Buddhist Council of NSW > HOW WE WORK

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 on 16 June 2012. 

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.

Strategic direction

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.

Brian White (Chairman)

Brian White has been involved in the Australian Buddhist community for more than 30 years, as Chair of the Buddhist Council, advisor to the Mitra Buddhist Youth Network, Buddhist chaplain at the University of Technology Sydney and as a New South Wales representative at the Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils. At the Buddhist Council of NSW, Brian has seen membership grow to nearly 130 Buddhist organisations and has built the Council’s volunteer programs in prisons, hospitals and schools.

Benjamin Webster

Ben 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.

Ranmal Samarawickrama
(Board Director)

Ranmal has extensive experience supporting Buddhist organisations in Malaysia and Australia. He has worked closely with Buddhist youth having been involved in university Buddhist societies for many years. He has a particular interest in interfaith dialogue which comes out of his professional work in humanitarian aid overseas for an Australian faith-based aid agency. Ranmal has also presented at the World of Parliament of Religions on interfaith dialogue in developing communities.

Gawaine Powell Davies
(Board Director)

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 treasurer 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.

Les Tscherne
(Board Director)

The seeds of Les’s Buddhist practice were sown in Vietnam in 1969, and those seeds have been growing ever since with the help of books, dear friends, great teachers and many life experiences. Now retired, his main interest is in watering the seeds of Dharma in young people and children in particular, to help to bring about a more compassionate and peaceful future world. Les joined the Buddhist Council as a volunteer SRE teacher in 2009, and now also helps to expand the SRE program into the future.  His background is in engineering and project management of infrastructure projects in Australia, the Middle East, South East Asia and PNG, and he is a veteran of the Vietnam War.

Lianne Ngo
(Board Director)

Lianne 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
(Board Director)

Ariya 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.

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