Constitution

BUDDHA HOUSE CENTRE FOR ADVANCED BUDDHIST STUDIES INC
CONSTITUTION

(including alterations approved at the Annual General Meeting on 27 November 2005)

1.NAME:

The name of the association is Buddha House Centre for Advanced Buddhist Studies Inc., hereinafter referred to as Buddha House.

1A. DEFINITIONS:

In these rules:

the Act means the Associations Incorporation Act 1985 as amended and includes any legislation in substitution therefor and any regulations made under it or such substituted legislation;

Committee means the Executive Committee established by clause 7;

FPMT Inc means the company named as FPMT Inc and registered in California, United States of America, under the California Non-profit Religious Law, being a not-for-profit religious corporation, and, where FPMTA has been appointed as agent for FPMT Inc, includes FPMTA;

FPMTA means FPMT Australia Limited A.C.N. 005 730 594, a company limited by guarantee under the Australian Corporations Law with its current registered office at Building 1 Cartwright St, Windsor in the State of Queensland; and

Spiritual director means the spiritual director of FPMT Inc.

2. OBJECTS:

The objects of the association are as set out in the Statement of Objects in Appendix 1 and, for the furtherance of these, include:

(a)To preserve the Mahayana teachings.
(b)To provide Buddhist education for people of all ages.
(c)To undertake community and charitable work.
(d)To provide short and long-term courses in Buddhist philosophy and religion.
(da)  To recognise the spiritual authority of Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche of Kopan Monastery, Nepal (the successor to Lama Thubten Yeshe) as Spiritual Director of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition, and the spiritual authority of his teachers and successors.
(db) To be responsible for the care and well-being of its resident teacher for the time being as duly appointed by FPMT Inc pursuant to that spiritual authority.
(e)To do such additional legal things as may be incidental to and conducive to the attainment of the objects of the association.

3. POWERS:

(a)Subject to paragraph (b), Buddha House shall have the powers set out in section 25 of the Act and such other powers as the Committee may determine are necessary for the purpose of carrying out its objects.

(b)Appendix 2 sets out matters requiring the approval of FPMT Inc. Any decision on any such matter (whether by the Committee or, where relevant, by the members in general meeting) may not be carried out without the written consent of FPMT Inc.

4. MEMBERSHIP:

(a)Any person who is in sympathy with the objects of Buddha House and whose application for membership is accepted by the Committee may become a member.

(aa) Application for membership must be made in writing in the form set out in Appendix 3 and lodged with the Secretary.

(b)All members shall pay an annual membership fee which shall be determined by the Committee.

(c)The Committee shall have power to confer honorary membership on resident teachers and other nominated persons. Honorary members shall not be required to pay membership fees, but otherwise have the same rights and obligations under these rules as other members.

(d)a person ceases to be a member of Buddha House if the person:

(i)dies;
(ii)gives the Secretary at least one month’s written notice of resignation;
(iii)is expelled from membership in accordance with clause 8; or
(iv)remains in arrears of payment of the annual membership fee one month after receipt from the Secretary of a notice of termination of membership, where such notice is given not less than two months after an earlier written notice from the Secretary or Treasurer detailing the arrears.

5. COMMITTEE:

(a)Subject to these rules, the management of the affairs of Buddha House shall be vested in an Executive Committee consisting of:

(i)the office-bearers; and
(ii)two other members of the Committee or such higher number as may be determined from time to time(subject to paragraphs (d) and (e)) at an annual general meeting.

(b)All members of the Committee must be members of Buddha House. The office bearers are to be:

(i)the Director;
(ii)the Assistant Director;
(iii)the Spiritual Program Coordinator;
(iv)the Treasurer; and
(v)the Secretary.

(c) The Director and Spiritual Program Coordinator may only be appointed by FPMT Inc (in accordance with procedures laid down by FPMT Inc). The Director and Spiritual Program Coordinator may only be removed from office by FPMT Inc.

(d) Subject to subparagraph (e)(ii), FPMT Inc may (in addition to appointing the Director and Spiritual Program Coordinator) appoint a further member of the Committee (“additional FPMT appointee”):

(i) if by virtue of a determination pursuant to sub-paragraph (a) (ii) there are more than seven (7) Committee members; or

(ii) if there are otherwise no more than seven (7) Committee members but FPMT Inc notifies the Secretary in writing that it wishes to appoint an additional FPMT appointee.

An additional FPMT appointee may only be removed from office by FPMT Inc.

(e)      (i) At the written request of FPMT Inc, the additional FPMT appointee may be designated as, and hold the office of, Co-director;

(ii) An additional appointment in the circumstances referred to in sub-paragraph (d) (ii) may only be made by FPMT Inc in conjunction with a written request pursuant to subparagraph (e)(i).

(f) All those members of the Committee who are not appointed by FPMT Inc are to be elected at the annual general meeting in accordance with Clause 5A. An elected Committee member shall continue, subject to these rules, to be a member of the Committee until the conclusion of the annual general meeting following the date of the member’s election, but is eligible for re-election.

(fa)   At its first meeting after the annual general meeting in each year the Committee shall (in accordance with such procedures as it thinks fit) choose the Assistant Director, the Treasurer and the Secretary, from amongst those of its members who were elected at the annual general meeting.

(g) In the event of a casual vacancy occurring in the membership of the Committee, other than in the position of Director, Spiritual Program Coordinator or additional FPMT appointee (if any), the Committee may appoint any member of Buddha House to fill the vacancy and the member so appointed will remain a member of the Committee, subject to these rules, until the conclusion of the annual general meeting next following the date of the appointment. To the extent that the casual vacancy in the membership of the Committee relates to a member of the Committee who holds the office of Assistant Director, Treasurer or Secretary, the Committee may choose any of its members not appointed by FPMT Inc to fill the resulting vacancy in that office.

(h) In the event of a casual vacancy occurring in the position of Director, Spiritual Program Coordinator or additional FPMT appointee (if any), the vacancy shall be filled by a member of Buddha House appointed by FPMT Inc.

(i) For the purposes of these rules, a casual vacancy in the membership of the Committee occurs if a member:

(i)      dies;
(ii)     ceases to be a member of Buddha House;
(iii)   becomes an insolvent under administration within the meaning of the Corporations Law;
(iv)   resigns office by notice in writing given to the secretary;
(v)   is removed from office by FPMT Inc (in the case of the Director, Spiritual Program Coordinator or additional FPMT appointee) or by resolution at a general meeting of members of Buddha House (in any other case);(vi)becomes a mentally incapacitated person; or
(vii)  is absent without the consent of the Committee from all meetings of the Committee held during a period of 3 months.

(j)   The Committee shall meet regularly at such place and time as the Committee may determine. Any three (3) members of the Committee constitute a quorum for the transaction of the business of a meeting of the Committee.

5A.      ELECTION OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS:

(a)Nominations of candidates for election as members of the Committee (other than FPMT Inc appointees):

(i)must be made in writing, signed by two members of Buddha House and accompanied by the written consent of the candidate (which may be endorsed on the form of the nomination); and
(ii)must be delivered to the Secretary at least 7 days before the date fixed for the holding of the annual general meeting at which the election is to take place.

(b)If insufficient nominations are received to fill all vacancies on the Committee, the candidates nominated are taken to be elected and further nominations are to be received at the annual general meeting.

(c)If insufficient further nominations are received, any vacant positions remaining on the Committee are taken to be casual vacancies.

(d)If the number of nominations received is equal to the number of vacancies to be filled, the persons nominated are taken to be elected.

(e)If a number of nominations received exceeds the number of vacancies to be filled, a ballot is to be held.

(f) The ballot for the election of members of the Committee is to be conducted at the annual general meeting in such usual and proper manner as the Committee may direct.

6. FINANCES:

(a)Buddha House may operate cheque and other accounts at such bank as the Committee may determine. The signatories on those accounts shall be the Director, the Treasurer and such other members as the Committee may determine. At least two such signatories must sign each cheque or withdrawal authority, of whom one must be the Director, the Assistant Director or the Treasurer.

(b)The financial year shall end on 30 June each year.

(c)The accounts and annual balance sheet shall be audited by an Auditor appointed by the Committee, subject to ratification each year at the annual general meeting.

(d)Subject to paragraph (e), all expenditure by Buddha House requires the prior authorisation of the Committee.

(e)The Treasurer, with the approval of the Director, may authorise any item of expenditure by Buddha House of up to the prescribed amount without prior reference to the Committee, save to the extent that the Committee may require such prior reference. The prescribed amount shall be $500.00 or such higher amount as may be determined by resolution at a general meeting of members.

7. INCOME & PROPERTY:

The income and property of Buddha House shall be applied solely towards the promotion of its objects and no portion thereof shall be paid or transferred, directly or indirectly, by way of dividend, bonuses or otherwise howsoever by way of profit to the members or relatives of members of Buddha House provided that nothing herein shall prevent the payment in good faith of remuneration to any officer or servant of Buddha House or to any member of Buddha House in return for any services actually rendered to Buddha House or reasonable and proper rental for premises let by any member to Buddha House.

8. DISCIPLINE:

The Committee may suspend or expel any member of Buddha House who has persistently refused or neglected to comply with a provision or provisions of these rules or has persistently and wilfully acted in a manner prejudicial to the interests of Buddha House. The Committee must have regard to the grievance procedures laid down by FPMT Inc and /or FPMTA from time to time and contained in an FPMT manual, handbook or other document.

9. MEETINGS:

(a)    There shall be an annual general meeting held in each financial year within five (5) months of the end of the previous financial year, if Buddha House is a prescribed association for the purposes of the Act, but if it is not, then within six (6) months of the end of the previous financial year.

(b)    Special general meetings shall be held from time to time at the written request of at least five (5) members of Buddha House, given or sent to the Director. Prior to the convening of a special general meeting, the Director may invite those making the request to attend a meeting of the Committee to discuss the matters which they are wishing to raise at the special general meeting.

(c)    Members shall be notified of general meetings by a notice placed on the notice board of Buddha House at least twenty one (21) days prior to the date of the meeting.

(d)   The quorum for general meetings shall be fifteen (15) members or half the members of Buddha House (whichever is the fewer).

(e)    The agenda of the Annual General Meeting shall include:

(i)     The Director’s report.
(ii)    The Treasurer’s report and presentation of audited income and expenditure account and balance sheet for the previous financial year.
(iii)   Ratification of the appointment of an auditor.
(iv)   Election of Committee members.
(v)    Any other business

10. ALTERATION OF RULES:

(a)    Subject to paragraph (b) and to the Act, these rules (including the name and objects of Buddha House) may be altered, rescinded or added to by a majority of not less than three-quarters of the members of Buddha House present and voting at a general meeting.

(b)    No alteration, rescission or addition to these rules comes into force unless and until approved in writing by FPMT Inc.

11. COMMON SEAL:

Buddha House shall have a Common Seal, which shall be held by the Director for safe custody. The seal shall not be affixed to any document except by prior authority of the Committee. Any document to which the seal is affixed shall be attested and signed by the Director and one other member of the Committee.

12. DISSOLUTION:

(a)      Buddha House as an association shall not be dissolved except by resolution passed by a majority of not less than three quarters of the members present and voting at a general meeting called by notice specifically to consider its dissolution. Subject to paragraph (b), in the event of a resolution to dissolve being passed by the required majority, the Committee shall proceed forthwith to realise the assets of Buddha House and, after payment of all outstanding debts and liabilities, shall transfer the surplus assets to another FPMT entity having objects similar to Buddha House, and subject to any direction given by FPMT Inc.

(b)      A general meeting shall not be called to consider the dissolution of Buddha House as an association without the prior written authority of FPMT Inc.

13. BUILDING FUND

(a)Buddha House may establish and/or maintain a fund solely for providing money for the acquisition, construction or maintenance of a building used, or to be used, as a religious education centre operating consistently with the objects set out in clause 2(b) and (d) of these rules.

(b)It is intended that:

(i)the public contribute to the fund and that Buddha House invite the public to make such contributions; and
(ii)the fund be recognised by the Australian Taxation Office as a deductible gift recipient pursuant to Item 2.1.10 in section 30-25 of the Tax Act.

(c)The fund shall be administered and controlled:

(i)in a manner consistent with securing and maintaining such recognition;
(ii)by such persons (being not less than three in number) appointed from time to time by the Committee who, because of their tenure of some public office or their position in the community, satisfy the requirements for this purpose under the Tax Act.

(d)For the purposes of this clause 13:

“building” includes one or more buildings, a group of buildings, part of a building or additions to a building;

“Tax Act” means the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 and includes any statutory modification or re-enactment thereof.

To the extent of their inconsistency(if any), the provisions of this clause 13 shall prevail in relation to the fund over the other provisions in these rules.

APPENDIX 1

Statement of Objects

Buddha House is dedicated to:

    The transmission of Tibetan Buddhism within a western context through the promotion of study and dissemination of Buddhist teachings, emphasising the teachings of the Gelukpa school of Tibetan Buddhism; and

    The preservation of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, psychology, logic, metaphysics, art, sacred dance, sacred music, crafts and skills and Tibetan medicine.

Buddha House is affiliated with FPMT Inc.

FPMT Inc represents an international group of organisations and individuals devoted to the transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values worldwide through teaching, meditation and community service.

FPMT Inc and its affiliates, including Buddha House, provide integrated education through which people’s minds and hearts can be transformed to express their highest potential for the benefit of others, inspired by an attitude of universal responsibility.

FPMT Inc and its affiliates are based on the Buddhist tradition of Lama Tsong Khapa of Tibet, as taught by Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche.

APPENDIX 2

Matters Requiring FPMT Inc Approval

The matters requiring FPMT Inc approval are:
(a)The transfer, sale, purchase or mortgage of real property;
(b)The appointment of a resident teacher;
(c)Changing the name of the Centre (Buddha House);
(d)The appointment, dismissal or re-appointment of the Buddha House Director or Spiritual Program Coordinator;
(e)The alteration of these rules;
(f)Any matter which significantly affects or is likely to significantly affect any other FPMT centre.

APPENDIX 3

APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP OF BUDDHA HOUSE