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Summary of the 2016 Annual Community Meeting

Vision Statement

We envision a City Sanctuary/Refuge where we as laypeople can set aside our worldly burdens
within a community that nurtures virtue, contentment and calm, so wisdom can arise.

We aim to provide support for personal exploration into the Buddha’s teachings,
guidance in training our minds, and direct contact with the lineage of Ajahn Chah monastics.

Finally we envision a community of mutual support and companionship as we strive
to apply these teachings in our daily lives and walk the eightfold path.

Summary by Charla Chamberlain

Approximately 30 community members gathered for this years Annual Community Meeting held on December 11th, 2016. The Goals of this meeting were to:

  • Share the successes the community has had together
  • Share our appreciation for the community and the programs offered
  • Engage with other community participants
  • Give small group feedback to the Board of Directors on a unifying topic
  • Give the community a broad overview of the organization’s financial status

Anumodana – Harmonizing the collective goodness: The community had been given the opportunity to consider and to submit by email before the meeting, any and all successes and appreciations they saw during the year/18 months. These were compiled and read aloud to engender the spirit of community harmony and goodwill. Click here to read this comprehensive list.

Annual Financials: Then there was an explanation of the progress of the 2016 budget and upcoming 2017 budget. (The financial report will be posted and linked to here in early February, after the 2017 budget is passed the results of the Annual Appeal is tallied)

After a break for snacks, the community had an opportunity to expound and give feedback on the new Vision Statement. Below are the notes from the different stations.

VISION STATEMENT SECTION 1 – We envision a City Sanctuary/Refuge, where we as laypeople can set aside our worldly burdens within a community that nurtures virtue, contentment and calm, so wisdom can arise.

  • Mindset/Motivation: What makes you seek safety as a refuge
    • Refuge = consistent, reliable, a framework to depend on
    • Schedule, consistency in responses, predictability
    • Virtuous actions/words – safety + standards. Gift of fearlessness
  • Examples of refuge @PFOD
    • Any time of sharing/conversation.
    • Confidences,
    • Safety in behavior + words
    • November 8th – day after election – Open door meditation + counseling
    • Upasika gatherings
    • Metta practice
  • Establish virtue and contentment – a calm
  • Set example
  • Relationship with the Buddhist relief organization
  • Be available in times of difficulty
  • Support virtue, contentment & calm via the teachings
  • Knowing the precepts are important to those that practice here.
  • Practicing right speech makes a difference
  • Reflecting, reflective response and sharing from our own experience is key.
  • What is/has been a refuge?
    • Safety acceptance
    • Space to settle.
    • Friendliness
    • Shared sense of values.
    • Culture
    • Community
    • A physical place. It feels different here.
    • Something to look forward to.
    • A warmth
    • Accessibility
    • The teachings – a reliable framework for understanding them.
    • Stability. The world changes; there is consistency here.
    • Always something to get centered around
    • A Physical place to go.
      • Any way to have this place always open?
    • What made it a refuge?
      • Post election
      • Programs, classes books
      • Knowing the culture and rules
      • The presence of the teachers; their proximity/wisdom
      • The physical energy of the place/building
      • A community ; a place
      • Refuge  is personal, an internal tool.
    • What can we do to create refuge?
      • More info for newcomers (ie: come early to talk/learn
      • Welcoming communication
      • Help newcomers understand the rules/culture

VISION STATEMENT SECTION 2 – We aim to provide support for personal explorations into the Buddha’s teachings, guidance in training our minds, and direct contact with lineage of Ajahn Chah monastics

  • Exciting to have contact w/ monastics of Aj. chah
  • Unsurprised, fits, well phrased
  • Want to know about Aj. Chah & other lineages. Why here/
  • Training is unusual
  • Day long Retreats are so useful
  • Could use more guidance in the mind
  • Some would like a chance for personal Q & A time
  • I like the statement
  • There could be more external, service oriented opportunities
  • I would like to encourage more service outside of dhamma practice as a community
  • Seeing kids is so encouraging – it helps parents
  • Powerful to meditate with kids
  • “Theravada” is not mentioned, Ajahn Chah.
  • Presumes you know who Ajahn Chah is.
  • We are in different places on our path and model for each other.
  • A chance for personal exploration – reading Parami on Tuesdays really helped
  • Friday – Matthew’s leadership (and assts) a big part. He is always on course. Reliable, and I can see growth.
  • Children’s Program is a big support, very important.
  • The Vision Statement really resonates with me.
  • The lineage of Aj. Chah monastics is very special
  • Grateful for programs and have found them very valuable
  • Dana system is a huge support – not mentioned enough
  • Upasika class is supportive to my practice
  • We have no gathering for being skillful when sharing about current events – meshing Buddhism and our “real lives”
  • Fellowship may be missing from statement.
  • I appreciate that it’s expansive, a broad view of what one can expect to achieve.
  • It seems in line with what I experience here, very right on, describes what happens.
  • I feel content with the statement
  • It’s direct & not ambiguous
  • Provide is a good word to frame the attitude of dana
  • Thinking through dana has been on my mind lately.
  • It’s important to me how this community gives w/0 requirements, quid pro quo. Its freely given.
  • We are encouraged to ask questions
  • The statement is thoughtful
  • Grateful for questions of others
  • The questioning helps open my mind, encourages us to be our own person. It feels safe.
  • Classes support personal exploration, guidance & direct contact.
  • Admitting we suffer is supportive
  • I’m surprised that I’m not surprised about the vision. It’s all there
  • The center does this all well. I came for all of that.
  • “Finally” – does this imply the third, or is it different?
  • “Training our minds” – wondering what this meas
  • We must provide metta to ourselves.

VISION STATEMENT SECTION 3 – We envision a community of mutual support and companionship as we strive to apply these teaching in our daily lives, and walk the eightfold path.

  • Book Group
  • Being together allows for modeling skillfulness
  • List of supporters/”care” group
  • Service projects
  • Gathering before programs periodically for information Sharing/explaining our practices
  • Nametags/Greeters
  • Donut Sundays
  • Regular Community Teas after Sunday Sila
  • Dhamma teas at people’s homes – make ways to connect
  • COMMUNICATING SOME OF OUR TRADITIONS TO NEWCOMERS
  • FAQ
  • Newcomers pamphlet
  • How do we support individuals after surgery, etc
  • Sangha is 100% of the path
  • We experience a warm, homelike feeling. Share our hearts
  • Safety
  • Grounding

Closing meditation and end at 1:15pm