Our Organic Organization

The Buddha was once talking to the monk Sona about the right amount of self-discipline and effort advisable for someone practicing mindfulness. Sona had been a musician, so the Buddha compared right effort to the tightness of a lute string. If it is too loose it does not produce a pleasant sound. If it is too tight, the sound is also not pleasant and it is more likely to break. What is needed is a string that is not too tight and not too loose.

Since 1999, the Still Water MPC has been developing an organizational structure that is intended to be neither top-heavy and restrictive, nor so loose and fragmented that collective decisions cannot be made in a timely manner. There are four main components:

  • Local Still Water groups, such as our on-going practice, service, and community groups, manage their own affairs in terms of times, topics, facilitators, and special events just for that group.
  • The Working Group meets monthly and is responsible for the smooth functioning of Still Water as an organization. The Working Group also envisions, plans, implements, and evaluates activities and programs for members of all the Local Still Water groups, such as retreats, classes, and special events.
  • The Still Water Board of Trustees meets several times a year and ensures that the Still Water MPC is meeting its financial and legal responsibilities.
  • The Senior Teacher works with the Working Group, Board, and the community to develop a shared vision for the community; offers teachings and classes that support practice; meets individually with community members; and is responsible for many organizational tasks, such as maintaining the website.

Since its inception, the financial decisions of the Still Water MPC have been guided by an ancient Buddhist principle known as Dana or Generosity. Most of our activities and programs have no required fee. People who come to activities, or simply appreciate what is offered, make donations of financial resources, time, and expertise so that the community may flourish.

In 2014 Still Water’s total income was about $67,000. Our primary source of income was monthly pledges, followed by donations to local Still Water groups, and donations for classes, retreats, and workshops. Our primary expense was for senior teacher renumeration, followed by rent for spaces we use, program expenses, and donations to other non-profits.

The Still Water Mindfulness Practice Center is incorporated as a religious non-profit corporation in the state of Maryland and is recognized by the United States Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

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