Systems & Structures

To enable it to function effectively, the College needs to meet frequently and implement systems that support its work.

In this section, we look at the nuts and bolts of the College:

Adhisthana, the ‘home’ of the College; the Kula system, which is the organisational structure of the College; what the Chair’s Council does; the purpose of the ‘At Home’ sessions; Finances; and two documents that explain in detail what the responsibilities of the College are, and its working arrangements.

 

ADHISTHANA

Home of the College

 

Adhisthana is set in beautiful English countryside near the Malvern Hills, not far from the Welsh border. It is the home of the College of Public Preceptors and usually at least three Public Preceptors live there. Once a year, currently in November, Adhisthana hosts an international gathering of Public Preceptors from all around the world.

Adhisthana stands at the heart of Triratna and provides a focal point where people from all over the world can meet, study and practise together, formally and informally, in large and small numbers. It’s a place where that deepening experience of teaching and practice can be shared, and where the commonality of practice that a growing international spiritual community needs can be maintained.

The Triratna Community is based upon Sangharakshita’s particular presentation of the Dharma, which, whilst remaining faithful to the historical Buddha’s own teachings, also honours the best in all the schools of Buddhism. Sangharakshita’s approach allows for a system of teaching and practice that continues to unfold and evolve as times change and experience grows.

Adhisthana is now the burial site of Urgyen Sangharakshita, and home to his library, archives and thangkas, as well as housing two residential communities.

THE KULA SYSTEM

 

No single Public Preceptor can decide by themselves to ordain someone. That decision has to be ratified by a Kula of at least five Public Preceptors. In time we hope to have a Kula of male Public Preceptors and a Kula of female Public Preceptors in every specially designated Area of the world where Triratna is active – UK & Europe, Australia & New Zealand, India and the Americas – and we are steadily working to that end. At present, experienced Public Preceptors from outside a particular Area may make up numbers, and also work with a Kula in training new Public Preceptors.

Much of the day-to-day work of overseeing ordination training is done by the Kulas and the Ordination teams they work with. This makes the coming together of the whole College at the International College Meeting at Adhisthana each year all the more important in maintaining unity of vision and understanding. After the International Meeting is a two-day Forum for representatives of all the Kulas, specifically charged with the task of maintaining a unified approach to ordination training around the world, as well as sharing experience and learning.

 

COLLEGE AT HOME

 

The College ‘At Home’ events are an opportunity for Order members to talk things through with College members face-to-face. Over the past couple of years we’ve especially appreciated informal meetings like this with a whole range of Order members, so our ‘At Home’ meetings encourage more people to engage with us in this way.

In April 2019, we hosted two ‘At Home’ days at Adhisthana, when Saddhaloka (Chair) and Ratnadharini (Deputy) made themselves available to meet with Order members, either as individuals or in small groups. 

Though our ‘At Home’ is based at Adhisthana, we’re looking to arrange similar meetings more locally, near Centres where College members live or when College members visit a Centre. We’re also considering the option of Skype or Zoom meetings, as some people – especially those in other countries – will not be able to travel to Adhisthana. At present this is not really possible as the Internet connection is unreliable at Adhisthana but hopefully fibre optic broadband will reach Coddington towards the end of 2019, so we will look at the possibility of organising these meetings after that.

Our next ‘At Home’ is scheduled for 20th & 21st August, and then 5th & 6th October. If you would like to meet with someone from the College on any of these days, please contact the College Secretary

collegeassistant@adhisthana.org

THE CHAIR’S COUNCIL

 

The Chair’s College Council was formed in 2018. It is a purely advisory body to the Chair and has no executive powers. It convenes several times a year to discuss various issues with the Chair of the College, and to support the Chair in his or her work.

The membership of the Council is not fixed, and each meeting usually has a different configuration. It comprises of core of people from the Steering Group of the International Council plus others invited to attend at the Chair’s discretion.

COLLEGE FINANCES

 

The College relies largely on donations from Order members and mitras for funding. Currently expenditure exceeds income, but two bequests in recent years have helped maintain a healthy reserve, thus avoiding our need to ask for further help at present.

We aim to use our funds as effectively as possible, supplementing the income of a number of Public Preceptors who would otherwise have to find outside work so they can work more full time for Triratna. It is still only a minority of Public Preceptors who are funded, partially or wholly, from College funds.

If you would like to support the College with a regular donation please follow this link.

PRINCIPLES & PURPOSE

 

This section contains two important documents that help explain the responsibilities, structures and purpose of the College:

(1) Responsibilities of the College of Public Preceptors

(2) College Working Arrangements

(1) The Responsibilities of the College of Public Preceptors

 

‘I established the Order by recognizing in the ordination ceremony that those I was ordaining were Going for Refuge in the sense that I understood it; and by encouraging them to continue Going for Refuge in the light of my understanding…  All this is implied in the commitment that all Order members make in their ordinations, whether witnessed by me or by Preceptors whose understanding of what Going for Refuge means derives from my own, either directly or via their own Preceptors. The Triratna Buddhist Order is therefore a Sangha of those who share my understanding of the Dharma and follow practices that flow from that understanding.’

Urgyen Sangharakshita, April 2017

In 1995 Bhante handed on responsibility for conducting ordinations to a group of five of his disciples, establishing thereby the College of Public Preceptors. The College has grown and developed since then – there are currently 42 men and women Public Preceptors – and we have felt the need to clarify and make explicit for our own benefit what we understand our responsibilities to be. In our meeting in November 2017, we came up with a summary of those responsibilities and the basis on which we hold them and carry them out. We would like to share this with our fellow Order members so that we can work together yet more harmoniously and effectively.

Read More

Conducting Ordinations

The defining responsibility of a Public Preceptor is witnessing a mitra’s Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels in the Public Ordination ceremony, through which he or she enters the Order.  Since it is a witnessing it is personal, dependent on the Preceptor’s recognition in the one being ordained of the same spiritual commitment as the Preceptor finds in him or herself. The personal character of this relationship is the basis of the Order and shapes all the responsibilities that flow from it.

Authorisation for the Private and Public Preceptors to carry out an ordination is given by a kula of five or more Public Preceptors. Their duty is to ensure that all proper steps have been taken, including all necessary consultations, to be confident that the mitra is ready for ordination, that the context for their ordination and their future Order life is supportive, and that the proposed Preceptors are the suitable people to carry it out.

A more detailed description of this and other such procedures can be found in the College Working Arrangements available here.

Appointing and training Public Preceptors

The responsibility for carrying out Public Ordinations is a spiritual one that was handed on personally by Urgyen Sangharakshita, the founder and first Head of the Order, to a group of Order members with whom he had worked closely and whom he considered to share very deeply in their direct Dharmic experience his understanding of Going for Refuge. In that same way and on that same basis of personal confidence, the responsibility has been handed on by those who already hold it to new Public Preceptors, thus forming a lineage of personal recognition of shared understanding.

New Public Preceptors are drawn from Order members who have been effective Private Preceptors for some time. They are appointed with the agreement of the whole College on the recommendation of those of its members who personally recognise in the candidate that shared understanding at a sufficiently deep level. Before the College makes a final appointment, we carry out a consultation that enables us to hear advice from any Order member who wishes to comment, whether to express support or raise doubts. This enables us to make sure that all reasonable objections are taken into account and resolved as far as possible and that we make our decision after considering the best and broadest range of advice we can get.

Overseeing training for Ordination

The Public Preceptors, collectively and in their local kulas, are responsible for the training and selection of mitras for ordination in the various Areas of the movement. To help them carry out this responsibility, they establish ordination teams, whose members they appoint and in whom they have personal confidence, to work with those who have asked for ordination and oversee the ordination processes through which this is done. Because of their personal confidence in the members of the teams as sharing their understanding of what ordination means, Public Preceptors are able to rely to a large extent on their recommendations of people for ordination.

To make sure that people, wherever in the movement they are practising the Dharma, join the Order with the same understanding and at the same level, the College is responsible for seeing that Ordination training internationally is based on common principles and covers broadly the same material everywhere, that the teams that run them are capable and share the same understanding of the Order as they have, and that the training processes are effective.

Appointing and training Private Preceptors

The Public Ordination is the final part of the two part ritual of ordination: the first being, of course, the Private Ordination. Because the Ordination ceremony has at its core a shared understanding of Going for Refuge, the Public Preceptor can only carry out the Public ceremony because they are confident they share the same spiritual understanding as the Private Preceptor who conducted the Private one.    

It is part of the Public Preceptors’ responsibility, therefore, to oversee the appointment and training of Private Preceptors. Private Preceptors are appointed by the College, after a consultation with other Order members, carried out in the same way as the consultation about the appointment of Public Preceptors.

See the College Working Arrangements for a more details.

Reviewing Public and Private Preceptors

The Public Preceptors collectively are also responsible for ensuring that Public and Private Preceptors remain suitable to carry out their responsibilities, in the first place because they continue to share and live out a common understanding of Going for Refuge in the context of the Order. The College reviews each Public and Private Preceptor seven years after their first appointment, when a consultation is again carried out to give all Order members a chance to comment, and to express concerns and support. Further review can be initiated by the College at any point, whether in response to other Order members’ concerns or points from among the Public Preceptors.

Deciding on suspensions and expulsions from the Order

A Mitra is introduced into the Order when their Public Preceptor personally witnesses their Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels, recognising in them what they see in themselves. It is therefore their Public Preceptor who must declare that they are no longer able to acknowledge that Going for Refuge in them, if they act in a way that is incompatible with their membership of the Order. This will then lead to them being suspended temporarily or expelled permanently from the Order. The Public Preceptor concerned takes this step with the approval of their own kula and the agreement of the Chair of the College. This responsibility devolves upon the Chair of the College if the Public Preceptor cannot carry it out.

Suspension and expulsion are very serious steps, and should only be taken with the widespread support of other Order members, though sometimes such support may be assumed because of the seriousness and urgency of the offence or because principles have been previously well established and accepted, for example that physical violence by an Order member leads to automatic suspension.

Key elements of our understanding of the Order

Public Preceptors introduce mitras into the Order when they are personally convinced that they are Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels in the way that they themselves understand and experience it. Because the Order is based on that ‘shared understanding of the Dharma and the practices that flow from that understanding’, we want to be sure that those training for ordination have a very thorough grounding in core principles and practices of our Sangha, as well as having received a very positive exemplification of them.

Although it is not possible to list all of them, and many are obvious, there are a number of points that are central to our understanding of the principles, teachings, practices, structures, and institutions that characterise our particular Sangha:

Bhante’s key position:

Bhante’s role in our Order and Movement is indispensable, because our ordinations and Order are based on his having shared with us his understanding and experience of Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels. For us, as for him, ‘The Triratna Buddhist Order is a Sangha of those who share that understanding of the Dharma and follow practices that flow from that understanding’.

Commonality of teaching, practices, and institutions based on Bhante’s presentation of the Dharma:

Bhante wrote in What is the Western Buddhist Order that, ‘the Dharma needs to be made specific to a particular Sangha. It needs to hang together, doctrinally and methodologically, if it is to be the basis of a Sangha or Order’; he further said that there should be ‘high degree of commonality‘ of practice within the Order and movement.  It is Bhante’s particular presentation of the Dharma that is the basis of our Sangha and we support the maintenance throughout the Order and movement of a ‘high degree of commonality’ of teachings, practices, and institutions on that basis so that we continue as a unified spiritual community.

However, the system of teaching and practice should be subject to ongoing evaluation and development, so that it is more and more effective in new circumstances, at all levels, and in all aspects. Any further development needs to be orderly and coherent  and consistent with and rooted in Bhante’s presentation of the Dharma if we are to remain united. It is part of the College’s responsibility to participate in and validate processes that ensure this happens.

The principles of the movement’s institutions:

We support the principles of unity in diversity of the movement, as worked out in the document, What is a Triratna Centre, adopted by the International Council and Public Preceptors College, which sets out the principles that make a Centre or other institution anywhere in the world a part of Triratna.

We will work with others to keep our institutional structures under review, so they help us to Go for Refuge to the Three Jewels together more and more deeply, by uniting the principle of kalyana mitrata with that of individual responsibility.

The importance of dialogue:

What is outlined here is, for us, the indispensable basis for our carrying out our responsibilities. However, we appreciate that this is always capable of clearer and more subtle understanding and expression. As a way of reaching and maintaining our ‘shared understanding’ with all Order members, we highly value discussion of these principles, and we will try to resolve where possible any differences of view about the nature of the Order, its practices and teachings, and Bhante’s place within it, so that we can go forward together more effectively than ever in practising and sharing the Dharma.

The key position of the College in the architecture of the Order and movement:

In What is the Western Buddhist Order, Bhante describes the Public Preceptors’ College as having ‘the key position in the architecture’ of the Order and movement. Because of the central significance of the ordination ceremony in our Order and movement, the Public Preceptors carry a special personal responsibility, as we have already affirmed above, which we undertake working closely with all Order members and especially with those holding other key responsibilities. We are therefore concerned with the way the whole Order and movement functions in certain respects, as we will explore in the following section.

The College’s key position in the architecture of the Order and movement

The responsibilities of Public Preceptors detailed above and the understanding that we have of what the Order is, imply our wider concern with the way the Order and movement function everywhere.  This concern follows from the specific and personal character of those responsibilities.

Although we neither have nor seek direct responsibility for running centres and other movement institutions or for what Order members teach and practise, we are nevertheless concerned with the contexts in which those who have asked for ordination are training, and the influences by which they are surrounded. We want to be sure that we ordain mitras from contexts that are clearly established on the basis of the understanding of the Order that we have and which have no strong influences that are contrary to those principles.

We have no power or authority to enforce our particular understanding. Those running centres and other institutions have direct responsibility for making decisions about them. Nonetheless it is important that those with responsibilities in these areas share these principles and values with us, so that we can work together in harmony to help the mitras with whom they are in contact train and be accepted for ordination. We will be reluctant to carry out ordinations when this is not the case.

It is especially important to that end that those holding key responsibilities are in harmony with us and we would strongly urge, though we cannot demand, that we are consulted before such appointments are made: for example, Presidents, International and Area Order Convenors, and International and Area movement coordinators. Criteria for choosing people to fulfil these and other responsibilities, based on our core principles, have already been set out. Because such principles, and such criteria, are the basis of our unity, we urge that these are applied rigorously. We would like to review all these criteria in the near future, in dialogue with those Order members who hold these responsibilities, to ensure they do adequately set out a basis for our unity as we understand it.

For the same reasons, we also recommend that appointments to key local or regional responsibilities – Chairs, Mitra Convenors, Regional Order Convenors, for example – are made on the basis of the principles and criteria that have been established in consultation with us, for instance in What is a Triratna Centre. We urge that members of the Councils or Trusts of the movement’s institutions are also appointed or elected on the basis not only of their competence but of the principles outlined in this paper. It would be desirable that one or more Public Preceptors who know the situation well are included in discussion about all senior appointments at an early stage.

We suggest that it would be appropriate for Chapter Convenors too to be aligned with these points.

We certainly expect that all centres and other institutions will align themselves with the principles set out in the document What is a Triratna Centre, adopted by the International Council and the College. We will be reluctant to ordain mitras from any centre that is not in tune with those criteria and mitras may be recommended to find another context.

Conclusion

In practice, little will be required from the College out of the ordinary when the institutions of the movement and Order, especially the central ones such as the International and Area Councils, Chair’s Assemblies, Presidents’ Meetings, etc., are working effectively and in communication with each other and with the College on the basis of that common understanding of Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels as set out above. However, at times there will be no other institutions that can respond promptly to a problematic situation or none that have yet developed enough to do so.  As we have seen,  Bhante describes the College as having ‘the key position in the architecture’ of the Order and movement. Apart from anything else, this will require us to step in from time to time to adjust, correct, or harmonise when there is no other institution with the responsibility or in a position to do so. The buck finally stops with the College.

A statement of this kind can easily seem a little bald or even legalistic, but we believe it is nonetheless worthwhile to set out clearly what we consider our responsibilities to be and the basis on which we think responsibilities in the Order and movement need to be carried out so that we remain a unified community. We appreciate that in practice it is not always possible to be completely clear how these points of principle apply in particular cases, and they will all need further discussion and clarification. Much will need to be worked out more fully in relation to issues and circumstances as they arise.

(2) Working Arrangements of the College of Public Preceptors

A The internal organisation of the College

A1 The College

A2 Public Preceptors’ kulas

A3 The Kula Representatives Forum

A4 Chair and Deputy-Chairs of the College

A5 The Chair’s Council and other advisory meetings

B Public Preceptors

B1 Duties of Public Preceptors

B2 Qualifications Of Public Preceptors

B3 Appointment Of Public Preceptors

B4 Review Of Public Preceptors

B5 Retiring from the College

C Private Preceptors

C1 Duties of Private Preceptors

C2 Qualifications Of Private Preceptors

C3 Appointment Of Private Preceptors

C4 Review Of Private Preceptors

D Preparation, selection, + ordination of new Order Members

E Leaving the Order

Read More

A The Internal Organisation Of The College

A1 The College

1.1

Public Preceptors collectively (the College) are responsible for their own internal arrangements, such as the appointment of officers, setting up of committees, delegation of responsibilities and powers. All such arrangements are to be agreed by consensus of the College and can be ended or rearranged by consensus of the College.

1.2

There will be at least one meeting of the full College each year at which all matters concerning the functioning of the College will be open to review and revision.

1.3

The College will review these working arrangements each year.

1.4

Since Public Preceptors will be operating in different countries and cultures, area meetings of the College may be called from time to time, to discuss matters of concern within their own area. Area meetings may evolve their own internal organisation, as they see fit, keeping the Chair and Deputies informed of developments.

 

A2 Public Preceptors’ kulas

2.1

The working unit of the College will be the kula, consisting of at least five Public Preceptors.

2.2

Kulas may be formed on any basis their members think appropriate and kulas will not have exclusive responsibility for ordinations in any particular geographical area or Triratna Dharma Centre.

2.3

Some kulas will be teams that stay together for some time, while others may be put together in special circumstances, for instance to perform a single ordination in urgent circumstances.

2.4

Each Public Preceptor who is active in conducting Public Ordinations will belong to at least one kula that has some continuity: some may belong to more than one, especially to facilitate the formation of new kulas.

2.5

Kulas will make decisions on the basis of consensus and will organise themselves in whatever way they see fit.

2.6

Kulas may consist of Public Preceptors who are not working directly alongside each other, but all members will have sufficient understanding of how the others are working to be confident that those they are proposing to ordain are ready.

2.7

Kulas may consist of members of both sexes when necessary and convenient but will be single-sex wherever possible.

2.8

Each kula will appoint one member to sit on the Kula Representatives Forum (see under). It would be preferable if each representative were to serve for at least two years, so as to provide some continuity, but this will be left to the discretion of the kula.

2.9

The kula’s representative may or may not have other responsibilities, such as chairing meetings or coordinating the kula, at the kula’s discretion.

2.10

If a kula consists of both men and women then two representatives may be appointed, one of each sex.

 

A3 The Kula Representatives Forum

3.1 

The representatives of the kulas collectively constitute the Kula Representatives Forum.

3.2

Any kula that is authorising ordinations or appointing Private Preceptors will have a representative who is attending all meetings of the Forum.

3.3

The Forum will be responsible for ensuring common standards of ordination and selection of Private Preceptors and of maintaining harmony between the different kulas internationally.

3.4

The Forum will provide training and information to assist Public and Private Preceptors in carrying out their duties.

3.5

The Forum may decide to organise itself into area meetings, which will meet to discuss matters of concern within their area.

 

A4 Chair and Deputy-Chairs of the College

4.1 

A Chair of the College will be elected by the whole College and will normally serve for five years.  The Chair can stand for re-election. The term of the chair should be no more than a total of ten years.

4.2 

The Chair is responsible for ensuring the unity and common standards of ordination and appointment of Private Preceptors for the College as a whole.

4.3 

The Chair will arrange the meetings of the whole College in consultation with, and with the assistance of, the Deputy-Chairs.

4.4  

The Chair of the College will chair, or arrange for the chairing of, meetings of the College, collecting items for the agenda and notifying all members of topics for discussion.

4.5  

The Chair will also call and chair, or arrange for the chairing of, meetings of the Kula Representatives Forum.

4.6

The Chair will form the College Chair’s Council to assist him or her in carrying out his or her responsibilities.

4.7

The College will also elect two or three Deputy-Chairs, normally for a five year term.

At least one of the Deputy-Chairs will be of the opposite sex to the Chair.

4.8

The Deputy-Chairs will assist the Chair of the College in carrying out his or her function and will deputise for him or her when necessary.

 

A5 The Chair’s Council and other advisory meetings

5.1

The Chair and/or Deputy-Chairs may establish from time to time meetings to advise them and assist them in carrying out their responsibilities.

5.2

Such meetings may consist of whomever the Chair or Deputy-Chairs consider suitable, whether members of the College or not, and shall meet on whatever basis they consider appropriate, with whatever terms of reference they choose.

5.3

In particular the Chair, with the advice of the Deputy Chairs, may establish a Chair’s Council to advise him or her in the carrying out of his or her responsibilities and to help coordinate whatever other advisory or executive meetings the Chair may establish.

5.4

The Chair, with advice from the Deputies and Council, may form various committees, whether on a standing or temporary basis, to advise of particular issues, to liaise with various other bodies or institutions, or to carry out particular tasks. Such committees will be answerable to the Chair, supported by the Deputies and Council.

5.5

The Chair, Deputies, and Chair’s Council will make reports to all College members three or four times each year and will submit in person a full report of their activities and decisions to the principal annual International College meeting. All College members will have the opportunity to question the report and to accept or reject it at each such plenary meeting of the College.

5.6

The Chair of the College, together with the Deputies and Chair’s Council, is answerable to the College. The Chair, with the Deputies and Chair’s Council, will sometimes need to make decisions on behalf of the College as a whole between College meetings. College members will put any objections or queries they may have to such decisions directly to the Chair, Deputies, or Council members, or to the Kula Representatives Forum, as quickly as possible. They will also take the opportunity to raise any issues about the decisions and functioning of the Chair, Deputies, and Council at plenary meetings of the College.

5.7

The Chair and two of the Deputy-Chairs of the Public Preceptors’ College are ex-officio members of the Triratna International Council, and its Steering Group. The Chair of the Public Preceptors’ College will be the Chair of the International Council, and the Steering Group, but may delegate the chairing and facilitating of meetings.

 

B Public Preceptors

B1 Duties of Public Preceptors

1.1

Public Preceptors are responsible for conducting Public Ordination ceremonies, witnessing that the candidate is effectively Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels and is ready to join the Order.

1.2

This requires them to be confident that the candidate is ready, has been given an adequate training, and has been selected with the general consent of those Order members who know him or her. In addition Public Preceptors should be confident that the Private Preceptor is the appropriate person to carry out their Private Ordination.

1.3

Public Preceptors are also responsible for liaising with the Private Preceptor of the candidate to arrange for the two ceremonies to be conducted appropriately.

1.4

Public Preceptors are not expected to keep up a personal relationship with those they have ordained, or even to have personal dialogue with them, but should be able to be seen by them from time to time. They should therefore be willing to offer opportunities for those they have ordained to see them, for example on retreats, giving talks etc. 

1.5

If for any reason the Private Preceptor is unable to keep up contact with the person they have ordained then the Public Preceptor should take their place, or ensure that it is taken.

1.6

Public Preceptors are responsible for the harmony of the College and for maintaining common standards of ordination and appointment of Private Preceptors, by cooperating with other Public Preceptors through the annual College meetings and their own kulas.

 

B2 Qualifications Of Public Preceptors

2.1

Public Preceptors will normally be Private Preceptors of at least five years standing.

2.2

Public Preceptors will only be appointed when there are people whom they could potentially ordain.

2.3

Qualifications to be looked for in Public Preceptors are:

a 

proven effectiveness as kalyana mitras and Private Preceptors, especially able to deal with the complexities of kalyana mitrata, above all not being prone to inflation and able to work with other people’s projections and expectations in an appropriate way.

b

good understanding of their own character, personality, and personal conditioning.

c

good skills in communication, especially being open to criticism and comment.

d

strong and deep spiritual practice, including  meditation and ability to realise the Dharma in their experience.

e

consistently skilful ethical practice with all serious breaches from the past cleared up.

f

harmony with the spirit of the Order, active in its life, and no major unaddressed difficulties with other Order members, especially other Preceptors.

g

willingness to work with other Public Preceptors to ensure the unity of the Order and common standards of ordination.

h

willingness to attend meetings of the College, to participate in a kula, and to attend retreats and training with other College members.

 

B3 Appointment Of Public Preceptors

3.1

Public Preceptors will be appointed with the active consent of all members of the College.

3.2

Candidates to be Public Preceptors can be proposed by any kula of Public Preceptors, who will notify the Chair.

3.3

The Chair, after ascertaining that the candidate is willing to be a Public Preceptor and is open to comment from other Order members, will, in consultation with the Deputy-Chairs, determine the best way of testing and preparing the candidate, ensuring that their qualifications are thoroughly explored.

3.4

All College members will be notified, at a College meeting or in writing, that the candidate is being recommended by the College, and will have the chance to comment.

3.5

If there is no objection from Public Preceptors within a month of notification, the Chair will give all Order members the opportunity to comment on the candidates suitability, especially by a notice in Shabda, and will seek out views from their chapter and past and present colleagues, as well as those they have privately ordained or been kalyana mitra to. Although it may not always be possible to have a complete consensus on their suitability from Order members, a thorough attempt will be made to resolve any objections that are raised before submitting the proposal to the College, including checking with another senior Order member that the consultation has been effectively completed.

3.6

Once the candidate has the backing of other Order members, the Chair of the College will notify all College members, asking them to respond approving or objecting to the appointment. Any College member can ask for the proposal to be deferred to an area or full meeting of the College. Any College member who is out of contact for more than one month will be deemed to have consented.

3.7

Once all College members have signified their consent in writing or at a minuted meeting, the Chair will announce the appointment in Shabda.

3.8

The Chair, with the advice and assistance of the Deputy-Chairs, will arrange for the new Public Preceptor to be trained in his or her responsibilities and to join a kula.

 

B4 Review Of Public Preceptors

4.1

Seven years after their first appointment as a Public Preceptor, the suitability of a Public Preceptor will be subject to review.

4.2

The Chair, in consultation with the Deputy-Chairs, will determine the best way of reviewing the Public Preceptor, ensuring that their qualifications are thoroughly explored. If the Chair or Deputies are themselves to be reviewed, they will hand this responsibility to another member of the College.

4.3

All College members will be notified by e-mail that the Public Preceptor is being put forward for review and will have the chance to comment.

4.4

If there is no objection from Public Preceptors within a month of notification, the Chair will give all Order members the opportunity to comment on the Public Preceptors suitability, especially by a notice in Shabda, and will seek out especially views from their chapter and past and present colleagues, as well as those they have ordained, privately and publicly, or been kalyana mitra to. Although it may not always be possible to have a complete consensus on their suitability from Order members, a thorough attempt will be made to resolve any objections that are raised before submitting the proposal to the College, including checking with another senior Order member that the review has been effectively completed.

4.5

Once the Public Preceptor under review has the backing of other Order members, the Chair of the College will inform all College members, asking them to respond as soon as possible, approving or objecting to them continuing to act as Public Preceptors. Any College member can ask for the proposal to be deferred to a regional or full meeting of the College. Any College member who is out of contact for more than one month will be deemed to have consented.

4.6

Once all College members have signified their consent in writing or at a minuted meeting of the College, the Chair will announce in Shabda that they will continue to act as Public Preceptor.

4.7

Public Preceptors will be presumed to be suitable to continue conducting ordinations until the College decides otherwise, so they will be free to continue while the review is in progress, unless specifically asked by the Chair not to do so.

4.8

If the Chair, in consultation with the Deputy-Chairs, considers that valid objections have been raised and have not been resolved, he or she will notify other College members, asking them to agree whether or not the Public Preceptor under review should continue to conduct Public Ordinations. Any College member can ask for a decision to be deferred to a regional or a full meeting of the College. Any College member who is out of contact for more than one month will be deemed to have consented.

4.9

If approval to continue is not given, the Order will be notified in Shabda that they will not be conducting ordinations for the time being.

4.10

If it is not thought appropriate that the person continues to conduct ordinations, they remain Preceptors to the people they ordained. At the discretion of the other members of the College, they will still be eligible to attend meetings of the College.

4.11

At any point they can submit themselves for review again, following the same procedure. 

4.12

If any Public Preceptor raises objections to a Public Preceptor continuing to conduct ordinations at any point, then the Chair of the College will submit the matter to the College as a whole, and the rest of the College will decide by consensus whether they are to continue or not. The Chair may ask the Public Preceptor not to continue while this is being considered.

 

B5 Retiring from the College

5.1. Public Preceptors will retire from active membership of the College at latest when they reach the age of 75. Where circumstances make it necessary that a Public Preceptor remains active after 75, their membership of the College can be extended by up to a year at a time, with the full agreement of the others in their Kula, and the agreement of the Chair and Deputies.

5.2. When a Public Preceptor retires they no longer attend full College meetings, perform any Public Ordinations, or function as one of the quorum of five Public Preceptors making a formal decision about ordinations.

5.3. They obviously remain Public Preceptor to all those they have ordained. Depending on age and health some of the responsibilities involved with this may in time devolve to the Chair and Deputies, or another Public Preceptor agreed by them.

 

C Private Preceptors

C1 Duties Of Private Preceptors

1.1

Private Preceptors are responsible for conducting Private Ordination ceremonies, witnessing that the candidate is effectively Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels in the same sense as they do, and is ready to join the Order.

1.2

This requires them to be confident, by direct experience, that the candidate is effectively Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels and ready to join the Order.

1.3 

To have that confidence they should be closely involved in the candidate’s preparation for ordination over a number of years.

1.4

Private Preceptors should keep regular contact with those they have ordained for at least the first five years after they have been ordained and thereafter as appropriate. This means that they should be careful that they have sufficient time and should therefore take on only as many ordinees as they can keep in appropriate contact with. Before taking on a new ordinand for training, the Private Preceptors should discuss each one with his chapter, and with a Public Preceptor who knows the Preceptor and the ordinand.

 

C2 Qualifications Of Private Preceptors

2.1

Private Preceptors will normally have been Order members for at least ten years before entering the consultation process to become a preceptor.

2.2

Private Preceptors will only be appointed when there is at least one person approaching ordination who would like them to be their Private Preceptor.

2.3

Qualifications to be looked for in Private Preceptors are:

a. 

proven effectiveness as kalyana mitras, especially able to deal with the complexities of kalyana mitrata, above all not being prone to inflation and able to work with other people’s projections in an appropriate way.

b.

good understanding of their own character, personality, and personal conditioning.

c. 

good skills in communication, especially being open to criticism and comment.

d. 

strong and deep spiritual practice, especially in terms of meditation and ability to realise the Dharma in their experience.

e. 

consistently skilful ethical practice with all serious breaches from the past cleared up.

f. 

harmony with the spirit of the Order, active in its life, and no major unaddressed difficulties with other Order members, especially other Preceptors.

g. 

willingness to work with the Public Preceptors to ensure the unity of the Order and common standards of ordination.

h. 

willingness to attend meetings of Private Preceptors and special retreats organised by the College.

 

C3 Appointment of Private Preceptors

3.1

Any Order member who has been ordained for more than ten years, who is asked to be a Private Preceptor by anyone of the same sex as them who has asked for ordination and who is willing to carry out the responsibility should apply to a Public Preceptor who is willing to put forward their candidacy. No Private Preceptor, potential or actual, should approach anyone, offering to be their Preceptor.

3.2

The Public Preceptor will initiate consultation with other Order members as to their suitability to act as a Private Preceptor by placing a notice in Shabda and by writing to the candidate’s chapter, kalyana mitras, Preceptors, people they have been kalyana mitra to, and other close colleagues or associates. At this stage the candidacy is put forward without any decision from the College about its suitability.

3.3

Once the Public Preceptor responsible for the consultation is satisfied that all parties have been given adequate time to respond, and have checked with another senior Order member that that is the case, he or she should put the proposal to their own College kula.

3.4

The kula will ensure that all proper steps have been taken by the correspondent for the Private Preceptor, including checking with another senior Order member that that the consultation has been effectively completed. If the kula is satisfied that the candidate will be a suitable Private Preceptor, the kula may make the appointment. A member of the kula, usually the correspondent, will announce the appointment in Shabda, and inform all other College members of the appointment.

3.5

The kula that made the proposal will induct the new Private Preceptor into the performance of his or her duties.

3.6

The Chair will try to develop ways of testing and training Private Preceptors, with the help of the Deputy-Chairs, and will train other College members in this work.

 

C4 Review of Private Preceptors

4.1

Seven years after their first appointment, the suitability of a Private Preceptor will be subject to review.  Further reviews will be discretionary.

4.2

The Chair, in consultation with the Deputy-Chairs, will determine the best way of reviewing the Private Preceptor, ensuring that their qualifications are thoroughly investigated.

4.4

The kula will ensure that all proper steps have been taken by the correspondent for the Private Preceptor, including checking with another senior Order member that that the review has been effectively completed. If the kula is satisfied that it is appropriate for the Private Preceptor to continue doing ordinations, a member of the kula, usually the correspondent, will inform all other College members of the decision.

4.5

If no College members have signified an objection, the correspondent will announce in Shabda that they will continue to act as Private Preceptor.

4.6

Private Preceptors will be presumed to be suitable to continue conducting ordinations until the College decides otherwise, so they will be free to continue while the review is in progress, unless specifically asked by the Chair not to do so.

4.7

If the Chair, in consultation with the Deputy-Chairs, considers that valid objections have been raised and have not been resolved, he or she will notify other College members, asking them to agree whether or not the Private Preceptor under review should continue to conduct Private Ordinations. Any College member can ask for a decision to be deferred to a regional or a full meeting of the College. Any College member who is out of contact for more than one month will be deemed to have consented.

4.8

If it is not thought appropriate that the person continues to conduct ordinations, they remain Preceptor to the people they ordained.

4.9

At any point they can submit themselves for review again, following the same procedure. 

4.10

If any Public Preceptor raises objections to a Private Preceptor continuing to conduct ordinations at any point, then the Chair of the College will submit the matter to the College as a whole, and the College will decide by consensus whether they are to continue or not. The Chair may ask the Private Preceptor not to conduct ordinations while this is being considered.

 

D Preparation, Selection, and Ordination of New Order Members

1.1

Any kula of  Public Preceptors may make the final decision about an ordination, including who acts as Private Preceptor, and will be free to organise preparation for and conducting of the ordination in whatever way they think appropriate.

1.2

The members of the kula are not all expected to know the candidate for ordination personally or to have been involved in their preparation. Their duty is to ensure that preparation has been sufficiently thorough and that proper consultation has taken place with other Order members.

1.3

Ordination requests may be directed to any member of the Order. The requester should be directed to a Public Preceptor, who will explain the procedure to them.

1.4

Candidates for ordination will be free to prepare for ordination with and be ordained by any Private Preceptor they choose, if the Preceptor is willing to accept them. Public Preceptors would usually be proposed by the Public Preceptors’ kula and agreed with the candidate for ordination. Private Preceptors, however, may only ordain members of their own sex and Public Preceptors may only ordain members of the opposite sex under exceptional situations of emergency, such as terminal illness, and may only do so with the approval of the Chair, in consultation with the  Deputies.

1.5

Names for new Order members should, for the time being, be in Pali or Sanskrit and not reproduce ones already given at any time. Proposed names should be checked by the Private Preceptor with a scholar and checked against the list maintained on the Triratna Buddhist Order Names website. Any variation in these arrangements will be authorised by the Chair or a Deputy Chair.

1.6

It is the responsibility of the Public Preceptor to notify the Order registrar of new ordinations and to publish them in Shabda.

1.7

Kalyana mitra ceremonies for mitras may be carried out by any Public Preceptor, or any Private Preceptor with the agreement of a Public Preceptor. The Public Preceptor is responsible for making sure that the celebrant has checked that the criteria for kalyana mitras have been properly met.

 

E Leaving The Order

1.1

Since it is the Public Preceptor’s witnessing of Going for Refuge in the ordination ceremony that introduces someone into the Order, it is for a person’s Public Preceptor to declare that they are no longer a member of the Order if they resign or if, after following proper procedures, they are found to have acted in ways incompatible with membership of the Order.

1.2

When someone resigns from the Order, the Public Preceptor will accept it at his or her discretion – although a resignation cannot truly be refused, but sometimes it can be usefully delayed to give more time for consideration.

1.3

When an Order member speaks or acts in a way that is incompatible with membership of the Order and refuses to confess or make amends, then the Public Preceptor may no longer be able to recognise them as a member of the Order. Before declaring them to be expelled or suspended, however, the Preceptor will discuss with their kula of Public Preceptors, the Private Preceptor and with the Chair’s and Deputies’ meeting. Those Order members who know the person, especially in their chapter and region, will also need to be consulted and to support the action.

1.4

Suspension should be for a clearly defined period, with clear goals about what needs to be resolved to let us make the decision whether or not to reinstate the Order member who has been suspended.

1.5

All such acceptances of resignations, suspensions, and expulsions will be notified to the Order through the appropriate channels with as much of the circumstances spelled out as is appropriate and full details of the process whereby the decision has been reached.

1.6

If someone has been suspended  from the Order, their Public Preceptor, together with their Private Preceptor, should decide when to reinstate them to the Order, if he or she has fully cleared up the issue that led to their suspension, having consulted Order members in the region to ascertain that they are willing to accept them back, and other Order members who know the person or were affected directly by whatever caused the suspension.

1.7

If the Public Preceptor is no longer available, through death or other circumstances, then the Chair or a Deputy Chair of the College will act in their place.