Minutes – P&E – Feb 2020

Practice & Education Team Meeting Minutes

20th February 2020


Present:       Jane Hope, Rachael Cheang, Ariela Cravitz, Merlin Cox, Jim O’Neill, David Morris

Apologies:    Tessa Watt

Chair and Minutes: Ariela


  1. Review of Previous Minutes
  2. Upcoming Programmes
  3. Organisation of P&E Team
  4. Response to CDI Statement
  5. AOB
  6. Date of next meeting


  1. Review of previous minutes

FIEL and LTM: FIEL will run from 23 April – 21 May. LTM will run 12 March – 2 April. David Rule has agreed to teach it (not available 2nd week, Jez will find cover).

Format for Monday Open Meditation evenings: It was suggested that a different teacher leads Monday evening each week, on a rolling basis. They would give instruction in the room and hold the space, so the situation is held by a teacher, and the teacher can find people to support them for their evening. Jane, Peter C and Jim have expressed willingness to try this. It would be 3 evenings a month, as there is an Open House Talk once a month. Wednesday evenings would continue in the current format.


  • Ariela: ask Tessa for a list of current teachers (as there was a teacher training recently)
  • Ariela: e-mail an explanation of new Monday Open Evenings structure and rota to Merlin (not available until 23rd March), Jane, Tessa, Peter C. Jim, Jez, David Rule, Orhun, and request they add their names.


  1. Upcoming Programmes
  • Ray Carbullido (potential collaboration with Ray Carbullido and Balance)

Jim updated the group that it doesn’t seem the proposed idea is going to work, as Ray is asking for too much money, so it doesn’t seem sensible for us to go with that. If he wants to rent the centre to run the programme, he can do that – Jim has communicated with him that it’s £500 to rent the centre. We would be happy to advertise it, but he would have to take the financial hit, not us. Ray is to communicate directly with Jez.

  • Sarah Coleman

Jane has written to Sarah with an offer regarding honorarium and has yet to hear back. It was agreed that Sarah needs to confirm (or otherwise) her intention to go ahead, as we need to put in place alternatives, to ensure we have a healthy / full programme on offer.

  • Larry Mermelstein

It was explained that the first meeting with Larry really shouldn’t be a public meeting (as it is currently advertised). He wants to talk to existing Shambhala members, not the public. Rather than a talk, the intention is rather that it is just answer questions and chat to people. It was noted that the phrase ‘members of the community’ had been used, so this might also include former members, not just existing members.


  • Ariela: change listing on website to members only and send link to Jane to send on to Larry to check once done.
  • Ariela: speak Jez to see if he’s able to identify such people and ask him to organize to e-mail them.
  • Jez: Identify appropriate people (former members) and e-mail them and existing members.


  1. Organisation of P&E Group

The team agreed that a programme needs to be organised for the next period (June through to December), and considered how best to plan that, now Paul G has stepped down. It was agreed that if this was going to be considered and decided as a team that the best way would be to meet collectively in person with some kind of plan, and a calendar. It was acknowledged that learning from the Mahanaya programme is that a lot of people who attended that were new people, not existing members, and that maybe we want to do programmes for newcomers, and think about what that might look like.

It was agreed to have a quarterly scheduling meeting in person, with the option for people who can’t attend that to join by technology, and plan for 6 months ahead. A physical calendar will be on the table, and scheduling is the only subject. Anybody attending the meeting should do so with a list of suggested programmes – not just suggestions, but provisional proposals / substantial suggestions, which have been scoped. It was agreed that all should have ‘read’ access to the Centre Google Calendar. The first such Planning Meeting will be on Sunday 8th March at 2:30pm.


  • Ariela to e-mail Jez to request Google Calendar ‘read’ access for whole P&E team.
  • Jim and Merlin to discuss who does which (Relative or Absolute Bodhicitta) and when. Merlin is able to do 25-26 April.
  • Jane to ask David Hope if he is able to teach ‘Meditation and Action in the World’, 13-14 June. Bodhisattva Vow will be offered.
  • Ariela: do Doodle Poll for a Planning Meeting in June (for 6 month period from January 2021 onwards).
  • Everyone: Come with scoped out suggestions for programme.
  • Ariela: put in Google Calendar.


Attendance at Council meetings

David indicated willingness to represent the group at Council meetings. Everyone present was happy for that, and also noted that Tessa had proposed David, meaning there was complete agreement.

It was agreed that if decisions are being made at Council meetings, the proposal(s) need to come to the P&E Team e-mail in a timely fashion prior to Council meetings, in order that a collective decision can be made. Should requests for significant decisions arise within Council meetings, this will need to go back to the P&E Team before a decision can be made.

Some discussion about confusion with e-mail addresses.


Ariela to ask Jez to please get rid of other one (keep [email protected])

David: Let Council know he is P&E Rep.


  1. Response to CDI Statement

Rachael updated the Team that the meeting is now on 4th not 5th April, also that Frances’ friend is not willing to do the meeting now on the basis of the format outlined.

The Team broadly agreed that large meetings are not a skilful / conducive format for these things, and that small meetings are more conducive to people being able to participate.

Is it possible to have a day where there’s a large group, we divide, and then come back together. A prepared A1 sheet of paper with people to come back and share the views of the small group.

In terms of the ‘disaffiliation idea’, it was felt there are a lot of repercussions to a ‘Brexit style’ (e.g. ‘all or nothing’) approach to this. We need to think this through, and present facts, be aware of the implications, etc. – e.g. we could lose Shambhala teachings, which is our purpose. This might also break our charitable objectives – depending on what they are stated as being.

A day of small groups with discussion, thinking about it, investigating. We don’t have to come to a decision. It should be strongly stated that if you’re going to come, you need to read all the documents in advance of the meeting.

Can suggest alternative format and see if facilitator is willing to do it with our proposed format – no decision point as the aim. Suggested 2 or 3 facilitators needed to facilitate smaller groups. Roma Iskandr.

Discussion around neutral facilitator. Suggestion to share the outcome of the meeting with the ‘top’ of Shambhala.


David to summarise the discussion in a document, share with the P&E Team, then after feedback send on to CDI.

Jane to provide a letter from Canada re. disaffiliating from SI.

  1. AOB – None
  2. Date of next meeting: Tuesday 17th March, 8pm