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Appreciations from the Annual Community Meeting, December of 2016

The Economy of Gifts: Those who demand immediate return for specific services and goods will always require a monetary system. Sincere Buddhist lay people, however, have the chance to play an amphibious role, engaging in the monetary economy in order to maintain their livelihood, and contributing to the economy of gifts whenever they feel so inclined. In this way they can maintain direct contact with teachers, insuring the best possible instruction for their own practice, in an atmosphere where mutual compassion and concern are the medium of exchange; and purity of heart, the bottom line. – Thanissaro Bhikkhu

  • I appreciate each and every one of the Upasikas who keep our building so clean.
  • I appreciate Krissy for all the weekends she has devoted to giving cooking lessons. These lessons require her to plan a menu acceptable to her students, shop for groceries, clean her house, clear out the kitchen, pre-prep some of the food, give the lesson, and then clean up afterwards. And she does all of this with such joy and grace!
  • Jessica:  Teaching classes every Monday, driving down from Vancouver with all the traffic to do that every week even when she’s had a challenging day.  The same goes for Sakula and Matthew (and all other teachers and facilitators of book groups etc)  who donate their time and wisdom to share and teach others.
  • Thanks to Patty for teaching me that there is value in learning to sit still.
  • Taking care of our building is a big job, and Kristin has taken on the responsibility of leading the team to do that, while also serving on the Board (and not to mention the auction). That’s a lot of work. Thank you Kristin!
  • We are so fortunate to have Bonnie, who would normally be well-paid for her professional bookkeeping skills, volunteering her time to us as our Treasurer.
  • Someone new to PFOD told me how welcomed she felt when she went to Jessica’s metta class. She said that during the break two people had approached her and helped her to feel at ease trying something new. She felt supported by the generosity of the books for free distribution (this was the first time she’d come into contact with this).
  • Krissy who donated her time and talents again this year in the form of 4 fabulous Thai cooking classes with all of the proceeds benefitting PFoD.
  • I am so grateful for Jessica finding time in her busy life as a parent to prepare and present her classes. I think there must be many things she would like to get done around the house and with her husband and children, and yet she puts some of these things aside to share the dhamma.
  • Thank you to Jessica, Heather, and Scott who are able and willing to substitute for Matthew on a Friday evening or Sakula on a Sunday morning. It is wonderful that we have backup so that our programs can consistently be held and so that we can give Sakula and Matthew well-deserved time off.
  • I appreciate the way Matthew takes time after his classes to welcome and chat with new-comers. A big thank you to Matthew for all the Friday night presentations – I’m sure those take quite a bit of time to prep and I appreciate not only his time but also his wisdom.
  • Sakula has so many different responsibilities and demands upon her time, I don’t know how she juggles it all. It is inspiring to have somebody willing to be humble and be a leader all at once.
  • I so appreciate all the work Tena has done to carry on the book group – It has been a very instructive book this time around.
  • Renee has provided her time to generously serve tea to our monks by preparing tea trays with lovely extras like seasonal flowers.  They have become her signature along with the well appointed trays for our loved guests.   Thank you Renee for your willingness and your dedication to our monks.
  • Bernadette for raking leaves 2 times a week and allowing me to help once and reap the benefits of giving and companionship.
  • During an Upasika daylong practice,  both Bernadette and Laurie shared deeply personal challenges in their lives, which was very courageous and supportive to the rest of the group as encouragement for all of our practice.
  • Our furnace can be quite temperamental and both Greg and Alistair have responded often and quickly and have spent many hours keeping the heat on in our building.
  • Teachers for sharing their vulnerabilities and knowledge so that we can learn from them.
  • All people staying to talk after Sila and share for the benefit of continuing the learning/growing process.
  • Many bows and Thank you’s to all of the Board Members, Greg, Kristen, Tena, Bonnie, Stephanie, Charla, Sakula and Alistair  who work so hard to keep the center and community communications and business flowing.  Your efforts are seen.
  • When Stephanie generously offered to assist Sakula with administrative duties.
  • Jennifer generously stepped into the role of keeping our building clean and organized.
  • Jessica’s husband Todd, taking over childcare duties for Jessica so she can do Monday class (and I suspect other activities as well).
  • Renee for organizing a fantastic team of volunteers to keep the leaves raked around the building.
  • Thank you to Tom and Greg for being willing, learning and taking on the weekly bank deposit process from me this year. 
  • Bonnie has signed on as our treasurer and is leading the treasury team with skill and enthusiasm.
  • Patty beautifully prepares monastic tea trays, teaches others to offer meals to the community and monastics and keeps the kitchen in shape!
  • I really appreciate the commitment and generosity of parents and the family program in creating a beautiful feeling at the center. As a non-parent, it is inspiring to witness your commitment to your practice and to include your family & children as part of that practice.
  • A generous community member has provided altar supplies for the entire year!
  • To Greg, Thank you for Organizing the volunteers for Ajahn Geoff’s visit.
  • Grateful for how Sakula fixed up the shrine room–looking so good and especially the backlighting of the Buddha sculpture.
  • Alistair – Thank you for all of the little things you work on and fix or install, that I only sometimes know about.
  • Grateful for Patty’s supervision of all the meals at the sangha, ranging serving tea to one monk to huge meals for 100 or more people.
  • Sakula, Thank you for writing up the Observer email and keeping the website updated so we all know what is happening.
  • Grateful for Matthew’s excellent and profound knowledge of the dhamma, which he share with us on Friday nights. I knew I had come to the right place when I came for the first time in April 2012 and saw him sitting in the front of the room at the old sangha with around 6 big tomes of Buddhist works next to him.
  • I’ve really appreciated Greg noticing when I needed a chair and helping me to move it to an appropriate location.
  • Grateful for Stephanie helping Sakula, and also for her cleaning of the bathrooms. Seems funny to mention it but you can feel the cleanliness and care put into the job.
  • To Charla,  Thank you for your sharing of time and talent to make this community meeting happen.
  • PFOD has received a reduction in the amount of interest we need to pay on our mortgage due to the generosity of Greg & Adrienne (I don’t know if they want to be named). This takes a lot of pressure off the Board as it works to balance the budget.
  • To All participants, Thank you for showing up to events to make this whole community.
  • I loved the flower teaching Sakula did with the children during Sunday sila— touching watching the children give flowers away, especially to their parents
  • Appreciation for the “Clean up Sila” and all of the classes.  Also, the facility is always clean.  Who does that?  I don’t know but I am grateful for their generosity.
  • Regular potlucks and alms for the monastics as well as Hermitage maintenance .
  • Appreciation for all of the free books.
  • Donation of online auction items and in the case of Chrissy, presenting the Thai cooking class with such joy and enthusiasm and generosity of time, supplies and knowledge.
  • When Ajahn Geoff visited this last November, five friends at PFoD volunteered to learn how to prepare and offer meals to monastics.  The need for trained and capable meal stewards has been much needed and often wished for.  They offered to step into this training and serve during that weekend.  They spent two days to learn the many details of this important part of a monk’s day.  Cheerfully, willingly and humbly offering their days to the benefit of the sangha, I would like to recognize and thank these friends of the dhamma:  Bernadette Bignon, Laurie Armistead, James Boyce, Jim Fairchild, and Matt Pulcini.  sadhu, sadhu, sadhu
  • Many people in the sangha reached out to support me after my surgery last February— this was so heartening and such a big support! Really helped to keep my spirits up and to stay connected to the practice when I couldn’t come to the center.

Dhammapada, 188-192

They go to many a refuge,

to mountains, forests,

parks, trees, and shrines:

people threatened with danger.

That’s not the secure refuge,

that’s not the highest refuge,

that’s not the refuge,

having gone to which,

you gain release

from all suffering and stress.

But when, having gone for refuge

to the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha,

you see with right discernment

the four Noble Truths —


the cause of stress,

the transcending of stress,

and the Noble Eightfold Path,

the way to the stilling of stress:

That’s the secure refuge,

that, the highest refuge,

that is the refuge,

having gone to which,

you gain release

from all suffering and stress.