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ASA & Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils

The ASA works closely together with the Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils (FABC). The FABC is a peak body for Buddhism in Australia, which comprises members from the Buddhist Councils of NSW, Victoria, WA, SA, and Queensland. These Buddhist Councils together represent a membership of over 200 Buddhist organizations.

The ASA & FABC work together in such things as representing Australia in international Buddhist events, meeting Government ministers and civil servants on a national level to represent Buddhist interests, and listening to and communicating the needs of Buddhist people in Australia. This approach has led to a number of important successes, such as the acceptance of the Dhammapada as a sacred Buddhist text in the Australian Parliament, and the agreement from the Minister for Immigration regarding income requirements for PR visas for Buddhist Monastics.

In October 2008, this relationship was formalized in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the ASA & FABC. the document, signed by Ven David Lungtok, then president of the ASA, and Brian Ashen, then president of the FABC. Here is the signed pdf document of the FABC & ASA Memorandum of Understanding. Below is the text.

Memorandum of Understanding October 2008

Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils (FABC)

Australian Sangha Association (ASA)

PLEDGE

The FABC and ASA acknowledge each others’ roles in developing and promoting Buddhism in Australia, and pledge to work together in harmony whenever possible for the mutual benefit of all Buddhist traditions in Australia.

BACKGROUND

The FABC is a peak body representing the state Buddhist Councils of NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, WA, and in future possibly other states. The ASA endeavours to support and represent Buddhist monastic traditions in Australia, and includes members from all major monastic traditions. Each organization thus has its own distinct interests, internal organization, and priorities. But there are many issues where the two groups may work together profitably. The relationship between the FABC and ASA has been ongoing since the ASA’s inaugural General Meeting in 2005. This MoU places this relationship on a more formal setting.

LIAISON OFFICERS

The ASA Management Committee will appoint an ASA member to act as Liaison Officer with the FABC. This Liaison Officer’s role will be to actively participate in the discussion and development of issues with the FABC, to report these activities to the ASA, and to represent the ASA’s interests to the FABC. The FABC will appoint an officer with a similar role.

CO-ORDINATION OF ACTIVITIES

The ASA and FABC will put into place mechanisms to enable information flow, decision making, delagating of tasks, and issuing joint public statements.

ISSUES

Examples of issues that may be developed jointly by the ASA and the FABC include:

  • Visas and immigration
  • Policy development
  • Chaplaincy
  • Interfaith

CONCLUSION

The dissemination and preservation of Dharma in Australia is the shared objective of the FABC and ASA. Working together whenever necessary will ensure that Buddhism and the wider community both benefit from our committment to achieve these goals.

Signed on behalf of the Australian Sangha Association
[Ven David Thubten Lungtok, president]

Signed on behalf of the Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils
[Brian Ashen, president]