Red Cedar Zen Community, 1021 N Forest, Bellingham Washington

Practice Committee 2018-03-30  March 30, 2018

Practice Committee Meeting Minutes 3/30/18

Present: Tim Burnett, Connie Martin, Kate McKenna, Chris Burkhart
Absent: Hannah Sullivan (out of the country)

Old Business:

Observers during dokusan 

Reactions to dokusan observers have been mixed in the sangha and among the observers, going from negative to neutral to transformational. One statement was that the observer might interrupt student-teacher interaction. We discussed the possibility of doing scheduled dokusan among senior students with senior students observing. 

Oryoki Leaders Instructions

In progress. Tim will give guidance to Chris.


Oryoki at Samish

Currently the plan is to have oryoki meals at Samish in 2019. In preparation to that it will be announced at Samish this year that we will be moving toward oryoki practice in the following year. The Samish advertising for 2019 will include that information. The request has been brought up to simplify the food offering in 2018 to move toward oryoki. This would also accelerate the food line.

Sesshin Admonitions /Quieter March Sesshin

There was a discussion about the time to deliver sesshin admonitions. The current thinking is that after zendo orientation would be best with the best time to be determined.

Metta Sutta

The decision making process continues. Some in the sangha really enjoy the sung version, others don't. We decided to use the sung version throughout Samish to allow everybody to become more familiar with it. The final decision will be made at the meeting after Samish sesshin. There is always the option to use the chanted version, i.e. at simple sits.

New Business:

Adding Tenzo to Practice Committee
Adding the tenzo to the committee is useful since food at retreats and oryoki service come up in discussions.


Additional Samish Retreat(s)
The Practice Committee encourages investigation of additional practice opportunities at Samish. Tim mentioned the possibility of a 3-day retreat late Jul/early Aug. The local sanghas would have an opportunity to register first, with additional spots to be filled through our website and mailing list. The idea is to pay reduced fees due to: 

  • lower overhead since fees only would cover Tim's expenses and not also flights and housing for Norman.
  • sangha would actively work 3+ hours on camp maintenance, improvements
  • cook our own food and eat oryoki meals separate from other camp users and we would not need to the pay camp for meals. We would still need to pay for and bring our own food

Tim will determine sangha interest in this program. (See below for post-meeting follow up on this new sesshin option)

Exclusive Groups

This point was added per email request. There are some study groups that seem to be exclusive:

  • Precepts study group
  • Teaching circle
  • Lay entrustment/ordination study group

Some members feel excluded by not being offered participation in all study groups. The discussion about the teaching circle is not yet completed. The precepts study group is open to all who are willing to commit to the whole series. The lay entrustment/ordination study group is open to those who have been invited to become lay teachers or priests.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on Friday May 18th at 4pm.

Post-Meeting Follow Up on Samish new sesshin option:

John Vanderwalker, Samish Camp Manager, is very positive about our coming. Given that we'd cook for ourselves in the church and work on the campground 3 hours/day we can come for only $10/person/day to Samish. Given food costs the initial estimate on total registration for a 3-day residential sesshin is therefor only $85.  

Mostly likely dates Tuesday evening July 31th through Friday dinner August 3rd. For three full days: Weds, Thurs, Fri. They need to be full to give Samish a 3-hour work period in the afternoon.

We could use Monday/Tuesday but there is a Hidden Mountain sit on Sunday 29th and a Suzuki Roshi class Monday 30th.

Tenzo Bob Rose is available and willing (new knee allowing) to coordinate the cooking for oryoki meals to be taken at their church.

The Practice Committee is feeling positive about this possibility. Retreat Manager Talus also expresses support (but cannot personally be there). Tim will loop in the rest of the Senior Students and then poll the sangha on availability/interest.



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