I have been reflecting recently on the speedy development of Tariki, and wondering about the whole phenomenon of identity, structure and authority. These are often subjects which are not discussed in organisations - sometimes with good reason - and most groups muddle along on ambiguous mixes of conscious and unconscious process.

Ive been involved in many groups over the years so starting a new organisation is an interesting process. I have seen the seedier side of most things which are held up as ideals, as well as things that work well. There are many paradoxes. For example, I want to facilitate inclusiveness in Tariki but know that a complete free-for-all in decision making quickly descends into ineffective chaos and conflict. I want us to listen well to one another, but what I hear from some sub-groups within an organisation can conflict directly with the interests of other sub-groups - in a leadership role one can frequently feel like a referree between parties whose interests one is guessing at. Personally, I tend to favour a 'both/and 'policy rather than 'either/or', but this can itself create mixed messages and grounds for turf wars. I do feel that it is important the responsibility and decision making are somehow linked - that people who make decisions hold the responsibility to see them carried through and provide the resources for this. I dont believe in people telling other people what they should do and then expecting that all will be provided by some overarching benefactor. At the same time it is very good to hear everyone's views, however distant they are from the consequences, since it is often the outsider who holds the wisdom.

I am sharing all this, and notice I use a lot of 'I's. Two months ago this would not have been surprising as at that time Tariki Trust didnt even exist and I was alone in the world with no one obvious to form a 'we' with. But now we are much more of a 'we' at Tariki. What sort of a 'we' is emerging gradually from the process of dialogue.

At present Tariki has an undefined structure and no 'membership'. This has pros and cons. It feels naturalistic, but does it preclude you feeling involved? Is this something people would like to see in place? How do you want to be involved and how can your voice be heard in a realistic way? What can you contribute in real terms and what do you want to? Im listening.

Im sharing these thoughts as a starting point. Maybe someone else can reply and tell me what sort of a we you think we are becoming... and are you part of the we or a compassionate by-stander?

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Comment by robert McCarthy on February 6, 2012 at 11:23
Structure is hard to set up and even harder to change. This must be an extraordinary time, the genesis of a new organisation that expresses so much passion for this path. I very much understand not wanting decision makers whose only involvemennt is in decision making.
And for me for instance, I will be back in Europe later this year;
in the meantime how could things go by internet alone. difficult.
I feel real involvement in decision making by those involved at an early stage of involvement increases passion, commitment and trust. so much more difficult though in an organisation that is about spiritual growth and change. The essential values that make Tariki what it is cannot be challenged and defended by all new comers though, that steals too much energy. maybe some executive is needed at some time as membership grows and meetings take more time to organise.
anyway, im not much good at organising stuff for all my advice; a saying in australia is i couldnt organise a chook raffle- not very vegan correct that saying. very best wishes Namo Amida Bu
Comment by caroline brazier on February 6, 2012 at 12:03

Thanks Rob. I think there are all sort of subtle and straight forward levels of decision making. The practical decisions like what courses to run or whether to buy butter or margerine at The Buddhist House are relatively clear cut. We have a board of trustees and i and others are delegated executive powers for these sorts of things, but also if other people wanted to run events in Tariki's name it would be a matter of discussing it to see it it fitted with out constitution, but then, why not?.

I suppose, though, the area that really interests me is the more nebulous ethos type of decisions which are probably not 'made' but still happen in any group. I do want an ethos of transparency and inclusiveness and sharing in Tariki. At the same time I am saying this from an 'I' position. (this is what I want) Where does this leave me? or you?

I think decisions have to go with power and with how one is affected by the outcome. Some things are not relevat for everyone to be involved in. It would hardly be relevent or fair for you to roll in to The Buddhist House and to start telling us where to store the bed linen... ((not that you would, but you no doubt get my point...)

Of course a lot is in manner. I also think listening is key to good collective development - if we all listen better we may reach more consensual directions without having to hammer out the detail in interminable meetings. 

Comment by Kamalajoti (Roberta Buchan) on February 6, 2012 at 15:38

Re the question you raised at the end of your post, Caroline - "are you part of the we or a compassionate bystander?" - I am clear about being towards the latter end of the spectrum. It's not so much a matter of scarcity of inner or outer resources, much more about where I am at in myself, spiritually. I find it easy to commit myself to my printmaking studies and explore the Dharma to some extent through art.

Yet I have ventured onto the ning site for Tariki Trust, as a means of keeping in touch with the new organisation and it's development. I think one of the main factors is friendship - one which includes gratitude and appreciation of what I was given as one of your students several years ago now but that kind of gift doesn't fade.

Comment by caroline brazier on February 6, 2012 at 15:55

Thank you, I am touched that you say this after all this time, I think friendship is a very important part of what this network could be.

Also there are arts people around in Tariki. Do you have examples of your printwork you could post as photos? Might we develop some sort of arts sub-group? One thought I have floated but not as yet had concrete respose to (though severla are interested) is giving wall space at The Buddhist HOuse over to exhibitions of art, particularly of Buddhist or spiritually inspired artists. It could be a selling exhibition which would give artists an incentive (We wouldnt want much of a cut, for us the benefit is i having art work on our walls) Just a thought anyway. Good to talk XX

Comment by Kamalajoti (Roberta Buchan) on February 7, 2012 at 17:07

Hello again, Caroline. Responding to your question and suggestion about posting art work and/or exhibiting at the Buddhist House: these are interesting ideas. I won't be able to do anything definite as regards taking part in an exhibition until the second half of the year soonest, because I am still doing course work until late spring. Thereafter I will be making prints on my own initiative (gulp!) and would be happy to take part in such an event - maybe I could offer you a piece of work as a donation so, if it sells, the proceeds would go to help the work of Tariki Trust. I would like to be able to contribute in that way. I shall keep the possibility in mind so as to allow an image to emerge and be worked on when the time becomes available.

As to an art group - If someone else were to start one, I would be happy to be an occasional visitor to it, for the same reason - the need to put time into my course work. It's a time when I have to be in a "back seat". However, bearing in mind Katrien's words, I want to affirm her energy and questioning. My back seat position is due to the phase I am in, in my life, and is necessary for me just now. But energy of Katrien's sort is needed to sustan the life of the organisation.

Comment by Gina Howard on February 7, 2012 at 20:30

Hello Caroline,

You pose some interesting and challenging questions about "leadership" and "inclusivity"

I would like to tell you about our Anglican church minister. He is a man with an open mind. He has an amazing capacity for listening and being open to other ideas. He does not want control of the church and in fact is sometimes criticised by a few for his ability to let go control and hand over to others. He spends much time in self reflection and prayer and seems to live his life in trust and faith. He has no interest in status of his leadership. He shows great flexibility and tries new ideas. He does not live by dogma alone. He admits his weaknesses but at the same time shows great strength. He suffers like all of us but lives an authentic life. What more could we want from a leader. One who leads but also follows. Christ said the same "the last shall be first and the first shall be last."

These are some thoughts on what I see as leadership qualities and they are the qualities that I have seen in the Buddhist House and what draws me into Buddism even though I have found it in an Anglican church for the first time in 25 years. 

Comment by caroline brazier on February 7, 2012 at 21:15

Hello, and thank you to all. Kartrien: I think you are raising so many interesting points. I suppose what I tried to do was float some starting points - thinkings which I imagined might be ground for Tariki, and I guess things I was enthusiastic about - in my first letter. That got some response and people started to get involved, so then I have put out more ideas as a response to what seemed to be emerging. So I see myself as a sort of facolitator of the process, sometimes initiating but mostly reflecting and sharpening the possibilities which arise naturally in the group. I think this sort of approach helps to keep it group centred but at the same time lets the process be driven by vision. In a way, especially in the early days, a movement grow out of implicit questions who are we and why are we here?

Kamalojoti: great - the art gallery is an ongoing vision. who knows when it will get strated but it will always be open to anyone who wants to add work (till we run out of wall space I suppose) Have you met Leo who just joined? He is an artist too and comes to France for the arts week in France in the summer. I hope we can start an art group on this site as a starter - he put some lovely photos of his work on the Amida ning site.

Gina: Thank you for sharing this. Your minister sounds like an impressive person rather because he is not 'impressive' It is often a difficult decision when to be hands on and when to be hands off. I certainly dont always get it right!

Comment by Gina Howard on February 7, 2012 at 22:01

I am pondering the question of am I a "part of the we or a compassionate bystander?"  

I think at the moment a bit of both. I can see that I can be a part of it, only if I participate and contribute, read and listen to others and get into conversations, to get a bigger picture as well as understand the details.  

On the other hand I am a compassionate bystander trusting in the wealth of experience of others and particularly yourself Caroline to do the best for the orgainisation.

I suppose at the moment I am finding my feet and feeling my way around the changes that have happened, the letters I am getting sent and just doing the best I can at the moment, but I do find I have a desire to get more involved with others on this site and to see Tariki Trust grow and develop. 

Comment by caroline brazier on February 7, 2012 at 23:04

sounds good... waiting and watching, you never know what will emerge

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Besides offering training and retreats, Tariki Trust is involved in chaplaincy, environmental action and community support. No one in Tariki is salaried and all work including teaching is voluntary or offered at rates which are well below the professional norms.

OBITUARY- PERRY ISODORE IGOE

Friends, family and loved ones: greetings, and thank you for joining us for this celebration of the life of Perry Isadore Igoe.

Though we gather here today, bound by sorrow and loss, we share a precious gift. We were all privileged to live a life that has been touched by Perry. He possessed a number of extraordinary gifts, which he shared with us freely. None of these gifts, however, are more remarkable than his capacity for love in its purest, most sincere, and honest form. Love for his adored wife, his beloved daughters, his precious friends, and for nature that surrounds us all, especially the life breathed into us by the trees.

Perry was born August 1st 1963 and was very premature so spent the first six weeks of his life in an incubator where he captured the hearts of the nurses and midwives with his cuteness. The trademark infectious Perry smile is well known by all his friends and family so without a doubt, even as a baby he could melt hearts.

Growing up, he went to school in Braintree in Essex, where he lived with his mum Carol, his younger sister Tracey, and older brother Wayne.

Perry was severely dyslexic, so, as a young man, in a very lean job market, he looked for a practical career. He joined the RAF at 16 and served with them for 17 years in Biggin Hill, Brize Norton, Germany, and the Falkland islands. Perry was a peace loving soul and had no desire to ever take up arms, harm, or kill anyone. Since however there had been no wars for a long time, it felt like a fairly safe career for a fit young man. It suited Perry who loved to be part of a team.

When he was 23, Perry managed to search for and finally find his father, Isadore Griffin, who was Black American, which led to several visits to his father in the USA.  Sadly his father also died at an early age a few years later. But Perry has continued to keep regularly in touch with the American side of his family – he was always telling Liz that one day soon they would go to visit, what he jokingly called, - ‘the dark side’!

Perry then worked in logistics and stores for the RAF and was promoted to corporal but, as the Cold War ended, promotions in the RAF were increasingly hard to come by. So after 17 years Perry took voluntary redundancy, left the RAF and went to work for Motorola in Swindon. He bought a house with his then wife, Carrie, and lived in it with his two daughters Sian & Kylie and rather a lot of strange pets. 

Perry was a great believer in investing in property and at one point when he found his work hours cut down, he took on two other jobs and bought a house in Avebury, which he rented out for a while. He later moved to Avebury with his wife Antoinette and ran a B&B there. 

Avebury was a spiritual home for Perry – he loved the standing stones and he enjoyed the succession of eccentric, visiting tourists interested in the stone circles as well as the many crop circles that pop up in Wiltshire fields in the spring and summer months. Whilst Perry was there he was a member of a Wiccan coven and later a shamanistic group.

In 2007 Perry decided to train as a counsellor with the Buddhist Organisation, the Amida Trust – now re-named - the Tariki Trust. This was where he met Liz and they became good friends.  In 2009 they both qualified as counsellors. In his usual ‘speedy’ fashion Perry had completed the course in record time – under 2 years. He went on to work for an organisation which helped educate young people with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome. Perry worked as a counsellor for several years before he finally fulfilled a life-long dream of buying a property ‘somewhere warm’.

In 2013 Perry moved again, lock stock and barrel, to the Serra De Estrella Mountains in Portugal where he quickly made a lot of friends among the ex-pats from the UK and Europe, all busy restoring old buildings and farming the land.

Perry and Liz met again accidentally in 2014 at the Buddhist House. They fell in love during a marathon 17.5 hour dinner and talked through the night and most of the following day. Since then Perry and Liz have been busy restoring their house in Portugal, affectionately named ‘The Ranch’ and have gone from having baths by candlelight in the goat shed, to a beautiful home with 3 bathrooms. Perry was never happier than when he was walking around the land working out watering systems and making sure the 150 trees he’d planted were growing well. Indicative of his altruistic personality and philosophy of sustainability, all the trees he planted at ‘The Ranch’ have been selected to provide for the next generations. A fan of tree nursing myself, I would often ask him about his trees and we would share videos and ideas for them. On a specific topic of his latest project, the Pecan trees, he mentioned how the earliest the small, 1-inch saplings would grow to bear fruit in 10 years, and it might be a good 20 before they reach maturity. “Perry,” I said, “that's ...a really long time.” To which he replied: “They aren't for me.”

And this is the type of person Perry was - always thinking of others first. Planning for the long term, working for a sustainable world, a world that works with nature, not against it. To paraphrase an ancient Greek proverb, “a wise man plants trees in whose shade he knows he will never sit.”

Perry had a great love of nature and the natural world, which he attributed to his Native American ancestors. His great love was trees, which he believed really spoke to him. So Perry returned to the Buddhist house to train in eco-therapy and shortly thereafter Perry and Liz started running eco-therapy and tree planting holidays in Portugal. Alongside his projects in Portugal, Perry joined several local eco-projects in Bristol.

On the 10th of July 2016, Perry and Liz married at Tortworth Court in Gloucestershire in a beautiful hand-fasting ceremony with over a 100 family and friends. Neither of them stopped smiling and laughing all day long, and Perry tore up the dance floor in what seemed like a union of John Travolta and Patrick Swayze. Since then they have spent six months of every year at the Ranch in Portugal and have welcomed many family and friends as visitors there.

Perry loved life – he just loved being here on this earth. Many people on this Earth believe in a higher power or greater purpose. Perry was content being himself, in this world, right now, enjoying the greatest and the smallest life has to offer. A true “Zen master”, as I like to describe him to my friends.

Perry was the most gentle and kindest of men – a true gentleman. Perry never had a bad word to say about anyone – not a criticism or judgement ever passed his lips. He didn’t swear, he didn’t argue, and he also didn’t drink alcohol, smoke, or even take tea or coffee. That is one reason why his death has been such a shock for all of us. Perry’s life was about love, acceptance, and working with others as part of a team, and he lived that out with every breath he took.

We have been lucky to know Perry in this life, we regret his passing on so soon, and so young, but his spirit and his legacy will remain among us – youthful, lively, fun, and full of love, and that oh-so-special smile.  We honour him.   

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