2003-09-17 - Community Update --Autumn 2003
This is the second in a series of seasonal updates for the Shambhala
Community. In line with our new efforts at community building, these
reports aim to help many more people take responsibility for the health and
well being of Shambhala as a whole. This update includes not only facts and
figures, but also lists some of the major questions that are currently
under discussion by groups throughout the mandala.
The update consists of nine short items on topics ranging from planning for
the Shambhala Congress through to the Sakyong.s changes of plans for his
retreat period and beyond. If you prefer to go the Shambhala website to
read the full text, please do so. If you prefer to read the full text in
email format, it follows below.
Harvest of Peace. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche's annual Harvest of Peace
address to the Shambhala Community will take place on 21 September. Tapes
of his talk, recorded at the first Vajrayana Seminary at Dechen Choling,
are being sent to Shambhala Centres and groups in North and South America
from Shambhala International, and to centres and groups in Europe from
Shambhala Europe. Traditionally, Harvest of Peace is an opportunity for
fundraising by each centre and group to support its own activities and
future development . and a chance for each local Shambhala community to
come together in celebration.
Shambhala Congress. The Sakyong has requested representatives of all
parts of the mandala to come together for a face-to-face meeting with the
leadership. Now that discussion of the Congress is underway at Shambhala
Centres and groups, many people have started asking about its purpose, how
it is being organized and what its outcome will be. We stand at a
crossroads in the life of Shambhala. The financial breakdown at the center
of our mandala is a symptom of deeper issues. We did not just run out of
money. We have lost considerable clarity that has affected our whole
structure and funding. We need to invoke the collective insight and
inspiration of our entire community in order to move forward together.
Work on the Congress started this Spring. Every Shambhala Centre and group
was invited to tell us what issues they would like to discuss and to
suggest ways of conducting the Congress. That feedback, which is posted on
the Shambhala website, has been used to shape the form and content of the
Congress. Other work has been done to frame the key questions so that all
centres and groups can discuss these issues in advance of the Congress. In
this way, we are trying to ensure that the Congress culminates in four days
of heartfelt contemplation of the core issues we face at this time of
change. A separate message to the community is going out with answers to
the most commonly asked questions. Wendy Layton is the Congress Coordinator
and can be contacted at wlayton@Shambhala.org
Kalapa Assembly. The recent Kalapa Assembly, held in August at Dorje
Denma Ling, manifested our vision of living in harmony with the natural
environment, of creating enlightened society in the world at large, and
also ending forms of aggression within our own community. The Sakyong gave
a series of teachings on the Rigden principle, focusing in particular on
the unity of the Shambhala and Buddhist teachings at the highest levels of
these paths. Tapes of these talks are now available for members of the
Kalapa Shambhala Society. We also plan to have selected extracts produced
for the community as a whole at the time of the Shambhala Congress.
The Warrior General and I have written to the Warriors of each Centre
stressing the importance of rejuvenating regular practice of The Roar of
the Werma, The Sadhana of the Warrior. This is particularly important in
view of the progress now being made in the preparation of a new Rigden
thangka, commissioned by the Sakyong, as the future central image of the
Shambhala Buddhist shrine.
The magnificent response from the Shambhala community in the Atlantic
Provinces ensured that well over $377,000 (Canadian) was raised for the
renovation of Dorje Denma Ling in time for the Assembly. In view of the
success of this year.s Assembly, the Sakyong has agreed that the next
Assembly, in 2005, should be held there.
Vajrayana Seminary. The first Vajrayana Seminary in Europe was just
held at Dechen Choling in France. It was attended by nearly 200 people
(participants and staff) from Asia, Europe and both North and South
America. The Seven Line Supplication to Padmakara was read in 18 languages.
Not only was it a milestone in the development of Shambhala in Europe, it
was also a historic landmark for our entire community, being held 30 years
on from the first Seminary taught by the Vidyadhara in 1973.
The careful advance preparation led by Acharya Robert Puts, combined with
the maturing dharma environment of Dechen Choling, enabled the Sakyong to
teach extensively on Dzogchen, and particularly the Vajrayana path as laid
out in a commentary on the Seven Line Supplication to Padmakara. He
announced that he will return in 2006 to give abhisheka to all who will
have completed their ngondro in the three years between now and then,
hoping that this would motivate the entire seminary to fulfill that aspiration.
Central staffing and services. The financial situation of Shambhala
International resulted in a massive reduction in staffing and services in
June of this year. We received a loan of $65,000 (Canadian) from the
Amsterdam Shambhala Centre to help with our immediate cash flow
difficulties . and are now working to manage the resources we have so that
the Dutch loan is repaid on schedule and that we give high priority to the
repayment of the debts we have incurred. Two reports on the financial
health of our community prepared by Mr Jim Rosen of the Shambhala Trust and
Mr Chris Tamdjidi, Director of Shambhala Europe, will soon be posted as
pre-Congress documents for the information of the whole Shambhala community.
The paid staff of Shambhala International in Halifax is now down to: David
Brown (Executive Secretary to the Sakyong), Carolyn Mandelker (part-time
Practice and Education), Terry Ruddherham (Comptroller), Thomas Ahrens
(part-time accounts), Tim Goetsch (part-time Shambhala Training
International accounts)and Wendy Layton (coordinator of the Shambhala
Congress.) We are planning to retain the services of Bill Sutton by funding
his position though the program fees for the forthcoming international
programs he will organize.
Shambhala Care and Conduct. We are continuing to develop a system
for dealing with disputes and complaints that arise within our community. A
misconduct procedure for complaints against office holders of Shambhala is
now in effect and currently in use. A full report on this aspect of
developing our community will be posted as a pre-Congress document.
The Sakyong.s plans. The Sakyong has announced new directions that
he is planning to take during his retreat and in future years. In a formal
announcement he said: .I want to make it very clear that from November
onwards there is going to be a definite shift in how I lead my life and how
I am best used. I now want to begin working in a mandala where I can mix
the elements of practice and study, teaching, and writing. I want to have a
balance of these throughout the calendar year. November will mark the
beginning of this shift. There will be periods where I will definitely do
retreat practice, but also other periods where I will be writing, a process
I very much enjoy. It is a very effective way for me to reach a lot of
people and reaching the world in this way seems to benefit our own community..
The full text of the announcement, including Rinpoche's plans to visit His
Holiness the Dalai Lama, His Holiness Karmapa XVII and His Holiness Jigme
Phuntsok Rinpoche during the year and receive the lung of the complete
works of Mipham the Great from His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, can be read on
the Shambhala Website at: http://www.shambhala.org/int/smr_newdirections.html
Kalapa Valley. At a ceremony and celebration to be held at Kalapa
Valley in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, on 11 October, the dedicated members of
the Shambhala Community who have purchased and administered this land will
formally transfer the deeds of ownership to Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and the
Shambhala mandala. This is a matter of considerable significance as both
the Sakyong and Ms Eva Wong, the Sakyong.s K.an Yu adviser, regard the
remarkable properties of the Valley, originally identified by the
Vidyadhara, as the energetic centre of the global Shambhala mandala.
Visit of Damchö Tenphel Rinpoche and Karma Sengay Rinpoche. We were
delighted to receive a visit to our community in North America from Damchö
Tenphel Rinpoche, the younger brother of the Vidyadhara, and Karma Sengay
Rinpoche, the Vidyadhara.s nephew who devoted himself to the preservation
of his original teachings in Tibet. For many who met them and heard them
speak, it was a profoundly moving occasion. For those who wish to encounter
them in print, you can find an interview with them in the latest issue of
The Dot, where they speak of their undying devotion to Chögyam Trunpga Rinpoche.
(This announcement was from the Shambhala News Service)