The Buddhist Council of New South Wales is governed by a board of directors, which is supported by a team of office staff and volunteers. They are supervised and supported by our General Manager. After each financial year, an Annual General Meeting is held to report our financial position and overall progress.
After the financial position is approved by the members, a report is made to the Office of Fair Trading, in accordance with the Associations Incorporation Act (NSW). We publish a user-friendly annual report for our annual general meeting which summarises our achievements, plans and how we have used our donated funds to fulfil our mission. Our most recent constitution (PDF download) was updated in 2017.
Our Golden Rules
1.) We try to find ways to spread the understanding and practice of the Dharma without duplicating what our member organisations are doing.
2.) We work for the Dharma, not for ourselves.
3.) We are mindful of all our other responsibilities, so that whatever we do for the Buddhist Council of NSW is done with equanimity, in line with the Middle Path.
4.) We use the Dharma in our work for the Buddhist Council of NSW, so that whatever obstacles face us, we can endure and overcome as part of our Dharma practice.
Our primary strategic direction is sustainability. We want to operate in a way that allows us to be more flexible, resilient and adaptable to change. We are retaining our talented volunteers through having more paid part-time and casual staff. This will allow us to continue doing what we do, working to support the Buddhist community.
Risk & financial management
We monitor the Buddhist Council’s financial and overall risks by having an annual audit, conducted by an independent auditor. The audit assesses the key attributes of our governance, monitoring areas such as compliance, risk management and strategic direction. This provides us with a clear portrait of our strengths, and areas that need work. Although we are not legally required to do this, the audit allows us to demonstrate a greater transparency to the Buddhist community, as well as equipping us with the comprehensive knowledge to better support and advise our members.
Independent financial audit
The Buddhist Council’s most recent financial statements have been independently audited by Phoi Duong, Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia. The auditor’s opinion is that the financial statements give a true and fair view of the Council’s financial position and comply with current accounting practice. After six audits from Phoi Duong, we are currently seeking a new auditor for this financial year period. We report to the Office of Fair Trading annually, and we comply with the Australian Tax Office and other relevant authorities.
Board of Directors
Together, our team brings with them a wide range of skills and relevant experience. The members of our board are chosen based on merit. Each individual director brings with them a diverse range of professional skills and experience, as well as a range of personal experiences and connections. Our governance method differs from other organisations, in that there is a separation between the board and staff members. Our Board regularly confer to make the best decisions for the organisation, before disseminating this information to the General Manager, who delegates the tasks to the appropriate staff members. The Buddhist Council relies on the cooperation and effective communication between these two parties to function smoothly. This separation between the Board of Directors and office staff allows for clear-headed decision-making that leads the organisation in the right direction.
Gawaine Powell Davies (Chairman)
Gawaine Powell Davies has had an interest in Buddhism since reading Christmas Humphrey’s book Buddhism at the age of thirteen, and studying Eastern philosophy. It all makes much more sense to him since he learnt to meditate and became involved in the Insight Buddhist community. He has been a member of Bluegum Sangha for ten years, and is chairman of Sydney Insight Meditators. In his other life he has recently retired as a primary health care research at the University of NSW, and is looking forward to being able to engage more fully in the Buddhist community.
Ben Webster was admitted in 2005 as a solicitor to the Supreme Court of NSW and the High Court of Australia and practised briefly as a lawyer. He has worked for over a decade in the Australian and NSW Governments in a number of policy and program areas including Indigenous Affairs, Education, Families and Aged Care. Ben has been a serious meditator for almost fifteen years, and is interested in practising and promoting the Noble Eightfold path as taught by the Buddha. He is currently the Treasurer of the Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils.
Tina Ng is a practicing and devout Buddhist. She is the Founder and President of the Metta Centre, a Buddhist centre to support Buddhism in Western Sydney by providing a space for monastics and lay teachers to share the Buddha’s teachings freely. She is also the Principal Solicitor of Metta Legal, a law firm encouraging practice through Buddhist principles. She has been an advisor to temples, Buddhist organisations and university groups. She has a keen interest in supporting youth and has run various mentoring programs for students. She has organised various events and played the role of coordinator, emcee, and auctioneer at charity functions. She has shared the Buddha’s teachings in conferences, talks, workshops, and in her writings.
Lianne Ngo has been working as a pharmacist since graduating from university, and has also been working as a community mental health worker to provide information, education, support and advocacy to the Vietnamese community. Lianne teaches Buddhist Scripture at two primary schools and a high school, and is a co-ordinator for The Little Lotus Program which teaches children Buddhist values, life skills and meditation. Knowing the seriousness of mental illness and the importance of mental health and well-being, Lianne has special interest in sharing the Dharma with children and young people. Lianne has also been involved in establishing two Buddhist organisations, on which she has also served on their Boards.
Ariya Chittasy discovered the benefits of Buddhist Meditation in his late school years. The benefits to him were clear in his daily life, so he furthered his studies into the mind throughout university. He is an entrepreneur at heart and has owned and run several award-winning businesses. Ariya’s interest in technology led him to contribute to the development of the Buddhist Council of NSW’s websites over the past few years. He is looking forward to being part of the discover of how the Buddha’s teachings can be spread in the technological age.
Zen Low came across Buddhism as a university student in New Zealand in 2001 and immediately felt an affinity to the teachings of the Buddha. He attended his first meditation retreat in New Zealand in 2008 and was immediately amazed by the immense benefits of combined Buddhist meditation practice and ethics. Since then, he has attended several extended meditation retreats abroad and in Australia and has organised meditation courses in Fiji. His main interests include the early Buddhist texts, the Brahma Viharas, the application of the Dhamma in daily life, and the sharing of the Buddha’s teachings in the Pacific. Zen is a Chartered Accountant and has assisted a number of Buddhist organisations’ boards with their financial and board enquiries.