A Letter to Bloom of the Present Sangha
February 2014

From Guiding Teacher CARLA BRENNAN:
Dear Bloom of the Present Sangha,

From the poem “Sangha” by Danna Faulds:
“Teach me what I cannot learn alone.

Let us share what we know, and what

we cannot fathom . . . 

May our fierce and tender longing

fuel the fire in our souls. When we

stand side by side,
let us dare to focus

our desire on the truth . . .”

Over the last two months, a dedicated group of Bloom of the Present sangha members have met three times. We discussed our vision for BOTP and explored creating new organizational structures and a sustainable financial base. It has been an exciting, inspiring and heart-warming process for me. I have been touched by people’s eagerness to bring ideas to the table and to jump in and get to work. As more people take over the organizational tasks of BOTP, I will be able to focus primarily on teaching and to offer a wider range of dharma programs.

Some highlights:
• A governance board is being selected to continue the organizing and decision-making process for BOTP. The first meeting is in March.
• We are thinking about creating a group called “Sangha Supporters”, that is, a group of people who are available to help with tasks and projects.
• There was consensus to apply for 501(c)(3) non-profit status for Bloom of the Present Insight Meditation. Steps are underway to complete this.
• There was consensus to create a pledge system for contributions to BOTP and to form a committee led by Carol Van Den Bos to identify the best practices for doing so.
• The Noble Path Program for dedicated dharma Practitioners is being developed (see BOTP website)
• Monthly meditation groups have been formed on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays in Santa Cruz.
• A Program Committee is being formed to create a schedule of programs.
• A Sangha Service Committee has been formed to connect the sangha with community service projects.

Everyone associated with Bloom of the Present is encouraged to be involved. We would like as much input and participation as possible so we can build an effective organization that responds to the spiritual needs of the sangha.

Below, Carol Van Den Bos explains more about creating a stable financial base through pledges. Isabelle Rosenlund offers inspiration for each of us to be a part of the ongoing creation of Bloom of the Present Insight Meditation.

With great appreciation,
Carla Brennan

From Board Member CAROL VAN DEN BOS:
Dear Bloom of the Present Sangha,

Creating a Stable Financial Base for BOTP: Dana – the practice of generosity – is the spiritually based cornerstone on which BOTP stands. The desire is that time, money and volunteerism comes from the heartfelt generosity, from dana.

As we continue and deepen our journey as a Buddhist family one aspect of BOTP health is to be financially sustainable. We have seen that a pledge base in other Buddhist communities sustains and enlivens the community as a whole.

And so we embark on the study and investigation within our beloved BOTP sangha to learn how to build a solid pledge base that would provide financial sustainability right from the beginning.

I am heading up a committee to research our monetary needs and to determine our realistic base capacity at this time as well as how to build on that as our community grows. We’ll also be looking at the system needed to facilitate pledges. If this interests you, please call and consider being a part of this exciting committee. I’m thinking four more folks would be ideal.

I and many, many others have experienced the amazing results of practicing dana; taking responsibility for the big picture and the health of our Buddhist community home, and the giving back to what sustains us spiritually. It creates a huge sense of belonging within the giving. And belong we do.

Carol Van Den Bos
c, 831-763-2724

Dear Bloom of the Present Sangha,

For the past 10 years we’ve had the incredible good fortune to receive the gift of the Dharma through our beloved teacher Carla’s teachings. At this time in the evolution of BOTP, we are at a crossroad, trying to set up a format that will help us practice generosity towards our teacher and our Sangha in the most sustainable and heartfelt way.

It is in this spirit of generosity, the primary Buddhist virtue, that I invite you to join us in being part of this process and reflect on what “generosity” means to you personally. It has many faces and they all have a place in our community.

In the near future, there will be opportunities for all of us to come together and explore what ways will best serve us to continue to grow and thrive as a sangha and how we can each be a participant.

With great gratitude for our precious Sangha,
Isabelle Rosenlund
831 662 0144