Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Youth Dharma: upcoming event

In common with other Buddhist sanghas in the West, the FWBO attracted a lot of young people in the 60’s and 70’s, fewer in the 80’s and 90’s, and even fewer today. Why? Who knows – but we’d like to find out!

Sometimes the spiritual path is spoken of as starting with the experience of Dukkha, or unsatisfactoriness: we are sure that everyone experiences this and finds this painful, the young often more than the old. And sometimes the Goal is spoken of as ‘the Taste of Freedom’, again we are sure that all desire this, the young no less than their elders.

As a first step, in November this year, there’s going to be a weekend gathering of all those with an interest in this area. The weekend is open to everyone – of all levels of involvement and all ages. We’d especially like to get young people from centres along and hear what they have to say and encourage them to get involved. Please tell people at your centre about this event, and also come along yourself, even if you are no longer young! But just for the sake of clarity, the focus will be on folk in their teens through to the end of their twenties.

The aim is to create energy, confidence, inspiration, and ideas. Among other things we’ll be using Open Space Technology’ to maximise everyone’s opportunities for contributions and learning. We hope to encourage centres, retreat centres, teachers, and preceptors to have this as part of their perspective on their work.

There are big questions to be addressed: how can we create a vibrant FWBO culture that inspires young people with the Dharma? What are young people looking for? How can the Dharma touch them? And how can we create a sense of community in which teenage offspring of Buddhist parents will want to get involved?

The weekend is from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th November; the venue is ‘Bilberry Hill’, a little way outside Birmingham, UK. And the cost is £50, including food and accommodation. (If you can’t afford to pay that, please pay less.) Full details will be sent upon booking.

To book, please send a cheque for £50, payable to “FWBO” to: Lokabandhu, 25 St. Edmunds Road, Glastonbury, Somerset, BA6 9HX, UK; or contact him on
for more details.

Finally just to mention there’s a poster promoting the event, you can download it here. Please print and promote!

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Blogger Zoya said...

As a 20-year-old who first came to the FWBO at the age of 16, I would have loved to come to this event. However, I'll be in Japan in November! Anyone know if the talks will be on

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the 60s and 70s Sangharakshita was able to appeal to a lot of young people in a certain kind of way. He projected certainty, his intellect seemed dazzling, and he implied that what he had to offer was superior to other Buddhist groups in the west. This does appeal to certain types of people, particularly if they are young, insecure and disaffected, and probably with a certain amount of idealism thrown in as well.

It is not dissimilar in principle to what we see amongst some young Muslims today, though obviously the call to violence was never there.

The FWBO does not in the absence of Sangharakshita have this charismatic approach, which is a good thing.

So in questioning why young people are not so attracted to the FWBO these days, the assumption that the attraction was healthy in the first place needs to be examined.


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