Shared Stewardship Circles

The governance and day-to-day administration at SWZC is organized through member collaboration in 'circles.'

These circles are organized by the Three Treasures: The Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. The Buddha Circles represent the practice and training aspects of the center. The Dharma Circles represent the administrative and operational aspects of the center. The Sangha Circle is embodied by the SWZC community that animates the harmony and unity of the Buddha and Dharma Circles. 


Stewardship within the SWZC circle structure consists in facilitating the processes of each circle. The steward of each circle acts as an empowering agent, to encourage all its members to participate in fulfilling the circle’s charge. To that end, another important element of circle stewardship is training the next steward.

Buddha Circles

Manage training and practice related matters at SWZC.

Leadership Circle

Stewarded by the Abbot and supports the Abbot. It stewards the training, staffing and vision of SWZC. The President of the Board and Treasurer serve on the circle as advisors/Board Reps.

Events circle

Manages SWZC events calendar; prepares and promotes events; stewards online outreach and marketing.

Antiracist Circle

Charged with creating policies and programs that support SWZC’s commitment to practicing antiracism.

Tea and Cookies Circle

Manages refreshments for Sunday Program and other ad hoc SWZC events.

Teacher's Circle

Those authorized as Zen teachers at SWZC

Ino and ceremony circle

Stewards ceremony and ritual at SWZC.

Jikido Circle

Supports the weekly zazen schedule and stewards meditation spaces.

Chiden Circle

Stewards the care of the altars at SWZC and altar prep for ceremony.

Zen meditation instruction (ZMI) Circle

Organizes Zen meditation instruction and the training of instructors.

Priest Circle

Supports Priest training at SWZC.

Dharma Circles

Manage temple administration, including financial and legal matters, and the day-to-day operations.

Board Circle

Manages financial and legal health of SWZC. The Abbot serves on the circle as an advisor.

Finance Circle

Is responsible for monitoring, managing and decision making around SWZC’s finances.

Community Gateway Circle (CGC)

Manages coming and going of residents. Stewards processes related to the resident agreement.

Building and grounds circle

Stewards the maintenance of SWZC buildings, grounds and gardens, and the general care of SWZC’s spaces.

Media Circle

Manages social media and other promotional content and strategies.

Fundraising Circle

Stewards the Fundraising at SWZC.

Membership Circle

Provides overall support for SWZC membership. Stewards addition of new members, cultivates outreach to new members and potential members.

Circles Activated as needed

Elder's circle

Appointed by the Abbot and approved by the Board. Consists of Zen Teachers within the White Plum Asanga who serve two primary purposes: 1) To step in to mediate when asked by either the Board of Directors or Abbot in the event that these two parties are at an impasse regarding a particular matter. 2) To be involved in the appointment of a new Abbot, if and only if the current Abbot is unable to affect an appointment themself.

H.E.A.R. Circle

See conflict resolution and grievance procedure in Sangha Sutra.

Resident Support Circle

Offers support for residents who are struggling with issues that may affect their residency status.