September InterCouncil Summaries

This summary describing the work of the temple’s three major decision-making bodies is published regularly. Each of the three major bodies of the temple mandala, the Board of Directors, the Dharma Council and the Mandala Council meets monthly and provides notes to be consolidated for a report to the general sangha. A governance notebook with approved minutes is filed in the temple office. A list of current Council members and areas of concern, individual charges to leadership, and temple job positions are listed on each council’s web page (see Organizational Structure).

Several issues were considered in September by all three groups as well as the intercouncil group: Council membership, elections, new emergency and confidentiality policies, and the Sangha Forum scheduled for October 20th.

The InterCouncil Mandala Review Committee is a standing committee formed from members of the Board of Directors and the Dharma and Mandala Councils. The committee is not a decision-making body and is charged to foster communication among the decision-making bodies, address issues where there is oversight by more than one council or where ambiguity of oversight exists and to facilitate ongoing review of the mandala model.

The meeting discussion centered around the efforts of the governing councils in seeking new members for fall elections. A Membership Report will be presented to the Board to include the current difficulty in finding candidates to serve and a description of the election processes.
New policies concerning confidentiality and emergency incidents are to be finalized and published to the sangha very soon.

Board of Directors

The DRZC Board of Directors met with a required quorum present and heard a report from the Finance Committee that the number of members is 190, down from 202 last year and donations are down about $10,000 from 2012. The budget for the new property is being developed to reflect changing target dates and will be completed for approval at the next meeting.

Regarding fall elections, a letter to the sangha will be sent explaining new election procedures. With the resignation of one Board member, two specific candidates will be contacted regarding immediate appointment to service as a trustee on the Board.

New requirements were approved to be added to the temple’s residency policy. To be added is a requirement for three references and a criminal background check. Resources for assistance with background checks are being reviewed.

The Board voted to budget $500 to be used for discounts at retreats and classes for adults and $500 for children’s Dharma School activities and camp. The scholarships will be available beginning immediately. Decisions will be made by a Dharma School parent and the Shuso.

The Ethics Council will be contacted to work out three areas of concern: guidelines for peer-to-peer conflict resolution or mediation where both parties agree to participate, guidelines for a quasi-judicial process involving disparity in power and an allegation of inappropriate conduct, and a plan to make the steps in the processes more transparent and accessible.

Dharma Council

The Dharma Council now includes the new Tanto, Shintai, and she was present. A 90-minute training was scheduled for two dates with the general topic of mental illness in the context of spiritual practice. Crisis management and documentation will also be covered. The workshop is required for transmitted disciples and is recommended for workshop leaders, practice advisors, sitting group leaders and prison volunteers. There will also be a 30-minute training for Dharma School teachers regarding abuse reporting.

A letter is being drafted to explain changes in the election process. Both the Mandala and Dharma Councils are finding it difficult to find candidates to serve, and a reduced number of members may result.

Each Council will have a slot at Fall Forum. The Dharma Council decided to talk about changes in its mandate and election processes, projected changes in classes with the move, a new Confidentiality Policy, and will hand out a calendar for the upcoming year.

Members are encouraged to look at the Dharma Council page on the new website and come forward with any additions.

A question for seminary: is independent study allowed? After some discussion, the matter will go back to Fumyo for more discussion before a final decision.

Mandala Council

The Mandala Council met and reviewed a list of new volunteers and a report of job vacancies, emphasizing that more workshop leaders and assistants may be needed soon. Council members are requested and will assist in contacting prospective candidates for the Dharma Council. A volunteer is willing to contract to design a template for temple flyers. The Abbot will be requested for additional clarification of the role of Tenzo.

The role of the Dharma Garden Steering Committee within the mandala model needs clarification and it is proposed that this group be made a part of the White family.

The Board is forming a Safety Subcommittee and the Mandala Council will soon begin recruiting members to serve in this group.