Guidelines for Schedulers

This document for schedulers is meant to offer support and guidance, not rules, and may be approached with mindful flexibility. Also, please note that these guidelines pertain for the most part to Tuesday and Friday gatherings. Sunday and Wednesday gatherings do their own scheduling and meet in private homes.

The role of the scheduler is to schedule a two-month cycle of sangha gatherings. This includes:

  • Recruiting leaders and possibly suggesting ideas for topics.
  • Providing guidance for newer leaders, such as locating a bellmaster, reminding about flowers, or resources such as the laminated card with End-of-Sangha Details.
    • Copies of the Five and Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings, Chants, Songs, and Sutras can be found in the accordion file in the supply closey
    • Experienced leaders will find their own support as needed.
  • Request that all leaders to familiarize themselves with the Guidelines for Leaders information
  • Helping find a replacement if a leader needs to cancel.
  • Sending the finalized schedule, including a few lines to introduce your Calendar cycle, to the newsletter editors approximately one month prior to publication.
  • Joining the schedulers listserv: sfschedulers@yahoogroups.com
  • Sending last minute reminders to leaders:
    • Thank you again for leading. Please be reminded that you need to:
      • welcome all newcomers and ensure that their needs are met 
      • bring (or arrange for) flowers or a plant for the altar
      • plug in the rechargeable candles so they can charge during the meeting time
      • ensure timely conclusions to the gatherings (Tuesday and Fridays) – end at 8:30. Try to end meditation by 7:55, the dharma talk by 8:10-15, and the discussion period by 8:25.
      • share the merit at the end
      • share announcements
      • mention $2 for rent and scholarships
      • ask longer-time practitioners to stay and talk to newcomers after sangha
      • Tuesdays and Fridays only: reset room to Friends’ standard, and turn off door-opener switch high on wall next to door before leaving

Here are some useful pieces of information regarding regular gatherings:

  • The Mindfulness Trainings, alternating the 5 and the 14, are scheduled once each cycle.
  • Each May/June cycle is devoted to a study of the Five Mindfulness Trainings, ending with one or more Transmission Ceremonies near the end of June.
  • The Ancestors Prayer is offered close to the winter Solstice or the New Year.
  • Guided Metta Meditation and evenings with extended sits are regularly scheduled.

Please note that recruiting leaders, including couples and panels, can be done in various ways. You can:

  • Decide on a topic and contact a specific person to lead.
  • Make a list of topics and email a group of potential leaders, asking them to sign up for a given topic and evening.
  • Open the calendar to a selected group and let them select their own topics.
  • Email the listserv with a theme that you have chosen and ask for volunteers.

Generally, a dharma talk during the gathering includes Buddhist teachings as well as one’s personal experience related to the teachings. In SnowFlower we seek to combine Understanding (the Dharma) and Love (speaking from personal experience). Below are some examples of topics for programs:

  • Thay’s books or articles or excerpts from his talks at retreats.
  • Basics such as the Noble Eightfold Path, Four Noble Truths, Three Jewels, Brahmaviharas, Gathas, Three Dharma Seals, Bodhisattvas’ Names, Five Remembrances.
  • Sutras such as Heart Sutra, Breath Sutra, Four Foundations of Mindfulness, Better Way to Live Alone, Metta Sutta, Sutra on Happiness, etc. See Chanting from the Heart and Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching.
  • Concepts such as impermanence, non-self, emptiness, interbeing, nirvana, historical and ultimate dimension, no coming/no going.
  • Other Types of Presentations such as movement and spirit, poetry, chanting, tea ceremony, guided meditation, extended sits, metta.
  • Other Buddhist authors, referencing mindfulness practice.
  • Your own ideas, including personal stories of experiences on the Path.