Council Meeting on March 25

The Council and Council members are subject to the “new normal”, so on March 25, the council met on Zoom. I was not able to attend so I watched a recording. Practice & Education virtual offerings and organizing Community Care were the main topics that were discussed.

How can we maintain our practice and study if we are housebound because of social distancing and Stay Home mandates? The Practice and Education team has been meeting via Zoom and discussing potential offerings for our community. Some of the offerings under discussion are regular sitting practice, White Tara, Parinirvana Day, and solitary retreats when we are housebound. Affinity groups like Queer Dharma and Young Meditators Group will continue via Zoom. We are a work in progress so please be patient. 

There were also discussions on how to give support and what kind of support to give to Portland Shambhala’s members and friends. We could divide social supports into five categories: Tangible, Emotional, Informational, Companionship, and Practice. Our Societal Health and Well-Being Representative condensed the five categories into three: Material Generosity (Tangible and Informational), Generosity of Fearlessness (Emotional and Social), and Generosity of Dharma Assets (Practice and Study). Some of us might just need one category. There will be other people who need more than one category. Some might need all of them.

The Desung presented the Council with several difficult questions for us all to contemplate, including:

  • Is there a designated person prepared to have difficult conversations about these matters with people who are symptomatic or test positive?
  • If someone is ill or tests positive, how will you know if they want the local community informed? The global community? The Sakyong?
  • Will your community do anything to organize support of those who are ill or in quarantine, and their families?
  • If people die, how will the center know if the person wants a death ceremony, and if so whether it’s a Sukhavati, Shin Kam, or the funeral version of the Sadhana of Mahamudra?
  • Is the center prepared to conduct these death ceremonies online? (people trained to precept them, technology in place, copies of and links to the relevant liturgies, etc.)
  • Will death announcements be made to the local community? Global community? To the Sakyong? If so, how and by whom?

If you have any thoughts, ideas, questions, or opinions you would like the council to hear, I will make sure your voice is heard. You can contact me at [email protected]

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