Posted inGeneral News & Announcements

Sangha Meeting Minutes: June 2, 2018

June 6, 2018


Thank you to all who attended our June 2 sangha meeting. Attendees are listed at the end of this report. We have three sangha meetings per year. We are now publishing the minutes on our website and will continue to post them on our bulletin board.



Opening sit at 10am followed by the approval of the January sangha meeting minutes.

Teacher’s Report (see below for the complete report written by Henry for the meeting)

Construction Update

Chris Wuest reported. The cottage is basically finished. The electrical and plumbing inspections are complete and finalized. The fire inspection is still in process, the water trough is full,  but we are waiting on fire chief requirements for road access and widening. Additionally, the final inspection may be held up with ADA requirements before we can get our certificate of occupancy. 

To complete phase one and get our bond returned we need to complete: road widening, grading and base course; paving at the bottom of the road; retaining wall construction/repair;  irrigation, landscaping and revegetation of land disturbed due to construction.  

Oliver Hillenkamp is working under Chris’ guidance this summer on landscaping projects. 

Jay requested an itemized accounting of the construction project which Chris will provide by the next board meeting in July, with Johanna’s assistance. 

Rain damage occurred after two back-to-back rain storms this month. These storms show us where we have drainage problems. Oliver and Chris have done some emergency repair work. Damage is manageable and not surprising after 9 months of no rain.

Financial Report

Johanna presented financial reports; balance sheet for all accounts and income statements for the general, building and RGMI funds. Our general operating fund has  YTD surplus of 9K.  The construction account is close to empty (current balance is $15K)  and we need to raise about 40k in order to finish phase one of the construction project. 

There was a short discussion about the accounting for the bond (60K) which doesn’t appear in the reports and the $60K private loan which is to be repaid when the bond is repaid.

Development (fund-raising) Update

We are beginning our mid-year appeal and have sent out the first of four emailings. Rachel would like to see ALL sangha members participate by donating within their means. We need to raise 40K to finish and furnish our cottage, so that is our fundraising goal.  Our 2017 year end appeal had a number of large donations but very few small donations, we’d like to see many more small and medium sized donations. 

We discussed the idea of having a fundraising gala for Mountain Cloud. Bodhi Mandala Zen Center had a gala last year which net 80K.  Rachel posed the question: Would a sangha member who has fundraising and event organizing experience like to step forward and organize a gala for Mountain Cloud?  Please contact Rachel or Johanna if you have experience and are interested in the task.

New member Mark Petrick asked the good question, “what’s the thinking about membership at Mountain Cloud?” Do we want to expand membership or simply maintain what we have?  Little conscious attention has been placed on this issue even thought MCZC membership has grown steadily over the last five years. Perhaps a membership drive is in order. 

There was more discussion about ways to attract new members including regular advertising on the back page of the Reporter and the weekly,  free Pasa Tiempo listings.  We will advertise the Wednesday Intro Class in the Reporter.

Rachel and Johanna stressed that we need more volunteers to help with fundraising, to take on specific projects and follow through. 

Perhaps we could change the DONATE button on the website to SUPPORT US.

Events Committee

We would like to form an events committee which would handle the small events that Mountain Cloud hosts, such as the David Hinton, David Loy and Kaz Tanahasi events. We need a small group who can organize the event, make sure the guest teacher is taken care of, and manage marketing, event set up, and food (if required). Sondra has volunteered to be on the committee though she doesn’t want to chair it. She believes we need a chair who has community connections in Santa Fe — with media, and other related sources.  Please contact Sondra if you are interested. A notice will be put in the Newsletter.


John Braman, co-directer of the Rio Grande Mindfulness Institute gave an overview of RGMI projects.  RGMI is a department of Mountain Cloud. It’s mission statement is  Ancient wisdom for stressed out times.  RGMI has three tiers of focus:

    • Heart of Teaching (HOT) workshops for school teachers 
    • Youth leadership    (e.g. onsite UWC programs for students) 
    • Corporate programs  (trainings for business leaders and other professionals)

RGMI has offered numerous HOT retreats in the last year with more to come this fall. RGMI has received funding from Hamera and, currently, LANL foundations. Current LANL funding will cover 200 HOT scholarships for Northern New Mexico public school teachers.

Teacher’s Report by Henry

Henry expressed much gratitude to MCZC founder Philip Kapleau as well as to all others who have worked to sustain and grow Mountain Cloud over several decades.

Henry also spoke about Global Treehouse which is a collaborative business initiative designed to foster creative and healthy work environments. Mindfulness meditation training is a core component of Global Treehouse’s mission. Any organizations that want to join Global Treehouse must agree to incorporating mindfulness training into their business practice and philosophy. Mountain Cloud is an integral part of the mindfulness component and may host retreats for executive in the near future.

The following was written and submited to the sangha by Henry Shukman

1. Activities at MC:

i. Retreats:

1. Sesshin.

Since the last report, we have held a 6-day sesshin (early March), attended by 29. Zendo team was Bill, Will, Maura and Henry, with Mary Ann leading yoga and chi-gong (very nicely). 

Three participants had never done a sesshin before, two of them having attended our most recent intro retreat. For five others this was their first sesshin at MC. There was a visiting teacher (Ryumon roshi) from an East Coast zendo, and a senior practitioner from Daishu-in West temple in CA. Several attendees from out of town and out of state.

First and fourth days were quiet, with reduced or no dokusan.

April 29 to May 4 the NASZ retreat was held at the IHM center in Santa Fe. All Mountain Cloud zendo gear (cushions, mats, benches, bells etc.) was moved there, with wonderful help from sangha members and residents, led by Bill Bruce. 57 people total attended the retreat. The zendo team was: Peg, jiki; Jan, tanto, supported by Hans Winkler; Henry, jisha; Yamada Ryoun Roshi, teacher. Around 28 people were local sangha members, the rest traveling nationally and internationally to be here.

2. An intro retreat in mid Feb attended by 24, led by a small team: Will, Henry and jiki.

3. A zazenkai in late January, attended by 33. Another in late Feb.

ii. Weekly:

Weekday early morning sits followed by breakfasts continue, led by residents – then samu 8.30-11.30, followed by lunch. Residents follow this schedule, joined by whoever else may show up.  

Ongoing afternoon dokusan on most Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Wednesday Intro class, and Thursday evening sits. 

Attendance on Thursday evenings has generally been a bit higher, between low 30s and lows 40s.

Henry continues to offer skype dokusan on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, as well as some Thursday and Friday mornings. 

iii. Other events:

April 11 David Hinton gave an excellent evening talk at the zendo.

May 5 the new house was opened with a “ribbon-cutting ceremony”, led by Yamada Roshi, Rachel and Henry. Somewhere between 60 and 80 people attended. A sit followed by a brief talk from the Japanese abbot was held in the zendo after, followed by cakes, icecream and tea in the dining room. 

Will Brennen offered a wonderful teisho on May 17.

Henry had his brain scanned by an MRI as part of a neuroscience research project at the UNM Mind Research Network.

2. Teaching elsewhere:

January 28-Feb 2 Henry co-led the Yoga and Zen retreat at Esalen together with sangha member Tias Little. 56 attendees, and a very good retreat. One graduate came to the March sesshin at MC.

April 1-8 Henry led a sesshin at Sonnenhof in the Black Forest. Attendance of 36. Superb retreat. 

May 11-13, meditation weekend in San Diego: a Friday evening session titled “What is Awakening?” held in Gather Yoga Studio in Encinitas. All-day sit on Saturday, and morning sit on Sunday. 

3. RGMI:

Two RGMI whole-day events:  April 14 and May 12, both held at MC. Henry led the teaching at the April event and Lydia Meier, an East Coast mindfulness guide, led the May event. Attendance at both was in mid 30s, and both were successful events. Logistical support from Melissa, and Rachel and Sandy, as well as good yoga instruction from Helen Young.

4. Residents

Henney Sullivan left on May 5, plans to return to Santa Fe as non-resident sangha member in September. 

Sean and Sarah are stepping into Bill’s role, as Bill withdraws from work responsibilities.

Tor supported Henry at Esalen as assistant, and is leading the OT well.

5. Prospects:

Still exploring: 

— possible deeper collaboration with Prajna Yoga.

— weekly RGMI sit would be great – perhaps in conjunction with a Yoga&Zen time co-led with Prajna?

— ongoing training of Intro Class instructors. 

Natalie Goldberg would like to come and read/sign books – Sept 5th at 6.30.

Kaz Tanahashi – would like to return for another weekend workshop in November 2018.

Meeting Attendees:  Chris W, Erin, Henry, Mark P, Abigail, Jay, David, Laura, Paul, Tor, Karen, Christy,  Will, Melissa, John, Mary, Barbara, Nancy, Sondra, Rachel, Johanna Bill, Nora, Sean

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