Following a request for the sangha to (re)turn its attention to issues of patriarchy, sexism and misogyny in our community, several senior students and monastics have stepped forward to help facilitate conversations over Zoom and in person at ZMM. These optional gender affinity groups can help us digest some of the feelings that may be arising due to naming the issues involved, our own experience with gender-discrimination in community, the challenges of investigating these issues, or the ways this request was brought forward. These groups are not for problem-solving, offering suggestions for change, or for analysis but a place to share your direct experience. These groups will run for approximately an hour each and will generally follow the outline below.
1) Facilitator offers a body settling exercise and/or a few minutes of zazen.
2) Facilitator reviews guidelines & offers some framing remarks.
3) Each participant has a chance to share where they are at with things. Keep it personal and related to your direct experience. You do not have to speak if you don’t wish to, though participants will be expected to have their camera on.
4) After each participant has shared, if there is time remaining, then people may speak again. Please refrain from responding directly to others’ comments, ie: “I disagree with so-and-so’s opinion because. . .”
5) Facilitator will close the sharing with a few minutes of body settling/zazen.
6) The group may close by chanting the Four Immeasureables.