About the EBU
Council of the European Buddhist Union
The European Buddhist Union is guided by an international council elected by a general assembly of all member organisations. The present council was elected for 3 years in September 2017.
Members of the Council (2017 – 2020)
Ron Eichhorn, EBU president
Ron Mio Sop Eichhorn is a Head Disciple of the Yun Hwa Denomination of World Social Buddhism and the Abbot of its Berlin Dharma center. He has practised daily meditation and prostrations for over two decades, and attends Dharma Master Ji Kwang Dae Poep Sa Nim’s retreats in Hawaii on a regular basis.
Ron has been studying various Mahayana Buddhist texts for many years, with an emphasis on the Lotus Sutra, which is also the core text of his Buddhist tradition. He is involved in the government sponsored Forum of inter-religious dialoguein Berlin since the very beginning, and is currently developing a virtual map of spiritual places in the city of Berlin on behalf of the Forum. Ron was elected as council member in 2014 and president in 2017.
When not working in his job as a film director, Ron likes to cook for friends and play the Ukulele.
Jamie Cresswell, EBU Vice-President
Jamie Cresswell was President of the European Buddhist Union from 2011 to 2017 and was elected Vice-President in 2017.
Jamie is a member of SGI-UK and the Network of Buddhist Organisations UK, which he represents at the EBU. He is director of the Centre for Applied Buddhism, a member of the European Council of Religious Leaders and a trustee of Religions for Peace, UK.
He has practised Buddhism for nearly 30 years and his Buddhist background includes a degree in Buddhist studies, as well as practice and study in many traditions and schools.
In his spare time Jamie sings with a male voice choir, attempts to compose music and walks in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside
Stefano Bettera, EBU Vice-President
Stefano Bettera is Vice-President of the Italian Buddhist Union. He is also an author and professional journalist. His last book on the Eightfold Path is called “Happy as a Buddha”. He collaborates with Yoga Journal Italia and others magazines and is also part of the Board of the Theravada Lankaramaya Temple in Milan where he also leads a weekly Vipassana meditation group.
Stefano started practicing Vipassana and studying Zen teachings about 20 years ago. During the years 2000-2005 he was part of the Zen Peacemakers of Bernie Glassman and the Indra Network, an Italian Buddhist organization that linked the Dhamma practice of different traditions with social commitment and dialogue with other spiritual traditions. In recent years he used to attend retreats and study with Stephen and Martine Batchelor
Gabriela Frey, EBU European Affairs Coordinator
Gabriela Frey practises in the Sakya tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. In 2006 she founded Sakyadhita France, the French branch of the international association of Buddhist women. She works with passion for genuine gender equality in Buddhist societies and created, together with others, the Network of Buddhist women in Europe.
Gabriela was born in Germany, lives in Strasbourg (France) and works in the European Parliament since 1989. Europe – and bringing Europeans closer together – is a cause close to her heart. That is why she introduced to request the participatory status for the EBU in the conference of INGO’s in the Council of Europe, which was officially granted in December 2008. Since then she represents the EBU together with Michel Aguilar in this eldest pan European institution and is the coordinator of the European Affaires.
Michael Ritman, EBU council member
Michael Ritman (1961) was born and lives in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He has been president of the Buddhist Union of the Netherlands (BUN) since 2014. The BUN supported his candidature for the EBU council elections in 2017. He believes the National Unions must clearly and visibly support the work of EBU in Europe.
Michael made a career in business management and is now an independent interim manager and business mediator. He has been a Rigpa student since 2004 and has worked as a volunteer translator of Buddhist texts until 2014. He believes in the Rimé principle of openness to all Buddhist traditions and is inspired by both the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh.
Isabelle Huet, EBU council member
Isabelle discovered the teachings of Lotus Sutra of the wonderful Dharma when she heard it at a Reiyukai – “The path of spiritual friendship” meeting 34 years ago. Since then, the practice has been an important part of her daily life.
As she took an early retirement after 26 years as a primary school teacher, Isabelle now dedicates most of her free time to work for her Buddhist community. She is a member of Reiyukai’s Council and Leaders committee.
Isabelle lives in Paris. She is married and has three children. In her spare time, she enjoys singing, practicing Tai chi chuan and cooking.
Hans Erich Frey, EBU Treasurer
Hans-Erich Frey was born 1935 in Riga, Latvia.
At the age of four he came with his parents to Germany. Now retired, he has held various leadership posts in German government: mayor of a town of 40,000 inhabitants (1972 -1978); chair of the German Sport Youth (Deutscher Sportbund), Chair of the Council of Large Towns in Hessen (Hessischer Städtetag).
He practices Buddhism in the Tibetan Karma Kagyu and Sakya traditions. For eight years he was vice-president of the German Buddhist Union (DBU), gaining a good overview of Buddhism in Germany and Europe.
He loves gardening and windsurfing.