Ahh, the joys of reopening old threads
Anyways, I'd just like to say that I think this is a brilliant initiative. We, too, have lay leader training in Denmark which I have attended (I did however run off to a different country before taking any of the exams, of course ). The Danish programme is a bit different from the US one, I'd say, as ours seems less formal, if that's the right word to use. We only have one temple in Denmark, all other groups either meet in private homes or, most often, in public meeting rooms booked for the occasion. You rarely get to take part in an evening ceremony etc because of this (no candles/incense/whathaveyou allowed) so the lay leaders aren't trained in helping out with the more ceremonial aspects. It's more focused on leading meditations, hosting events, having a good basic knowledge and the interest in and ability to to research and be a good support for meditators, and being visible in the local community, if you will. It's also a super way of helping the doshu etc. They're usually juggling tonnes of stuff, jobs, education, family. Having someone to deal with some practical stuff, someone who can take over when they're in bed with the sniffles, is very much welcomed.
We do like a more flat structure in Denmark, and we have a long and strong tradition for volunteering and creating groups and societies, so having lay leaders fits in very well with us. I suppose it makes it less elitist, and people get to take responsibility for their sangha(s) and step up, to be a more active part than just the person who shows up and sits down.
Jeebus, it's hard to concentrate when four cats want your attention. I don't even know if what I wrote makes sense! Think I'll just post this before things get too weird
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