New funding initiative
2013 was a year of metamorphosis and innovation for the Northwest Dharma Association.
Having moved out of our physical office in late 2012, we started 2013 by cutting expenditures, and then we launched a new funding initiative: the mahasangha mala.
The term mahasangha refers to the association’s role of networking various Buddhist groups (sanghas) throughout the region. Maha means great or greater, so the network of groups becomes greater than one group (sangha) alone.
A mala is the Buddhist rosary, the necklace that many Buddhist traditions employ to recite mantras, or invocations to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. A mala traditionally consists of 108 beads, described as a highly auspicious number in many Buddhist traditions.
The members of the mahasangha mala are those donors who contribute $9 or more per month on a recurring basis. Non-profits rely on predictable on-going income, even though one-time gifts are very much needed and appreciated.
Funding has always been a challenge for Northwest Dharma Association. The NWDA board feels strongly its responsibility to establish a solid financial and administrative base, for the next generation of Buddhist leaders.
The mission of the Northwest Dharma Association is to connect Buddhist communities in our region with each other, and with people seeking the path of the Buddha. We are one of the very few organizations in the world so dedicated. Consistent, ongoing funding is crucial to sustaining our work.
Our new website, launched in December after more than a year in development, takes a big step in guaranteeing the association’s organization’s viability and longevity.
The re-design was a complete renovation of the site from top to bottom on a new platform. The design features member group information as its central focus, as befits our mission. It was designed to complement the redesign of the Northwest Dharma News, from the year before.
Funding for the project came from two very generous major donors as well as from our fund reserves.
Please visit the site at www.northwestdharma.org. You can also reach it through the link in the top-right corner of this page. More than 3,500 people visit the site each month!
Site visitors can view and search for information on our member groups, located by Google maps. Our calendar section consists of a chronological and searchable list of the member group events. At the very top of the home page, you will see the featured events scrolling by, an exciting development.
The 11th annual regional Teachers Meeting was held on October 5 at Choboji Zen Temple in Seattle, and was facilitated by Genko Kathy Blackman, who teaches at Choboji.
Attendees represented a broad cross-section of regional Buddhist teachers, including teachers from these sanghas and centers: D.I.Y. Dharma, EcoSangha, Mountain Way Zendo, Nalanda West, NOSangha, Open Gate Zendo, Plum Mountain Refuge, Portland Sakya Center, Sakya Monastery, Seattle Choeizan Enkyoji Nichiren Buddhist Temple, The Sunyata Group, Thurston Insight Meditation Group, Touching Earth Sangha, Vajra Body Vajra, Mind, White Cloud Buddhist Society, and Wisdom at Work.
On June 8, NWDA sponsored a gathering of monks and laypeople from the Seattle-area Southeast Asian Buddhist community at Seattle University, to celebrate the Buddha’s life with a colorful Vesak ceremony.
Vesak is the most sacred day for the Theravada Buddhist community, honoring the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death. Seven monks, and about 40 friends and supporters, commemorated Vesak with chanting and a dharma talk, followed by a candle-light procession around the Seattle University campus. The various communities distributed dharma materials, from tables set up in the Wyckoff Auditorium lobby.
Northwest Dharma board news
At the annual October Northwest Dharma Association planning meeting in Olympia, the board welcomed its newest board member, Damien Abel. At that same meeting, the slate of officers for this year was elected: Tim Tapping, president; Abel, vice president; Elizabeth Sikes, treasurer; and Paul Gerhards, secretary.
The board also committed itself to an ambitious schedule for the 2014 Annual Gathering. It was decided to hold the Annual Gathering in two different places, Portland and Seattle, with the theme of “Arts as Buddhist Practice.”