|Friends of Yeshey Esangha Report|
|Steering in the Esangha
Two precedents inspired me in starting an Esangha: the traditional Buddhist idea of a sangha, and the idea of the a women's support group. I've never been in a real-world sangha, but I have read precepts they use; there are some links here. I have been in women's support groups, and I trained in how to create them.
When I started SkyDancer, it was simply the bibliography.When women responded to it, I corresponded with them, and a few of us kicked around some ideas. So trhe present Esangha came from my vision, and theirs, and the combination of many others'.
Leadership in a collective
My vision was of a group in which everyone took responsibility for the group as a whole that is, we shared leadership. This is an inspiring goal; people tend to like it. However we have little experience of doing it in our culture rather we are encouraged to depend on people in authority. So even when we have decided to share responsibility, some people take responsibility, others don't and that inequality leads to two kinds of problems.
On the one hand, a leader can slip into a habit of using power in ways that are not appropriate to the group. (This happened to me; see Size & Process.) Joreen Freeman, in The Tyranny of Structurelessness, examines this problem in detail, and warns about leaders who seize power intentionally.
On the other hand, a leader can become a scapegoat. The question of focus provides a common occasion for this. One member of the current esangha Julia Milton described the situation:
Though I'm not a "moderator" because I don't screen every posting before it goes to the list, I do find myself filling this role of visionkeeper, and it does get me in trouble.
Keeping a sense of humor
I have decided to think of all this as a paradox, one of those facts of life that seem self-contradictory. My list-manager's koan.
© Copyright Catherine Holmes Clark 2000 last updated 27 February 2000