No Abode Meeting - Succession Plan - May 20th 2023

Audio loading...

Welcome! You can log in or create an account to save favorites, edit keywords, transcripts, and more.

This talk will not appear in the main Search results:

AI Suggested Keywords:


A meeting of the No Abode Board and community, to present and discuss the succession plan for No Abode. 

AI Summary: 



The document referenced in this talk can be found here:

The video on funeral practices can be found here:


It's wonderful to see you all, thank you for coming, and this is the first time I think we've ever had an occasion where the board of directors of Novoboard have met the community in person under that umbrella. So here's the board of Novoboard who devote so much of their time and compassion and intelligence and energy for this community and this place. So thank you for many, many years. Thank you so much. And so I think you know everybody. This is Rick Jones, senior dharma teacher Linda Reb, senior dharma teacher Fu, our president and also the spiritual director for Enso Village, Susan, and our treasurer, don't tell me, don't


tell me, and Sonia, Ted, Christiane, Charlie, Linda, Gloria, Gail, Ellen, Norbert, Jackie, Justin, Bessie, Kristoff, Tracy, Linda, Sarah, Amanda, Oma, Dennis, Shaheen, Mishel, Nadi, Timothy, Shruti. As you saw, one of the topics for this meeting is the succession plan for this temple.


This is a plan for a hundred years from now, when I might be not here anymore. So before COVID, we made a, the board made a succession plan, but I personally wanted to present it in person rather than just send it out on the internet. So now that we can meet, we can tell you what we're thinking of as a succession plan. And, of course, you've offered me a question and I'll make off the name of the succession plan. Would you like to wear this? Okay. So, my job is to read this to you and I'll just let you absorb it and then, of course, if you would like a copy, we can, we can manage to do that. So, after a discussion with the board of Noah Bode on April 13th, 2019, the following is


a description of our process for succession planning for Noah Bode. The board of Noah Bode acknowledged that it is Reb's wish that his successors be involved in determining if and how Noah Bode is to continue after his death. Number one, Reb will call a meeting sometime in 2019 with his successors to communicate again to them that he wants them, after his death, to discuss how to best continue Noah Bode. Number two, at that meeting, Reb will communicate the following, that after Reb's death, the successors need to meet within six months to discuss their ideas about how to best continue Noah Bode. That in advance of the successors' meeting, the board of Noah Bode will provide the successors with some simple facts about the legal and financial structure of the nonprofit church


status of Noah Bode. That Noah Bode board requests that the outcome of that meeting be shared with the board by one of the successors who will be selected by the successors' group to convey their proposal or proposals. Number three, upon being presented with the proposals from the successors, the Noah Bode board will then share the proposals made by the successors with the Noah Bode Sangha, either in an email or in a meeting called for that purpose. The board will elicit advice from the Sangha about the proposals. Four, after hearing from the Sangha, the Noah Bode board will hold a board meeting. At that time, the Noah Bode board will consist of an odd number of board members and a minimum of two successors. At that meeting, the Noah Bode board will choose one of the proposals or adapt an alternative


proposal inspired by the combined proposals and the advice of the successors and the Sangha and agree to provide the ongoing leadership to carry out the decision. Five, any new format will be given no less than six months or more than four years to play out as a trial period. During that period, to be determined by the board, the board will check in with the Sangha and the successors every six months for their input and be responsible for determining the viability of what has been implemented. Six, if at any time during or after the trial period and after checking with the successors, the board determines that Noah Bode is not able to continue as a viable entity, i.e., not able to carry out its purposes properly as stated in its governing documents.


The Noah Bode board will be responsible for closing it down, i.e., disincorporating Noah Bode, arranging for the future care of the Noah Bode archives in consultation with Kokuyo Henkel and Charlotte Corny, and dispersing any and all of the remaining assets to another existing 501c3 nonprofit religious organization to be chosen by the board of Noah Bode. As it is required by law, such an organization shall have similar purposes as those stated in the governing documents of Noah Bode. Assets to be dispersed include potentially the house and any endowment that accompanies the gift of the house, and the bank balances of all bank accounts after all expenses of winding up the corporation are paid. That is the proposed plan that's been approved by this group.


I'm interested in, not necessarily, who the successors of Noah Bode are, but how they have contributed to Noah Bode. Well, this is a reference to our website, which has the successors listed, and I can see three of them are right here right now, and Kokuyo had four of them, I'm sorry. And, yeah, so, he, living, about 12, four have passed away. Yeah, and there may be more successors added to it. I noticed it said 2019, so some of the steps have already been completed, right?


You mentioned the year 2019. That was the time when you were going to have a conversation with the successors, you have spoken to the successors. Do you think I did? I do think you did. Right here? I think I did talk to the successors. It was, you know, I don't remember the venue, but I did tell them, and also I told the successors about who is the executors or the administrators of the archives. They talked about that, so, and we speak of the three Charlies taking care of the archives. Yes? Yeah, and I've had some nice conversations with Charlie and Charlie. And, yeah, I guess this is maybe not, maybe just as a personal comment or talk more, usually


but the plan from, as it was written in 2019, you mentioned Kokyo and Charlie McCormick mentioned me, but I've offered and I have a strong wish to be responsible for helping care for the audio archives, at least audio and video archives, as long as I'm able. And, yeah, I wonder if that wish is supported, and if so, I would be moved if that was official, that I was officially responsible for making sure that the audio and video archives are well taken care of. And if it's not, I'd like to understand what this structure is or who I report to in that regard. Okay, thank you. So, you don't, so far you don't feel it has become official yet? I wasn't mentioned. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I think maybe the board can talk about that and develop a clearer understanding with you


that you feel comfortable with. That sounds great. Great. And thank you so much for all your wonderful work in this realm, and many others. You're very welcome. That's okay. Yes. Do you feel well and do you foresee yourself teaching for the next few years? I feel very well, and I also am impressed by the number of years that I've lived. It's kind of a large number. So I guess, you know, probably it's not going to be very long that I'll be around, even though I feel really blessed with good health. Yeah, and blessed with such great people to practice with, and blessed with this Dharma,


which I'm still kind of really interested in, and want to share in a way that works for people. For example, I'm sort of feeling my way for how to study the Avatamsaka Sutra with you. I'm struggling. I'm sort of exploring how to study and practice the Avatamsaka Sutra with you, which I've never really done that with a group of people before. The Lotus Sutra and Koan collections and things like that, as you know, but I've never found a group of people to study the Avatamsaka Sutra. So I'm starting to study it in small groups, like I'm studying it with successors, and I'm trying to find a way that that can be an accessible, inspiring study.


But how to study it with the larger groups, I'm going to be starting to explore that with you. So that's an example of something I'm interested in, and have energy to be interested in. But we just want to be ready just in case I die quite soon. We're all set. We have procedures if I die here. We have an arrangement procedure of what to do if I die here. As you know, there's a coffin upstairs, so we're all set if I happen to die here. But I don't know when it's going to be. And we have this ritual we do every year, right? It doesn't seem very morbid, but we get together, we bow to each other, and people submit handwritten invitations and requests that I continue to live here and teach for another year.


And when I get those requests, I feel like, well, yes, certainly I will. And one of our members said to me, I hope if you want to retire that you do. And I said, well, that you will continue if you don't want to. And he said, well, I don't really want to, except that I'm asked to. I don't want to teach unless I'm asked, but I'm asked. So as long as I'm asked, I think I won't be able to resist the requests that I get every January or February. But again, I might die suddenly. It might happen. And there's advantages to that. And there's also difficulty with that. I kind of would like to die right here during one day sitting or something. OK, another project on the list.


I have a related thought. I recall a gathering a few years ago where you talked to us in great detail about the ceremonies you would like to have practiced. And we do have a video recording of that meeting. It's online, but it's not public, so you have to go to the link. And it just seems maybe it's somewhat relevant to remind people of and share if anybody wants to watch that again and think more about those things and ask questions. So if you'd like, I can pass that along to be shared with the succession. OK, thank you. Would you be transcribed? Yeah, I don't know. I know. So it's also a video which tells you how to take care of your family and friends, too.


It's an instruction about how to care for the deceased person right away. Yes, Tracy and Belinda, was it? What has New World been for you as distinct from your work with San Francisco Zen Center? Well, it's a place where basically if I want to do something, I can just do it. I don't have to have a meeting. And also when I speak here, I don't feel I'm speaking for San Francisco Zen Center. So, I don't know, I feel more unhindered. And I feel I can be very creative here. And nobody says, why didn't you talk to us about that? When you offered a bodhisattva vow ceremony, why didn't you consult the board of directors or the president or the sangha?


So for me, that's a different way of, it's a different kind of life. At Zen Center, if I want to offer a ceremony, I have to have a meeting and arrange for the space and things like that. It's just a little more complicated. You're welcome. Let's see, Dennis and Timothy. Thank you all for being here this morning. I just owe a number of gratitude for the love that you've given to all of us. I'm sure, especially everyone here, we feel so cared for. It's such a challenging time. And to know that you so carefully thought this out and put so much into it. It's very comforting. Thank you so much. And Dennis?


I'm looking around here and smiling a little bit with the irony that we're talking about your passing before we decide that. So, you know, I haven't been here long enough to know how many people were here originally, how many people are here now. Well, it may be that without new people coming in, that at some point, with your passing, there will be three of us left. So I'm just, you know, it's not a question. It's just an observation and thinking mindfully about it. Here we are, looking around at my age, at our ages, and it's not going to be long. Carrie helps me with that all the time. I may go before she. And so here we are.


Here we were. Yeah. Yes. Yes. Yes. The successor will decide who will be teaching here in consultation with the board and the Sangha. No. In a sense, I've chosen the successors to be the teachers. So that's about 12 people. Some of them don't live nearby, so they might not. They might not want to. Linda, Linda, Susan, Gailen in Texas.


Maya, Taigan in Chicago, Mio in Hartford Street, Anbo and Nina in New York. Those people, they will... Christina, yeah. They will decide among the Sangha how to take care of it, and maybe they'll all teach here. But maybe they'll choose one person to be the main person. That person might even live here, possibly. There would be legal changes that might have to be made for the person to live here full time. So lots of possible changes could occur, but those people would be the main group in consultation with the board, which might include them, and the Sangha. That's what that statement, I think, said.


Not that I... I talk to people informally, but I don't know if other people are talking about it informally. Actually, one of the successors told me about an informal discussion that he had with somebody, and some discussion was made there about what to do, which was to sell the property and build a big stupa. So there have been some informal discussions going on, and I haven't heard about them. Yeah, and maybe some of you have been talking to people about it. I don't know. Okay. Linda and Sarah and Jean. Do you have some input as to who might be the appropriate successor for this particular setting and group? And I have the sense that there are younger people who are coming,


so that it would not just die out against some of us who are older. So will you have input? Will the Sangha have input? I think, for me, any of the successors could be perhaps a main teacher here, but they may not decide that. They may decide to have two or three. So that's one possibility. They would choose someone. I don't have someone. All of them, for me, would be potentially that person. And the Sangha? Will the Sangha have input? Oh, yeah, right. Yeah. That's the purpose, is that we organize something to bring back to the Sangha, and then the Sangha has input, and we'll see. It'll be an iteration. If I'm here.


Together. Yeah. Right now, there's only sort of one kind of new person here for this meeting. Cha Ying. I would say you're the newest person here. I think so. Wow. But there's other, like at the last one-day sitting, there were other people who were here for the first time, and some of them were young, but they didn't come to this meeting. So we do have some young people coming. And Sarah? I have sort of two questions that relate to each other, but are separate also. One is, if we're talking about one scenario, I guess in nursing, they call it compressed morbidity, where you sort of have three dads aged,


versus a more unhappy scenario, where a person becomes impaired more and more as they age. So I'm wondering if the board and you are thinking and talking about, at some point you may not want to or be able to continue to function as a teacher. And the other thing I want to say is, again, how incredibly wonderful this thing that happened, I think it started during COVID, where groups of your students have been doing these online reading of your books, and I think I participated in three or four of them. It's been a wonderful way to read your books, but also it's created this little mini online sankhas where people are actually speaking about their own understanding and their own experience together.


And that has been so wonderful in a way, and Yuki asked me if I could please bring that into the space also as a way to sort of, you know, roots spreading out from Novo to your work and your students, for people who aren't able to be here, and that's something that could continue, and also would be wonderful if this organically happened, that you would somehow occasionally drop in and participate in some of those groups while you're gone for another year. So I'm concerned about making sure, and I trust that you will be okay, but I want to make sure as you age that you get to age a little more selfishly as well, and make sure that you're taken care of and your needs are taken care of. You've given so much to your students, and I do wish that you didn't have to get to be old.


Well, I will continue to practice selfishly. Don't worry about that. However, my selfishness is strongly impacted by the request. So if you stop requesting me, don't worry, I won't be teaching, even like tomorrow. But if I'm selfish and you request me, I'll still teach. And if you stop requesting me, don't ask him to teach anymore, because he will. So if you stop requesting me, I'll stop. I won't stop, I just won't start. Of course, that's teaching still. And it's still teaching. So again, you've heard me and other people say, you know, in 1971, before we knew Suzukiroshi was sick, sitting in the Buddha Hall with him in San Francisco,


he turned and looked right in my face, and I think he probably, everyone thought he turned and looked in their face. He said, things teach best when they're dying. He said, things teach best when they're dying. And I was sitting in front of him, and I felt like he looked right in my face, and I felt, now I feel kind of stupid, because I thought, why is he saying that to me? But anyway, it wasn't 71, it was 70 that he said that. It was 70. And so when he got sick, I just wanted to be with him as much as I could, even though he wasn't giving Dharma talks anymore. And he allowed me and other people to be with him while he was dying, basically for, we only knew for about three months, and we got to still hang out with him the way he dealt with his sickness.


So yeah, I will be selfish, that's for sure, but because people invite me and request me, I respond. That will continue. Unless people stop requesting and leave me alone, then I'll just be selfish. I'm not doing something, I don't know what. Linda. Gene, excuse me. Excuse me, yes. I think Gene was here. Oh, Gene, thank you. Gene. I have one question and one story. The question is about the board. I am aware that some of you are also approaching transitions, and I wonder how the board functions and how you see the future of the board.


I personally feel like if any of the board members felt that it was time for them to retire, we probably would accept. We probably wouldn't say, please continue even if you want to. I think they've all been so generous. If they wanted to retire, I think the board probably would accept them retiring. But at this point, it seems like it's up to the board members to retire if they wish. And we've had some past board members who have retired, which served well, and then wanted to stop. And how did the composition of the board form? How did it form? I think it was formed from, you would maybe remember how the board was formed originally, almost 20 years ago. So, I set it up. I made it into a 501c3 church, a religious institution,


and Kokyo, who was then called something else, and another person, Helen, were the first kind of participants, and it had a particular form and style, and it became an hermitage, a monastery for a while, and was not about a wider sangha for a while. And then that experiment was over. And then we had ideas of how to use this space differently. So over time, a few of us were on the board, and then it grew. So we have now more, usually it was three people for a very long time, a president, a treasurer, and a secretary. And I've been secretary and president. And then we added, because of the succession plan, we added two more successors, because we wanted an odd number, and we wanted at least two, and so we're following.


This process was very helpful. And in a way, I've been here from the beginning, and because we have this, and because we've communicated to the sangha, I feel a bit more released to let go. I'm just saying. But not necessarily. This has been hard work. And other things about receiving in a house and various other things. So we have a number in the bylaws, it might be this number of poor people, and with no term limits. If that helps. And if one of you chooses or needs to move on, would you choose your successor also? Well, I don't think the person would choose a successor, the board would choose a successor. The board would choose a successor. No one in the history that I know has come forward and said,


I want to be on the board, because I don't think anyone knew that it existed, pretty much. So there we are, revealing ourselves. There's a board. And we do things, and we meet, and we support that in the teachings in the house. So I suppose if someone wanted to be on the board, they could put their name in a hat, and that would be part of the process the board would consider if one of us left, given that we need to have a certain number of successors on the board. That leads me to my story, which is, I was a practitioner at the San Francisco City Center for 20-some years. And I met with Poon, who I grew intimate with through the coming of age program, to which both of my children attended.


And we were brainstorming about how I could deepen my practice. And she told me about No Vote. And then she didn't know how to contact No Vote. And it gives me pause to think of how long I have been involved in not knowing that No Vote existed, and that it is somewhat mysteriously hidden, certainly for me and for many practitioners. And I wanted to bring that, raise that, and be curious about if that is something that is intentional or something that should be, or we would like to consider that my experience, and that, you know, that young members coming in are rare,


and I would be considered a new member, and I've been here probably for two years. Thank you for that perspective. Yeah. I don't think we've intentionally tried to keep this a secret, but I can see that maybe some people think it's a secret, but it's not intentional. And I don't even remember a discussion saying, should we make it more known? I don't even remember that even coming up. So it's pretty much by word of mouth and the Internet now. But I think now that you've raised it, maybe there'll be more thinking about that. Thank you. Let's see. Was it Linda? And then I think Justin, anybody else have their hand raised? And Tracy. Well, yeah, you were talking about going on teaching


as long as people ask you to, you can't resist, which is nice. But I was thinking that you also asked us to ask you, didn't you? I mean, like, I didn't know there was a, which is also nice. I like that. But, I mean, I wouldn't have thought of sending you a New Year's greeting with a request to teach for the next year, when they happen to cross my mind. Except you said, you sent a message out. You said it is traditional for people to do this. I said, oh, nice, I'll do that. So I just wanted to say that this is a real situation here. It's not just us asking you, it's also you asking us. It's both, and it's also me offering to you and you offering to me. So I'm calling, you're calling, you're listening, I'm listening.


Yes. Right. If I could add another note, it's really interesting. I appreciate you sharing with us this real kind of samsaric business, right? Sort of demonstration. Or, you know, like, these are the... It's just really interesting to see how you're handling the naughty questions of human relations and power. I can just imagine that when the matter of passing on power and authority arises, whatever's in there, whoever's in there might turn out. It's just so interesting that you're doing that. And I'm taking it in as part of the teaching.


And I was listening for when, for the question, well, where does the power actually lie to make a decision? And if I hear it correctly, the successors are bringing it together with them, but also the board actually has the power to decide. Somebody has to. Yeah. And you're not going to have a problem with people having the thought, it's kind of like the Pope. You know, it's very different. But on the other hand, something has to be done, right? White smoke. It's not. Okay, this is Mr. Lagish, my last comment. If we're voting, no stupor, please. Not even a big one? The same size as the universe? The universe. So maybe Justin and Tracy, was it?


Okay. And Homa. I have a couple of questions, one simple and one a little more complicated. One is, would it be possible to post that document on that NoVote site or subconscious community? Would it be possible? I didn't hear. To post the document that Susan read on the NoVote site or otherwise circulated. Susan said we could manage. I think she said that we would do that. I would like to do that. We're waiting for after this to have the opportunity to have it live and have questions. It kind of seems like a dead document when it's up there, but yeah, we could put it on the website. The other is kind of in line with what Jean was saying. What she was saying was important. I think it's probably really hard to overestimate how impactful


your death will be on the saga. I don't think anyone here has practiced without you at some point. A lot of the document, what's called for in the document, is probably dependent on the board. That's assuming that the board stays, the board gets along, etc. I think, Susan, I know you kind of joked when you mentioned you put your name in the hat, but I think it would make a lot of sense for the bylaws to be very clear about if they're not ready, how the board is handled, and what the make-up of the board is, whether that's six X-numbered successors, soft numbers, and Z-centered numbers, just to help make it very clear with the possibility of disagreements. We will look at the bylaws again.


We've gone through them and made them better over the past few years. We did some legal work on them, but we'll look again. So, in order, I think maybe Tracy and Xiaoying and Sarah, and Homa and Sarah. This feels a little bit impudent, and I apologize if it is. But it seems to me that this, the no-vote, has brought into existence as an expression for you, and is very you-dependent. And, you know, I don't know if you're going to die, but I think it would seem different to me if you had one successor, and then I would understand what no-vote is. This is a way for Revsky to continue, through this other teacher. And now you say there are 14, and some live in Chicago. Does no-vote have a mission, like a stated mission,


other than to be a place for you to express something? So, I'm trying to find out, what's my relationship with no-vote, with being without Rev? What's the justification for it? And do I love it yet? I've been coming for many years. But, to take you out of the picture, I don't know what its job is, or would be. Hmm, interesting. Well, one way to see my job is to transmit the Dharma formally to some people. And part of the reason for that is those people then could, in some sense, represent what I've been working on. So, no-vote could be a place for this particular transmission to be living, in various ways, including these small groups studying teachings.


But other teachings could be brought in. So, again, I appreciate that question. But I'm happy with the next generation, and also not just one, but another generation, the grandchildren, to be representing, as best they can, what I've been trying to work on in this last period of time. Rev, is there an analogy that could be drawn to the center with Suzuki Roshi, in the late 60s and early 70s, of what it became after he passed? Yeah, and it's like that, hopefully. Okay, just a little bit more. So, that's a possibility. What you were saying is that it won't, without Rev, it won't mean enough to you to continue to participate. That's a possible outcome. But we have a process for discovering if that's the only outcome. People will look within themselves to say,


I'm willing to come forward, or two or three, or one. That'll be presented to the Sangha, if there is the affinity. Maybe it'll be a try-out for no less than four months, or six months, and no more than four years, to see, okay, let's give this a try. And people will participate or not, and it'll work or won't. But we have a process, which includes it falling apart. I'll say one more, as long as I'm burning my reputation down. I feel you really love us, and you really want us to come. And my fear is that these 14 people will be doing duty, and maybe that's not bad. Interesting. Maybe Chayin next.


Yeah, I think both Chayin and Tracy's comment is something that I, both Chayin and Tracy's comment are something that I'm thinking in my mind as I'm hearing people. I think as the newest person here, I feel like, I just feel so lucky when I stumble upon this sacred place. And I echo what Chayin is saying on the one hand about, we make it less hidden so more new people may come. But at the same time, I also share, oh, I like it so sacred. Everybody here makes the culture the way it is. And so I just wanted to put it out there that I wanted to know what's my responsibility.


It's so fortunate to be able to do this somehow, to still honor the tradition and culture it is, and be responsible to protect this. So I wanted to put that out there. Well, one thing that some people already do, and you're welcome to do too, is bring your friends. And what is a ruined culture? Well, then we'll have a new culture. We'll have a new culture which people think is ruined. But anyway, so far it's worked really well. We had quite a variety of people coming over the years. And part of what's great about it is this community has absorbed those new people who are kind of unusual. We've never turned anybody away. And we've got some unusual people coming.


And they came more than once sometimes. But somehow this group of people just welcomed them. Again, it's like ... I don't know what the word is ... I sometimes feel like at Zen Center people get more scared of unusual people coming because they feel some kind of responsibility. They don't know who's responsible, maybe. So they don't feel like it's their job. Somebody came to Green Gulch not too long ago, some unusual person, and somebody took care of them. But afterwards they felt really bad because they didn't know who was supposed to take care of them, but they did. And it worked out fine. But they were worried because they thought somebody else should be taking care of them. But most things that happen here, we don't think somebody else is supposed to take care of it. So anyway, so far, yeah, I would say basically, word of mouth, bring your friends. Homa brought a friend last time. Bring your friends, and some of your friends will repeat their visit.


But even so, it's nice to have somebody new for everybody to love. And I think people do come here and feel like, yeah, I came here and people loved me. People took care of me. It's nice. It's somehow simple. Where, again, at Green Gulch, it's like, who's supposed to take care of the person? There's some people who are supposed to, but here we don't have somebody who's supposed to, so everybody does. It's a little bit different being so small and not having so many positions. And, you know, this is the guest student manager, this is the guest manager, this is the director of the Buddha Hall, of the Zen Dove, this is the director of the whole place. Who should you talk to? It's more complicated. Homa and Christian, did you have your hand raised, Michel? Homa and Sarah and Christian. Yes, I would like to start with respect to Sangha


and me being here and to the world. And also I'd like to express my expression about no vote. My expression of no vote is not red. My expression of no vote is not any one particular person. My intimacy, my connection to the no vote is the freedom. The freedom of speech, freedom of expressions, and the welcomeness. The welcomeness that we feel here and does not belong to one particular person or individual. So in community up here, that's how I see this space. And the reason I always, since I've been coming to the world, I invited people because I feel this is the way life, in my mind, this is the way life should be. The intimacy, the connection, the unity, the togetherness.


So I don't see why not. Since this is the ground of no vote, I don't see why it wouldn't continue with red or with no red, with the new people coming as long as we are grounded in what is, which is no vote. So that's my sense about no vote. And I'd also like to express in some level my sadness because I see no above than the extension of San Francisco Zen Center, which I've never been. I've been to Green Gorge. But this sense of freedom, I kind of see it everywhere. And I felt, in some level, I felt sad that why not just red, but in general beings, other people who are in San Francisco Zen Center or who are in Green Gorge,


why can't they have that freedom within? Because I see all these enlightened beings in my mind, and why is that not moving, not being in those areas that we had to shoot you off from that to no vote? But I'm just curious that what is happening now in San Francisco Zen Center or in Green Gorge that I don't understand? Well, one brief thing I would say is that we don't have quite as much level of formality here. And teaching formality is a tricky thing because sometimes people feel criticized or someone saying they're doing something wrong. And when there's more formality, not everybody is giving feedback about the forms. So not having that here makes it easier for people to come in.


They don't have so much a sense of there's a way, a definite way of doing things here. So we don't offer that really so much. For example, we don't teach people how to eat with the formal meals here. But that's part of the jewel of Zen Center is its formality. But also that can be not so easy. People maybe don't feel so free when they interact with the formality. That's one big difference. And no vote could do those things but hasn't been. Except in the early days when Charlie and Helen were living here, they did have formality. And people were not coming in for that. There was a group of committed formal practice people. So our formality is quite simple. We have quiet during our sittings. We have our seats. The periods are a certain length. People are adapting to that. And somehow it still feels free. But if we became more formal,


then I think maybe the sense of freedom might be less accessible. But right now, as you say, it's quite accessible. And I would say one of the reasons is not so much precious jewel of formality which San Francisco Zen Center has, and is maintaining as a precious thing in this world. Okay, I'm just curious if I might to understand this. So has Zen Center or Wing Coach, they adopted a formality that they want everybody to come and fit in this formality? Of course, when that... I don't think they want everybody to come and fit in formality. It's more about offering it. And in the process of learning it, people might feel some impact on their sense of freedom. That can happen. But we're not trying to get people into this thing. We're offering this thing for them to learn. But the process is kind of challenging.


Yeah. But here we're not so much offering these challenging forms. So in that sense, the sense of freedom and caring for each other is more obvious. Thank you. Sarah? So much for saying that. I feel so much love for San Francisco Zen Center. And the image that I have is like it's an aircraft carrier. And it takes a lot to turn an aircraft carrier. It's nice to have a speedboat that you can kind of go out and have some more creative and more experimentation and more variety. At one of our first conversations, you said to me, this is like 40 years ago, you said, I want to welcome you to Zen Center, and I want to protect you from Zen Center. And you were speaking about the institutional difficulties of any human institution.


And I really appreciate that the board has institutionalized this a little bit so that when your demise happens, it's not like the rug is just gone. It's gone. It's a process for a softer, more open, creative landing. And I do feel like having Zen Corners is an important part of the Zen Center, and then having satellites. And I do feel like this was initially, it seemed like this was your studio, where you could be a little bit more facile, a little bit more creative, and not have to be the representative. And I'm glad to hear Susan say that one of the things that could happen is that it stops. It turns into some next generation, new thing. So thank you, thank you so much.


And I just want to add to that that successors can be the next generation too. So Linda and Fu have successors, so those people also could be the successors. The grandchildren and the great-grandchildren could conceivably be taken care of this place in the future. Christiane? Thank you. I was thinking about when the pandemic first hit, and I got really worried about people who are older. And honestly, you were at the top of my list. I was really worried about you. I didn't know, no one knew what was going to happen at that point, and it just felt like everything felt precarious. And I bring that up just as a way of, I guess, I really love you,


and I'm so grateful that you are in the future and in my life, and we all have this very special place. And I don't know, I'm not as afraid anymore. I'm not sure why, but I think it has to do with, you know, I've talked about it, I'm just really feeling full of the Dharma lately, and I don't know why, and I don't know if it'll last, but I'm feeling it everywhere. And it's just, it's not as dependent on this. So I'm very grateful, very grateful. And I also wanted to say that Lena was really comforting to me. I know board people, and I know most of the successors, and I'm super feeling like, wow, it's just such great teachers,


and these are all your students, I think. I don't know, maybe not all of them, but a lot of them are, I know. And wow, what a legacy. There's just so much. There's just so many great teachers. Many of them are here, and many of them are elsewhere. And I don't know, you know, I just wanted to express my enthusiasm and comfort for whatever may come. This place is amazing. I've been coming more regularly lately and have been part of the volunteer squad recently, and Betsy and I have been dealing with the kitchen, and I just have to say I love how improvisational it feels. That's really a gift, I think. You know, to come here, and what are we doing? I don't know. Let's figure it out. I love that, and I love the Sun Center,


and, you know, that's a gift, and I love it. So, yeah, thank you. Thank all of you. Thank you. I mentioned something. I just wanted to say the word successor is a kind of technical term, meaning those that Rev has transmitted. When he says successor, that's when you said they might be your students. That's what he's talking about. We've used it in different ways, so I just wanted to say that. Thank you. So I see Sonja's there. Was there anybody before Sonja? Sonja? The phrase that's been coming to me in the last little while, from the ordination ceremony,


so it's kind of an intra-psychic thing, and I think whether you committed formally or even heartfully, is this question that is asked, if I remember it correctly, and I feel like you're teaching that here, and it came to my mind listening to Tracy, is, after attaining Buddhahood, will you continue? It's kind of like, after you start to get a hang of it, we could say, proclaim this, after you start to get a hang of it, will you continue? And that kind of, will we continue, is what I think the invitation is, or might be, for a no-vote, or for any of us practicing here, or what we call it in the world. Anyway, that part of the ceremony feels like what your whispering, almost, invitation is.


When we meet here, offer teachings, and then we ask questions, and it's a conversation. So, will the conversation continue, is what has come to my mind in all of this, and I feel like we're all saying, well, quietly, wholeheartedly, yes, I think we will. So, that has come to my mind. And I think, my feeling is, maybe the Board could consider, when you said people could throw their name in the hat, maybe it could add, since you want odd numbers, we could maybe add two people from the Sangha that might have something creative or refreshing or more outside the box, or having it in this level of the box, or something they might add to how to continue,


that works for the rest of the people, whatever label you want to put on it. But I think something from the Sangha that would want to continue, might want to have a voice, perhaps might be this. So, try a younger generation. We're all bored. Tanya, in my mind, we're all part of this. I mean, in particular, Brett and Paul come to a lot of the sittings, and Brett when he's in town. So it's not like this is a group of people who are not actively involved, and I know there's a limit on the number, I have to check the bylaws. There's a limit. On the number of people on board, I have to check the bylaws. Linda.


I just want to add that I really like what you have presented. I really feel very good about the process that you worked out and worked hard to create. So, what the work does, speaking in other terms, is really pretty much the most stuff, for the most part. We do talk about succession planning, but it's maintenance plans, money support, projects that need to be done. For instance, this morning we met, an hour before, everyone gathered to walk around with Ted and Jerry to look at things we need to do


to maintain the temple. And we couldn't do that without the care team that operates. Christiane talked about the man who coordinates, the care team that actually makes everything happen every time we get together. So, none of this would be necessary or could be done without the teaching, but the board, and I love doing what I've been doing, the board is really engaged in keeping the place going. A piece of that is succession, but most of what we do is just the mundane stuff. If any of you own houses, you know that my house is never empty.


Ranging from getting the dust money out from under the bed to making sure the foundation is up in the ballpark. So, I just wanted to say that as an assembly member and as a board member, to just give context for a lot of what we do. And we couldn't do it without the song, and we couldn't do it without the care team, and we couldn't do it without our teacher. So, I really appreciate the opportunity to do that. And also just to come here and see the wall. Gloria and Sarah. I just want to thank everyone who took part in discussing the difference in freedom, informality, and formality, which are both really important to me. And I would say that were it not for the informal space,


I might not have been able to stay. And that's simply with the institutionalized sorts of things that don't work right in the world. This created a space of safety where I'm not focused, where I'm not getting it right, and not being terrified of consequences, even though that really doesn't make sense. It doesn't need to make sense, but this space gave me where I could sit and sit and sit. And even if I didn't feel at home, I felt safe, and that's huge. And I thank you for insisting that that happen. And Sarah? I'm just wondering, since the board is here, if there is anything over the next five to ten years


that is needed, from either the point of view of the House, or I'm kind of wondering if there's anything that the board would request of the Sanda or that Greg would request, or would like to know. I wonder, since I think, I appreciate that maybe Noah Bode seems hidden, the board seems hidden from the Sanda. I mean, this is really the first time this has happened, as Rev said, in this form. And we're starting to look at the next five years in terms of caring for what it's going to take, how do we make the decisions about what to fix, and all of that. And I just wonder if that might not be a good thing


to share with the Sanda, when we do come up with this plan. If you're interested in the physicality of what supports the place, it has seemed like not everyone is interested in how Noah Bode works or any of that. So we've just gone about doing what we do to try to support. But sometimes groups do financial reports, right, and State of the Union kind of things. So if that's a request, then let Rev or me or any board member know. It seems like it activates, it shakes the web a little bit, and it activates the resources of the larger community to solve problems or to offer what's actually needed. David? I don't remember how it happened,


but when the previous treasurer wished to retire, I just looked in the Sangha and thought of Paul. And he accepted my invitation to him to do the job. And I don't remember how... Did I do the same with you? Just sort of asked you? Yeah. Yeah, and recently when we were setting up the website, we were working with a professional web designer, but he wasn't a member of the community, so it was kind of difficult to relate to him because he was getting paid and making some people uncomfortable. And so then we looked around and found somebody in the Sangha to do it. So we feel comfortable talking to this person. And Jerry Van Eck, who was here earlier,


he's also a member of the Sangha. So it's not exactly we're just trying to save money, but we kind of like to know the people and to know that they're not primarily helping us to make money, even though they might get paid. So that's how we have been proceeding. So people feel like this is their temple, and I think they do feel that way. They don't feel like it's the board's temple or Rev's temple. They feel kind of like it's our temple. And Amanda gives me these sheets of the people's duties for the one who's sitting in it. There's so many people helping to make this happen. And of course, some people come, they just come and then they leave. That's great, too. But it really is a total community effort, for example, to have this meeting. A lot of people made it possible.


A kind of interesting piece of information is a number of my friends have actually asked if they could use Novo to do workshops or retreats, and I would be happy for them to. However, for example, doing the parking is prohibitive unless you have a trained group of parkers who know how to relate to our neighbors in such a way that our neighbors feel that we're caring for them. That's one of our formal training processes is to learn how to do the parking, which is a very delicate relationship with lots of people in the neighborhood. So I can't really say, yeah, you can come and we'll do the parking for you. And we can't train their people to do the parking. And also, after cleanup, we can't train people how to clean up,


but we have a cleaning training so that we don't have to kill any rodents here because this place is so clean. And that took a long time for us to get this place so clean that word's out among the rodents that there's no point to go there. It's just like there's nothing there. But if we didn't clean up after we leave, they would come. But we have this. That's one of our more elaborate formal protocols is cleaning. And people do it and they do it. They're the people who do it. So those are a couple of examples of not only why it takes a good care of this place, but why it's hard to share it with anybody else because they don't know how to take care of it at the level we're taking care of it, which has been worked out with help of all of you, especially Amanda and Eileen Oba have made this tremendous effort to get this so organized. I brought a friend here, a doctor,


to show him the temple one time, and he said, God, it sparkles. It's so spiffy and pure. Who takes care of this place? Well, the community does. It's hard to share it with somebody who's not a member of this community because they don't know how to take care of it at the level we've established. It's the same at Zen Center. It would be hard to hand Zen Center over to somebody and have them take care of it if they weren't trained according to the way we take care of it. So it's just a wonder that this is happening. And every time there's a one-day sitting, I'm just amazed, and probably I'll continue to be amazed. Amanda? I just want to say thank you for the privilege of being part of this process here at Nobo. And I also wanted to mention kind of a linguistic framing


that has sort of loaded up around these offerings. So they're kind of like volunteer offerings. So we don't have forms like at Green Gulch per se, but we have roles and places where people can express their heart. And I think that's kind of why it works so good. Because we have rotations of things, but it's people who kind of express that they'd like to give something. So everybody is welcome to make an offering. Everyone is welcome. And we have, you know, replying to the announcements is one way to express your interest in being a part of caring for Nobo. And I guess I also... Yeah, it's... I really appreciate that we have these forms in terms of roles and that they're flexible and that they welcome everyone to embody them


in ways that feel right for them, you know. And I think that's what... What are we feeling? We're feeling like our own presence is coming in through these roles, our own presence with each other. And I think formerly I was a little concerned because I associated forms with intimacy. Like I know they taught at some point how forms can promote our sense of intimacy. The closer we are to each other, the more we kind of need those forms. But maybe this is another way of doing that. We do need our roles. We do need our structure. We can't just show up by... I mean, maybe we can, but... We could have an experiment on that. But it would be based on a form or structure that we can offer. I wanted to invite everyone to express yourself if you want to be off my box. And then I also...


I'm having a little bit of a puzzlement about not knowing how to connect. People can experiment with this, but when I put in Rose Anderson, my search bar, or I put in Noah Bode, our website comes up right away. And there's a calendar that's very accessible and out front where all of the links to register are part, as well as the events. And then there's a subscription, a content page, and a subscription where you can join the mailing list. So if there's other ways that we need to make things more accessible, let's all be open to it maybe. But I just wanted to offer that for those of you who might not know anything about that. And I think the last thing I want to express is... As we think about this transition,


and I have been thinking about this transition quite a lot, it just comes to me every once in a while. But it seems really important to me, and I kind of want the board to hear this. It seems important to anyone who is going to a sumo teaching seat to understand that this sama has a very long and special and loving relationship with their deceased teacher, with them. And I want all of the people in the sama to be honored and respected and cared for around that very special relationship that they have, that teaching relationship. I think it's something precious that needs to be cared for. So I just use that. And I also really want to take... I mean, this is just me. I can just say this is me.


I want to take care of the memory of our teacher. So just offering that to the board, having your discussions about how this goes from here. I, in person, would really like to... care for the memory of the teaching that's been offered for all of these years. Who goes next? I have a thought, an idea, a suggestion. As years go by, and there are times when your teaching schedule or travel schedule, or perhaps someday health or other things, cause you to be unable to leave,


no, a boat sitting on a given month. And there's been a very steady pace of, you know, once a month average that we've met, that we could, as a sangha, practice having somebody else leave the sitting. One of your wonderful disciples could come and hold the space for us. And we encourage and support them and get comfortable with that. So that's what occurred. Thank you. So we tried that many years ago. And very few people came. So that really was one of the genesis for having planned and testing it out and having a chance to go back and forth and maybe getting to know the new person or being intentional, instead of just, well, Rev isn't here, I'm not coming. So that particular way of introducing other people


to hold the seat didn't work in a way that the sangha responded to. So this is another way to maybe create that, where there is an affinity with some other people. Yes? I came here because of you, Rev, and I stayed here because of you. And so, thinking of that, and I'll be gone before you too, it might be an idea, it's cool if you train or have somebody else start relating to one of the successors, maybe five, ten years of success, or a hundred. People get to know in a relationship, because this is a very personal relationship. So, of course, they're not forgetting themselves.


Thank you. Thank you, Michelle. By the way, I just noticed the pattern motif on Susan's sweater. I just got a new driver's license. And a California driver's license. And they only renewed it for five years this time. So California government is taking certain things into account. And when I looked at the picture, I thought, what a nice looking skeleton. Like a kind of handsome skeleton. And a happy skeleton, kind of a friendly skeleton.


It was really kind of, my previous one doesn't look so much like a skeleton, but doesn't look as friendly. Quite friendly and happy, but yeah, it's kind of like... I also, this morning, was reading the Avatamsaka Sutra, and they're talking about Buddha having light come out of the teeth, but also Buddha having light coming out of the white eyebrows. And oh, I have white eyebrows. So, you know, not to make light of it, but yeah, it's happening. And it's in a very nice way. And was there any more comments? What time is it? Yes, Amanda. Pardon? Amanda.


Just a quick thing. If people feel like they have things that come up for them and they want to express them to the Lord, I'm just trying to think of a way to do that. They can certainly do it through the Novo Sangha email. I wonder if you have a preference about how you rate a few additional things once they come up. Well, thank you for that. And you would be one of the people who would be involved in that. So maybe... How would you like to proceed? I would be happy to put out a form for people if there's anything they want to express. We could do that through just this mailing list of people who attended today. Yeah. How does that seem? And I would be happy to receive them an answer from this seat if it involves that kind of thing.


I wasn't going to know. Yes? Would you like this recording to be shared publicly with anybody who listens to the Dharma talks normally? Or would you like it to be private for the Sangha? Does the people here have any idea about whether you want this to be private, this recording? Or whether it can be shared with people who aren't here? Any thoughts on that? Since you're the people who spoke. Share it. Share it? Were you asking Charlie about whether you want public? I thought you said just on the... Yeah, if we post it alongside the other Dharma talks, anybody who comes along and listens to the Dharma talks can listen to this Dharma discussion about succession and all the care and skill that's going into this. Or if anything feels sensitive and if anybody has shared anything that they feel is private. Or if there's one comment, somebody says, well, everything but mine can be shared and I can edit that out.


Whatever you like. Amanda? I think I'd like it, I mean, my inclination would be to tie it into the no-avoid area of the website rather than have it generally shared. But that's just, I don't know. How does that sound? I don't know quite what you mean. Should it be, you want to send it just to the email list? No, I'd like to publish it on the website under the no-avoid as a link. Well, it's for all the other talks as well. No, there's another page. I kind of think this is a teaching for other groups. I kind of feel that way too. You know, that we've put this work in and other groups maybe don't want to think about it. And I do, I'd like to kind of share these ideas in this work, if it isn't sensitive. I think it is sensitive to me personally.


Okay. And sometimes with regard to the Dharma, we put a sutra cloth around the sutra book. And, you know, just, so it's kind of a net feeling. And I totally respect that. But, I don't know. I'm kind of passed on everything that's going on there. I don't know why I would want to hear, but it makes more sense. And as a professor, I feel like I just make this work. Thank you. Justin? It's a different subject. I just, I wonder if it makes sense to, you know, clearly you have a reason for doing what you're doing. At the same time, I wonder if it makes sense to narrow down the group of successors that might be the possible teachers here.


Because it just seems to me that 14 people trying to decide, coordinating the energy that goes into it at the time might actually be the, might be the dissipation of this group. You know, when people don't know who's coming or when, or I like that person, I'll come six months to do that. Whereas narrowing it down might provide more continuity. And maybe that's a decision amongst the 14 successors while they're still alive. Maybe so. Thank you. Amanda? It reminds me of sort of disaggregating certain information. Like, you know, in this transition we have a couple of things going on. We have the no-vote, sitting in practice situation. And then we have our own unique, we have a teacher. And for each of us, that might be Red or someone else. And that relationship may not be covered by success. That might be something we all, each of us is going to need to find who it is we're going to be studying with.


I don't, from my point of view, I don't think you all have the burden of creating that piece for us. And we need to do that. But in terms of no-vote and practice place, and a place we can come and still be together and practice. I feel like that's what we're talking about in this discussion. But I think in terms of the connection with the teacher, I think we've said that. But I think that is going to need to be on each of us to see how we're going to maintain that practice. Thank you. Well, again, thank you so much for coming and for your sincere responses to this presentation. And may our intention equally extend to every being in place with the true merit of Buddha's way.


Beings are numberless. We vow to save them. Afflictions are inexhaustible. We vow to cut through. Dharma gates are boundless. We vow to enter them. The Buddha way is unsurpassable. We vow to become it.