Dear BCWA Members, Committee and Representatives
Buddhist Council of Western Australia President’s Report 2015/6
The 2015/6 year has been full of challenges and opportunities. We have conscientiously engaged on a wide range of local, state and national levels on behalf of our members.
The 2016 Inaugural United Nations Day of Vesak was successfully staged at the Migrant Pavilion in Ozone Reserve on May 7. Many Buddhist traditions take rainfall as blessings, and the event was thus surely blessed, to the extent that it was decided to stage future Vesak events indoors. It was very pleasing that so many members of our member temples and groups came together to celebrate and participate on this auspicious day, and also pleasing to have the level of support from our politicians who attended, namely Eleni Evangeli MLA , and Ms Margaret Quirk MLA, We also had the support of another non member Group, namely BLIA who kindly assisted our event with the loan of a pictorial display of Buddha’s life, and by attendance of their President, Mt David Yee and key organizer Natasha Tang. It is hoped to run this Vesak event again, perhaps annually or bi-annually in future.
The BCWA continues to play an active role in our umbrella national body, the FABC. Currently, the President and Secretary roles are filled by WA representatives of the BCWA. Issues being worked on by FABC include but are not restricted to; Plebicite or Parliamentary vote on SSM, drafting a COP22 Interfaith Statement on Climate Change and making arrangements to meet with Federal Politicians. Our outgoing President from WA, Dr Jake Mitra, had a very active year with meetings with the PM and other Federal Politicians and many other issues related to raising the profile of Buddhism in Australia.
Similarly, the BCWA makes every effort to make the necessary political and departmental contacts which enable us to act on behalf of our member groups when issue arise. Of course our member groups have their own contacts too, and we encourage them to do what they can to resolve any issues with local government or higher levels of government whilst keeping we at the Committee of BCWA informed.
This year, Ajahn Brahm, Jake and myself met with the Federal Minister for home security, to express concern about issues confronting our society today. Our meeting was informative and helpful for the future. I recently attended an OMI sponsored release of the findings of a Building Resilience in our Communities report, commissioned by the Scanlon Foundation which was opened by The Hon. Mike Nathan. The take away message I gained from this report was that the ethnic members of the Buddhist community in Australia by and large integrate and cohere extremely well but are generally unrecognized for this. This lack of recognition that the Australian Buddhist Community gives much back to our society is one of the reasons for the existence of the BCWA and in fact is reflected in our constitution.
Other members of your Committee continue to regularly attend meetings and workshops on many subjects relevant to our Buddhist Community.
One of the issues confronting us is the need to better communicate with our member groups and therefore gain a better flow of information in both directions. As you know we are a small committee, mostly engaged with our own groups and temples, and entirely voluntary. I see the need for more volunteer representatives to come forward, especially younger members, taking active roles at sub committee levels to create information flows and link up with youth groups in other state such as NSW and Victoria, where there are exciting projects going on amongst Buddhist youth.
Please remember that our AGM is coming up fast, on November 1, and your reps are required to attend and vote for your choice of committee.
My deepest thanks to the committee of 2015 for all your help with BCWA projects, especially the Vesak celebration, where we proved it could be done.
As you all know, I am stepping down as President and I wish to give my full support and congratulations to Boon Tan, the incoming President.