This is a summary describing the month’s work of the temple’s three major decision-making bodies. 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 the temple website.
The Intercouncil Mandala Review Committee (ICMRC) did not meet in October.
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors minutes were submitted for 9/25 and 10/9.
All voting members and two guests were present. A discussion regarding the aftermath of Kyogen’s passing began the meeting, with primary issues that have come up during an Elders Council meeting: uncertainty about who is currently serving as Abbott, succession, clarification on the status and relationship of teachers and disciples, and particularly support for those in the midst of becoming Kyogen’s students or addressing unfinished business. This is not a new problem in Buddhism and there are ways of holding it within our tradition. Students have many choices, including our broad community of dharma teachers and the possibility of wandering in search of a new root teacher. Gyokuko will stand in for Kyogen for students preparing for transmission. Again, this has clear precedent. The Board felt that there is no rush to have someone step in as co-abbot, although this will likely happen in the future.
After a discussion of the relationship among the Elders Council, the Board and the Succession Committee; it was decided that our Board President will ask the Succession Committee to meet again soon and let the Board know their thinking and recommendations about succession. Numerous business accounts with Kyogen’s name on them will need to be updated. This led to a broader discussion of who needs access to what accounts and who needs to be notified of account activities for property fiduciary oversight. A resolution was crafted to facilitate appropriate changes.
An evaluation of our insurance from top to bottom is in process.
Property. With enough money pledged for loans to pay off the owner and acquire title deed to the land, DRZC will close on crowdsource loan in a week to 10 days. Permit costs are much higher than budgeted and are being reviewed. This may necessitate a pause on construction for a time. We need to get the public street improvement, and no asphalt can be laid down during the cold months. The sewer connections are tied to the street improvements and without those connections, we cannot occupy the new building, particularly the Sodo. The New Markets Tax Credits is still in the mix and looks good. The Preschool is approaching real deadlines tied to a fall 2015 opening. The Board has unanswered questions, most importantly, how will the preschool affect DRZC’s nonprofit status. The temple has been denied non-profit property tax exemption for 2014-2015 as we did not have enough of a building by the deadline. We will pay this year and re-apply for the 2015-16 year as we have fulfilled the criteria. We have paid city property taxes for 2013-2014.
Elections. Two candidates have agreed to serve on the Board. The Election Committee will proceed.
Sangha Forum. The Board plans a property report, a financial report and a visual presentation.
Seven/eight out of 11 voting members and a majority of the Directors in office were present.
Implications of Kyogen’s death. Although Lay Disciples were provided with information and an opportunity for discussion, there may be some confusion in the sangha more broadly. We need to get the message out in multiple ways, multiple times. Whatever a student decides, the temple will support their path both inside or outside this community in whatever shape and however long that takes. The sangha is encouraged to find a way forward with wisdom and compassion. Gyokuko continues to serve as Abbott. There may be a co-Abbott in the future but it is too early to tackle this now. The process needs time and the involvement of the whole sangha.
Property. Construction is going smoothly, more or less on schedule. Other issues discussed at prior meetings were fees and higher-than-anticipated costs. We hope at the very least to complete the dry envelope of the Sodo this fall. Without the accessory buildings we are in a position of having to rent space for facilities and programs while not using the land that we are paying for. On the bright side, if the tax credits come through we will be able to continue as planned. We will soon have the land title in hand.
The Siskiyou Cohousing LLC is doing well with 26 subscribers, five units left. The LLC is looking for guarantors for a construction loan and is investigating whether some sort of bridge financing will be necessary to finish the infrastructure and permitting. The engineering and architecture plans for the cohousing have been finalized and the plan is to begin construction in June 2015.
It was moved and seconded that we name Kakumyo as the new Registered Agent with the Oregon Secretary of State. The vote was unanimous.
The Preschool has some tasks to complete. The organizers are looking for assistance with web design and technical aspects. They are looking for a teacher to start 9/15, perhaps a Montessori trainee who is about to graduate. Financially the program is in good shape. Questions are still to be ironed out about the legal relationship between the Preschool and DRZC.
The Treasurer distributed a year-end financial statement consisting of a Profit and Loss statement, a “truncated” Balance Sheet and narrative notes from our bookkeeper.
We have a general plan for the Forum. Board of Directors election ballots will be passed out to those in attendance with the remainder to be mailed.
The Dharma Council met October 9th. On member concerns, a member has inquired about how many years of temple membership is required to be on the Dharma Council – total or consecutive, special circumstances. The group decided to refer this question for review during the Mandala Review. We ask that ICMRC begin to actively consider how the Mandala Review will be conducted.
Fumyo is joining the Leadership Team. A few more interviews need to be scheduled and completed.
Elections. Two candidates have been recruited by the Mandala Council and have agreed to join the Dharma Council. The slate will be created.
Sangha Forum. Information on the Leadership Team, elections and a list of classes coming up will be presented by the Dharma Council representative.
We have requests for a robe dressing area and a clean place for kesas when going to the restroom during the Segaki Retreat. Maybe people should bring flashlights due to dim lighting.
PSU requests for interview subjects on spiritual leadership. Genko will be the contact and several council members volunteer to be interviewed.
Paul Metzger’s World Religions Class. Kyogen was scheduled for the morning of Tuesday, October 14th. The shuso volunteered and a lay person will be sought too.
Term Students will hold 2 retreats instead of 3 this year. Holiday Temple closing December 21-28.
Classes, instructors and assistants were listed from Fall 2014 through Spring of 2015.
- Fall 2014: Term Student, Daily Scriptures (Seminary), and Foundational Teachings (Wednesday nights).
- January 2015: Hidden Lamp (Wednesday nights)
- Spring 2015: Precepts, Daily Scriptures (Wednesday nights), Issues of Leadership (Seminary)
- Fall 2015: Lotus Sutra (Seminary)
- A class calendar is being constructed for 2016.
- Study groups proposed but not scheduled: Mountains and Waters (camping retreat), Eihei Koroku, Zen Koan study.
Future Action Items. Review the Strategic Plan action items for November’s meeting. Document for liturgy changes policy is on the schedule for November. When do we want to replace the Related Groups Liaison? Formation of a group to review the Mandala Model is looking at a new deadline.
The Mandala Council met on October 21 with three members present and a fourth checking in by e-mail. Updates on each family’s status began the check-in. There is a member recommended for the Council and he has agreed to serve. The group agreed to move slowly and get him fully on board before recruiting an additional member.
We are still not clear on the policy of how and when workshop assistants become leaders. It may be time to begin the process with members who are ready to be observed and then given feedback.