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“Criticising the Executive Committee”

A couple of people have suggested that I was sacked because I offended the EC in my first missive in mid-December 2018.  It was not my intention to criticise anyone at all, in fact I would be stunned if it turned out that the EC was not already aware of the issues I raised. Nonetheless, I do not shy away from what is simply a demonstrable fact; TI grew quickly in the 1980s but has ceased to grow in the 30 years since then. The figures are not an opinion.

Going through early Newsletters, I came across a surprising comparison that I now think might be the canary in the mine pointing to the loss of transparency at TI; in 1979 there were 12 people on the committee (probably a third or a quarter of the students at the time) — in 2018 there were 6 people on the committee (about one 26th of Members).

We have failed to train new people to run the Centre and are suffering from that.

How TI has Traveled Since 1974

You may not be aware of how TI performed from 1974 up to 2018, so here are two chart that will give some overview of the figures that make it easy to compare.

I’ve used inflation sites to calculate the dollar values in 2019 terms so that you can get a better sense of comparative debt and running cost burdens that have been taken on over the period.

Key things I point to:

  • The Lamas invested a significant amount of energy into TI
  • Lama Yeshe invited HHDL to Australia starting in 1974 and TI hosted the first meetings
  • TI was heavily involved in at least the early Tours 
  • At Lama Yeshe’s urging, TI was involved in bringing out the very first Vietnamese monks and they stayed and taught at Miller Grove — what they have done for Buddhism in Melbourne dwarfs our efforts, but we helped it happen
  • Crimea St purchase was also hit with a $120 k claim for debts related to Miller Grove, plus 5 months of renovations costing over $30,000
  • Membership numbers are actual, attendances are approximate or based on newsletter claims
  • 2018 figures show a loss and reduced turnover compared to 2017 which also had a surplus — turnover has fallen
  • Mortgage interest payments, alone (excluding the additional costs of running the Centre)  in the 80s would almost cover total turnover today
  • 1987 turnover was almost identical to 2018 — in numbers; but when inflation is taken into account, it was 2.5 times bigger than our recent turnover
  • Cash Trust: Members loaned us about $150,000 ($385,568 in today’s terms)
  • The value of TI is way beyond the size of its tiny numbers at Mavis Avenue. We have been involved in the growth of Dharma via the Vietnamese community (vast compared to us), the Khagyu Centre (many of whose most dedicated students started at TI), the Loden centre with its roots in Chenrezig Institute (Geshe Loden taught at TI before he set up his centre in St Kilda) and uncalculated numbers of people who met the Dharma via His Holiness and other great teachers we have brought to Melbourne. I hear criticism that, because those thousands of people introduced to the teachings of the Buddha do not come to TI, there is something flawed about that work. I do not accept that at all.