of their donation. This might be the sort of thing that people in the US are used to, but here in the UK it is generally regarded as a bit sleazy and "bad form". Our revered and cheesy Prime Minister had his collar felt by the "Boys in Blue" recently (i.e, was interviewed by the Police) over his possible implication in a cash-for-honours scandal, whereby donors to the ruling party's coffers were allegedly offered peerages (which means being awarded the title 'Lord' and being appointed to our glittering second chamber of unelected legislators, who wear ermine robes and tights while deciding our plebeian futures). To most people here in UK "cash for honours" was decidedly "bad form", and so - in my opinion - is the thinking behind the Drala Jong appeal. Don't let that stop you making a donation, though. You can always decline the freebie.