“The next buddha may take the form of a community, a community practicing understanding and loving-kindness, a community practicing mindful living” -Thich Nhat Hanh
When I started Fountain City Meditation I gave myself a deadline.
I said to myself, “This is costing money. If I can’t figure out how to make it self sustaining in 6 months, I’m going to quit.”
The space isn’t incredibly expensive, but it adds up. I have not been able to get enough in donations to break even and the time is almost up.
There is freedom in being close to giving up, though.
It means that I can try something different without worrying that I’m ruining everything. Without that anxiety of, “What if people stop coming?”
So I am trying something different, but we’re still meeting Monday Nights at 7 at Ubuntu Village (for now)
I’ve wrestled a lot with whether this should be a secular mindfulness community or if I should bring in some Buddhist teachings. My thinking was that if I were the only free secular mindfulness community in town, people would be attracted to that. (now that I’ve seen what my attendance is like with free events, I wonder how those communities that charge $10 a sit actually get anyone to come *shrug*)
I’m not doing that anymore.
I’ve decided that this is a Buddhist community. But I don’t want it to be a traditional one.
I want a Buddhist community that is led by the people in it.
Not Me, Us.
Buddhist Communities are not run by the people. My vision is for it to be like a union, with members that vote on things. Maybe a board of directors (chosen by voting) and teachers other than me. I’d like to see lots of teachers but we’ll see how many I can get. I believe that anyone can lead this practice and anyone can teach. And if I can get some others in there we can have different kids of teachings. I teach Practical Zen for regular people. Someone else might teach something else and that would be ok.
And I believe we don’t have to do this the way it’s always been done.
I’m interested in expanding too, but not in a hurry. I’d like for KC Dharma Collective to have various events rather than simply Monday Night Meditation.
Unfortunately Ubuntu Village is only available Monday nights, so any expansion or change would involve finding a new space.
There’s still a lot to figure out.
(Reach out to me and help me figure it out!)
But this new idea is exciting to me, so the re-branding is happening now. I don’t want to do this alone anymore. Come lead this community with me. Let’s do it and be legends.
I don’t know if this is worth trying. I don’t know if this will succeed or fail. But it’s worth trying something.
Tell me what you think.
Some inspiration for all this came from encouragement from SF Dharma Collective. They’ve been able to make this kind of thing work and I hope that we can too.
1/20 Is This As Good As It Gets? with Daniel Scharpenburg
1/27: Guided Meditation with Whitney Sause
2/3: The Four Foundations of Mindfulness with Daniel Scharpenburg