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FPMT News Around the World
In early December 2012, Ven. Freeman Trebilcock, a 25-year-old Australian FPMT monk and director of Loving Kindness Peaceful Youth, was interviewed on “Harmony in Diversity,” a community television program focused on the issues and activities of Melbourne’s faith communities.
In this two-part interview, Ven. Freeman speaks candidly on being young and Buddhist in Australia:
It can be quite challenging in our society to be someone from a faith such as Buddhism. I think Buddhism has a pretty good brand, generally speaking. I didn’t cop a lot of flak directly for being a Buddhist. I think for most people my age, faith doesn’t really play a big part of their life. To have someone who’s really trying to embody their spirituality as the central focus of their life is quite strange for a lot of people of my generation. For a lot of my friends, I guess I was a bit different than others.
For me, my Buddhist practice and understanding was kind of like a grounding; it really kept me on track. I think, more than anything else, I leaned on my Buddhist-ness in times of crisis, when I was struggling. All teenagers go through a lot of difficulties; it’s just a part of growing up. At those times, I was really, really glad to have this frame of reference, this amazing storehouse of Buddhist wisdom to go to, to find some useful tools to deal with things.
Ven. Freeman also spoke about Buddhist ideas on vegetarianism; the practices and texts with which he engages; Loving Kindness Peaceful Youth, the FPMT international peace organization for young people; Buddhism’s compatibility with secular society; and monasticism, among other topics.
As part of his interfaith work, Ven. Freeman participated in ABC1’s Holy Switch, a three-part television series in which six young people take up the challenge to swap religions and “live a totally different life for two weeks and in the process discover who [they] are.” The series premiers May 12.
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About Mandala Publications
Mandala Publications is the official publication of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an international charitable organization founded by two Tibetan Buddhist masters, Lama Thubten Yeshe (1935-1984) and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche. FPMT is a vibrant international community, with a network of 160 affiliate centers, projects and services, and members in more than 30 countries.
Mandala print magazine is published in January, April, July and October. Mandala is available via the Friends of FPMT program.