Letter from the Executive Director

Written by: George Draffan

As soon as I encountered the Northwest Dharma Association I was attracted to its vision of a Buddhist community that included many traditions and cultures.

From 2001 to 2005 I served on the association’s board of directors. Since then I’ve focused my volunteer efforts on organizing NWDA’s annual regional Buddhist teachers gathering. I’m now honored and happy to back in a new role as NWDA’s executive director.

Over the past 20 years, the Buddhist community has grown by leaps and bounds. There are new temples and practice groups, a new generation of teachers, more Buddhist-inspired practices and applications in public education, psychotherapy, addiction and trauma recovery, and more Buddhist practitioners engaging social and environmental issues.

As the community evolves, so does NWDA. We still publish Northwest Dharma News , and we still sponsor community events and forums. We’ve explored different ways to encourage individual and group member participation in the association: summer festivals, Wesak celebrations, teachers meetings, and more.

But NWDA’s vision and mission has remained the same: to support Buddhist teachings, practice, and community in the Pacific Northwest. To do this, NWDA is supporting community in new ways.

George Draffan, a long time NW Dharma Association board member and volunteer, is now serving as executive director

George Draffan, a long time NW Dharma Association board member and volunteer, is now serving as executive director.

North America is a meeting place of many different Buddhist cultures. As the Buddhadharma takes root, diversity becomes a vital defining need for the Sangha. NWDA is organizing and supporting more participatory events that bring together Buddhists and those interested in Buddhism throughout the region. These events are “Mahasangha” (“greater community”) because they represent more than just one Buddhist lineage or group.

NWDA invites you to participate in the growth of the Mahasangha. Visit Northwestdharma.org to learn about the Member Groups and visit sanghas, temples, and organizations outside your lineage or tradition. Check the Calendar for events that you can attend beyond your usual events, especially mahasangha events, which are displayed in the slider on our home page. Encourage dharma leaders to co-sponsor Mahasangha events with other traditions. Follow us on MeetUp, Facebook, and Twitter.

NWDA offers many benefits to Buddhist teachers, to Buddhist organizations, to urban and rural groups, to unaffiliated practitioners, to those who are just hearing about the dharma and are curious to learn more. Here are just a few of the resources and benefits NWDA offers:

  • Northwest Dharma News, an in-depth quarterly publication that explores the region’s Buddhist community.
  • Member Group Directory that gives each member group a detailed profile and presence.
  • Calendar of Events that helps spread the word about the events and activities of member groups.
  • Teachers meetings across the region, bringing together monastic and lay teachers of every Buddhist tradition for mutual awareness and support.
  • NWDA co-sponsorship of multi-tradition Mahasangha events.

As executive director, I welcome your feedback, appreciate your support, and invite your participation. Together we can benefit each other and all beings.

George can be reached at george@northwestdharma.org or 206-659-1954.

About the Author: George Draffan
George Draffan is a Seattle-based Buddhist practitioner, who teaches Buddhist meditation and Taoist energy practices. As a long-time volunteer for the Northwest Dharma Association, he previously served as president from 2001 to 2005.