We had very low attendance for our discussions about the name and other issues of our annual Buddhist Festival in Portland. I hoped that with a more diverse participation and with dialog that we could begin to mold our day of teaching and celebration towards something that all Portland Buddhist communities would be proud to participate in. I have to assume that the small number of responses means that the majority of communities are neutral about the name and/or affiliation with Tricycle. I also assume that participation by at least 19 groups in 2004, at least 24 groups (and 3 restaurants) in 2005 indicates that a Buddhist festival in the park is quite welcome, no matter the name.
Attending: me (facilitator) representing Portland Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Reverend Faulconer (host) and George (host) representing Nichiren Buddhist Temple, Adam? representing Portland Insight Meditation Community, and Suzan representing the Portland Chapter of the Dzogchen Institute.
I also received feedback from Rev. Gibbs representing the Oregon Buddhist Temple, and Michael Conklin representing Kagyu Changchub Chuling.
Considering the strong dislike of the name registered by OBT and PIMC, but the equally strong wish of PdxBPF and NBT to maintain a connection with the national celebration, those of us at the second meeting (George, Suzan, and I) propose this:
A Buddhist Festival in the Park: Change Your Mind Day 2006. By making CYMD a subtitle (and a smaller font) we emphasize the nature of our local event, but still keep the connection to other cities.
We also propose that you consider this next year a transition. BPF and Tricycle are aware of the reservations over the name, and the nature of this national day of teaching and celebration could change with the times. We also considered the idea of "Choose Your Mind Day." and PIMC suggested "Buddhafest." These or others could become the name in the future. Meanwhile, we feel it is vital to remember we got attention from an Oregonian reporter because of the tie-in to the national event.
Snapshot, as best I can interpret the responses:
Name...... 1 ... 2 .... 1 ........ 2
to Tricycle 1 .. 2 ..... 3 ........ 0
to BPF ... 4 .. 2
Park .... 4 .. 2
We briefly discussed not having it in the park, but considering the scope of the event, we could not afford an appropriate indoor venue. Other positive aspects of the park include inviting public space, decent parking nearby, and flexibility of teaching space, entertainment space, and booth space. We do want to plan a back-up for an extraordinarily rainy day. We've been lucky so far with sunny/ very light rain days.
This next year we hope to have more entertainment for a "second stage", our "Children's Pavilion". It would be nice to fill the time in that space with music and songs, storytelling, poetry, movement, dance, and other Dharma related activities, as well as Rev. Adhisila's popular rock refining. To continue the momentum and expansion, we really need more consistent, committed volunteers.
Highlights of the Discussion:
"We would however like to say that we are not attached to the current name of the event or continued association with Tricycle magazine. It would seems more to the point to have a name that reflected the local atmosphere of our local Buddhist community and did not seem so contrived. Our sense of the importance of this event is that it creates an opportunity for people to find out about local resources related to Buddhist practice and study." Michael Conklin on behalf of the KCC Program Council
"I strongly dislike the name (its odd and doesn't connote anything about Buddhism to non-Buddhists. It ties us to Tricycle which I find to be an incredible disappointment at this juncture.... "Change your mind day" doesn't mean anything to most people" Rev. Gibbs, Oregon Buddhist Temple
"I like being connected at least one day with everyone else, sometimes I feel like the lone ranger and Tonto is on break. ...It seems to me that when something is really working then why change it. ...CYMD has a certain ring, provocative is good for publicizing." Suzan leads a small practice group with the Dzogchen Institute.
"People who don't know much about the Buddhists in Portland, or even have only a minor interest in Buddhism may find out about the event only by reading Tricycle magazine." Aaron, Portland BPF "CYMD is very much about providing people with an introduction to Buddhist meditation. Here in Portland we have the opportunity to also celebrate the many cultures of Buddhism and to create a time and place for interaction among our many groups." Tina, Portland BPF
"In our culture we have strong associations with certain days of the year....last Thursday in November, the 4th of July, Mayday, and so on. In most other religions there is a consciousness of important days, and they are almost universally shared among all denominations. In Buddhism we don't have that. We have Bodhi Day and Wesak, or Buddha's Birthday, but these are not universally celebrated on the same day. Different denominations from different origins calculate different days for these. I see this festival as a chance to create a feeling of community nationally and internationally." I said that.