United Kingdom: Sakyadhita National Branches
The founding meeting for Sakyadhita UK as a non-profit organization was held in Birmingham on November
10, 2007. Its founding committee members were: Bhikshuni Könchog Jinpa Khandro (Beatrice Jutta Gassner), Chair; Wendy Barzetovic, Secretary; Sue Anne Bloy, Treasurer, and Archarya Modgala. In 2009, Archarya Modgala was elected president. Susan Anne Bloy continued as treasurer. A Sakyadhita UK Meeting and Annual General Meeting was held in Kendal, July 18, 2009, that included an introduction to Sakyadhita, meditation, talks and Council.
Sakyadhita UK has been developing its organization based on a three-phase plan since receiving official recognition as a national branch:
Phase one aims to make Sakyadhita and its work more widely known and accessible, in both national and
international arenas. This outreach has included: creating a webpage on the website of Sakyadhita International; investigating additional means of advertising and networking; and by disseminating information
about Sakyadhita UK events through other Buddhist organizations in the UK and Europe. Another way of
raising the profile of Sakyadhita UK has been to attend conferences and teachings on Buddhism in order to
network. Sister Modgala and Ven. Jinpa Khandro attended the European Buddhist Union meeting September 25-27, 2009 in the UK and the Network of Buddhist Organizations Annual General Meeting on the March 20, 2010.
Phase two aims to network more actively as a Sakyadhita UK national branch. Sister Acharya Modgala represented Sakyadhita UK at the 11th Sakyadhita International Conference in Vietnam December 28, 1009 - January 3, 2010, where she also presented a paper. She was welcomed by Bhikshuni Karma Lekshe Tsomo, a founder of Sakyadhita International and a conference organizer.
Bhikshuni Jinpa Khandro contributed to this Phase by facilitating groups identified as “Calling a Council of Buddhist Women” in different areas of the UK. The focus of these Council-styled groups was to identify issues relevant to Buddhist women in the UK.
Some of issues that have emerged are: how to support each other in spiritual training and how to help each other to keep vows. Another important issue that emerged is the situation of western nuns living in the West and the need for a nunnery. Several written documents have come from these discussions; for example: “How to Address Buddhist Monastics & Buddhist Teachers in the Tibetan Tradition” and “Protocols for Interacting with Ordained Sangha in the Tibetan Tradition,” both authored by Bhikshuni Tsuiltrim Tenzin Choesang. Another essay was written on “Protocol and Tradition,” by Hei Ki Jan Pearse, a nun within the
International Zen Association.
On July 4, 2010, following the Council meeting, a Sakyadhita UK Annual General Meeting of members only
was held. Participants at the Council were invited to join as members and to help Sakyadhita UK with the next steps of developing the UK national branch, in particular by helping with publicity and fundraising.