Who are we?
The-dharma-store.com is a retail platform aiming to be the starting point of a series of activities to support European Buddhism, its cultures, Dharma centres and practitioners.
Through this platform, we want to create a 'Virtuous Circle', a mandala in which special attention is given to ethical relationships between ourselves selling objects of the Dharma, the artisans who produce them, the practitioners who use them and the Buddhist centres that allow us to practice daily the Buddha's teachings. Read below our long-term vision.
2-Andreas STAVRAKIS and Rudy DEMO
Andreas is an entrepreneur of the Brussels’ region since 1998. Among others, he created a prepress and marketing company, a multimedia rental company, and is currently the founder of The Blue Lemon, a company specialised in web creation, e-commerce and e-marketing.
Rudy has been an IT project manager since 1996 and started his first company in 1998. With two other partners, he created a software development company and is currently the founder of Managicians, a consulting firm that helps companies seeking to enter the European public sector market or willing to start a human and digital re-evolution of their people, team and organization.
As practitioners and Dharma activists in NPOs for more than 20 years, they have seen the difficulties that centres and practitioners may face. They want, with their 20+ years of professional expertise and their experience within Dharma centres to contribute significantly to the construction of a multi-millennial European Dharma.
3-What are their goals? Their motivations?
Their main objective is to create "a virtuous circle" in which many positive and varied energies (people, tools, resources) will be aspired and inspired to benefit the European Dharma in various ways. They wish to be able to work in the Dharma with a true ethic and altruistic motivation. At some point in time, they will need to allow themselves to eventually have a correct income for our families but this is not the main objective. Read our section “Our roadmap” for more information about this.
4- Why an online store?
They do not owe a personal fortune and so the idea to start with a store, to generate enough financial resources to allow the creation of the Non-Profit Organisation, The Dharma House, which will help Dharma centres, practitioners and craftsmen in various ways.
5-1-Our long-term vision
In Europe, many countries do not finance Buddhism and therefore, the management of Dharma centres strives to find financial sources, to construct buildings, to manage the communication with sangha’s members and to provide all resources necessary to the creation of an adequate environment for the practice of Buddha’s teachings. This has often the impact that, instead of maximizing the time dedicated to spiritual guidance and practices, Dharma teachers are heavily involved in mundane activities. The main idea is the following: using the expertise of professionals to put at the disposal of Dharma centres, the necessary resources to maximise the time Dharma teachers dedicate to teaching and practicing within European Dharma centres. Obviously, the realization of this vision will not be done in a year but the idea is to create in 2019 a non-profit association (NPO) that will help in the following ways:
- Technological / IT help support
- Professional communication support (website, social networks, etc.);
- Assistance with the daily management of a centre (billing, volunteering, project management, etc.)
- Financial aid
- Help with fundraising (online donation, sponsorship, crowdfunding, etc.);
- Access professional and ethical services
- Help to create synergies between European Buddhist projects (advice, feedback, exchange of documentation, consultancy, etc.)
- Help in creating, archiving and hosting lessons (texts, videos, audio)
- Assistance in setting up a centre (construction work, administrative procedures, various communication, etc.)
Building this association, finding the right people, creating the necessary tools and finding the energies to enable TDS to achieve this goal at the European level will take time. But the TDS team is motivated and determined because the ultimate goal of the Dharma centres is to help all beings whatever the need. We do not see a better personal and professional goal than this one. Willing to participate? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5-2-The 2018 roadmap
Here are some key milestones for 2018:
- Starting the store in two languages (English and French) on July 2018;
- Development and launch of the donation and sponsorship module. This allows TDS to systematically sponsor charities and Dharma centres and provide the possibility to Dharma centres to use this technology as donation collection instrument for their centres if they do not have the necessary technological resources to put such a tool in place.
5-3-The Roadmap 2019-2020
Here are some key steps for the 2019-2020 period:
- Creation of the Non-Profit Organization (NPO);
- Creating synergies between European Buddhist centres, visitors and artisans
- Website available in three additional languages among German, Spanish, Italian, Polish and Dutch;
- Development of a crowdfunding tool for Dharma centres. This offers the possibility to Dharma centres to collaboratively finance the provision of various Dharma material needed for the set-up or extension of a Dharma centre;
- Financing and creation of various useful software tools for an easier management of Dharma centres (Dharma digital library, membership management software, professional web site, etc.)