The 8th Western Buddhist Monastic Conference

The Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, Talmage, Northern California
November 7th - 11th, 2002

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___The 8th Western Buddhist Monastic Conference___


November 7th - 11th, 2002

Hosted by: The Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, Talmage, Northern California

Co-host: Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery, Redwood Valley

The Western Buddhist Monastic Conference is a forum for ordained members of the Buddhist Monastic Sangha of all traditions to gather with one another, share in insights and experiences, learn from one another, and together look into the issues that are uniquely and fundamentally important to our lives as Western Buddhadharma Sangha.

The overarching theme for this 8th gathering of Buddhist Monastics in the West springs from a topic put forth at the 7th Monastic Conference ~ Adapting to the West: Keeping True to the Source with regards to Monastic Training ~ and the suggestion that this theme is not only deserving of more time and attention, but due to its very simplicity, vastness, and perfect relevancy, would in fact serve well as a focal point for our 2002 gathering.

This 8th Monastic Conference focused on the theme True to the Source through a variety of methods: direct exposure ~ through our contact with one another and on-site tours given by resident monastics of both the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and Abhayagiri Monasteries; contemplation ~ through collective meditation and listening; and communication ~ through informal conversation and storytelling, as well as four traditional Councils centered on the topics below.

...True to the Source Councils...

I Insight into Traditional Monastic Forms

II Interface with Western Society

III The Heart of the Matter: Roots, Bodhicitta

IV Interfaith

In past years, these Conferences have proved to be a wonderful opportunity to meet anew or meet again in the spirit of sharing with one another in the great experience of both our diversity and commonality as Buddhist monastics. For those training independent of an established monastery or in a small monastic community, the Conference is a precious chance for a few days steeped in greater community monastic life -- not only in a traditional training monastery, but with our greater Western Sangha, with its whole spectrum of traditions, yanas, lineages and schools.

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Announcement of the 9th Western Buddhist Monastic Conference

Presentations and discussions on:


Vajrapani Institute, Boulder Creek, California
___October 6 -10, 2003___

The proposed presentation topics are:

* Transformation of suffering caused by a sense of unworthiness & alienation
* Transformation of suffering caused by greed & consumerism
* Transformation of suffering caused by personal & structural violence
* Transformation of suffering caused by sickness, ageing and death

These discussions will provide opportunities for us to broaden our understanding of these topics, expand our capacity to work within our own communities and gain greater appreciation and understanding of other communities in these areas.

This year the host is Vajrapani Institute, situated in Boulder Creek, California. Our monastic conferences originally started for Western monastics to gather together and spend time learning about each other’s work and practices in the West as well providing an opportunity for us to be rejuvenated in a monastic setting. In this same spirit, this conference is open to monastics from all Buddhist traditions and cultures, but is particularly for monastics born or raised in the West, who follow traditional vows, which include observing celibacy.

Last October our conference theme was “True to the Source”— this included explorations of forms of monastic training, investigation of the heart of monastic practice, inter-faith dialogue, and the interface with modern Western culture. These themes provided the focus for the presentations and discussions about our lives as monastics. Thirty participants, including seven abbots of monasteries in the West, attended the event.

This year’s conference – as well as being based around these various dimensions of using suffering for the purpose of transforming greed, hatred and delusion into virtue, concentration and wisdom – is also intended to involve the elements of sharing our various forms of practice, especially meditation techniques & teachings, and intra-Buddhist tradition dialogue & collaboration. Another theme suggested for inclusion is that of the formulation of full forms of practice for the lay community.


* Photo Album: The 9th Western Buddhist Monastic Conference - Oct., 2003