Bylaws & Policies of the Great Heartland Buddhist Temple of Toledo
The purposes of the Great Heartland Sangha (the “Sangha”), which has been established as a chapter of the Drinking Gourd Institute (a non-profit 501 (c) corporation), are as follows:
1. to foster the teachings of Zen Buddhism, as adapted to Western cultural forms and traditions;
2. to provide training in the disciplines, practices and devotions of Zen Buddhism; and
3. to provide suitable surroundings, instruction and support for the teaching and practice of Zen Buddhism.
In consultation with the Abbot, the Leadership Council may, from time to time, adopt Mission Statements setting forth the Sangha’s purposes in greater detail.
The ideals of the Great Heartland Sangha are based on the example of Shakyamuni Buddha, guided by the Bodhisattva precepts, and are enlivened by the teachings of awakening as transmitted by its historical lineage of 87 generations of Buddhist teachers up to and including its current Abbott.
The Sangha is a religious organization. No essential part of the activities of the Sangha shall be of a political nature.
Article II. The Abbot
A. Authority and Duties of the Abbot
The Abbot shall direct the spiritual affairs of the Sangha and define its vision, projects and enterprises in furtherance of its stated purposes. It is acknowledged by the Leadership Council and Members of the Sangha that all authority regarding Zen Buddhist spiritual training is derived from the Abbot and any questions pertaining to the authenticity of Zen Buddhist teachings or practices will be adjudicated by the Abbot.
The Abbot will take into serious consideration the recommendations and views of the Leadership Council, the Teachers Council (transmitted teachers), the Shuso Council (senior students and assistant teachers), the Priests Council (ordained) and the Shoken Council (formal students).
B. Abbot’s Designation of Successor
Before leaving office, whether by retirement, resignation or death, the Abbot may designate a successor. The Abbot may change or revoke such a designation at any time before the Abbot leaves office.
Article III. Leadership Council
A. Authority and Duties of the Leadership Council
Duties: The Leadership Council (the “Council”) shall set administrative policy for the Sangha and shall ensure that the Sangha is administered in a fiscally responsible manner that effectively furthers the Sangha’s stated purposes. The Council shall facilitate the realization of the vision, projects and enterprises set out by the Abbot.
The Abbot shall keep the Council informed of all significant activities of the Sangha and of all matters significantly affecting the administration, management or activities of the Sangha.
B. Terms & Conflicts of Interest
1. Number of Council Members; Terms.
The Leadership Council consists of up to seven members, who serve for one-year terms. The terms will commence at each year’s Jukai ceremony. The Abbott shall appoint the Council Members and a Council Chair. Council members and the Council Chair may serve successive terms at the discretion of the Abbott.
2. Conflicts of Interest
No Council Member shall derive any personal economic profit or gain, either directly or indirectly, by reason of his or her office. Each Council Member shall disclose to the Council any financial interest that he or she may have in a matter pending before the Council, and shall refrain from participating in any decision regarding such matter, unless the Council – acting without the participation of the Council Member in question – determines that the Council Member’s interest is sufficiently minimal that his or her participation would not constitute a conflict of interest.
Article IV. Membership
In consultation with the Leadership Council and subject to the Council’s approval, the Abbot shall specify the requirements and procedures whereby a person may become a Member of the Sangha. The Abbot shall specify the privileges and obligations of membership as they pertain to spiritual matters; the Council shall specify such privileges and obligations as they pertain to financial and other secular matters. Persons admitted to membership in accordance with this paragraph, and no others, shall constitute the “Members” of the Sangha.
B. Dues; Loss of Membership for Non-Payment
The Leadership Council may levy fees and dues upon its Members. The Abbot or the Abbott’s designee may, in conformity with policies adopted by the Leadership Council and upon reasonable notice and opportunity to pay the sum owed, terminate a person’s membership in the Sangha for non-payment of fees or dues. For purposes of this paragraph, membership pledges shall be deemed to constitute “dues,” and “fees” shall include, without limitation, fees for Sesshin and training programs or any sums owed to the Sangha for goods or services. A Member’s failure to respond to communications from the Sangha regarding financial matters may be deemed to constitute “non-payment” for purposes of this paragraph.
C. Loss of Membership for Unforeseen Reasons
Religious training within the Sangha relies upon a profound commitment on the part of both the teachers and students to deeply study, realize and actualize the teachings of awakening in the Zen Buddhist Tradition. These bylaws have been established with the understanding that even in the context of spiritual training, issues or conflicts may arise. These issues can be destructive forces within the Sangha, and must be acknowledged and worked with skillfully and patiently through the wisdom of Buddhist teachings and practice. However, it is acknowledged by the Leadership Council and Members of the Sangha that it is possible in extremis that the Abbot, after consulting with the Leadership Council, may revoke a Sangha membership for unforeseen reasons.
Article V. Affiliates of the Temple
1. Requirements, Privileges and Obligations
The Abbot and the Leadership Council shall specify the requirements for an incorporated Zen Buddhist group’s becoming affiliated with the Sangha. The Abbot shall specify the privileges and obligations of affiliate groups and the requirements pertaining to the organization and operation of such groups. A group shall become affiliated with the Sangha only upon the recommendation of the Abbot.
Affiliate Leader: The local leadership of each affiliate group (herein referred to as the “Affiliate Leader”) shall be appointed by the Abbot and shall serve at the Abbot’s pleasure. The Abbott shall serve as the spiritual leader and Abbot for all affiliate groups.
2. Suspension of Affiliation
The Abbot or the Abbot’s designee may totally or partially suspend the affiliation of any affiliate group, if necessary to protect the safety of persons or property, to prevent disruption of the Sangha’s activities, or if the continuation of such affiliation is, in the Abbot’s or the designee’s judgment, contrary to the best interests of the Sangha.
Article VI. Procedure for Raising Concerns and Making Complaints
A Member with a concern or complaint is ordinarily expected first to informally raise the matter with an appropriate person in authority, such as the Abbot or Priest, or the Chair of the Leadership Council, before approaching the Leadership Council with a formal complaint. For example, concerns or complaints about a Priest would ordinarily first be discussed with the Abbot, concerns about the Sangha’s finances would ordinarily first be discussed with the Chair of the Leadership Council and concerns about a Council Member or any Sangha Member would ordinarily be discussed with the Abbott or Council Chair. Concerns or complaints about the Abbot would ordinarily be discussed with the Leadership Council Chair. A Member with a concern or complaint may also discuss the matter informally with any Member of the Leadership Council.
1. Formal Complaints
Upon referral of a formal complaint to the Leadership Council, the Council shall meet or confer to consider the complaint. The complainant and the person complained of shall be afforded the opportunity to meet with the Council. The Council may also consider such additional evidence and conduct such additional investigation as it deems warranted under the circumstances. The Council shall then determine the merits of the complaint. If the Council finds that a complaint has merit and that sanctions against the person complained of are appropriate, the Council shall have the authority to impose the following sanctions: (a) private reprimand; (b) public reprimand or censure; (c) suspension from duties of office for up to one year; or (d)(i) in the case of a person other than the Abbot, a Leadership Council Member, or Priest, removal from office, (ii) in the case of the Leadership Council member or Priest, recommendation that the Abbot remove such Council Member or Priest from office, or (iii) in the case of the Abbot, a recommendation that a corporate meeting of Members remove or suspend the Abbot from office pending a vote of the Members regarding removal or suspension. The unanimous affirmative vote of all Council Members shall be required to suspend or remove a person from office, or to put the question of removing or suspending the Abbot from office to a vote of the Members at a corporate meeting.
2. Matters Involving Potential Legal Liability
Any Priest, Council Member or any Member of the Sangha shall promptly notify the Abbot and the Leadership Council of any allegation that comes to his or her attention and that carries the potential of legal liability on the part of the Sangha, including allegations involving unlawful activity, sexual harassment, financial impropriety or discrimination based on race, gender, ethnic or national origin, age, disability or sexual orientation.
3. Sexual Relations
The Great Heartland Sangha acknowledges romantic relationships may develop between Sangha members. As in all matters, we encourage full respect and care. It is the Sangha’s hope that both parties should always continue to feel comfortable in the Sangha environment even if the relationship changes. In the case of a disagreement or breakup, both members may feel free to reach out to the Leadership Council Chair should they need help, such as coordinating schedules to ensure both individuals feel comfortable participating.
Harm and confusion can result when persons of unequal status or authority enter into a sexual relationship. For example, because of the inherent disparity in power between a Zen Teacher and his or her students, it is irresponsible and a misuse of authority for a Teacher to engage in sexual behavior with their students outside of marriage. Similarly, certain sexual relationships involving Teachers, Priests or Affiliate Leaders create such a risk of harm that they should be prohibited; other such sexual relationships create a sufficient risk of harm that approval of the Abbot or the Leadership Council should be sought. The appended document entitled “Great Heartland Buddhist Sangha Standards for Sexual Conduct,” which is incorporated into these Bylaws and made a part hereof, sets forth the prohibitions and restrictions regarding sexual relationships involving the persons listed above.
4. Consultation with the Abbot or Leadership Council
Because the variety and possible complexity of dual relationships is so great, this Article VI does not purport to be an exhaustive discussion of such relationships or to offer clear guidance in all cases involving them. If the appropriateness of an existing or potential dual relationship involving a Priest, Affiliate Leader or Sangha staff member or resident might reasonably be questioned, that person is encouraged to consult with and seek the advice of the Abbot. If the appropriateness of an existing or potential dual relationship involving the Abbot might reasonably be questioned, the Abbot is encouraged to consult with and seek the formal or informal advice of one or more of the Leadership Council, senior Sangha Members and his or her fellow Zen Teachers, as may be appropriate.
Article VII. Financial Policy
A. Private Benefit Prohibited
The assets of the Sangha shall be used only to advance the purposes of the Sangha, and shall not otherwise be used for the private benefit of any person, unless the benefit to the Sangha is also established and approved by Leadership Council. Moreover, no income of the Sangha shall inure to any individual other than as reasonable compensation for services rendered.
B. Board Pre-Approval Required for Transactions between the Center and Specified Persons
Any financial transaction of more than $1,000 between the Sangha and a Member of the Leadership Council, Abbot or Priest, or a parent, child, brother, sister or spouse of such a person, must be approved in advance by the Leadership Council acting without the participation of any Council Member who has a financial interest in the transaction or whose parent, child, brother, sister or spouse has a financial interest in the transaction.
C. Purchases and Contracts
The Abbot, Priest and such other persons as may be designated by the Leadership Council are each authorized to make purchases and to enter into contractual agreements on behalf of the Sangha in such respective amounts as may be specified from time to time by the Leadership Council. However, the Council’s approval shall be required for any purchase or contract (1) involving the Sangha’s payment of more than an amount specified pursuant to the preceding sentence or the disposal of Sangha assets worth more than such a specified amount, or (2) that substantially exceeds a budget item approved by the Leadership Council. Unless otherwise expressly authorized by the Council, all purchases made and contracts entered into on behalf of the Sangha shall conform to the requirements of this paragraph and to the budgets, policies and procedures adopted by the Leadership Council. Authority granted pursuant to this paragraph to make purchases may be delegated as follows:
1. The Abbott may delegate his or her authority pursuant to this paragraph in whole or in part to any Council member, employee or trainee of the Sangha.
2. Any supervisor may delegate or subdelegate his or her authority pursuant to this paragraph in whole or in part to any employee or trainee of the Sangha who has been designated as a direct or indirect subordinate of that supervisor. Any delegation or subdelegation of authority pursuant to this paragraph shall be subject to such exceptions, limitations, policies and procedures as the Council may adopt from time to time. Any person who delegates or subdelegates authority pursuant to this paragraph shall ensure that his or her delegees exercise such delegated authority in conformity with all applicable budgets, policies and procedures. No person is authorized to make any purchase or to enter into any contractual agreement on behalf of the Sangha, or to dispose of any assets belonging to the Sangha, except as authorized pursuant to this paragraph or as expressly authorized by the Leadership Council.
Article XIII. Amendments to Bylaws
Bylaws may be adopted, amended or repealed by the Leadership Council. The affirmative vote of the Abbott and two-thirds (2/3) (rounded up) of Council Members shall be required to adopt, amend or repeal a Bylaw.
Amended January 17, 2016 by 2015-16 Leadership Council: Mike Chuso Zickar—Chair, Rachel Jun’nyo Johnson, Michael Hoshi Leizerman, Cheryl Kinko Baughman, Wesley Shinyu Bullock, Jenna Zuisei Hirschman