Red Cedar Zen Community, 1021 N Forest, Bellingham Washington

Practice Committee meeting notes: April 1,2010

* Brief check in on tone and feeling of practice at Red Cedar (probably the most important function on this group)
Tim - seems like it's going fine these days. Happy with both people's involvement in practice and the way decisions seem to be made easily and appropriately. A bit concerned about keeping the Board filled.

Nancy - more sangha conversations are happening, this is good. Feeling of the sangha is good.

John W - good balance of warmth and structure, volunteer base seems wider.

Talus - a time for him of less involvement so not as aware right now but seems like sangha is stable. Maybe ready for new initiatives?

Edie - noon sit is so accessible for new people. Noted that Welcome Workgroup has fallen away as an organized thing. Working on getting more people involved in doing orientations which feels positive.

Bob - sangha is working well now for a very wide range of practitioners. The additional programs we've added over the last few years (noon, Sat. morning) are stable and not just flash in the pan. How can we help other users of the building (like the yoga teacher who started and canceled classes)?

* Sutra book handling: request for consistency and/or not under the cushions
Discussed that we are inconsistent about sutra books - sometimes out under the cushions, sometimes not. That a member expressed concern from experience at Green Gulch Farm that putting them on the floor under the cushions may be disrespectful. Idea of having people do self-serve on their way in and drop them in a wall-mounted box on their way out, but will everyone see that option? Discussed that passing them down the line at noon sit where they are stacked on the floor at the end of each row works pretty well.

Decision: we will obtain four nice trays or baskets. As part of zendo setup these trays with sutra books in them will be placed at the end of each row of cushions. The sutra books will be passed out by passing these trays down each row right at the beginning of service and then they sit at the opposite end of the row (towards the altar). At the end of service, after the doshi exits, the trays will be passed back down the rows and the books returned. Hope is to use this system consistently at all regular sits and sesshin, including Samish. 

Action item: we didn't task anyone to purchase the trays....

* New materials by Edie on orientations and how to sit zazen (please glance ahead - attached) and ideas from Edie on starting to do trainings on you to do orientations


New materials by Edie and Tim on both how to do new person zendo orientations and a handout for new people on how practice in the zendo works were passed out to much appreciation. Plans discussed for next 1st Weds Zendo Forms Training evening for Edie to model, with Kate McKenna if she's available, doing the orientation using the notes. And then to schedule additional training times for people interested in doing orientations.

Follow up: This happened and went well and then 3 people attended the additional training.

* Tim idea to have "Spring Seminar" on mindfulness practice replacing the regular Weds. night schedule completely for 6 weeks April 21-May 26. Perhaps an annual thing to make it easier for us to have study and class as a sangha each year.

Tim proposing to replace regular schedule with this seminar. Discussed that people do feel some stress whenever there is a change in schedule but that there is a lot of interest in more classes (and the goal to meet this need previously expressed in this group) and that Tim has something to share from his recent foray into the world of mindfulness which should be helpful to the sangha. 

Decision: Tim to go ahead with the recommendations that the evening start and end like a regular "Zen night" program (open w/ zazen, close w/ refuges) and that the seminar end of time.

Follow up: (1) One member expressed feedback to Nancy that the schedule change was a bad idea but did not discuss with Tim, (2) The seminar has started, attendance is quite strong, feeling seems good. 

* Collaboration with Shambhala on Buddhist Days of Service. Idea of having a day of Buddhist service: roughly 10am-4pm. Starting and ending at a Buddhist practice place with meditation/ceremony/instruction and then out into the community to do volunteer service work (probably collaborating with the Whatcom Volunteer Center's "Volunteer Chore" program that matches volunteers with needs). Tim started a discussion about this with Greg Heffron in Shambhala and is now continuing with another member there (Bo). Probably at this point schedule for Fall. Maybe try to do one Day of Service based out of Red Cedar Dharma Hall and the other based out of Shambhala Center. 

Tim asked if anyone else on the Practice Committee would like to head this up from our end but not takers.

Decision: P.C. felt this program a good idea and encouraged Tim to reach out more broadly for a program coordinator or go ahead as coordinator himself at his option.

* Collaboration with Seattle Soto Zen on a 3-day rohatsu retreat.
Tim in conversation with Jeff Kelley at Seattle Soto Zen about doing sesshin together as SSZ is growing and has done a few one-day sesshin and feels ready for more as does RCZC feel ready for a longer than one day sesshin without Norman. Plan is to expand our full day rohatsu sesshin (early December) in 2010 to be 3 days and do it as a co-production with SSZ with Tim and Jeff co-leading the sesshin.

P.C. felt this a good idea - appropriate step for us and great to build ties with Seattle. Bob suggested incorporating the traditional all-night sit more formally with the sesshin (previously done as a separate event but then the all night sitters too tired to make it through the one day sesshin that followed!). Tim thinking that a good idea and will talk to Jeff about the sesshin being Thurs night, all day Friday, all Day Saturday, all night, then end on Sunday morning after rohatsu ceremony.

Decision: Tim continue working with Jeff for this to go ahead.

* Taking a turn on the Board of Directors Tim pointing out to the P.C. that we all agreed to have our current structure with a 5-member Board of Directors in the center of the wheel but we've been having trouble filling the Board and that having people with a lot of practice experience on the Board is wise. Asking the P.C. members to consider taking turns serving on the Board. Pointing out that if senior members all took turns the impact will be spread out a lot and that actually Board membership is fairly pleasant and managable now. Much better than the how the old Leadership Council could be at times.

Edie saying she could be on the Board but not right now, probably next year. Other members of P.C. agreed to consider serving in future.
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