The Sangha Harmony Advisory Council

The MRO leadership seeks to create a new, more inclusive leadership body that will represent the sangha and advise those in teacher lineage positions. The Sangha Harmony Advisory Council (SHAC) will be composed of diverse and dedicated sangha members who will endeavor to represent the needs of its historically excluded members as well as the larger sangha as a whole.  Although SHAC is empowered by the MRO teachers and Board of Directors, its authority ultimately derives from its trusted representation of the entire sangha.

Although the SHAC may not have ultimate decision-making authority, in the spirit of collaborative leadership its recommendations will be taken seriously by the MRO leadership and the reasons for not acting on any of its recommendations will be made clear to the SHAC members and/or the greater sangha as is appropriate. The intention is for SHAC to become a trusted and credible, representative body of the larger sangha. We believe that decisions informed by the wider sangha will contribute to the realization of a harmonious, inclusive MRO where Dharma practice is part of a joyous human collective experience.

Reflecting on this joyful work, Hojin Sensei offered the following:

There are strong aspirations to realize one’s true self in the midst of lay practice, monastic life and in all intersections of humanity. I want our sangha to see this, feel this, and be able to say: “Oh there is a body that looks like mine, there is a heart I resonate with that is immersed deeply in this human project. Maybe I can speak, trust and be trusted. Maybe I can truly enter here.” 

Mission statement

The chief purposes of the SHAC are:

  1. To help promote unity, harmony, inclusivity and diversity within the sangha, and to help create an MRO culture in which people of all identities and a range of abilities feel welcome and supported, particularly those from groups that have been historically underrepresented or excluded
  2. To empower people from diverse backgrounds to promote horizontal leadership within the MRO.
  3. To hold decision-making bodies accountable for a timely response to specific suggestions and requests from the SHAC, and to advocate for open and trustworthy governance.
  4. To represent the lay sangha’s perspectives and suggestions regarding matters relevant to practice and training within the MRO, and to share these with the MRO teachers, senior training staff, Board of Directors, Temple Advisory Council, Affinity Groups and Program Committees.
  5. To model deep respect for each other’s humanity and identity in order to help manifest a beloved community through the MRO.

 

Activities:

  • Work with teachers and staff to promote initiatives that foster diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) within the MRO.
  • Convey the concerns of the affinity groups to the MRO leadership and wider sangha community.
  • Hold twice yearly meetings with the sangha at large, one of which may be the annual Sangha Treasure meeting, to report on the SHAC’s activities, and to seek input regarding the sangha culture that is being collectively created within the training environment. This includes both formal and informal points of contact in person and online.
  • Help lead a timely sangha response to tragic or consequential events, both publicly and internally.

 

Please consider participating

All active sangha members are currently invited to apply to be part of this exciting new venture. SHAC members will serve two or three year terms. You should be able to attend one 2-hour Zoom meeting each month for the first 3 months, with possible additional time given to subcommittee work.  The Council itself shall determine meeting frequency beyond that. We anticipate that SHAC will be more time intensive in starting up.

You can find much more information on the application form itself, including how SHAC will be supported in developing facilitation and leadership skills. The application also has more to say on eligibility and how the founding members will be selected.

Please download either the PDF or the Word doc version of the application. You can use whatever means you would like to fill out the application and submit it via email to SHAC@dharma.net or by regular mail (or in person) to the Monastery training office. Applications will be due by October 3, 2022.