Summary of TBS Melbourne Directors’ meeting – 30 April 2022 and 25 June 2022
These summaries are provided to inform interested supporters and friends of the Peaceful Land of Joy Meditation Centre about recent issues discussed at TBS directors’ meetings.
Melbourne directors meet four to six times a year. After each meeting a summary will be posted on the Community Information page on the Society’s website with a link from regular newsletters and communications. You may wish to bookmark this link on your browser.
30 April 2022
Our next TBS community meeting is scheduled for 21 May. As per usual, everyone on our mailing list has been invited to attend and to submit agenda items and/or present them if they wish.
It was suggested that there could be an agenda item about centre maintenance, especially given that having the centre appear clean and in good condition was always important to Geshe-la. There are continuously maintenance needs and likely to be some sizeable ones in future – including waterproofing the temple roof. It is useful to make our community aware of this, as many people who come the centre may not be. Pooling our ideas and energy can help us to make sure the temple and centre are in good condition, consistent with Geshe-la’s vision that the centre should last for hundreds of years.
A more general community ideas session, with a focus on ideas that would help address the revenue shortfalls caused by the pandemic, is scheduled for 7 May. A general invitation has been issued to our community and all are welcome to attend. It will be a quick focussed 45 minute brainstorming session on site and online, with afternoon tea.
A general TBS Q & A document, prepared in response to some community queries last year is close to being finalised. It will be posted online on the community information page on the website when it’s been finalised. It could be updated from time to time if more common queries come up.
A complaints procedure document has also been developed and will be placed on the community information page on the website. We’ll mention this at the community meeting.
The first onsite retreat was held at Easter led by Tim, with about half of the retreaters attending on site and half online. People said they really enjoyed returning to the temple to do a retreat. A lot of effort had been made by the COVID team to put together some protocols to minimise COVID risk – including asking onsite retreaters to do a RAT before they attended, or each day, if they were day visitors. All went well.
The next onsite retreat is scheduled for the Queen’s Birthday weekend.
There was some community feedback last year suggesting that there more be information about TBS directors on the website since people aren’t always clear who the Melbourne directors are. The Publicity team has created a page on the website with brief information about directors. Where directors provided text, or where they do in future, it will be used for the website and if not there will be standard information in the meantime.
Janita has decided to step down as a director. The directors passed a vote of thanks to Janita for her many years of service as a director.
25 June 2022
Leah presented the finance report for the Melbourne centre for the year to April 2022. Income is somewhat lower relative to the corresponding period in 2021 but expenses are down much more. We are still experiencing the effects of COVID but increased attendances at classes and retreats (not reflected in the figures to April) will help to improve the position.
The ideas session on 7 May went very well, with members of the TBS community coming onsite and joining online for 45 minutes to brainstorm ideas – especially those that would help address the revenue shortfalls caused by the pandemic.
Martin, on behalf of the Community Support Team (CST). explained where things were up to:
- CST has consolidated the ideas from the online and onsite groups
- Those items ranked by the groups as 1 or 2 have been consolidated to explore further steps. Those ranked as 3 have been parked for the moment
- Some specific initiatives that are already being progressed are the short retreats proposal, the energy review (resulting in Chris having already identified substantial potential cost savings), putting Enjoyment Shop items online (with chai now being online on a pilot basis) and the TBS cookbook
- Other items have been grouped and will be passed on to Finance, the Garden team or other relevant teams/people for them to consider if they’d like to progress them
- CST will do a brief report to people who attended the revenue ideas session, updating them and inviting them to get involved on any of the items if they wish
- There will also be a general update to the community in the next CST email giving a wrap up from the Community Meeting.
The Community Meeting on 21 May also produced additional ideas – including the proposed Dharma Study group.
Jean presented the short retreats proposal from the retreats team, which had been initiated by Tim at the community ideas session.
The immediate proposal is to trial two short retreats on 20 August (1 day) and 19 November (1.5 days). This is a trial to see if we can run more short retreats, as per Tim’s initial suggestion. Because retreats involve a lot of effort and time to set up, the concept is that we would try to find it easier to run regular retreats by simplifying the model for these new retreats.
One possible simplification was for retreaters to bring their own pre- prepared meals. However, Sox has kindly agreed to cook for both retreats, as he felt this was part of the retreat tradition of doing our best to completely look after retreaters.
Everyone agreed that the idea of streamlining retreats was not intended to change our practice of completely looking after people when they arrive and throughout the retreat, as we have always tried to do. The idea was to make it possible for us to offer more retreats.
It was also agreed to invite Les to lead the September Yamantaka retreat.
Dharma study group
Cat presented the proposal for a pilot Dharma study group on Fundamental Potential which had been raised at the Community Meeting.
The plan is for a pilot of 3 sessions to be offered in term 4.
After discussion it was felt there were two separate needs that a study group like this could meet:
- More experienced Dharma students who would like to go deeper on some texts/subjects (the Fundamental Potential idea was raised with this type of student in mind, among other things).
- Intermediate students who may not have the full picture based on having attended intro classes and some path to enlightenment classes – and who would have some questions about the basics, that could be raised and discussed in a comfortable/receptive forum.
Anecdotally we have evidence that people who have been coming to the centre for some time may have some questions about the basics, and/or how teachings fit together.
Some approaches discussed included:
- Having study groups that alternate with subjects for these different types of group (eg one term on a more advanced subject and one term focussed more on giving people a fuller picture of the basics)
- For the intermediate subjects group, keeping the format and content approachable and as light/enjoyable as possible (especially if it is going to be held in the evenings)
- On the point about intermediate students, perhaps have two levels of intro class – one being intro to meditation, with the following term providing more of an introduction to Buddhist concepts (both still centred around Essence and/or Meditations)
- Having regular all in/open-ended Q & A/Ask us anything sessions as part of or between intro classes – but noting that it’s not always easy to persuade people to ask questions
- Reviewing the content/structure of the intro classes generally
The directors endorsed the proposal to hold a Dharma study group pilot.
The working group (Anna, Cat, Deb and Martin) will reconvene and have a think about the preferred subject/approach for the term 4 pilot and consider the other more general issues raised and where they could be taken from here.
The next meeting is scheduled for Saturday 27 August