Red Cedar Zen Community, 1021 N Forest, Bellingham Washington

Practice Committee April 19, 2019

 Practice Committee meeting April 19th, 2019

Present: Tim, Hannah, Bob R, Kate
Absent: Connie, Chris
Written comments from: Bob P
Comments received after the meeting from: Connie, Chris P, the Board of Directors

Agenda  -  key to level of advising request from Tim:

PS – pretty sure I want to do it, just seeing if I’m missing an issue and getting your input
NS not sure what to do, could go either way, could just leave it alone

      Wednesday evening service – add Service B (PS)

o   probably  Heart Sutra in Japanese, Sho Sai Myo Dichijo Dharani, Merging of Difference and Unity.

o   Discussion & Decision: The PC was in favor of this change and it will rolled out as soon as the doanryo sheets are done. New ervice appears in our new chant books.

      Change from the term “Senior Students”  (PS)

o   to Sangha Leaders?

o   to Practice Leaders?

o   Discussion & Decision: Tim brought this forward as some longer term members who have not been shuso felt unduly exclused (as they are certainly “senior students”). From now on all those who have been shuso will be known as “Practice Leaders” as this matches what they are empowered to do after being shuso - they help to lead others in the practice through mentorship, practice discussion, giving talks, etc.

      Re-purpose the Practice Committee (PS)

o   Don’t have both an advisory Practice Committee and a working “retreat team” as separate but overlapping entities

o   Shift the Practice Committee to be both working and advisory

o   Note that Tim will continue to run significant changes by the Senior Students too at the monthly study meetings and in writing.

o   Discussion & Decision: After discussion, current decision is to use a core of guiding teacher, ino, retreat manager, registrar and tenzo, with one or two volunteer(s) from the Practice Leader group, preferably for a term of one year in order to ensure continuity.

Follow up:

(1) Note that a dissenting opinion was expressed in a later message to the committee opposing combining these two groups as retreat planning is intermittent, and practice committee addresses a longer timeline.
(2) The Board of Directors made two requests: have 2 Practice Leaders serve on the Practice Committee; Tim to make a report on how the new arrangement with the Practice Committee is working in 6 months.

      Re-organize the Practice Committee (PS)

o   Core of 5: Guiding Teacher, Ino, Retreat Manager, Registrar, Tenzo (PS)

o   Formally include 1 or 2 from the Senior Students? (NS)

o   (See above)

      Practice Committee meeting schedule (PS)

o   Regular meeting: every other month Friday 4pm

o   Additional meeting(s) before retreats

o   (Approved, with next meeting June 7 at 4PM)

      New Volunteer Positions to recruit for (PS)

o   Associate positions for the main "retreat committee" positions to be understudy, filling in for main person, next in line after rotation.

o   Associate Ino - Bob Penny

o   Associate Retreat Manager - TBD

o   Associate Tenzo TBD

o   Associate Registrar - TBD

o   Sangha Trips Coordinator - Rei Greene

o   Discussion & Decision: the idea is to have people focused on each of these major practice positions who are training and filling in as needed who we hope will later take the full position.

We debated what to call these positions as they are not really assisting the main person on a regular basis. We landed on adjunct during the meeting after consulting a thesaurus.

Follow up: After further discussion with several members Tim thinks we should consider the term “associate” instead of “adjunct” - just can’t get adjunct to roll of the tongue.

We debated what to call these positions as they are not really assisting the main person on a regular basis. We landed on adjunct during the meeting after consulting a thesaurus.

Follow up: After further discussion with several members Tim thinks we should consider the term “associate” instead of “adjunct” - just can’t get adjunct to roll of the tongue.

      Photography Policy (NS)

o   when should photos of sangha events be taken?

o   should there be an option to opt out of all photos that we ask the photographer to track and abide by?

o   Discussion & Decision: We discussed the idea of “opt out” forms, an area where people who don’t want to be photographed could sit, announcement of plans for taking photos at an event, and ensuring the photographer can maintain a certain invisibility.  The concept of invasion of sacred space was considered.  A formal policy is yet to emerge, but we all agreed that it is beneficial to have some good photographs for our website and newsletters both to celebrate what we do and de-mystify if for potential new students, and that a way can be achieved that will suit most members and respect the zendo.

Tentative policy (to try out): (1) when there is practice in which photography will be happening it will be announced to the group and there will also be an “opt out” list in the lobby. It will be the responsibility of the photographer to be aware who has opted out. (2) there will be no photography during zazen.

      Doan-ryo Positions (NS)  - switch from weekly request to:

o   A crew that makes a multi-week (multi-month?) commitment

o   Discussion: The issue here is the ongoing scramble to fill these positions every week. The focus is on Wednesday evenings only...when retreats fall within volunteer time,  positions to be chosen from roster. This assumes the stepped up efforts at training that are currently happening, allowing for less experienced people to participate, and enlarging the pool.  Commitments would be for one role.  This also allows newer people to become more familiar and practiced in the roles. Ino remains in place for a longer period, but having an adjunct ino allows for more flexibility.

o   Asking individuals to sign up for a month at a time with the current system?

Decision: trained sangha members will be invited to take a position for one calendar month at a time. If a day within the month wasn’t possible, the volunteer would find their own substitute with help from Ino if necessary.  This allows people who have tricky work or school schedules to still participate.
The (hopefully simple) language can be as

The (hopefully simple) language can be as “I will be doan for May”

o   Is giving orientation a separate process? (Yes; Scott for now, knowing that he will need a substitute and eventual replacement)

o   Decision: Hannah will send the next volunteer recruitment note to the current pool of possible doan-ryo folk, including new trainees Rei Greene, Liz Carter, Bernadette, Judith K, and Carrie,  explaining the new plan)

      Samish Overloaded Option (NS)

o   Samish Sesshin with Norman filled very quickly and has a wait list. How do we meet the needs of those who didn’t get in?

o   As housing allows us to go above the 75 max grand total with the additional people or volunteers already in agreeing not to have dokusan with Norman as Norman’s dokusan time is the first limiting factor. There is still housing and eating space available up to something like 85.

o   Discussion: Bob noted that an increase in number is good for sangha revenue.

o     Also suggested was group dokusan for new people, decreasing the impossible time constraint for Norman. Waitlist people could be invited with the caveat that they would not get dokusan.  

o   Additional input from Board Vice-President Chris Patton: feels wrong to have “two tiers” of students (the yes Norman dokusan group and the no group)

o   Decision: wait until the May 15th deadline for Samish registration payment at which point there may be enough cancellations to not need to consider such “overload” plans.

Next regularly scheduled meeting: June 7th, 4pm. Downstairs at the Dharma Hall.


(note that the Practice Committee may schedule additional ad-hoc meetings to work on upcoming retreats in addition to the regular meeting which will generally be held every other month on a Friday at 4pm)

Respectfully submitted, Hannah Sullivan, secretary with edits by Nomon Tim Burnett

April 22. 2019


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