Secretary of the Welsh Government Faith Communities Forum, and her associate Jo Glenn, visited Ngakma Nor'dzin, the Chairperson of the Buddhist Council of Wales. Andrea Adams is visiting representatives of all the faiths who send representatives to the Assembly's Faith Communities Forum as part of her orientation to her new rôle as Secretary.
Nor'dzin reports on the meeting as follows:
"Andrea and Jo asked many interesting questions. They clearly had researched the principles of Buddhism and were interested to find out about my thoughts on various issues. We discussed the Buddhist attitude towards organ donation; whether there were special Buddhist Holy Days that they should try to avoid when calling meetings; they asked about the form that Buddhist practice takes – such as meditation, mantra, chant, song, visualisation.
I took Andrea and Jo up to see our shrine room, decorated in traditional Nyingma Buddhist style. They enquired whether there was a particular image or icon that should be present in a shared faith room with regard to Buddhism.
One specific query was with regard to the recent government consultation document about same-sex civil partnership. They said that one Buddhist had expressed a possible problem with the use of the word 'forever' for the vow a couple would make. I suggested that this could have been because of the Buddhist view of the impermanence of everything, or because of the vow being made for the relationship in this lifetime only, as rebirth is a key tenet of Buddhism.
I explained to Andrea and Jo about the importance of the teacher in Buddhism – how there were many and various forms of Buddhist practice and that the style of particular Buddhist groups would reflect the practice style of their teacher. I expressed that unfortunately this can mean that Buddhist groups tend to be rather separate and not interact with one another. This discussion about the teacher in Buddhism prompted a question about the Dalai Lama, and I expressed that all Buddhists would respect the Dalai Lama, but that he was not a 'Buddhist Pope' – that the Dalai Lama is the head of the Gélug school of Tibetan Buddhism, but that there were three other schools of Buddhism within Tibetan Buddhism itself, as well as numerous other forms of Buddhism quite different in style to Tibetan Buddhism.
I enjoyed Andrea and Jo's visit and appreciated their taking the time to talk to me. I believe my replies to their questions offered a broad view of Buddhism in Wales."