European Chairs have long been very well networked via the European Chairs Assembly, but there has never been a Movement Strand gathering in this part of the world. Dantacitta from Melbourne, Saradarshini from Wellington and Samacitta from Sydney met on Friday 30th November 2018 in Sydney. We spent a very full day together, sharing ideas and experience, and giving one another peer support. Topics covered included news from their three Centres and other places in the region, sub-35 activities, safeguarding, roles and responsibilities at Centres, Presidents, the relationship of Chairs to the Area and International Council, visiting teachers in 2019/2020, and future Movement Strand meetings.
This was the first ever meeting of Chairs across the whole of Oceania and we agreed that it had been enormously supportive to each of us. It gave us a wider perspective on our work as Chairs, lots of inspiration and useful information, but perhaps the important aspect of this historic meeting was the growing friendship and cooperation between us. We hope to be able to keep up the momentum and continue to meet in the flesh at least once per year.
Australia and New Zealand are the two regions making up the Area known as Oceania. The influence of the Triratna Buddhist Community is sprinkled across this vast Area in a collection of groups ranging in size from a single Order Member or Mitra running a weekly class in a hired location to larger groups and city-based Centres offering the full range of Triratna activities.
New Zealand has Centres in Auckland, Wellington and Thames, which also has a retreat Centre, Sudarshanaloka, nearby. There are 21 Order members in Auckland, 15 in Wellington and 12 in Thames.
Australia has Centres in Sydney and Melbourne as well as in Toowomba, Brisbane, Kempsey, Adelaide, Port Fairy and Warnambool district. There are approximately 30 Order Members in both of the two main Centres, Sydney and Melbourne, as well as our retreat centre, Vijayaloka.
Auckland, Wellington, Melbourne and Sydney all have lively sub-35 groups, and there is a Triratna Young Buddhist Coordinator for the Area, Dhammakumara, supported 2 days per week by Future Dharma Fund.