Saturday, December 06, 2008

FWBO People I: Dayamati - a 'Clearness Process' in Albuquerque

This is the first in a new series on FWBO News: every Saturday starting now we hope to feature a profile of one or another of the many wonderful and diverse people who make up the Buddhist 'Sangha', or community, of the FWBO and Western Buddhist Order.  There's over 1,600 members of the Western Buddhist Order, so it may take us some time to get through them all - especially as it's growing all the time!

We start with Dayamati, an Order Member from Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.  He's perhaps best-known for his book, ‘Land of No Buddha’ published by Windhorse Publications, the FWBO’s publishing wing.

Anyone familiar with the book will know him as “a sceptical Buddhist” (quoting here Windhorse’s description of him on their website, where he is known by his secular name of Richard Hayes) – but one who nonetheless proposes the radical path of the Buddha to those seeking genuine wisdom, “not just slogans to stick on the bumpers of their cars”.

His explorations have now led him to what is perhaps an unexpected place. He writes –

“Dear friends,

“Earlier this month I formally became a member of the Albuquerque Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). The request for membership came after attending the meeting regularly for three years, and after about five years of experience attending Quaker meetings in Canada from 1968 through 1975.

“The step of being what is called a convinced Quaker involves a number of steps, including meeting with a committee of Quaker elders and discussing one's intentions. In my case I also consulted with my kalyanamitras in the FWBO and sought their opinion on whether being a Quaker was in their eyes in any way incompatible with being a dharmachari in the WBO. No objections were voiced by my kalyanamitras. On the Quaker side there was no objection to my being a Buddhist going for refuge in the WBO context and being a Quaker.

“Now that the step has been taken, I am feeling that making an announcement to the wider FWBO community is in order. I have written something about my motivations and experiences on my blog site, the address of which is under my signature below. I am curious what the range of opinion within the FWBO is on membership in more than one religious organization, especially when one of them does not have Buddhist roots.

“Something to bear in mind in my case is that I live about 1000 miles from the nearest FWBO chapter. Attending dharmachari chapter meetings regularly is out of the question. The closest thing I have found to a WBO chapter meeting is a Quaker meeting. The ways that Quakers make corporate decisions, and the way they meet for spiritual practice, is very similar to the way things are done in the (F)WBO. That said, I am sure I would attend Quaker meetings regularly even if there were a nearby chapter of the WBO...”


Comments welcome!

His article is also available on the Order page of FWBO Discussion - a website full of thoughtful perspectives on the FWBO and its appreoach to the Dharma.

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