Sunday, August 03, 2008

Dharma developments in Amsterdam

the unassuming front entrance to the FWBO's centre in AmsterdamThe FWBO’s Amsterdam centre is over 20 years old and has quietly established itself as a significant element in the Buddhist life of the city, with some 8 Order Members living there. Gunabhadri became chairwoman last year, and has focused on developing and systematizing the Centre’s teaching, including developing teaching materials in Dutch.

Gunabhadri, chairwoman of the FWBO centre in AmsterdamShe writes – “The main news as far as I am concerned from the Amsterdam Buddhist Centre is that we have just finished year 1 of our 2-year Buddhism course which we started in September last year. The course consists of various modules that people can either follow one-by-one in a linear way from 1 to 2 through to the last, or pick and choose and just follow some of the modules.. The second year modules will follow on from particular modules from year one - for example, in year 1 we have a module on the Buddha, in year 2 one on the Mandala of the Five Buddhas which will take people deeper into the theme of the Buddha. Other themes are: the Wheel of Life (year 1) followed by the Spiral Path (year 2); the Noble Eightfold Path (year 1) followed by the Wisdom Sutras (year 2); and the Threefold Path, the Sangha and the Bodhisattva Ideal. During the last year meditation modules were also part of the course.

“With the course comes a compendium of various materials in Dutch, which we are writing as we go along (including lots of material and quotes from Bhante’s lectures and other teachers in the FWBO). The plan is to use ‘new media’ more - to be able to do this we’ve invested in a new computer system, including a beamer, simple recording equipment, etc.

A beautiful shrine for a mitra ceremony at the Amsterdam Buddhist Centre“In terms of Order members, there’s also been some changes - Amsterdam has ‘lost’ Sobhanandi who has moved to our centre in Arnhem and Sarojini is about to move to our centre in Gent in Belgium. On the plus side, Mokshagandhi, who is based in Amsterdam, has just been ‘born’ into the Order, and so has Amritapurna, though she is planning to go and live in Groningen (in the North of Holland) – while over in Belgium Bart van den Berghe is about to be ordained (public ordination date 24 August).

“So, we are happy with the way it is going and it feels like a new generation of people is getting involved with the Centre – of course it’s early days really.

"Please do come and visit if you are ever in Amsterdam”.



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