2010 Board Election

The election of two new members of the NWDA Board of Directors is in progress. New board members will serve 3-year terms beginning in June of this year.

Individual and Teacher members of the Northwest Dharma Association, as well as representatives of NWDA Member Groups, are entitled to vote. Electronic ballots must be returned by April 23rd.

More information about candidates and the voting process is available here. http://www.northwestdharma.org/announcements.html.

Listen to Recent NWDA Events:

Family Dharma Conference & 2010 Annual Gathering

If you weren’t able to attend either January’s Family Dharma Conference or February’s Annual Gathering on “Buddhism & the Body”, or you want to hear them again, you can listen to audio recordings of Chozen Bays’ Dharma talk from the family conference and the panel discussions from both events. They’re posted on the NWDA website. Links to short video excerpts are available also.

Thanks to very many hours of patient effort on the part of board member Caterina De Re, Northwest Dharma is now able to share the ideas and wisdom generated at these and future events with all visitors to the NWDA website, not just the few who are able to attend in person.

We’re delighted to be able to extend the experience and the fruits of Mahasangha to our members and supporters throughout all of our geographical region and beyond, in fulfillment of our mission “to foster a network of friendship and support…”

Audio and video from Family Dharma Conference

Audio and video from “Birth, Death, & In Between”

The Sun Behind the Clouds: Tibet’s Struggle for Freedom

SIFF Cinema, April 16-22

The Northwest debut of this controversial documentary is presented by Seattle International Film Festival Cinema, in association with Northwest Dharma Association.

Fifty years have passed since the takeover of Tibet by China. The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual and temporal leader, has lived in exile for most of his life, trying to find a peaceful solution. For more than 20 years, he has pursued his Middle Way Approach: giving up the goal of Tibet’s independence in return for genuine autonomy. China has consistently rejected his proposals. Now more and more young Tibetans, ready for a more confrontational course, are questioning his strategy. Can the Dalai Lama’s path of peace and compromise find a solution for Tibet? Or will the voices calling for independence prevail? The filmmakers followed the Dalai Lama over the course of an eventful year, which included the 2008 protests in Tibet, the long march in India, the Beijing Olympics, and the breakdown of talks with the Chinese government.

The film runs April 16-22. Filmmakers Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam will attend the April 16-18 screenings. For more information, visit SIFF Cinema online.

Prison Dharma Conference, June 4-6

Mark your calendars for the 2010 Prison Dharma Conference coming up June 4-6 in Portland, OR, co-sponsored by Northwest Dharma Association and Plum Mountain Refuge.

Kevin Griffin, author of "One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps" (Rodale Press 2004) and "God, Buddha, and the Path of Recovery" (Hay House 2009), will be the principal speaker.

A longtime Buddhist practitioner and 12 Step participant, Griffin is a leader in the mindful recovery movement and one of the founders of the Buddhist Recovery Network. Kevin has trained with the leading Western Vipassana teachers, among them Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, and Ajahn Amaro.

Most of the Prison Conference events will take place at Portland Insight Meditation Center. More information will appear soon on the Northwest Dharma Association and Plum Mountain Refuge websites.

2009 Annual Report

The Association Board took a very important step this year in defining more precisely how we accomplish our mission of “supporting Buddhist teachings and community.” Our activities fall into three categories:

  • Buddhist Resources
  • Regional News
  • Collaboration Across Traditions

Here is what we did in 2009:

Buddhist Resources

We provide resources primarily through the website (www.northwestdharma.org). Besides the general information on the site, our Group Directory offers listings of each of our member groups with links to their websites and/or emails. We added a Google Map system to the Directory to make it easier for users to locate Buddhist centers and activities in their geographical areas. Our Calendar of Events continues to be an important source of listings of classes, retreats, and other events throughout the region. We updated graphics for both the Directory and Calendars and converted our Business & Service Directory to what is now the expanded Sourcebook.

Regional News

For over 20 years, the Association has published the Northwest Dharma News. The News went from a print to an online publication in the fall of 2007. In the spring of 2009, the decision was made to go from a bi-monthly to a quarterly publication due to limited resources of volunteer time and money.

Collaboration Across Traditions

In many ways, this category of activities reflects the unique position of NWDA. This collaboration occurs in a number of different ways: the News features sections that are of relevance to many individual Buddhists and Buddhist sanghas, while offering the opportunity of sharing ideas and resources. These interest areas include “Green Dharma,” activities related to the welfare of the environment; “Family Dharma,” related to the role of children and family issues in the lives of the Buddhist community, and “Prison Dharma,” the care and concern for those practicing the Dharma behind the bars and in their transition back into society. There are others, of course, such as various forms of chaplaincy that the Association hopes to address in the future as resources become available.

Another source of collaboration is the Teachers Forum, a part of our website that allows teachers to speak with one another as peers about their issues, ideas, concerns.

A very important component of this category is that of the events that we sponsor each year.


Northwest Dharma Association Income, 2009


Northwest Dharma Association Expenses, 2009


Annual Meeting: The Northwest Dharma Association held its 2009 Annual Meeting on February 14 at the Ngoc Son Tinh Xa Buddhist Temple in Portland, Oregon. The theme was “Buddhism and the Environment.” Robert Beatty of the Portland Insight Meditation Community delivered the keynote address, entitled “Garden the Mind, Live Gently on the Earth.” The afternoon portion of the meeting was an open discussion with panel members, Mike O’Brien, green-building specialist with the City of Portland’s Office of Sustainable Development; Ven. Adhisila, a hemp advocate; Satya Vayu, Soto Zen priest and leader of an environmentally alternative community in Portland; and Bill Hirsch, co-founder of EcoSangha Seattle.

Teachers Meeting: The 2009 Teachers Meeting was held once again at the Blue Heron Zen Center on its usual date of the first Saturday in October. The discussions on various topics revolved around the basic question: how to adapt while remaining true to one’s Buddhist training and tradition?

Prison Dharma Conference: Following on last year’s successful Prison Dharma Conference, a planning process has begun for the 2010 Prison Dharma Conference, once again co-sponsored with Plum Mountain Refuge to be held in June of this year.

Family Dharma Conference: By December, plans were finalized for the first Family Dharma Conference to be held at Nalanda West in Seattle on January 22 & 23 of 2010.

The Board

The Board’s term begins in June. Nominations begin at the Annual Meeting on the 2nd Saturday of February and conclude one month later. The election is held from March 15 to April 15. The first meeting of the new Board takes place in June. Because the Board is dispersed throughout the region, this meeting is designed to allow all the Board members to attend in person.

This last year, as in years past, the June meeting was held at Bodhi House in Olympia. Other meetings are conducted by teleconference, except for the annual strategic planning meeting, also held at Bodhi House in October. The current Board Members are: Julie Welch (President), Nick Vail (Vice President, Seattle), Clark Hansen (Vice President, Portland), Bill Hirsch (Secretary), Richard O’Connor (Treasurer), Dh. Avichala, Caterina De Re, Amy Groncznack, Jeff Kerr, and R.L. Miles. In keeping with the intention to be an association open to all groups and individuals dedicated to Buddhist teaching and practice, the Board represents a range of traditions and approaches to the Dharma and provides a direct experience of Mahasangha for which the Association stands.

Financial Information

In 2008, NWDA had income of $25,968; lower than 2008 by $9,024. Lower individual membership renewals and donations accounted for this difference. The number of member groups continued to increase. Total expenses were $25,284; lower than 2008 by $6,783. The difference came from cost cutting, including a 15% cut in payroll. The net result was an increase in reserves of $384.

Direct donations accounted for 39% of revenue; individual membership for 20% and member group dues for 26%; the remaining 15% came from website advertising.

Volunteer Activities

Volunteers accomplish most of the Association’s work. There is one part-time (1/4 time) employee, Timothy O’Brien, the Program Coordinator. David Forsythe, the volunteer Office Manager handles most of the administrative tasks. The only contracted service is the graphic production of the News. The Board and other volunteers provide all the other human resources of the Association, including the gathering and editing of the News, the planning and execution of events, strategic planning, public relations, and much information and referral.