Intersangha Meeting Minutes from December 1, 2018

Below is a link to the full meeting minutes of the Intersangha meeting on December 1, 2018 as recorded by the secretary. This meeting took place at Heart of Wisdom Buddhist Temple.

Relevant working agenda items:

  • Continued work with sexual misconduct/safety culture working group

  • Solidify Buddha Bowl process and financials from meetings

  • Does work need to be continued with the Bylaws?

  • Formulate some retreat guidelines

Please join us at the next meeting to support our growing sangha!!!

Draft of Intersangha Bylaws for Community Review!

Greetings Portland Area Sangha,

As our Greater Portland Refuge Recovery community continues to grow, our Intersangha group is continuing to work hard to support all of our area meetings, to provide resources to groups and individuals interested in starting new meetings, and to demonstrate our collective support for our International Refuge Recovery Nonprofit Organization.

To help guide us in our work, we are developing a set of Bylaws to build a more sustainable operating structure for our Intersangha. These Bylaws will help to guide how we collectively elect members of our community to Intersangha level service positions, how Intersangha meetings are announced and managed, and how decisions that affect our Sangha are made.

Over the past few weeks, a group of our peers has worked to draft these bylaws, and now we would like to ask for your review and comments. Please take a few minutes to look over the attached document and provide any feedback you may have via email to by Thanksgiving, November 22. You may also add your comments in this post!

All feedback received will be considered in the development of a final draft that will be presented to Intersangha at the upcoming December 1 meeting for consideration and possible adoption. And as always, you are encouraged to attend the meeting as well!

Thank you in advance for your help in this endeavor, and for your support of our collective recovery!

Peace + Metta,

The PDX Intersangha Committee

Document in the link below will open in new window:

Intersangha Officer Descriptions

As our community grows, we need to get more and more organized! For starters I wanted to post our document listing the officer titles, descriptions, and duties. The Intersangha meeting happens every 2-3 months where officers and meeting secretaries come together to check-in on the sangha’s growth and health. The heart of this meeting is connecting about the meetings! All meeting secretaries and elected officers should be in attendance to keep communication clear and to continue strengthening our organizational health! We also discuss treasury status, updates on upcoming programs, and form working groups for the issues and motions we are personally passionate about.

As discussed on our meeting on September 15, all Intersangha meeting minutes will now be posted here for transparency and clarity!

Questions? Reach out!

Working Group Notes from August 25: What is the Process?

The purpose of this meeting is to continue to develop our shared language, understanding and awareness of sexual misconduct so that we can intentionally create the community that we want within RR.

During this working group we felt like we were in a comfortable position with our work to begin the difficult and tedious conversation about process: What do we do when something happens? Who do you talk to first? How many people get involved? Is there an order of operations to discern the situation in a safe way? Many good ideas were brought forward and were organized into two columns being "Lesser" offenses and "Greater" offenses. The "Lesser" and "Greater" categories were in reference to the spectrum of behaviors you can find from previous posts. So according to what behavior is reported to a secretary or Intersangha member, what would happen next? This is a huge question we face in our community: What Happens Next?

The next meeting will be a continuation of this conversation. We will be doing some research to see how similar communities operate - what are their sexual misconduct policies? Is there a warning system? Consequences? etc..

Our work is just getting started! Hope you join us for this important conversation. Next meeting info can be found below.

Be well and much Metta!


Working Group Sept 22.jpg

Next up...

Please join us at the next one on September 22!

Working Group Notes from August 11: A Culture of Safety

At our last meeting we touched on the topic of CONSENT and how a positive culture for our community naturally grows from the positive and respectful behaviors put forth by those leading it. Sticking to our group agreements, we discussed all the levels of human contact that happen within recovery communities and how they may be harmful and wrongly viewed regardless of an honest and pure intention. Among other things, we also talked about personal boundaries, sending and receiving a "Respectful NO", respecting each other's autonomy, and the plays of power and privilege. Ultimately, we are focused on creating a CULTURE OF SAFETY for our sangha and the work we've been doing the last four months is most dedicated to that.

We will be compiling a list of some guiding principles that are specific to the topic of sexual misconduct and discussing further how to better share our wise intentions with members joining us in our meetings, online, and during workshops. We have also agreed to arrange a document about the work our community has been doing on this to share with the greater RR community! Our meetings have been focused, productive, and ultimately important for the future growth of not only our local sangha, but our national one as well. Stay Tuned!

Be well and much metta, 



Working Group.jpg

Please join us at the next one on August 25!

Working Group Notes from July 14

Portland Refuge Recovery Inter-Sangha Working Group on Sexual Misconduct

July 14, 2018


Group Agreements

This is our working list of group agreements.  It will be amended as needed:

  • Bring curiosity and a reflective stance
  • Be solution oriented
  • Bring self-awareness
  • Honest communication
  • Assumption of positive intent
  • Willingness to tolerate criticism
  • Practice both personal vulnerability and appropriate boundaries
  • Practice sensitively to triggers and trauma
  • Hold the reality of multiple truths

Building a share language and analysis of sexual misconduct

We explored and discussed a range of ideas and experiences that form the context and definition of sexual misconduct.  

In this meeting we identified behaviors on a spectrum:


We also identified discriminatory behaviors in society:

 Cissexism, Gender Bias, Racism, homophobia/transphobia, Ableism, Ageism, "Newb"ism, Nepotism

The next meeting will take place on August 11 10:45-12:00 @ 4th Dimension Sober Club

Intersangha Working Group Notes from June 23

Portland Refuge Recovery Inter-Sangha Working Group on Sexual Misconduct

June 23rd, 2018


Group Agreements

This is our working list of group agreements.  It will be amended as needed:

  • Bring curiosity and a reflective stance
  • Be solution oriented
  • Bring self-awareness
  • Honest communication
  • Assumption of positive intent
  • Willingness to tolerate criticism
  • Practice both personal vulnerability and appropriate boundaries
  • Practice sensitively to triggers and trauma
  • Hold the reality of multiple truths

Building a share language and analysis of sexual misconduct

We explored and discussed a range of ideas and experiences that form the context and definition of sexual misconduct.  

Sexual misconduct is a gendered experience

  • Gender is not a binary and not tied to biology
    • Gender is strongly influenced by assumption and stereotype
    • Gender roles are reductive, prescribed and oppressive
  • Dominant culture ideas about gender roles that are linked to sexual misconduct:
    • Men as dominant, women as submissive
    • Men have the right to women – bodies, sexuality, attention
    • Men can’t help themselves
    • Women make things up, are not to be believed
  • There are permissions and restrictions to both/all genders
    • Opting out of dominant forms of masculinity or femininity can result in punishment
  • Gender roles are culturally specific and dominant culture also reinforces racism through gender roles.  
  • Fear of violence is part of the experience of people who statistically experience significant sexual, physical and intimate partner violence – women, queer and trans people are most at risk for violence.  Heterosexual, cis men are most likely to perpetrate violence.  
  • Sexism, homophobia and transphobia are interconnected and mutually reinforcing
  • Historical trauma is real and impacts our present day experience

Sexual misconduct is about power and control

  • Entitlement:  men feeling entitled to women’s’ bodies, sexuality and attention
  • Recovery is a vulnerable experience
  • Consent is fundamental for negotiating power and control – consent is always complex, especially so in the context of addiction and recovery processes (note we want more discussion about consent but talked about verbal and exuberant consent).
  • Assumption that women (specifically new to recovery) need men’s help.
  • Key questions for assessing behavior through a power lens:
    • What is “in it” for the person stepping in to another person’s space?
    • Why do I feel compelled as someone with more sobriety to engage this person?
  • Power and patriarchy are built in to recovery programs
    • Role of religion:  Christianity, Buddhism as religious traditions that have used ideology to control gender and women
    • Historical BRO culture of Refuge
    • 13th Stepping
  • Ways we see power play out in the context of recovery and Refuge:
    • Teachers
    • Time (in recovery or in Refuge)
    • Gender power
    • Friends of Noah
    • BRO culture in the story of RR – women invisibilized; white, cis, male sensibilities
    • Conspicuous practice
    • The privilege of opting out

Terms that we defined in the course of our conversation

These are working definitions to be expanded or amended as our discussions progress.

  • Sexual misconduct:  a range of behaviors (verbal, physical, emotional, energetic) of a sexualized nature in which one person exerts power and control over another.  Sexual misconduct is by definition non-consensual.  It often occurs in the context of gender roles and assumptions.  
  • LGBTQ:  an inclusive term for describing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning identities.  A very appropriate term for non-LGBTQ people.
    • Queer and trans:  an inclusive term for the full spectrum of sexual and gender identities within the LGBTQ community – most appropriate for people who are part of these communities.
  • Cis/cisgender:  a person who experiences alignment between their gender identity, the perception of their gender by others and the sex they were assigned at birth.

Ideas and themes we want to pursue in future working group meetings

  • Further developing our definition of sexual misconduct and consent – this will include exploring the spectrum of behaviors that typically comprise sexual misconduct
  • Flesh out desired outcomes for our process, including how to move the conversation through the community
  • Bringing our stories and experiences in to the conversation

Notes on the Working Group

  • There is a desire for more people to be in the room –“who is not here and why?” – but an agreement that for now we want to make sure everyone feels welcome but that we don’t need to recruit because we have a strong critical mass.  
  • We create accountability through providing leadership rather then being frustrated with others who are not participating.  We validate our own experiences and the experiences of others – using our recovery as a guide/practice.  
  • Facilitation matters.  While we may hire an outside consultant in the future, for now we will share facilitation – asking folks to step in to leadership and supporting them in doing so.  

Next Steps

  • Next meeting:  July 14th 11:00-12:30
  • Confirm space at 4th Dimension:  Sarah
  • Write Up notes:  Moira
  • Share notes on facebook:  Stephanie
  • Announce next working group meeting on facebook:  Stephanie
  • Announce next working group meeting in weekly meetings:  all
  • Facilitate next meeting:  Audrey (Moira to provide planning support)

Intersangha Working Group on Sexual Misconduct (Ongoing Project)

Members from our community will be meeting once a month (for the new few months) to form a working group in attempt to define sexual misconduct and how we can formulate a timely protocol for when a situation may arise. The Intersangha wants to hire a 3rd party facilitator to help us coordinate and construct a system to address these issues, especially as our greater community grows and grows. Before that, we need to come together and set our goals and intentions in order so we can continue to provide safe spaces to all who seek refuge!

Each meeting will have a volunteer moderator present to keep conversation clear, concise, and safe. 

All are welcome to this working group. The more voices and perspectives, the better. If you feel called, PLEASE COME!

The first meeting will be held on Saturday June 23 11-12:30 at 4th Dimension Sober Club. 

Other future meetings are TBD. Any further questions can be asked in the comments.