Friday, January 18, 2008

Cooperation is the colour...

In early December I posted about a meeting to be held at the "Crown and Three Chairmen" in Wardour Street, Soho, this month, at which we should be informally discussing the future direction of the Buddhist Hospice Trust. The meeting did in fact take place in very convivial circumstances in the Upper Room, and adjourned after ninety minutes or so to a nearby vegetarian Thai restaurant, where further robust and creative exchanges continued for another hour or so. An excellent meeting, with exciting outcomes: all on pineapple juice and soda water (albeit at West End prices).

During 2007 the Trust's work has continued quietly, to a pattern established during the preceding fifteen years or so, of handling enquiries from people who needed advice, information and/or support in relevant spiritual straits; of encouraging dharma-practitioners to deepen their acquaintance with death through personal practice, contemplation, study and - perhaps - by engaging in activities that give scope for experiential immersion in the death of others; of staying abreast of technical, social, professional and demographic change so that the work of the Trust continues to configure, and helps to inform, the needs of the public it aims to serve; and that does so from a broadly catholic, inclusive and authentic Buddhist perspective that appeals to individuals from all traditions, alienates none, and inspires confidence and trust in its legitimacy as a Buddhist enterprise.

We have no reason to believe that we have failed in any of the above, and every reason to feel confident in the Trust's future, whatever direction the future may take it in.

I regret that we haven't been able to fulfil the commitment we made to write and circulate a Newsletter (provisionally titled Mustard Seed) to supporters. Perhaps our plans to do so were unrealistic. These plans were in part driven by the anxiety some of us felt, and some supporters voiced, about the demise of Raft. Raft did play an important part in reminding supporters of the Trust. It was a kind of umbilical link, and that has been temporarily lost.

But Raft was not the Trust, and the Trust has continued to function much as before without it, in its characteristically low-key and local way, through the efforts of its scattered volunteers and supporters.
I shall be writing to supporters (and inviting new support from Buddhist organisations in the United Kingdom and more widely) after the meeting mentioned below, so look out for that letter on your door-mat quite soon.

The trustees will be meeting formally in February at Basingstoke, and details of that meeting (including an agenda) will appear here and elsewhere before the end of January. I remind supporters (that means anyone who supports our work or the aims of our work) that you are welcome at meetings of the trustees. Although only trustees can vote on matters on which a vote is called for, supporters can speak at meetings at the invitation of the chair, and are encouraged to do so.

Oooops! I should add that, if anyone who isn't a trustee wants to attend, it will help to let me know in advance, as there is only so much room on Marcia and Bodhiprem's sofa.....

Co-operation is the colour, positivity the perfume...

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