International Association of Buddhist Universities -Workshop in Wang Noi, Thailand

By Geoff Bamford

Some 50 delegates attended. My fellow So-Wide trustee the Venerable Khammai Dhammasami was in the chair. With Philip Stanley from Naropa University, I helped to moderate.

We spoke of the need to facilitate horizontal exchanges between IABU members. The new website (http://www.iabu.org/) makes this easy.

An IABU Support Fund has been set up. The first priority will be to launch the IABU Visiting Lecturership (VL) Scheme. VLs from a larger institutions can offer significant help to smaller ones. Indonesia has a number of such smaller institutions, which can benefit greatly from the Scheme. For instance, it will help them in gaining accreditation from their government. It was agreed that the scheme should focus initially on Indonesia.

The main business was to plan the next IABU Conference in 2011. 1½ days will be devoted to Lectures, Panels and Workshops, and there will be ½ a day for general networking and for facilitating specific ways in which member institutions can work together. The conference will be academic and at the same time will focus on practice and application:

We brainstormed a number of themes and sub-themes for the conference, including:

Buddhist philosophy and praxis

  • How do we ensure that our practice, including our action in the world, is based on sound understanding (philosophy)?
  • How do we ensure that both our philosophy and our practice (both ethical and meditative) are relevant to contemporary circumstances?

The practice of dying, as it figures, e.g.:

  • in our personal lives
  • in hospice work

Transforming emotions:

  • The current relationship of Buddhist thinking and practice to cognitive therapy.
  • The continuing Buddhist contribution to the development of therapy

Intercultural dialogue:

  • different cultures of Buddhism:
  • common Buddhist themes (links to common texts)
  • the Buddhist practice of dialogue
  • cross cultural-communication:
  • resources available from Buddhist thinking and history
  • their relevance to specific challenges today

Venerable Dhammasami suggested that many if not all of the themes we had discussed could be considered from the perspective of ‘Philosophy and Praxis’ It was agreed that this would be the theme of the 2011 IABU conference.