So, the last remaining business of the interim board is the writing of an “end-of-term” report, and ensuring that the information we have assembled over the last two and a half years can be made available to whoever may need it in future. To this end, we are envisaging that the interim board website will continue to be online for at least a year.
This group (Sally Brown and Rev. Master Meiko) dissolved in February. We thank Sally and Rev. Master Meiko very much or all the work they put in to this project.
Structure & Function
In March the Structure and Function Working Group completed the writing and editing of the survey that we have been working on for some time now. The survey, together with a cover letter from Rev. Master Haryo, was sent out to monks and lay ministers at the end of March. We have asked that responses be returned to us by 15 May. We are currently considering how we will process and collate the responses that we receive, with the intention of writing a summary report of the survey results. It is intended that this material will be the basis for discussion at the Monastic Sangha Gathering at Shasta Abbey in September.
The Resource Sharing group received research done by Mo Henderson and Dan Brodribb. It gives an oversight of unfortunate incidents/situations between Buddhist masters/teachers and disciples in recent years and the responses given to this by the respective sanghas. We are presently editing the research so that it will be easy to read and compare – and hope to post this on the Resource Sharing web page for monks. We also will upload a second talk by Rev. Master Daizui on Preceptual behaviour.
Rev. Master Hakuun
We have been fairly active in recent months, as we now have four documents that we are preparing for publication. They are all in the Rules Awareness category. The first of these, a leaflet titled ‘An Overview of the Rules of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives’ has been sent out to monks for their feedback and we have received many encouraging comments, which we are in the process of collating. Once we have gathered all the suggestions we will, in consultation with Rev. Master Haryo and the monks who originally drafted the text, finalize the wording and layout before deciding on how to distribute the end product.
The second publication ‘A Digest of the Rules of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives’ is also ready to be circulated with an invitation for monks to offer comments. This will go ahead in about a month, once the deadline for submissions in response to the survey by the Structure and Function working group has passed. It was thought that it would be better to send out requests for feedback sequentially rather than concurrently, so that monks do not have too much of this kind of work to do at any one time.
There are two other publications in the works: ‘An Index of the Rules of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives’ and ‘Related Keywords Used in the Rules of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives’ These will be circulated for comments once the other material has finished the feedback stage of the process.
We are aware of one other document that will be created; we will start work on it when we receive the text. The (provisional) title is: ‘Guiding Principles for Spiritual Counseling and Teaching Relationships’.
In other developments: Our working group is now only two members since Marianne decided to step down. We are very grateful for the help she has given this group and wish her well. This leaves just Chris Loukes and Rev. Roland in the group, though after some reflection and consultation with the interim board we did, on their suggestion, ask Rev. Master Zensho if he were able to offer help, as it was felt his greater familiarity with American conventions in publishing could be very helpful. He generously agreed to act as an advisor when needed.
We created a Recommendations Document that contained suggestions and ideas concerning the Rules, from an ‘ethics’ point of view. This document was sent out to senior monks and lay ministers on 3rd February 2013 for feedback by 15th March.
We also considered it to be appropriate to put down on paper what we considered the overall priorities should be, again with our ‘ethics’ hats on. So we prepared a list of ethical priorities with a suggested timeline. This was sent out to senior monks and lay ministers on 8th March 2013 with a request for feedback by 25th March.
We then forwarded a synopsis of the feedback to Reverend Master Haryo on 26th March 2013. To allow some identification of the respondents, we noted on the synopsis whether they were lay or monastic and by whether they were European or North American. So, all comments contained within the feedback found their way into the synopsis.
We received two pieces of feedback after the due date and after the synopsis had been sent. Reverend Master Haryo asked that this feedback be included in with the original replies. We have amended the document to include these latest comments.
Rules Awareness & Education
The group produced a new version of the leaflet entitled “Guiding Principles for Spiritual Counseling and Teaching Relationships” incorporating the comments that the group received from selected monks and lay ministers in the various countries where the OBC functions. This draft is being circulated to all senior monks and lay ministers for comment. We hope it should only need minor changes before it is sent to the publications working group.
The new leaflet “An overview of the Rules of the OBC” produced by the Rules Digest and Cataloguing working group could become the principal way that lay trainees are introduced to the rules. However, the group surveyed some of the priories to find out how postulants become familiar with the rules. This survey will extend to all priories where postulants train.