Red Cedar Zen Community, 1021 N Forest, Bellingham Washington

Practice Committee June & August

Practice Committee Minutes June 7, 2019 and August 8th combined minutes

An apology (from yours truly, Chris, Practice Committee Secretary) up front: Due to life being a bit more unsettled as usual during the last 2 months, I lost my notes. I tried to find them, no luck, though. Therefore I apologize for the extremely sketchy minutes. I will do my best to not let this happen again.

Present: Hannah, Tim, Kate, Chris, Tuli

Practice Committee Membership finalized

With Board support and after consulting with the Practice Leaders group (all the post-shuso’s) Tim has initiated an adjustment in Practice Committee membership. From here the Practice Committee which serves as the Guiding Teacher’s advisory board will comprised of:

The current Ino, Tenzo, Retreat Manager, and Registrar (4 members who are actively involed in putting on our events) plus two representatives of the Practice Leaders group.

Currently this is:

Ino: Hannah Sullivan, Tenzo: Bob Rose, Retreat Manager: Tuli Candela but she is rotating out, Registrar: Judith Koontz, and Practice Leaders: Chris Burkhart and Edie Norton

Proposed consideration of incense use

There is a wish to re-introduce the use of incense on an extremely limited basis. If we know that someone is allergic to this minimal amount, the use of all incense would be suspended. Tim would like to maintain the practice of incense offering at the main altar only. The offering at all other altars would be cedar sprigs.

Chris offered the following suggestions to minimize use at the main altar:

• The Jisha goes to the altar together with the Doshi and lights the incense.

• The Doshi does arrive at the altar at about that time and bows.

• The jisha hands over the burning incense.

• The Doshi touches the incense to the forehead and immediately places the burning end in the ash of the incense bowl, thereby extinguishing it.

It was tried out in the zendo and it appeared to work as desired.

Side note: This procedure means that the Tenken would light the small candle on the small table in front of the altar; the Jisha would extinguish that candle after the last incense offering. The Tenken handbook would need to be modified to include lighting the candle,

Tanto (Head of Practice) at Samish

Chris found while practicing at Tassajara that she observed that the Guiding teacher / abbot had a very different role from what Tim's role has been at Samish. The Guiding Teacher supports and encourages and only in the most extreme cases intervenes regarding form and conduct. That responsibility is placed on Ino and Tanto. This allows relationship with the teacher not impacted by “management issues.” Tim thought that the exploration was worthwhile. Chris agreed to take on a more active role in that regard during Samish. Tim will poll teacher circles to define the tanto role better.

Tanto as an ongoing position

We are considering an ongoing Tanto position at Red Cedar weekly events. Probably the Tanto would focus on issues of Zen form and support the Ino. At other centers the Tanto can have a very active teaching role. Tim will investigate options for a Tanto position at Red Cedar. The goal will be to make the Ino’s position a bit more do-able, take some load off the Guiding Teacher, and provide another clear go-to person for members and visitors in learning about our way of practice.

Samish Sesshin

We worked on filling service positions for the 2019 Samish sesshin.


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