As described this past Sunday (i.e., 1/21), the Teachers’ Council has been working for the past several months on a plan to reconfigure our Dharma Talks, Discussion Sundays, and Community Meetings. The impetus to make these changes came from various sources, but primarily from requests made by sangha members during the Discussion Sunday that the Curriculum Committee of the Teachers’ Council led last May. In addition, the changes also have been significantly shaped by suggestions offered to the Council by Carol Blotter in October. 

Beginning in February, dharma talks will be given on the second Sunday of each month—rather than the fourth Sunday—and dharma talks will now follow an agreed-upon curriculum and sequence, rather than addressing whatever topic the teacher chose her- or himself. The following Sunday, i.e., the third Sunday of the month, will be Discussion Sunday, and the topic of discussion will be some version of the same topic as the dharma talk the previous week. First and fourth Sundays will be regular sharing, and Community Meetings will occur on fifth Sundays of the month. Conveniently, in 2024 there will be four months that have five Sundays, evenly spaced throughout the year in March, June, September, and December. 

The lead-off dharma talk in February will be on the First Noble Truth, followed in the next three months by the other Noble Truths. Then eight months will be devoted to the Noble Eight-Fold Path, one “fold” each month. It will be optional for the teacher who gives the dharma talk to decide whether they wish to lead the following Discussion Sunday or not. If the teacher decides not to lead Discussion Sunday, it will be their responsibility to find someone else to do it. 

The idea is to try out this arrangement on an experimental basis for a few months—up to a year—and see how it works and how we like it. Of course, if it turns out that it does not work well for us, we will try something else.

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