June 29, 2013 Practice Committee minutes

Present: Tim, Marti, Edie, Bob, Talus, Kate, John
absent: Chris, Nancy

Next meeting: Saturday morning September 28th, location TBA. Talus volunteered to send a reminder 10 days out. Goal is to meet quarterly during the first month of the quarter. Generally on the last Saturday of the month we should check out calendars each time and see if that works for most of the Committee.
  • Wilderness Program - starts mid-July, note especially August 3rd Old Growth program is very accessible, also note that Mountains and River hiking retreat extended a day with nature awareness workshop on the Thursday (Aug 15th) and the sangha invited out for zazen in the cedar grove at Bob's place on Wednesday August 14th, replacing usual program at the zendo. Room in all programs especially in the 2 week backpack in Oregon in September.
  • Edie's ordination / mini-sesshin - Sunday August 11th. Zazen and regular early morning schedule plus usual potluck oatmeal breakfast starting at 6am, then continuing with 9:30am zazen, 10:00am kinhin, 10:10 zazen (Edie sequestered), 10:40 break / ceremony setup, 11:00am ordination ceremony
    Ino - Kate
    Jisha - Marti
    Help with robes during ceremony - Flo & Susan (who also help with head shaving on Saturday at Edie's house)
    Doan - ?
    Rehearsal to be on Wednesday Aug 7th at 5pm: Edie, Kate, Marti, Tim, also doan if possible
  • Harvest Retreat - New event at Hawk Meadow Farm: Harvest Retreat in the yurt, Saturday October 26th. Needs to added to the website (volunteer to add it?)
  • Study Retreat  - Oct 5/6.  Saturday and Sunday (don't add Friday eve.). Start 6am both days as an option. Main program starting at 9:30am. Saturday evening Tim was thinking jukai but we had the idea to move that to the rohatsu sesshin and then just regular zazen evening Saturday night.  
    Thus schedule is: 
    Saturday: 6am-9am + 9:30am - 5:00pm + 7:00pm - 9:00pm. 
    Sunday: 6am -9am + 9:30am - 3:00pm
    Meals will be:
    breakfast - oatmeal plus potluck items, lunch - sack lunch, dinner - 2 hour break (sack dinner or go out). No oryoki or full tenzo work, do need a breakfast cook for each day.
    Topic: Prajna Paramita Sutra in 8000 line
    Retreat Manager - Talus
  • Jukai - there are 6 jukai students preparing. Some are further along than others. Idea was floated to do their ceremony during rohatsu instead of during the study retreat to give them more time. And that perhaps a jukai during rohatsu might be an annual event. Tim needs to follow up with the 6 jukai students and also with rohatsu co-teacher Eko Jeff Kelley.
  • November - no special events. Note that Loon Lake is November 9-15 this year. Highly recommend sesshin with Norman and Mountain Rain.
  • Rohatsu - planned as Thurs eve. Dec. 5 - Sunday morning Dec 8th (not 8th is actual rohatsu day this year!). 
    Jeff has proposed adding a day - start Weds. eve. Committee members were concerned about extra cooking work and coordinating and requested strongly to stick to usual schedule. Possibility of jukai on the Saturday night (see above)
    Retreat Manager - Bob
    Co-Tenzo - Talus (need a 2nd co-Tenzo! maybe from Seattle group or is that impractical?)
  • 2014 Practice Period - opens Wednesday evening January 22nd, closes with usual 3-day sesshin with Norman March 6-9. Six weeks in length as usual. Shuso will be Shudō Chris Burkhart. Her study/class topic will be Samantabhadra. 
  • Intro to Zen classes? We are considering a 2+ evening series instead of the Saturday 9-1 format. And trying to refocus is more on Zen meditation as part of life, not as an extended zendo orientation - it is a mix of both at the moment. John Wiley will restart this conversation later in the summer. Possibility of Monday night classes was mentioned, and Tim noted that Mindfulness Northwest is using Monday nights at the Hall quite a bit in the Fall but we can work it out.
  • Buddha's Birthday sesshin - in April or May. Not discussed. 
Tim will be mostly away in July. A few appearances for meetings, etc. Out of town July 7-20. Jukai and ordination students are warmly invited to keep in touch with Tim even though it's his sabbatical on an as needed basis. Tim noted he's feeling more relaxed and less in desperate need of a sabbatical than in the last two years since we first established this practice.
Brief discussion of what's important in practice discussion using the spring broad of contemplating our own experience as students - common themes:
  • feeling fully listened to
  • being encouraged to practice with and reframe our "problems"
  • not getting too much advice for fixing said "problems"
  • receiving specific meditation instructions that fit our situation
  • feeling fully accepted by the teacher just as we are
  • group dokusan can be very helpful - feeling of safety (maybe offer periodically on Wednesday night)
In discussion around how to apply these learnings as teachers offering practice discussion there was emphasis on keeping the meetings brief, holding in mind or even saying directly "this is only a short meeting, let's get right to what's important". That briefness is both logistically essential as we're sharing a few spaces in the building but also communicates something important to ourself as teacher and to the student. Also emphasized to simply practice trusting the meeting to be just what it needs to be without worrying about whether we say anything too brilliant. And Tim recommended the practice of really staying grounded in awareness of body and breathing as much as practical during the meeting itself.

Additional discussion around practice discussion and other teaching topics would be helpful but no specific action taken to schedule teacher meetings or anything like that. (Perhaps just managing regular quarterly Practice Committee meetings is the first step).

Tim forgot to emphasize: please see him in dokusan periodically to discuss how practice discussion is going for you as a teacher and if there is anything particularly interesting/troubling/surprising during a meeting it is very helpful if you can remember to ask the student if they mind your discussing the interview with Tim as our standard agreement is confidentiality of the meetings - to remember that we can get permission from the person to share confidentiality.

Talus mentioned he really appreciates the changes in the service dedications (eko) "these changes really express our values well", referring to changes Tim made in the morning and evening services. See the doan books (or come to service!) to learn more. Tim will post revised scripts to the website eventually.
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