Tibetan Buddhist Society Melbourne: Frequently asked Questions
What is the organisational structure of the TBS?
Information about the organisation of TBS can be found at Our Organisation – Tibetan Buddhist Society. In brief, a team of volunteer directors (appointed by Geshe Acharya Thubten Loden) provide general guidance to the activities of the TBS in accordance with the Inner Constitution (see below) established by Geshe-la. However, day to day activities of the Melbourne centre are managed and guided by our various committees and teams. Members of our broader community are welcome to join any of the teams and some of the committees. An overview of the teams and the areas they cover can be seen here (link to graphic).
Who are the directors?
The website sets out information about our volunteer Melbourne directors: Melbourne Directors – Tibetan Buddhist Society, As noted above, current directors in all States were appointed by Geshe-la and have an ongoing tenure. They are not necessarily replaced as the Inner Constitution (see below) does not require this. Associate directors in Melbourne have a fixed 12 month term, and have the same voting rights as the directors. They are appointed by directors via nomination and then vote. The role of associate directors has been set up so that they do not carry the same legal responsibility as company directors. Any of the directors can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who sits on the teams and committees?
Teams and some committees are open for anyone to join and they may be facilitated by directors or non-directors.
Membership of teams and some committees is fluid, while some committees have a more fixed membership. Membership of some committees was set up by Geshe-la (e.g. Finance committee) and there has not been a need to widen membership of that committee to date. Committee and team member names are available on request. We have set up a SharePoint site which lists the teams and those who have volunteered to be on each team. Anyone on a team can request access to SharePoint, via your team facilitator/s.
How are decisions made?
The centre works as a collaborative effort, including at director level. The new team structure allows many decisions to be made within teams, with some decisions requiring director approval as required by the Inner Constitution. A guide has been developed to help clarify how decisions get made (available via this link https://tibetanbuddhistsociety.org/community-information/. We welcome any questions about this document.
How does TBS keep the community up-to-date on what is happening at the centre?
Community meetings are held twice a year to which everyone is welcome. Notes from directors’ meetings (usually held every two months) are also available via this link: https://tibetanbuddhistsociety.org/community-information/ Updates to the community are also regularly sent to all those on the mailing list by email (e.g. New Year Updates, twice yearly newsletters, information about and feedback from Community Meetings, festival information and so forth).
Governance and strategic planning
Is there a governing constitution and is it available to members of the community?
Does the organisation hold AGMs? If so, who can attend?
The national annual directors’ meeting to which all directors are invited is the AGM from a legal point of view. The twice yearly Community Meetings provide a forum for the whole TBS Melbourne community to meet together to exchange ideas, raise questions and to inform and inspire our community.
Is there a strategic plan for the TBS?
The TBS is guided by Geshe-la’s vision, as documented in the Inner Constitution. Geshe-la’s main aim was to found a meditation centre at which people could access reliable and authentic teachings on Tibetan Buddhism, with a core teaching program focussed on the Tushita books that Geshe-la wrote for this purpose. In addition to regular classes Geshe-la also requested TBS hold regular Festivals and Open Days as offerings to the broader Australian community.
TBS teams are also encouraged to plan strategically for the activities they look after. By being part of any of the teams you are interested in you can help shape the centre’s activities and focus.
Ideas and suggestions
How do my new ideas get raised and implemented?
TBS warmly welcomes new ideas and suggestions that are consistent with our Inner Constitution and values. As a volunteer organisation our resources are not unlimited and at any time our main focus is on supporting the core program of teachings, classes, festivals and other activities that are set out in our Inner Constitution. The more active, willing and enthusiastic volunteers we have, the more we can do! If you have a very simple suggestion, it might be easiest to make it directly to the relevant team. (If you don’t know who to contact, please email email@example.com). However, the best way to raise your idea is to set it out in detail using the Ideas and Suggestions Form that you can find here (link). We invite you to expand your idea with as much detail as possible and to do some groundwork re its feasibility and the resources that will be needed to support it. A guide to completing this form can be found here Community Information – Tibetan Buddhist Society
The most effective way to get a suggestion considered and implemented is to become involved in one of the relevant teams that can support you either on an ongoing basis or maybe just for the particular initiative you’re interested in. We can’t guarantee that every idea can be brought into reality. However, where a member of our community is willing to commit their own time and interest to support an initiative from inspiration through to implementation, we’ll commit to give the idea a proper hearing and, if it goes ahead, to work with you to make it happen.
Complaints and concerns
How can students’ and members’ concerns be heard?
Any director can be approached with ideas or concerns either face to face or via email. In addition, members of the TBS community can attend directors’ meetings (usually held every two months) to voice questions or concerns. Please contact a director or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange attendance.
Community members can also contact individual teams directly or the Community Support Team as a conduit for feedback or concerns. Please email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Members are also welcome to raise ideas and concerns at the twice yearly Community Meetings.
An important piece of the context is that everyone in our Tibetan Buddhist Society community – directors, residents, team members and students/members alike – are volunteers. As such we encourage parties with concerns to be mindful of Mahayana Buddhist principles and values and endeavour to work together to resolve any issue to the best of their ability.
The Melbourne centre has documented a complaints process explaining standards of behaviour and the approach to dealing with complaints. The complaints process is available via this link: https://tibetanbuddhistsociety.org/community-information
Living at the Melbourne TBS Centre
Residential community – can other people live in at Melbourne TBS?
People known to the centre can apply to live in either short term or long term and a form is available by emailing email@example.com. Feel free to contact a director if interested. The person applying should be someone who is well known to our community members – e.g., as a result of attending classes and /or retreats, or volunteering for a period of time. Committing to keep the centre’s rules is a requirement. An assessment of the application is made by a group of directors, especially resident directors, and some residents. It is based on the application form (link) and an interview, references etc and may depend on requirements and needs of the centre at the time of application. An important consideration is that the person is committed to living harmoniously and constructively with other members of the centre community and genuinely wishes o make a positive contribution as a resident.