For an organisation to become a full member of New Zealand Buddhist Council Inc., it has to be registered with the Charities Commission. This immediately ruled out Secular Buddhism in Aotearoa New Zealand (SBiANZ). Wanting, though, to contribute to the life of the Council and to help promote awareness of the dharma in this country, we ignored the fact that SBiANZ is not a ‘Buddhist individual’ and applied for associate membership. Our application was accepted, we are pleased to say, and new ground was broken.
That’s not all we needed to ignore. On the full membership application form, an organisation is asked to declare that it is either Theravada, Mahayana, or Vajrayana. No ‘Other’ category was available at the time we applied to join. We felt that if the Buddhist Council is to truly operate as a representative organisation in 21st century Aotearoa New Zealand, it really does need to make room for ‘Others’, and made the point. Now, the category ‘Other’ is available.
Given the opportunity to write in what that ‘Other’ is, I would have written ‘aniccayana’, the way of non-permanance, the way of secular dharma, in place of theravada, mahayana and vajrayana. What would you have done, and what do you think about this new ‘yana’?
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*This updates an article in the ‘In This Moment’ newsletter in which it was incorrectly stated that an ‘Other’ category was not available in the application for full NZBC membership.