ZRS Board Minutes – Nov. 11, 2017

Attendees: Kai Hui, Liaoran, Taiso, Jian Zhi Convened at 10:15 am   Topics: Financials Kai Hui: Offerings are about the same as the same time last year About $1,600 net positive this year so far compared to last year Current total assets $19,500 (actual cash […]

Effortless Donations for Zen River (Easy as ABC!)

By Reishin Denise Leong, ZRS Priest, excerpted from the September 2017 ZRS newsletter Smile Amazon – Amazon will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Zen River.  Go to, log in to your account, and choose Friends of Zen OSHKOSH […]

Mondo Zen: Your Angst can Become your Liberation!

By Reishin Denise Leong, ZRS Priest, excerpted from the September 2017 ZRS newsletter

Have you suffered enough? Are you finally willing to change your mind?

There is a huge amount of unnecessary suffering in the worldunnecessary because it does not arise directly from our life circumstances, but from the conditioned way in which we react to our own memories, stories, and beliefs. From the ego’s perspective, emotions such as anger, shame, depression, and anxiety appear to be involuntary and automatic. We seem to be “at the mercy” of these emotions. But, in fact, they are not just emotions but reactive forms of violence, directed against self and others. Because of our ego confusion, we waste tremendous amounts of time and energy in self-defeating emotional patterns.

In order to alleviate this suffering, we need deeper insight into and understanding of our minds. We need to access our deeper feelings and understand the information contained within our deeper feelings. We need to see through our ego and experience our true nature.

~ from the Mondo Zen Training Manual

Mondo Zen, a koan process created by our Abbot, Jun Po Denis Kelly, is based on traditional Chinese and Japanese Zen, updated for the 21st century. The word “Mondo” means “The Way of Dialog”;  “Zen” translates as Clear Deep Heart Minda knowing of our consciousness deeper than our thinking, feeling, and sensing mind; “koans” are enigmatic questions designed to bring your rational thinking mind to a one-point focus. The Mondo Zen Koan Process refers to a dialog process that uses enigmatic questions to awaken you to your true nature, your Clear Deep Heart Mind, as well as unconditional compassion.

Experience Mondo Zen for yourself. Learn how you can transform habitual, negative emotional reactions into wise, compassionate responses and alleviate suffering. Contact any ZRS priest for more information.

On Refuge and the Growth of Sangha

By Taiso Hannya Byron Bartow Roshi, ZRS Head Priest, excerpted from the September 2017 ZRS newsletter We have recently engaged in some discussion about our community and how we might grow and deepen. This column shares some thoughts about this. The three refuges or jewels […]

ZRS Board Minutes – Sept. 2, 2017

Attendees: Kai Hui, Liaoran, Taiso, Jian Zhi Convened at 10:10 a.m.   Topics: Financials Donations level for last two months–about $700 from donations (goal $1,000) Changes to internet arrangement–need to start helping landlord by paying more of the share Taiso: would like the arrangement to […]

ZRS Board Minutes – July 1, 2017

20170701 ZR Board Minutes

Attendees: Kai Hui, Liaoran, Taiso, Jian Zhi



  1. Financials
  2. Subcommittee Reports/Updates
    1. PLACEHOLDER for future agendas, discussion during “Old Business” portion of meeting
  3. Review of comment cards & requests for board agenda topics
  4. Old Business
    1. Library setup
    2. Subcommittees
      1. Formalization of subcommittee structure proposal
        1. Building & Grounds
        2. Cleaning
        3. Opening
        4. Newsletter
        5. Fundraising & Community Outreach
        6. Library?
      2. Who/how to ask to lead subcommittees
        1. Formal samu approach
        2. Scheduling events/calls for volunteers
      3. Budgetary process
      4. Reports/updates process
        1. Format and frequency expectations
    3. Fundraising
      1. Response to sangha communication
      2. Next steps
  5. New Business
    1. Website Updates
      1. New site navigation
      2. News/Blog discussion/policy
      3. Financials posting format/schedule
      4. Inclusion language
      5. Pamphlet approval/placement/ordering
    2. Zendo communication board/documents
      1. vision/useage
      2. Communication cards/inclusion of phone #’s
      3. Pamphlet availability/policy
    3. Board meetings policy
      1. Frequency going forward
      2. Open/closed
      3. Public minutes
      4. Agenda topic requests
    4. Newsletter
      1. Frequency
      2. content/layout
      3. Mailing list
    5. Sangha programming
      1. Use of space/equitable distribution of time
      2. Program approval process
      3. Program withdrawal process
      4. Scheduling process
      5. limitations/restricted content
        1. Movie licensure
        2. liability



  • Convened at 9:46 a.m.
  • Financials
    • No report from Kai Hui–been swamped
    • In general, bleak, but a burst of donations just came in
    • Request from sangha for transparency of financials
      • Taiso: Doesn’t make sense to do a balance sheet more than once a year
      • Kai Hui will need half a day to clean up reporting in PayPal and prepare a visually appealing layout
      • Decision: Will post last annual financial and leave it up all year, as well as quarterly YTD statements of income and expenses
  • Subcommittee Reports/Updates
    • PLACEHOLDER for future agendas, discussion during “Old Business” portion of meeting
      • Manju has been doing baseboarding and yard work
      • Manju and Myoshin spearheading garden project
  • Review of comment cards & requests for board agenda topics
    • Topic request form from Joel to formalize organizational structure of board and committees
      • Taiso: have to be very careful of how much political activity we try to sustain
      • Liaoran: goal should be one-time setup that runs itself
  • Old Business
    • Library setup
      • Community anxious to get library setup
      • Two major roadblocks: computer and setup time
      • Taiso: not looking for too much help; would like to stick to software currently in use
      • $70 donation toward computer
        • Liaoran will assemble a computer–happy to donate minor expenditures but will ask sangha to purchase copy of Windows
        • BookCollector software may require some ongoing expense for updates
    • Subcommittees
      • Formalization of subcommittee structure proposal
        • Would require clear division of labor and expectation of reporting (not physical attendance but request for a report two weeks out)
        • One-year appointments
        • Building & Grounds – Manju wants to head
        • Cleaning – Reishin wants to head
        • Opening – Will ask Myoshin if she would continue serving as she has been
          • Decision: remove opening time from Google calendar and just note who is opening (can be confusing for outsiders looking in
        • Newsletter – Myoshin interested in spearheading
          • Decision: eNewsletter limited to to four times per year
          • Liaroan and Jian Zhi: of the opinion that eNewsletter falls under the purview of the secretary
            • Decision: in terms of structure, secretary should head the subcommittee and have editorial oversight; up the secretary to delegate work
            • Jian Zhi to work with Myoshin to coordinate first eNewsletter; objective of publishing one before September
        • Fundraising & Community Outreach – At this point will keep it on the board
          • Need to sort out posting financials, communication with the sangha and best approach to social engagement
            • Want to take a unitarian approach to social engagement: sangha comes here for support and then goes into to community to do the work they’re passionate about
            • Organization is also not large enough to manage political discourse
        • Library? Deferred until we actually have a library (Taiso will head)
      • Who/how to ask to lead subcommittees
        • Formal samu approach
          • Decision: all work volunteered for the organization is to be treated as samue
        • Scheduling events/calls for volunteers
          • Decision: committee-heads should not have capability of sending global communications to the sangha; these should go out through secretary
          • Policy: All sangha-wide communications go out through the secretary, treasurer, president or high priest
      • Budgetary process
        • If committee-heads have budgetary request, they should submit it to the board for approval
          • $10 per month is reasonable for reimbursement; anything larger should be requested
        • Taiso: request to Kai Hui to develop a budget to post alongside financials
      • Reports/updates process
        • Format and frequency expectations
          • Board wants reports for every board meeting
    • Fundraising
      • Response to sangha communication
        • More money coming in, but still needs to be focus of board (i.e new capital campaign)
      • Next steps
        • Will be on the agenda at next board meeting
  • New Business
    • Website Updates
      • New site navigation
      • News/Blog discussion/policy
        • Jian Zhi and Liaoran have editorial permissions
      • Financials posting format/schedule
      • Inclusion language
        • Liaoran’s statement–great
        • Taiso would like to add a note about basic expectation that people come to meditate
      • Pamphlet approval/placement/ordering
    • Zendo communication board/documents
      • vision/useage
      • Communication cards/inclusion of phone #’s
      • Pamphlet availability/policy
        • Decision: no phone numbers on pamphlet–will address zendo phone down the road
    • Board meetings policy
      • Frequency going forward
        • Right now, might benefit with having monthly
        • Ad hoc moving forward
      • Open/closed
        • How about a sangha meeting once per year?
        • Process has been set up for sangha member to ask to attend a board meeting
          • Taiso: wants to continually communicate to people that we’re here to practice, not engage in politics
      • Public minutes
        • Decision: minutes will be posted on website
      • Agenda topic requests
    • Newsletter
      • Frequency
      • content/layout
      • Mailing list
        • Decision: will use one sangha mailing list for now
    • Jian Zhi’s leaving in September
      • Will address at next board meeting
    • Sangha programming
      • Use of space/equitable distribution of time
      • Program approval process
        • Decisions: requests must come through board
        • Needs to be policy that approved programs need to be sustained or cancelled
      • Program withdrawal process
      • Scheduling process
      • limitations/restricted content
        • Movie licensure
          • Decision: will take a very careful approach; licensure must be obtained for events hosted here must
        • Liability
          • Use of sangha mailing lists constitutes legal association with this organization
      • Communication with Reishin: would like to have better sense of her priority; inclined to approve 1 or 2; every Saturday is not likely to be feasible; need to discuss at priest meeting

Adjourned at 11:30

Women’s Roles in Buddhism and Christianity

Noelle Korzeniewski invited Reishin, Kevala, and Liaoran, along with a number of Christian pastors, to participate in her Religion Senior Seminar final paper project. Her project is an analysis of women’s roles in Buddhism and Christianity and is an interesting and thoughtful read. Women’s Roles […]

Fundraising and Community Involvement

Dear Sangha Family and Friends, Recently, a small sangha focus group met to discuss the future of Zen River Sangha. The overwhelming message that came out of this meeting was our desire and intention to continue to help Zen River mature as a community, which […]

New site

We’re happy to announce that we’ve just completed our migration to our new website. In the future, we hope to publish news and updates here. Watch this space!