Red Cedar Zen Community, 1021 N Forest, Bellingham Washington

Practice Committee December 2019

Practice Committee Meeting Dec 20, 2019 

Present: Wayne Weinschenk, Judith Koontz, Edie Norton, Bob Penny, Tim Burnett, Hannah Sullivan, Chris Burkhart 

Note: minutes updated Feb 12 with notes in [square brackets] when there were further developments to report to help keep us current.

Why are we here?
Tim mentioned that the Practice Committee has two areas of action: (1) as an advisory body to Tim in making decisions about forms and program, and (2) as a working committee to coordinate our retreats and events. 

Tim’s absence for two weeks in January (see document) Tim will be in Kenya. We will have a precepts ceremony while he is gone, and need a speaker for January 15.
[Chris volunteered to officiate at the precepts ceremony and give a talk. The zendo ended up being closed Jan 15th due to snow so Chris’s talk is ungiven.] 

Introduction to Zen class Scott has offered to assist.

[Kate McKenna volunteered and is working with Scott to teach the class to a good turn out]

Sunday Program Updates
The pilot program is titled “Zen Alive!” The theme for talks will be examining the chants in our books.  Discussion ensued regarding service: how to do? Could we shorten the normal AM service? Open with vows, include health/wellbeing, perhaps shorten sutras. Service could open with the sutra of study for the day, beginning first with heart sutra, then enmei jiko. A thought is to rotate with Japanese and translated American chants. There will be a welcome sign with the program for the day, perhaps repeated then by the priest. Doan ryo roles signup has been added to the existing signup document.
[Our first two Zen Alive! Programs have happened and felt successful. The service is a shortened morning service which features just the text being discussed that morning as the first sutra chanted and a single additional sutra between the 1st and 2nd eko.
We’ve noticed a need to work further on timing and more discussion is needed there.]

Incense Offering Update
After a trial period, the form of using brief incense has worked well. Usually the doshi offers the incense stick lit, does the cedar offering, bows (incense still burning). Then Jishas need to know to extinguish the stick as doshi leaves the altar. If it’s left burning, it’s too much.
Disclaimers: if someone is extremely sensitive, we won’t burn the incense at all - offer it unlit. Doshi may also extinguish it as they offer it if needed but the general rule is to offer it lit and have the jisha extinguish in when the offering ritual is completed.

Dokusan Cards
To place at cushions or not? Tim expressed concern about how cluttered the zendo looks with both the tan and green cards at every cushion. Don't pass them out and use the back table for self service as is done on Saturday AM’s? Discussion ensues on where and how, including using the back table, a colored single card system, something to make the zendo look less cluttered as well as easy to see. 

Action item: Tim will create his vision, a card that is simple readable, not disruptive to the eye, one side for Dokusan and one side for Practice Discussion. 

[Sample card still needs to be made. Also Bob as Ino has been experimenting with passing out the dokusan cards after everyone is seated and leaving the stack on the table for people to pick one up at kinhin. To be discussed further at next meeting]

2020 Calendar Process
Wild Apricot has a yearlong calendar. This can be adjusted as we go, but a good long look ahead is very helpful to those curious about events. It is also very accessible from the Public View. There are two ways to add to the calendar, and it populated the monthly calendars. The building calendar is currently separate, so much be consulted prior to planning a class or talk, then contact Tim. How shall we treat showing it? Discussion ensues on whether to include the BIMS schedule, ease of reading our Zen group schedule. The decision is to have the calendar in a less prominent place on the website. Chris request a breakdown of Sunday sessions into individual days on the website, as the current setup means that people who sign up for a seemingly single day wind up signing up for everything.
[The Sunday Zen Alive! Program was redone on the website.]

2020 Calendar Notes So Far 

● Bob’s Wilderness Dharma is ready to be added
[Bob will work with Ed Wayt to get this online] 

● Edie and John Wiley will lead this year’s Precepts Study cohort.
[Up and running on the website and posted on the bulletin board]

● Samish is now posted, though not yet “open for registration”. Cost is up, especially for e-cabins.

● We will open registration for RCZC members only January 22, for Northwest sanghas January 29, and wide open February 5. 

[Samish is up and running with 40 people signed up so far]

● We need a date for a jizo ceremony 

[Still to-do]

● Chris will teach a spring dharma class (Chants? Dedications? Stay tuned) 

[still to-do]

● Another fall sangha trip is in the making. The first one was a great success per those who attended. Tim plans to teach a women ancestors class 

[still to-do]

Tanto position (aka “head of practice”, “mentor of form”) The first tanto at Red Cedar will be Chris Burkhart (see document) How will this work? The tanto will be more vocal in the zendo, addressing form issues. The plan is for tanto to sit next to ino, toward the altar. As this role progresses, we will see the difference between the ino and the tanto. Congratulations and thanks to Chris for accepting this role.
[Chris has been installed at Tanto, is sitting in a special seat and has started making her forms mentorship announcements]

Final thoughts 

● Bob Penny advances his idea for a training retreat. This would be for doan-ryo, would be preferably during Practice Period, would be a daylong event, and would establish a cohort who would serve for a given length of time. 

● Edie suggests an outreach system for members in need. This is a good time to set this up, possibly as a new incarnation of the membership workgroup. Action Item: Tim proposes to connect a few folks to develop this 

[Still to-do!]

NEXT MEETING: Friday February 21st, 1pm



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