2017/18 President’s Report

Dear friends in Buddhism,

The BCWA has been tirelessly working hard for the benefit of the Buddhist community in Western Australia.

I want to acknowledge the support the committee members of the Buddhist Council of Western Australia (BCWA) have given to make this year a productive year again.

It has been another busy year at the BCWA. The following are just some of the activities that we have been doing.

1. BCWA as government primary contact in WA
Since BCWA has been recognised by the government as peak body of Buddhist organisation in WA, we have been important contact for the government in WA with regard to matters related to Buddhism and the Buddhist community in WA.

2. WA Museum Project
BCWA has been collaborating with the WA Museum to bring important subject within the Buddhist community to be in the new WA Museum. Our communication with several Buddhist organisations, interviewing, producing videos and other activities have been fruitful. This project is still progressing.

3. Clarifying ambiguity of Buddhism and Australia – International Conference
BCWA published a “Public Notice” on the BSWA and BCWA Facebook and BCWA website to bring Buddhist community attention of its concerns related to “Buddhism & Australia’s” 2018 conference (website: http://www.buddhismandaustralia.com). It read as follows:

[The “PARTICIPANTS” and “HOME” pages of the website promoting the conference is in our view ambiguous and may create the impression that the well-respected Western Australian monks Ajahn Brahm, Ajahn Brahmali and Ajahn Sujato support this conference or that they will be attending the conference.

For the avoidance of doubt, this is to inform the general public that these Ajahns and BCWA have NOT supported or attended any of the conferences held by the organisers of Buddhism & Australia except for its 2012 conference only.

Thus, any reference to the Ajahns and/or BCWA representatives on the International Buddhist Conference only refers to their 2012 attendance and is not current.]

4. Religious Freedom Review Federal Government Expert Panel
BCWA and FABC attended the Religious Freedom Review on 12 February in Perth, which was chaired by Hon Philip Ruddock. This was to examine whether Australian law adequately protects the human right to freedom of religion. BCWA and FABC submitted a separate statement to the Panels. BCWA has the view that the Australian Law which is unbiased and protective of the community come first before the religious laws.

5. Federation of Australian Buddhist Council (FABC) Fundamental Review
Discussion on proposed changes to the FABC was held on 24th June at the Australian Asian Association in Perth and 26th June at the Jhana Grove Retreat Centre in Serpentine. This was chaired by Brian White from FABC and attended by representatives from Buddhist Society of WA, Cambodian Buddhist Society of WA, Hayagriva Buddhist Centre, Zen Group WA, Diamond Way and Australia Buddhist Bliss Culture Mission. Changes will have impact on the way FABC and BCWA function.

6. Vesak celebration and distribution of grant from OMI
The BCWA received a grant from the Office of Multicultural Interest (OMI) for the Vesak Celebration in WA. The grant was distributed to the BCWA members that agreed to participate. It includes Buddhist Society of WA, Cambodian Buddhist Society of WA, Sri Lankan Sinhala Buddhist Society and Tisarana Buddhist Association. Vesak celebration was held at various dates.

The grant has also used at the Vesak and Festival of Lights at the Mirrabooka Shopping Centre on 5th and 12th May 2018. This event was participated by the Mirrabooka Shopping Centre, Sri Lankan Sinhala Buddhist Society Dhamma School, Thai Cultural Community of WA, Muay Thai Promotion and the BCWA music band. The Buddhist Society of WA was given a space by the shopping centre to host this event for the two weekends. Volunteers from the Sri Lankan Sinhala Buddhist Society, Buddhist Society of WA and Sagaramudra Buddhist Association assisted in making this event successful.

7. Support for Buddhist Response to Rohingya Crisis – Buddhist Humanitarian Project
BCWA supported a Buddhist Humanitarian Project by promoting the website (https://www.buddhisthumanitarianproject.org/) in the BCWA Facebook and BCWA website. This is intended to help lessen the suffering of the refugees from Myanmar. It is a Buddhist practice of compassion and kindness towards unfortunate beings.

8. India International Buddhist Conclave
Members of BCWA and FABC was invited to attend the India International Buddhist Conclave in August 2018. We successfully created a link between the WA Museum and India National Museum in Delhi with the intention of bringing some historical artifacts to Western Australia.

9. Buddhists Interview Videos
BCWA has released a few professionally produced videos of interviews at the BCWA and BSWA Facebooks and BCWA website. Videos include interview with:

• Stewart Jarvis from the Diamond Way

• Ross Bolleter from Zen Group WA

• Venerable Jhampa WA

• Venerable Munissara from Dhammasara Nuns Monastery WA

10. Constitution Update
BCWA has reviewed its constitution to be in line with the Western Australian Legislation – Associations Incorporation Act 2015. Changes are being proposed in the Annual General Meeting.

11. The BCWA has also supported other organisations activities through
• participating in musical performance at the Australian Asian Association Harmony Day concert
• attending the Nepal Festival at Elizabeth Quay
• attending the Buddha Light International Association WA Vesak ceremony at the Elizabeth Quay
• attending the Sri Lanka Sinhala Buddhist Society Vesak ceremony at its temple
• attending the Cambodian Buddhist Society New Year celebration at its temple
• attending the Tisarana Busshist Association Vesak celebration at its monastery
• helping to promote the Buddha Light International Association’s Australia New Zealand Buddhist Youth Conference 2018 in Perth
• attending the Buddha Light International Association WA Harmony week, tea ceremony and the Ullambana ceremony at its temple

The BCWA Annual General Meeting was held at 7pm on Tuesday 23 October 2018.

All positions of executive committees and committees have been filled and I congratulate the new committee and wish the m the very best. I have no doubt that they will perform excellently for the benefits of the WA Buddhist communities.

Yours in the Dhamma

Boon Tan