Thursday, April 28, 2011

Windhorse celebrate giving Dana to Triratna and social projects

Deborah Harward writes from Windhorse:Evolution, Triratna’s largest and most successful Right Livelihood business, with news of some of the dana they've been able to give over the past year - to a mixture of Triratna and non-Triratna projects. She says -

“Making money in order to give it away is fundamental to the purpose and ethos of Windhorse. One of the five principles that Windhorse is based on is generosity. Our profits are given to Buddhist projects around the world and to social projects in the communities associated with our suppliers.

“Since Windhorse started in 1980 it has donated millions of pounds to many different projects in the Triratna Buddhist Community. Over the last 5 years, when financial times have been more difficult, Windhorse has still given over £248,000 to different projects within the movement. The Buddhist Evolution shops have also given over £235,000 to their local Buddhist Centres. So far this financial year, Windhorse has donated to several Buddhist projects:

Free Buddhist Audio
“Free Buddhist Audio will use their donation of £10,000 to help maintain their well used and very useful web resource which provides free access to the Buddha’s teachings. Around 40,000 people download talks every month, and the site now has around 20,000 regular podcast users. Users come from over 180 different countries, and talks are available in 9 different languages.

“In a recent interview with Sangharakshita, he said, “We know that speech is a very powerful medium of communication. We know that the Buddha’s words spoken from, as it were, from his enlightened consciousness changed the lives of so many people. So that tradition of oral presentation of the Dharma has continued right down to the present day. It makes me particularly happy to think that talks that I myself gave years, even decades ago, to relatively small audiences, are now through reaching perhaps tens even hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.”

“The creators of Free Buddhist Audio are now working on a new web presence for the whole Movement. Windhorse wanted to support this effort, which will be available to tens of thousands of people, and serve to unify the Movement.

Clear Vision
“A donation of £2.500 to Clear Vision is especially to help them with providing online materials for teenagers. Clear Vision is well known for the materials they make for schools but now their focus is on the needs of young people who have learned about Buddhism in school and want more. On the website they’ll now find loads of free Dharma materials. There are games, quizzes and links to Buddhist projects around the world. Most importantly, there are two sets of interactive video-based materials: The Life of the Buddha, and Us and Them: Buddhism and Community. Have a look online at

“The donation will enable Clear Vision to work on two new sets of online interactive materials, for school and home use. One is about the Kalama Sutta, using animations by the young Indian students at the Aryaloka Computer Institute in Nagpur. The second is about the Five Precepts and uses Manga style cartoons created by an American Buddhist of another tradition.

Windhorse Publications

“Windhorse Publications aims to communicate Buddhism for the contemporary world, and specifically to bring alive the Triratna system of practice. They place great emphasis on producing books of high quality that are accessible and relevant to those interested in Buddhism at whatever level.

“The £2,500 donation they recieved is helping to fund the production of two books due for release this Spring. The first, Dhivan’s This Being, That Becomes, explores the Buddha’s core teaching of conditionality, and is the second in our new Buddhist Wisdom in Practice series. The second is a new edition of Sangharakshita’s A Guide to the Buddhist Path, featuring a brand new cover, format and content. Published originally in 1990, this is one of Sangharakshita readers’ favourites and has been of tremendous value to those seeking ordination and the teachers guiding them towards it.

Social Dana
Project workers from the Green Tara Trust conduct a rural workshop in Nepal  
“Windhorse has given over £60,400 to social projects over the last five years. We mostly choose these by asking our suppliers to recommend projects which support their local community. These have included help for schools in Guatemala, China and Bali, building a well in Kenya, earthquake relief in Indonesia and a charity for disabled people in Bali.

“One example from this year is the donation of £4000 to the Green Tara Trust.. We got to know about the work of the Trust through Karunamati, an Order member and doctor who is involved with the work of the Trust. The following details from her gives you some background to the work of the Trust and how our gift will help women in Nepal.

“Nepal is one of the poorest countries in South Asia with 1 in 2 people living in poverty. This has been compounded by worsening civil conflict. Ingrained gender discrimination results in women having less access to education, facilities & decision-making. This results in poverty, poor health & disempowerment.

“4,500 Nepali women die each year in childbirth due to lack of medical care. 1 in 13 children die before the age of 5 mainly due to hypothermia, infectious diseases, and poor nutrition. In this society, women and girls do not get enough food or medical care because of their gender. The Green Tara Trust is working to change this.

“I was in labour for five days but my motherin- law wouldn’t let me go to hospital. I don’t want to repeat the same mistakes. When my daughter-in-law is pregnant, I will make sure she goes to the hospital and gets nutritious food. This is my responsibility.” 
Indu - now an advocate of the work of Green Tara

“The money Windhorse has given will pay the wages of the 3 full-time Nepalese health-workers (Ishwori, Manita and Santosh) for 10 months. They provide care in pregnancy and childbirth for 10,000 people in rural Nepal, working to empower communities to take responsibility for their own care. They are all skilled in communicating and promoting health issues, especially in engaging the poorest and most marginalised in community programmes.

“The project has been running for just over 2 years, and is already seeing significant changes in attitudes and behaviour, and an improvement in the lives of many women and children”.

For more on Windhorse and their ethical approach to business check their evolution - ethical trade statement. There are occasional vacancies in the Windhorse teams, and those interested are invited to check Windhorse's adverts on the Triratna Jobs site.

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