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Offering each other refuge

by Greg Satir, board vice president

Last month, Portland Friends of the Dhamma Board and community came together and formally agreed to purchase the Dharma Rain Zendo. Soon we will produce a formal offer to Dharma Rain. Since this is a transaction between two Dharma groups, there is enormous goodwill and shared interest in making this sale and transition easy on both communities. So, instead of simply handing an offer to Dharma Rain, first we met Board-to-Board to talk about what each community would find of greatest support both around and outside of the financial details.

The guiding principle of refuge soon emerged in our conversation. Portland Friends of the Dhamma has been homeless since May 2013 and this has been a strain on our community. Though it will take a while to close on the sale, anything we can do now to increase our feeling of refuge in this building will be of great benefit. Similarly, Dharma Rain is about to enter a homeless period that could last even longer than ours, as they embark on a huge building project. Any amount of refuge they can continue to find at this building beyond the close of sale will help them.

A beautiful shared interest in offering each other refuge during this transition became clear.  So, for example, even before we have made a formal offer,  Dharma Rain has given over use of their sewing room in the lower level as an office for our Spiritual Director, Sakula. This 24/7 foothold in the building increases our community’s refuge here.

On our side, we learned that Dharma Rain has a practice period that goes through June 1. Even though the sale will likely close before then, it would be a benefit to them if they could stay moved in and arranged in the manner they are used to. Again, easy for us to offer and a huge benefit for them. They are able to plan their transition in June without worry of when the formal close is.

This ability for us to find refuge before the sale and them to maintain it after the sale is something rare in a half-million-dollar transaction. These conditions are very fortunate: two Buddhist groups in transition, able to help each other.

The Board meets monthly on the second Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Dharma Rain. All meetings are open to the public, please consider joining us. Email board@pdxdhamma.org for more information.