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CONTEMPORARY ZEN PRACTICE AND INQUIRY

Appamada group

AN INTRODUCTION TO APPAMADA GROUPS

Groups are a way to foster community, practice mindful activity, and most importantly, support the sangha in critical ways. This is the expression of appamada at the level of our sangha. We are immensely grateful for your help and support.

We envision these groups will have several significant aspects:

• Work: responsibilities or functions that need to be cared for. Mindfulness practice.

• Learn: determine what you would like to learn about together.

• Play: generate ideas for fun activities, for your group and for the sangha.

• Teach: offer what you are learning for others. Teach newcomers to the group and teach the sangha as a whole. There are lots of possibilities for teaching.

Groups are self-organizing: they may find that they work best with a leader, or with a couple of leaders, or that they work better when everyone shares the leadership dynamically. It’s fine to cultivate the structure that works best for everyone.

Each group should determine its meeting schedule, times, and places. You are welcome to meet at Appamada if the house is available. It is not available during Zazen periods, when we have a scheduled event, or on Saturdays (indoors). A very good online tool for scheduling a meeting is Doodle.

You may post discussions on the group web page as you wish; you can also email all members at once from that page. Feel free to upload images or comments as you wish.

Peg and Flint will suggest some tasks or responsibilities for groups, but it is very important for the groups to take charge of their own area, and to be proactive in it.

If the group needs to purchase supplies or materials, please check with Peg or Erin about it. We can reimburse expenses, or provide a check to pay for them. Let Peg know about any problems you encounter or observe, or anything else the group needs advice or help with.

You may need to develop some kind of a signup list or a rotation for taking care of routine or regular tasks. I can advise groups about some great online resources we have available for that purpose, or you can use a simpler paper form if that seems most appropriate. We are happy to set up a Google Calendar for the group, and members can subscribe to it.

Please encourage new folks to join your group as it seems appropriate. It is a great way for people to begin to feel connected and to help us get to know each other.

Our intention is for these groups to serve your practice, as well as support the sangha. Please start each group meeting with ten minutes of silent sitting together. Assume goodwill on the part of all participants, and feel free to express your own opinions or perspectives from a place of compassion and care. Be mindful of all that arises in every aspect of your participation and interaction with others, and turn toward it with curiosity and friendliness. If you get stuck, check with Flint or Peg.

We would like each group to design some kind of activity at least once a year that involves the whole sangha. It might be a trip to the Wildflower Center or the Botanical Gardens, it might be a picnic or a film outing, a potluck supper, a one- day teaching retreat, a workshop, or something related to the group’s interests.

If your group would like more ideas for study or learning, please check with Peg or Flint.