Practice Committee 2017-12-11


In the Fall of 2017 we changed the Practice Committee organization. The advisory body called the "Practice Committee" will now be a smaller rotating group of at least 3 people from the eligible body of 8 Senior Students (have been shuso). That larger group will continue to meet regularly but these are consistently scheduled come-if-you-can meetings now called the Teaching Circle. See below for recent decisions on Practice Committee size and terms.

The smaller Practice Committee will meet at least quarterly and schedule it's own meetings to insure as much as possible that everyone currently empaneled can attend. 

It has been further clarified that the Guiding Teacher does have authority over decisions of form, practice, and spiritual practice (the "content" of Red Cedar Zen) but that he is required to consult with the Practice Committee over any significant decisions. And that the ultimate legal authority of Red Cedar Zen is the Board of Directors who can override the Guiding Teacher and even fire him should that every be necessary. Thus very major decisions that effect the whole sangha should also be run by the Board. The entire sangha can further be consulted as any of these bodies deem helpful.

In summary: The Guiding Teacher works for the Board and consults with the Senior Students through the now more focussed and efficient subset of Senior Students that is the new Practice Committee.

Minutes of the 1st formal meeting of the (new) Practice Committee

The first Practice Committee Meeting was held on December 11, 2017, starting at 3:30 pm PST online via Zoom. 

Present were: Tim Burnett, Hannah Sullivan, Connie Martin, Kate McKenna, Chris Burkhart

The following subjects were discussed:

Meal Chant Cards: There is a need to revise meal chant cards and Ino instructions (three different versions) in order to accommodate buffet meals, oryoki with pass-the-pot, and oryoki with servers => will be done by Chris who will consult with Tim and Hannah.

Quorum: The matter of a quorum for the PC (Practice Committee) was discussed. The PC is an advisory body only which does not vote on matters. The deciding body is the Board. It was decided that the PC recommends that any three members of the PC must be present for the meeting to be valid in terms of the Guiding Teacher meeting the requirement to consult on significant decisions.

Practice Committee Member Terms: The PC suggests that the minimum term shall be one year, the maximum term three years. Members are encouraged to coordinate rotation in a manner that maintains continuity and turn-over is phased. The board should not consist of all new members in the future.

Morning Service Form Change: Tim suggested modifications to the morning service to have repentance verse and refuges after the initial offering in similar fashion to Seattle Soto Zen's style. See Attachment 1 for new morning service. The PC supports the changes. The changes will necessitate modifications to the doan, tenken, & kokyo books. Morning service will change starting with Practice Period. Chanting the names of the ancestors more often was mentioned briefly as a desirable addition for special ceremonies.

Doshi Forms: Tim will discuss Red Cedar Zen Community (RCZC) doshi forms with Andrea Thatch. 

Metta Sutta: Tim expressed a wish to try out chanting the Metta Sutta in a melodic form as is done in Thich Nhat Hanh Centers and English-speaking Theravada Centers. Tim will introduce this to to the Friday noon group as an experiment during the Practice Period. After PP we will consider, with consult of the sangha and PC, whether to stick with our monotone way or switch to melodic.

Jukai: PC will work on a document that clarifies who is empowered to support a student during jukai studies. It was also clarified that Tim as guiding teacher will be the primary preceptor unless the student studies with another transmitted teacher. Jukai students are invited to ask any senior student or priest for support during the studies. Jukai students will study individually with a primary teacher/senior student and as a group in one (combined) cohort each year without regard who the preceptor will be. Jukai students need to have been part of RCZC for three years prior to jukai. Individual exceptions are possible. 

Dokusan / practice discussion: Dokusan is more formal and the jisha brings people to dokusan and when necessary will explain dokusan forms. Practice discussion is more a "going together." The senior student who gives practice discussion will explain forms if necessary. In the context of this subject the question came up whether teachers and senior students who give interviews are mandatory reporters. PC will look into this.

Mentorship: Mentorships are temporary unless other specific arrangements are made. This program is available to RCZC members only.

The meeting adjourned at 5:10 pm. The full Senior Students group will next convene on December 27, at 5:00 pm PST for a Teaching Circle meeting and the next Practice Committee meeting will be Monday, February 5th at 3pm.

Christine Burkhart,  Secretary                    Date of Approval: 

Follow Ups

Tim took the following actions after the meeting and has informed the Practice Committee.

Doshi Forms - Andrea and Tim met with Kate present and Tim & Kate will write up the form for doshis and jikos/jishas.

Metta Sutta - The regular sitters on Friday noon have expressed a lot of enthusiasm for a melodic Metta Sutta and are eager to try it out. We'll try this for the duration of Practice Period (including at the two sesshin) and see how it lands for us.

Jukai - in accordance with this discussion plus further discussion with Andrea about how things are done in Berkeley we'll have each cohort assembled at the end of Practice Period each year. Then they meet together about monthly as a group with support from the different teachers involved and privately with the Senior Student or Teacher they are being supported by. Jukai ceremony 1st Saturday of November. An annual study period of mid-March to early November. 

Communicating with the Sangha - Tim has extended the Mentorship program description draft from John and Edie and with Practice Committee input created a full description of options for study, practice, and empowerment at Red Cedar. See below Word doc attachment.

Annual Scheduling - Is rolling slowly along. Major pieces are in place. Awaiting: (1) dates for hiking program, (2) scheduling for a proposed class on Suzuki Roshi taught by Andrea, (3) a class and/or study group in Fall (anyone interested?). See attached latest draft.


Melodic version of the Metta Sutta: MettaSutta-Sung.mp3

Current 2018 planning calendar: 2018 RCZC calendar - v05.pdf

Study and Practice options info document: RCZC Study and Practice Options v3.docx

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