In March 1973 a new Branch of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (FWBO) was established in Christchurch. Over the next six years of its existence, the centre hosted the Founder of the Movement, Sangharakshita, twice and saw the creation of many new local Western Buddhist Order members and two Buddhist monks (Bhikkhu). There were a full range of FWBO activites provided.
In April 1979 the Centre was closed as all the Order Members were leaving the city for places further afield but the legal and financial set up remained operational.
In the 1990’s one of the original Order Members returned (Vijaya) and held occasional gatherings of the regulars of the old centre.
On the 1st June 2003, Ray leased premises in the Selwyn St Shopping Precinct and set up an FWBO Centre, Gift Shop and Art Gallery. After six years the Centre moved into the Sydenham area. Finally, with the arrival of Pierrick/Dridhamati, the Sydenham Centre was far too small for our needs so we took this opportunity to re-evaluate the FWBO Christchurch Constitution in the light of the new Charities Commission regulations which were coming into effect, and the adoption of the new name (Triratna) for the Order and Movement. It quickly became clear that the old Constitution would no longer be workable and so the FWBO Christchurch was finally closed down.
The legal entity, Open Dhamma Inc., was founded in January 2011 and the remnants of the Centre moved across town to Eversleigh St near Edgeware Village. The move took place in the gap between the two major earthquakes which began the major upheaval for this city’s residents. Many of our regular practitioners chose not to travel across the city and so our numbers have dwindled, however with the arrival of Shamani and with a more secure lease arrangement the Centre is again blossoming.
While the people who run Open Dhamma were ordained in the Triratna Order, many of the people involved with Open Dhamma are members of other Buddhist traditions and other religions, and others with no belief system.