Minutes from P&E – Nov 2019

Practice & Education Meeting

Wednesday 17th December 2019



Present: Paul Gerstmayr, Tessa Watt, Jane Hope, Ariela Cravitz, Merlin Cox, David Morris

Apologies: Jim O’Neill, Rachael Cheang


Chair: Paul. Minutes: Ariela





  1. Check/-in
  2. Review of previous minutes
  3. Continued: how to proceed with P&E business from Feb/March 2020
  4. Feedback from Council: new protocol for programmes
  5. Question from Council: youth rep
  6. Discussion: Sakyong‘s most recent message to students
  7. Sadhana practices at LSMC
  8. Brief overview of programming to Summer 2020
  9. Date of next meeting





  1. Check/-in


  1. Review of previous minutes



  1. Continued: how to proceed with P&E business from Feb/March 2020



  1. Feedback from Council: new protocol for programmes



  1. Question from Council: youth rep



  1. Discussion: Sakyong‘s most recent message to students



  1. Sadhana practices at LSMC



  1. Brief overview of programming to summer 2020



  1. Date of next meeting:




Minutes from Wednesday 20th November 2019

  1. Check-in


  1. Review of previous minutes
    • Simple Werma feasts – See 7 below


  1. Possible visit by Lama Rod (raised by Ariela/Tessa/Jez/Hannah)

This was suggested by the CDI Team. There is a specific date that Lama Rod is able to come. One view expressed was that he didn’t manifest as a Dharma teacher, but rather allowed his social agenda to lead. Another view was that many people found him appealing, and that there are a lot of people who want him to come, and it wouldn’t be right for P&E to stand in the way of that. Overall there was broad – although not unanimous – agreement that it was appropriate he come and talk.


  1. General principle of how teachers are agreed and where P&E needs to be involved or not (raised by Tessa)

Deferred due to lack of time


  1. Officially welcoming David Morris back to P&E

The group welcomed David. David expressed he would like to begin a process of developing relationships with other sanghas, and what might be the potential of other teachers speaking in the tradition of vajrayana and Mahayana. There was agreement that this was very welcome.


  1. Healthcare Conference: P&E team consultation (raised by Council)

The P&E Team has been asked by the Council to talk about this event and feed back on what is discussed. A question was whether this was an issue for P&E, as it’s not a P&E event. Shambhala related people who work in the healthcare professions have been looking at how they can put the principles of working with basic healthiness into action with other people who work in the healthcare professions. The same event in Vienna was regarded as successful and made money. These are following up teaching made by CTR about basic healthiness. There is also a question about the process used to decide / agree events, and what are the implications of cancelling something which has already been planned, especially when people have been invited internationally. There are implications for the wider European participants. It was said that there was surprise when this event appeared on the website when nobody knew it was on the horizon. Paul confirmed that the idea of a Healthcare Conference was discussed on the old Council (i.e. Adler, Paul and Debbie, before the new structure came into place), in approximately April this year, although the Council did not see a budget. Paul was clear that it was important to see a budget, in order to understand the financial ramifications of the programme. More recently, upon Debbie’s enquiry, Paul advised her that the protocol was that she produce a budget, and named Peter Burke as Finance Team and Adam Hart as Chair of the new Council as people to send it to. Officially, then, there was no programme until late October, in the absence of a budget. It seems the budget is simple, as speakers, etc. are paying their own way, and not receiving expenses. A budget had been provided by Debbie, although it was said that it was confusing in how it was presented. The question about whether the event will go ahead or not will go to Council on Monday, and Paul will feed back on what was discussed at the P&E meeting.


This discussion highlighted that there is a bigger question of what is the process for a programme to be agreed – when should it go through P&E, when should it go by the Council, etc.


David referenced a an event impact assessment template which is used for visiting speakers where he works, which may be useful to adapt / use as a point of reference when making decisions about programmes, speakers, etc.

Action: David to share the template with the Council.


  1. Werma feasts (raised by email thread in Paul’s absence)

Action: Merlin will check the Centre’s Google calendar to plot in dates for once every 2 months, and send dates and blurb – including wording for an invite – to Ariela to put on the website and send out an e-mail invite to the appropriate people.


  1. Vajrayana Practice Co-ordinator

Deferred due to lack of time


  1. Continued: pricing of programmes

Tessa had put forward a proposal around a revised pricing structure, including a reduced price for those re-attending Levels, as well as for volunteers. It was suggested that if people have done up to Level 3, they would get a lower rate for the Buddhist programmes, however there was not enough time to conclude and make a decision upon this idea. It was agreed that Shambhala Volunteers get a 50% reduction on the price of Buddhist weekend programmes. This may also be a way to help encourage more people to volunteer to support programmes and courses.

Action: Ariela to update prices on website entries, also add a web page re. Shambhala Volunteers (liaise with Tessa for this)


  1. Tabled past items:
  2. ideas for programming + teachers/themes to attract more people

Jane suggested that Sarah Coleman might be approached with a view to coming and running a programme. This was agreed to be a good idea.

Action: Jane will contact Sarah Coleman to discuss ideas for her to come and teach. Jane to also follow up on an e-mail from Francesca Freemantle for an Open House Talk and also Shenpen Hookham.

  1. b) links to other Sanghas

See item 5

  1. c) Flyer for description by Jane and Tessa

Deferred due to lack of time


  1. Date of next meeting: Wednesday 18th December, 7:30pm (GMT)