Additionally, it has become apparent that some members are not available because of work and family demands, particularly those who travel a lot for their jobs. It appears that a number of these people will not continue participating in the Second Body Practice. The Community's social activities formula for the Sunday evening meditation continues to be developed. It has been observed that a number of people leave when the social activities part of the evening begin. However, for the last two social activities evenings most people stayed to participate in them. It was suggested that the Sunday meditation session could start earlier or the time for meditation shortened to allow more social time, as a way of keeping social activities incorporated into the existing Sunday evening structure. It was also suggested to place on the WMC email list-server a message asking members what they thought would work for social activities at the Sunday night meditation. There was another suggestion for social events at other times and places; maybe having a potluck get together quarterly.
The Community Care Committee reported there is interest in outreach to the gay community and in implementing more community service, such as working at a local food bank. There is also interest in the possibility of forming ad hoc Clearness Committees, which would provide sangha members in crisis small groups of people they could talk to. The Committee also reported there is interest in forming a study group.
Questions: Should the group meet semimonthly or monthly for two to four months? Should it meet an hour before the Sunday night sitting? It needs to be clear that the group will be focused on practice and not on intellectual discussions. One possible area for study by the group could be on relationships, intimacy, and sexuality.
Thay's book "Teachings on Love" was suggested as a possible book to use for this. Using a dharma book to help format discussions could be helpful. There needs to be a solid commitment by those joining the group that they would be expected to participate in all of the group's meetings. At the same time, group members could decide to meet at different times then those planned, if most members could not attend on certain dates. Each meeting would begin with a sitting. The group would consist of about 10 persons or less. No new members could join the group after it began meeting; it would not permit anyone to just drop in. The idea would be to build a solid, stable intimate group where trust could be established for deep sharing on the practice in one's life. The Community Care Committee will prepare a study group proposal for the Practice Council to review. Richard Brady will distribute the proposal on the WMC email listserver for comments from the Community.
Another study group could be on engaged Buddhism. It could include the sharing by Community members who are active in various community issues and organizations about their experiences, the issues, and their organizations.
Richard reported that the WMC received a letter from the US Internal Revenue Service on its application to be a tax-exempt church entity. Papers for this were filed with the IRS about 7 months ago. The letter asks questions that have to do with the sale of books and transcripts by the WMC. Attorney Carolyn Klamp is helping with our reply. Having church status with the IRS will mean that all contributions to the WMC will be tax deductible and the WMC will not be required to file a tax return each year.